Gina Torres, 54, plays a glamorous, cutthroat fashion mogul in the new Netflix romantic comedy The Perfect Find. And although she loves playing a bold villain on screen, in reality, she tells AARP, she prefers a low-profile lifestyle, watching black-and-white movies and keeping up an aura of mystique.
Your character in The Perfect Find is more of a villain. Was that fun to play?
Of course. Villains are the best. Villains are great. Villains are therapy. You get to say all the things that you’re really taught not to say. And spare no one’s feelings and get what you want. Those are juicy parts, and then the fun part is to actually really find the space to make them human so that you love to hate them — you don’t just hate them.
What are your favorite rom-coms?
I gotta go way back — like way, way back. Like black and white all the way back. High Society, which is just great and so much fun. It’s the musical version of The Philadelphia Story. Also The Shop Around the Corner with Jimmy Stewart, which is the original version of You’ve Got Mail. His Girl Friday and Bell, Book and Candle. I’m not just more than qualified to be [an] AARP [member], but I’m also an old soul on top of that. The new [movies] are fun, [but] I just loved how romance and language was expressed during a time when you could be so naughty and it doesn’t sound naughty at all. It’s just the flirting, and the flirtation, and the less is more. I love that. When you can’t say everything, what’s left? How do you express that? How do you show someone?
Who is your dream rom-com costar/celebrity crush?
Oh, my guy and I have this joke all the time because we talk about our crushes. And I’m like, “Well, you’re safe because most of mine are dead. So you’re really OK. You’re safe.” I’ve always had a massive crush on James Garner, and I’ve heard from people who knew him that he was a lovely man. Among the living, I would say Hugh Jackman, Pedro Pascal, Idris Elba.
What about your acting inspirations?
There are many. But I always come back to the “OG” — the one so many actresses of my generation have studied: Bette Davis. Her intelligence and power are both unnerving and seductive.