Bassett finishes her incredible 2018 by voicing a villainous Decepticon in "Bumblebee," the "Transformers" prequel critics are eating up.
Angela Bassett's 2018 was bookended by two giant tentpole films -- "Black Panther" in February and "Bumblebee" in December -- with a role in a "Mission: Impossible" film smack dab in the middle. While the "Transformers" prequel doesn't hit theaters until Friday, the others were two of the top 10 grossing movies of the year, domestically and internationally.
Not too shabby for a woman who said action movies were always an "impossible nut" for her to break into, huh?
Speaking to TooFab about her work voicing the villainous Shatter in "Bumblebee," Bassett opened up about her recent career left turn and what sets both the "Transformers" prequel and those other mega-hits apart from rest of the crowd.
"I didn't become familiar with 'Transformers' until the first Michael Bay film, because that typically wasn't my genre," says Bassett, who was primarily known for her work in "What's Love Got to Do With It," "Waiting to Exhale" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" before she appeared in "American Horror Story: Coven" as scene-stealing Marie Laveau and, subsequently, a sea of action films.
"Comedy, romantic comedy, that sort of thing, maybe a Western in there, it wasn't the big action movies," Bassett said of the movies she was always drawn to as a viewer. "I typically like the more human dynamic in my film."
While Bassett said the genre was "a place I would like to find myself," she explained that it "just seemed like an impossible nut to crack." Then, something shifted. "The fact that it happened in triplicate this year, is really pretty mysterious to me," she continued. "Timing is everything. It was just the right time and if you stay ready, this kind of thing might just happen to you. It's been a phenomenal year."
For both "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" and "Bumblebee," it was especially odd to join these two established franchises in their sixth outings, both of which she -- and many critics -- call the "best" sequels yet. "I think part of that is that they're really grounded in relationships, people dealing with people," she said of what sets them apart. "We find that's always more interesting because we want to understand ourselves, we want people to see us, validate us."
She also credited "Black Panther" for shaking up the superhero status quo, something she said the filmmakers behind "Bumblebee" also did when approaching the spinoff.
"We have to shake up that formula and that's what 'Bubmblee' did. It shook up the formula we've seen the last five times out," said Bassett. "It shook it up by giving you a young female lead [in Hailee Steinfeld], being written by a woman, going back in time -- people don't want to live in today, going pre-Instagram and cell phone, it's so satisfying."
At the end of the day, however, Bassett was also just thrilled to play a bad girl when it came to her latest film.
"They intrigued me when they came at me and said [Shatter] was the villain of this world. By and large, I've never been asked to play that and it's something that I've been wanting to," she explained. "They came with an offer I couldn't refuse. It's something I wanted to delve into and explore and I thought I'd have a lot of fun with it."
"[Women] can be boss, loud, commanding, treacherous and dangerous as well," she added. "I really liked that aspect of it."
Looking back at her wild year -- which also included an appearance on "American Horror Story: Apocalypse" and her starring role on Ryan Murphy's "9-1-1" -- Bassett says it's been both "fun" and extremely "satisfying."
"You just go where the good characters and the good stories are," she explained. "Television, film, it seems to be a lot more fluid today and not constrained by, 'Oh, you only show up in the movies' or 'You only show up on stage.' I'm glad we passed that tie and just go where the great roles are."
"Bumblebee" hits theaters Friday, December 21.