‘Peeples’ Actress takes light-hearted approach

Kimrie Lewis-Davis co-stars in Tyler Perry’s new comedy

By A. Scott Walton Executive Editor | 5/10/2013, noon
Kimrie Lewis-Davis, the scene-stealer in Tyler Perry’s latest feature film, “Peeples” is far more than just a pretty face.
Kimrie Lewis-Davis (right) and Kall Hawk chew up scenery in Tyler Perry's "Peeples".

Kimrie Lewis-Davis, the scene-stealer in Tyler Perry’s latest feature film, “Peeples” is far more than just a pretty face.

Besides accumulating silver screen credits, the South Central Los Angeles native, also has established herself as a touring stand-up comic, a stage actress and even a (one-time) stunt performer.

In “Peeples” -- which Perry produced and Tina Gordon Chism (“Drumline”, “ATL”) wrote and directed -- Lewis-Davis portrays a close friend of the title family. As the Peeples go through the paces of a strained family reunion, the Lewis-Davis character (Meg) breaks her silence about secret desires she’s had for forbidden love.

“Every family has secrets,” Lewis-Davis told the Atlanta Voice by phone from her home in Los Angeles. “Sometimes they just have to come out.”

During the chat, Lewis-Davis was struggling to choose between two David Meister gowns – “one’s fuschia, the other one’s black and sparkley” – to wear to the “Peeples” premiere Wednesday night.

“It all comes down to the shoes,” she gushed. “Whichever shoes work out in the next few hours will make the decision for me!”

Though anxious about attending the premiere, Lewis-Davis engaged the Atlanta Voice in a lighthearted question-and-answer session.

AV: Was “Peeples” shot in Atlanta, like so many of Tyler Perry’s productions? And what was it like working with him?

KLD: “No, we shot mostly in Stamford, Connecticut in the cold, cold middle of winter. Mr. Perry only came to the set a few times because he was working on another project simultaneously. He really put us all at ease and just told us to go on with our work.”

AV: Between doing stand-up comedy and acting on the stage, the screen and television, which aspect of your careers do you enjoy most?

KLD: “My heart will always be in theatre. From performing as a young kid to studying at NYU, that was my first love. It’s so different from film and TV. It’s the ancient art of storytelling, and it’s live. You take this journey on stage and the audience is right there with you. You don’t get to see their reactions when they’re watching you on TV or in a movie. That’s what I love about doing stand-up as well. There’s nothing like that interaction.”

AV: Do you find it difficult as a young black actress to find enough roles to portray?

KLD: “I think the paradigm has shifted. There are definitely more projects out there. More good plays are being written. Nowadays, you can’t just be a performer. You have to write and create and contribute stories. Look at Phylicia Rashad; she’s not only acting (“Grey’s Anatomy”), she’s also directing the play ‘Joe Turner’s Come and Gone’ out here in L.A. You’ve got to wear multiple hats.”

AV: Speaking of juggling: what else is on your agenda right now?

KLD: “I have a pilot I shot for HBO called ‘The Unsuccessful Thug’ where I play Mike Epps’ girlfriend. I also have a show coming out on Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital network. Plus I still tour doing stand-up.”

AV: Have you spent much time in Atlanta?

KLD: “Oh yeah! I’ve been to Atlanta for a college comedy tour. I got to tour Spelman. I went to malls. Plus, my husband (Eli Davis) is the singer Anthony Hamilton’s manager. I like to travel to his shows as often as I can, so I might even make it to Atlanta this weekend.”

AV: What words of encouragement do you offer young actors hoping to emulate your success?

KLD: “I tell them to read as much as they can. There’s so much you can gain from self-educating. Read plays. Go see plays. Take notes of who the writer or the producer or director was, and aim to work with them some day. Take your education as far as possible. For one semester of college, I got to go study at the Royal Academy in London without knowing what I’d do there. I wound up studying classical Shakespeare and absolutely loved it. You can surprise yourself when you least expect it.”