Phylicia Rashad felt right at home when she took on the maternal role of Libba Gardner in the Pixar animated film Soul.
Rashad, who fans recall as the no-nonsense mother Claire Huxtable on the ’80s sitcom The Cosby Show, says it was easy to become the overbearing mother of Libba, because she had plenty of experience.
“Connecting to the character was not difficult,” Rashad tells ABC Audio. “We understand what it is to love your own child and want the best for your child, even when your child is 40 years old.”
“That’s not hard for me to imagine,” she laughs.
In the film, which follows a middle-school band teacher named Joe who hopes to become a famous jazz musician, Rashad’s character is seen casting doubt on Joe’s life-long dream. Rashad says Libba’s motivation comes from “being a parent” and “wanting to protect [her] child.
“So you assume a protective stance in whatever measures you suggest in terms of which roads to take, which road to avoid,” she explains. “[But,] then comes a time when you come to understand that maybe you’re not supposed to do that anymore.”
Like Rashad, Angela Bassett also feels very connected to her Soul character Dorothea Williams, a respected jazz musician for whom Joe hopes to work.
“I think she’s relatable. She’s relatable to me,” Bassett says. “Oftentimes there’s someone… who’s doing exactly what we think we want to be doing.”
“How many times have I heard, a young actor approach me and say, ‘They’re looking forward to the day that we can work together,"” she continues. “And it’s like, ‘OK, all right.’ And who knows? But it’s good to be fueled by that kind of desire.”
Soul, also starring Jamie Foxx, is available Christmas Day on Disney+.
By Candice Williams
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