By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFRO
What would you do? You are 42, divorced and passed over for a promotion. You meet a cute young thing at a bar and have some fun—for once. You have a no-strings-attached session and keep it pushing back to your “real life.” But then you discover your daughter (read: your real life) is dating your weekend-stand. Throw in an ex or two and it gets…well…complicated.
That the premise behind “Three’s Complicated,” a film that debuts Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. EST/ 6 p.m. Central on TV One.
The project stars Shanola Hampton (of Showtime’s “Shameless”), who also served as an executive producer on the film. The film was written and directed by Shari Lynette Carpenter. Rounding out the cast are Tyler Lepley (“The Haves and The Have Nots”), Kyanna Simone Simpson (“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”) and Charles Malik Whitfield (“The Temptations”).
Hampton was excited to bring the project to life, and to have a bigger hand in the process.
“It’s really a great concept,” Hampton said about the film, adding that the project gave her a chance to fulfill many goals she envisioned for herself in the upcoming year.
“It was one of my visions last year for my life,” Hampton said. “I wanted to find a film I was excited about, I wanted to work with a great team. It was a great partnership with TV One. It was so much fun. It really was what I call the perfect marriage for my first time as executive producer.”
Hampton was very candid about taking the helm, saying, “There are all sorts of decisions that need to be made that people have no idea about.”
She added with a laugh, “But I like being a boss. I’m a boss in my own house – ask my husband. I executive produce my life. It was an easy transition to do it on set.”
All jokes aside Hampton and the crew are excited to be on the uptick of entertainment gigs for people of color, but are not afraid to call out the hypocrisy of Hollywood.
“We have had more opportunities than we’ve ever had which is a good thing but we still have a long way to go,” Hampton said.
Tyler Lepley said he was excited as well but knows talent is talent regardless of the beholder.
“You have someone like Viola Davis,” Avery said. “She was great before anyone White said she was great. This whole thing of a Black artist not being great unless a White person says so is just stupid. That Black artistry is great before anyone else says it is.”
Even though it’s a comedy, “Three’s Complicated” is doing some low-key activism, pushing to the forefront ideas of sexuality, romance, identity and, of course, aging.
“This is definitely one reason I was drawn to the role,” Hampton said. “The fact of the matter that 42 is not old by any means but in certain industries it’s perceived that way. It is a story that needs to be told; I really wanted to show beauty, talent, heart, even in your forties.”
Last week, Regina King, after winning a Golden Globe for her role in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” made a promise that 50 percent of any crew she worked on would be women. This call to action resonates with Hampton and her team.
“Look at our film: A woman wrote it, a women directed,” she said, adding, “A woman is going to bring something different than a male. There’s a different love that goes to it. So it needs to be done more.”
Once a project is completed your idea of what you wanted may have shifted. But Hampton an Lepley were very focused on their goals for the film.
“I want to bring a grounded sense of reality to this romantic comedy and not have it be slapstick,” Lepley said; “to bring the truth to something that is funny.”
Hampton concurred, “I really want people to feel the subtlety of this being a romantic comedy but making sure it was rooted in truth. I wanted people to feel the reality of it.”
For more information on the film please go to the TV One site.