"Any woman in a professional career identifies with Ali's struggle," Henson told reporters on the red carpet.
Taraji P. Henson was excited to show another side of her in the new film, "What Men Want."
At the Los Angeles premiere of the new romantic comedy, the actress spoke about what drew her to the role and how she identifies with her character. The movie follows Ali (Henson), a hardworking sports agent who gets passed over for a promotion in favor of a lesser-qualified male coworker. One day, she suddenly gets the magical power to hear men's thoughts.
When asked what motivated her to take on the role, Henson replied, "It's a comedy. I've been waiting 20 years to do a comedy. It's actually what I moved out here to do." The Oscar-nominated actress explained that her agent, Tracy Jacobs, helped her prepare to play the character.
"[Tracy] was one of the only female sitting on the board at UTA [United Talent Agency] so she understands," Henson said. "She actually identifies with this character. I identify with this character. Any woman in a professional career identifies with Ali's struggle."
Henson recently described Ali to People as "not really the most feminine female," but still isn't treated equally to the men in the office because she is, of course, a woman.
"[Ali] has all the numbers," Henson said. "She has all the incredible clients, but she still doesn't get the raises and the promotions that she deserves because she is a woman."
"So you get to go into this world of most women and what we have to deal with in the workforce," she added. "Even if you don't work for a company of all men, even if you aren't a sports agent, even in my industry, it's just the fight we fight...We've been fighting forever."
Actress Wendi McLendon-Covey, who you may know from ABC's "The Goldbergs" and 2011's comedy "Bridesmaids," also spoke to TooFab on the red carpet of the premiere. In "What Men Want," McLendon-Covey plays Olivia, one of Ali's friends and fellow bridesmaid to Mari (Tamala Jones).
If you were given the "gift" of hearing men's thoughts would you take it? McLendon-Covey said she would definitely not want this power, or at least not anymore. "20 years ago? Yes. Now? No, thank you," she said. "I think, I think I got it. I would like to know maybe in a negotiation situation. I would like to know how the other party is planning on trying to low ball me so I could strategize."
However, there is one man's brain the "Reno 911" star would want get inside of. When asked if there was a male celebrity dead or alive she would actually like to hear his thoughts, McLendon-Covey said Bob Fosse. "He was such a creative genius," she said. "I just love his work so much and I would love to know how that mind works."
McLendon-Covey's co-star, Phoebe Robinson, who also plays one of Ali's friend in the film, agreed about not wanting to read men's thoughts if given the opportunity. "[Men] think about a lot about food," she told TooFab. "I can't hear the word pizza 30 times a day, so I think I'd be good."
TooFab also spoke to actor Kellan Lutz on the carpet. The "Twilight" star has a small role in "What Men Want," but his character is hard to forget. As a viewer, you never learn the real name of Lutz's character, but Henson's Ali calls him "Captain F--ktastic" because he's just that good looking. Pretty much the best nickname ever right?
"Sometimes as an actor you see it like, 'Okay, how's this going to look on your IMDb?'" Lutz said. "Or when I'm doing movies and I'm producing them, you see like, 'Oh your character's name is Jacob or Frank and you're like, 'Nah, that's not really the name that I see for him.' So seeing [Captain F--ktastic] on there, it's just a really fun role and character for the movie."
At one point in the film (spoiler alert!), Ali starts to hook up with Captain F--ktastic in his apartment. He then surprises both Ali and the audience when he turns out to be into BDSM, as Ali walks into a room only to find him in a sex swing, wearing an all-leather ensemble, complete with chains and a mask.
Lutz credited director Adam Shankman for making him feel comfortable on set, especially when Lutz's puts on the risque outfit. "There is no straight face that you could ever keep in this movie," he said. "You just have a lot of fun doing it and you really trust your director. If Adam wasn't directing it, I'd be kind of cautious as to like, 'Alright, what are you putting me in? Like what are we doing here?'"
"But knowing Adam for as long as I have and knowing that he has my back and knowing the type of movie that we're making here," he added. "It's a comedy but it's not like hard R. We had a lot of fun, a lot of improv, just a lot of laughs and you have to be able to laugh at yourself and that's what I did, every scene."