Janet Jackson looked me in the eyes, waved and flashed her world-famous smile as she trotted down the red carpet with her sister Rebbie during a special screening of Why Did I Get Married Too, held Monday at NYC’s School of Visual Arts Theatre.
Being in the presence of a Jackson is a surreal experience, and Janet definitely exudes that Jackson magic. (‘Ooh! Her nail polish is a shiny, royal blue shade!’ was all I could think at first.)
I asked her why she had to do this film.
“Because we can relate to all of them,” Janet, 43, says.
In the midst of filming this comedy sequel, the “Again” singer dealt with the tragic loss of her brother Michael. It’s still a sore subject, and she remains mum when asked about how his kids are doing.
“I got everybody together — the crew, the cast — before she came,” director/writer/co-star Tyler Perry says. “I said, ‘Listen: no condolences, no flowers, no nothing. She just wants to work. Let’s support her as an artist.’ And that’s what we did. We had a lot of fun — as much fun as we could in the moment. But, yeah, I said a lot of things I won’t be sharing. I said a lot of things to make her feel better.”
“Nobody’s ever seen her like this,” Tyler tells me. “No one’s ever seen her perform to this level. She shed everything. There are scenes where there is no makeup, and she is going raw. I think she was using every bit of what was going on with her at the time. There are seven stages of grief, and I think she used every stage in this film.”
Although co-star Sharon Leal has never seen Janet playing aunt to Michael’s kids, she thinks the pop icon would make an “amazing mom.”
“She seems very patient, and she seems to have a real compassion about her, which would be great traits as a mother,” Sharon tells me. “She’s a lovely person. She’s very positive and light.”
Co-star Tasha Smith says she agrees that Janet would be a dream mother.
“Janet is one of the most compassionate people you will ever meet in how she loves, how she understands and how she supports. Her heart is as big as this world.”
“I hated some of the wardrobe that was given to me on this film, but Janet went into her closet and let me borrow dresses from her own personal wardrobe so I would look great in this movie. She’s that sweet,” Tasha says.
She calls Janet “courageous” for getting back to work so quickly after Michael’s death.
“We tried to make her laugh as much as possible and stay focused on the work,” Tasha says.
Co-star Malik Yoba tells me he tried to get a date with Miss Jackson, but it didn’t work out. Still… he’s available, in case she changes her mind.
“She’s cute, and have you seen her smile?” he says. “She’ll light up the room. She’s a sweet woman and a nice person.”
Producer Reuben Cannon says Janet was “generous and compassionate” during the shoot, and he was wowed by her resilience after losing Michael so suddenly.
“I think she put a lot of her focus into the work,” he tells me. “The company showed great concern and compassion and let her have her moments. It was a great outlet for her while she was dealing with her brother’s tragedy.”
He adds, “She and Tyler have a great relationship.”
Hmm, could Tyler be Janet’s next groom? Does Tyler see marriage in his future?
“I don’t know,” Tyler says. “In my adult life, I’ve dated five people seriously (at 40 years old) and been in love three times, and if it ain’t happened yet, who knows? We’ll see.”
Why Did I Get Married Too? hits theaters April 2.