'Big Stone Gap' co-star Jasmine Guy adds to dialogue of women in the business


Jasmine Guy is currently co-starring in the new film out right now called "Big Stone Gap," and any readers out there know that this film is based on a series of best-selling books by Adriana Trigiani. But the story about this film goes back to the days when Adriana Trigiani and Jasmine Guy worked on the very successful sitcom, "A Different World." In this exclusive interview with stage and screen sensation Jasmine Guy, she discloses the incredibly interesting back story to "Big Stone Gap" making it to theaters and how incredibly difficult it is for females in the entertainment industry to bring their creative projects to fruition.

Jasmine Guy is an actress, singer, dancer and all-out entertainer. She has starred on Broadway, film and had a break-out role on the popular show, "A Different World," starring as the uppity Southern lady Whitley Gilbert. Her role was intended to be a supporting role to the show's star Lisa Bonet, but Guy's incredible characterization catapulted her to stardom. She won an incredible six, in a row, Image Awards for her performance as Whitley.

It was on the set of "A Different World," that Guy met Adriana Trigiani. She was working as writer for the series. Guy and Trigiani became fast friends and Guy soon learned that Trigiani was having difficulty with her work on, "A Different World," "She was blatantly honest about her truth and that she was struggling."

Later on, long after, "A Different World," was off the air, Guy and Trigiani reunited to create their own sitcom called, "Uptown Girl." They wrote the pilot and pitched it, but it was so evident that in a time of only three networks being available at the time (long before the explosion of cable networks) that there show may never see the light of day, "The show was about a man who died of AIDS and gave her female friend a dance wear store in his will. Once the executives heard the word AIDS, they were not able to see how someone funny can come from this truth of someone's life. This show was really funny."

When Guy was 37, right after having her daughter, she took a role on a show called "Linc's," and she ran into Trigiani, "'She told me she had written a screenplay. I truly felt so unaccomplished upon hearing this news. She said "It's called 'Big Stone Gap,' and it's about my home town. And I am going to write a book to go along with it, before I pitch it. She told me she thought it was the best way to support pitching her idea for the screenplay."'

Little did Trigiani know that this would propel her career into another direction and that she would become a best-selling author in the midst of grasping at anything that would help her get her film project some attention. Guy pointed out the irony to Trigiani, "You realize that is backward, don't you?"

Guy explained how emotional she got when Trigiani called her, "I cried when she said she was finally doing her movie 'Big Stone Gap' and that she wanted me in it. I told her that she didn't have to make a part for me, that I just wanted to witness her film coming to life."

The lengths that Adriana Trigiani went to in order to get her film, "Big Stone Gap," made is just another story added to the current discussion of women in the entertainment business. Just this week actress Jennifer Lawrence wrote about her inability to get the same pay as her male counterparts and Turner Classic Movies has been airing a series of interviews called "Trailblazing Women," as successful women in the movie business discuss the difficulties of being a woman in an industry that is still, for the most part, a boys club.

This is a learning lesson for any woman entering the entertainment industry. And hopefully, this is a start of creating a new truth in Hollywood. A truth that creative ideas and ability to make them into reality should come before the sexual identity of the one offering them. As for Jasmine Guy, it takes a fine and loyal friend to champion Adriana Trigiani as her dream finally becomes reality.


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