In the new film “In Our Nature,” actress Gabrielle Union (“Bring It On”) plays Vicky, the young girlfriend of a man (John Slattery) whose estranged son (Zach Gilford) surprises them when he shows up to their family’s cabin on the same weekend with his significant other (Jena Malone). Can father and son put their differences aside and enjoy each other’s company or will personal issues be dealt with during one awkward vacation in the woods?
“In Our Nature” is currently available On Demand.
What attracted you to this role?
It’s a nuanced character. Generally, when there’s a fleshed out character, I don’t get to play her. When [director] Brian [Savelson] made me the offer I said, “Yes, I’ll take it!” It was a huge vote of confidence that he trusted and believed in me.
Is that how you’ve always chosen projects to work on?
No, I used to take whatever was offered to me, whether I understood it or could relate to it or if I would even watch it myself. Now, I have to understand the character and relate to her in some kind of way. [“In Our Nature”] had all the elements I was looking for.
You seemed a bit out of your element during the kayaking scene. Was that just acting or are outdoor activities not something you’re really interested in?
I’m not quite as persnickety as my character. I do love the outdoors, but on my terms. To be out in the woods without Off isn’t good.
Did you have Off with you?
Oh, yeah. I had some with a high concentration that was probably illegal. I hate bugs. I hate butterflies and ladybugs and critters. I really did live in fear that I would get Lyme disease.
But you have a scene with a huge, scary moth. Was it a CGI moth?
(Laughs) No, that moth came after one of our scenes ended because it was attracted to the light. They kept the cameras rolling. I wasn’t a fan of the moth. That scene was not in the script.
What about the scene with the bear?
That wasn’t a Hollywood bear. To get the bear to do what [the production crew] wanted him to do took a long time. We were shooting at the edge of the woods so if we were cooking we would see wild bears come out of the woods. Our bear would eat candy. These other bears wanted the burgers off the grill. They would come onto the set. We could’ve been mauled. We were keeping it real.
There’s no Off for that.
No, definitely not.
I didn’t feel like this role was necessarily written for a black actress. Does it make a role more attractive when it’s not written with an ethnicity in mind?
For me, that’s ideal. I mean, there are some roles you read where you think, “This has to be strong, black woman.” But for this particular role, I think it added a layer that made it more interesting. It’s not spoken, but you can definitely see it.
How is Dwayne [Wade] in a kayak?
(Laughs) Dwayne would never get in a kayak. But he did come up a visit me on set. It was right after [the Miami Heat] lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the finals. He was feeling really down, so he came up and we got to hang out for a while.