As a mother and a Hollywood veteran, Kimberly Elise feels protective of her Hit The Floor costar Taylour Paige. “I want her to have a good experience, learn good habits early on about respecting yourself and the choices you make, and respecting other actors,” she tells VH1 of the talented newcomer.
In her role as original Devil Girl Sloane Hayes, Kimberly’s maternal instincts shine through both on and off camera, which helped the actresses forge a bond long before last month’s premiere. “We get along great, I just adore her,” Kimberly says. “My own daughter is the same age so I get where her head is and what she’s going through.” But who helped guide her through the complexities of show business with profound advice she still thinks about today? Jonathan Demme, her director on Beloved (1998) and The Manchurian Candidate (2004). While filming the former, Demme helped Kimberly step outside of herself to bring her character, Denver, to life. “He just came and whispered in my ear and said, ’Just be,'” she explains. “It spoke to me. It sounds so simple, but it was my language.” Learn more about Kimberly’s history in the ’biz by watching the video above.