Listen to Me Good: gmc's DeEtta West Stars as Advice-Giving Angel
watchgmctv.com: The basic premise of “If You Really Love Me” is three sisters searching for love and fulfillment. Their mother, an angel, is watching over them. Tell us more about what viewers can expect from gmc’s latest original gospel play.
DeEtta West: This story is all about relationships, love, deceit, forgiveness, restoration – and truly, faith in yourself and faith in God. Francine, the eldest, has been a stabilizing force in the family after their mother, Lena, (my character) goes home to be with the Lord. The other two sisters Tonia and Christine depend on her. Tonia is the youngest. My husband had an affair outside of our marriage to me, and Tonia was the results of that affair. I treated Tonia like she was my own. She received everything her two sisters did from me – sometimes more – because she has really struggled with the acceptance issues and the fear of turning out like her biological mom, who’s in a really dark place. Christine is hung up on material things and is engaged to be married to a doctor. As the angel, Lena’s spirit has told her there’s something going on with her girls, and along with my husband (also deceased), we decide it’s time for me to go check on them. The girls don’t see me, but all along they imply that they know their mother is watching them from above.
watchgmctv.com: Did you feel a real spiritual element or presence while on the set? Did any of the other actors share with you any spiritual insight, personal stories or revelations?
West: I was having my makeup done while Anthony Evans – who plays Keith Robinson’s brother – was doing the scene where he sings. Our makeup artist stopped and said “Who is that singing?” and her eyes began to well up with tears. I said “That’s Anthony Evans and he is so anointed.” I don’t think anyone really knew how amazing his voice is. Keith Robinson has an amazing voice too. I’m not sure if the scene where he sings made it into the play.
There was also a scene that didn’t make it in where I was quoting some powerful Scriptures. After I finished the camera man peeked around the camera and said that when I was doing that scene, he was ready to throw his hands up and praise the Lord!
watchgmctv.com: Were there other memorable moments on the set?
West: Eva Marcille and I attended the same church in LA. She and my daughter are about the same age. They sang in the youth choir together. It was called The Mustard Seeds of Faith. I showed Eva a picture of my daughter all grown up, and she couldn’t believe it because she remembered her from when she was young. As far as bloopers or outtakes, there weren’t really any, as far as I could tell… It’s so interesting doing [a production] this way. There’s really no time to do anything except learn your lines hit the ground running.
watchgmctv.com: You’re a mother and a grandmother too. Did you ever feel like you were playing yourself?
West: Absolutely. Even when I was younger before I had kids, I was always the mothering type. This role seems like it was written with me in mind. And then to be allowed to just be free... There were times when I wanted to jump out of being invisible and into the scene and say, “This is what I need you to do.” It’s so ironic because my youngest daughter is getting married, and I heard myself saying the same thing to my daughter that I would say to Christine, which is “Stop obsessing about the wedding! The marriage is what’s important!”
watchgmctv.com: Do you expect to be involved with more gmc roles in the future?
West: I absolutely expect to be involved. I feel like I’m on a roll now. Actually I have a role in the next gmc World Premiere Movie “Raising Izzie.” I play the role of the social worker. One of the executives at gmc said that she wants to see my face in everything that gmc does. That is truly a blessing to be able to use the gifts and talents that God blesses you with. God sent an Angel to Angel Lena to open up those doors of opportunity. I’m grateful.
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