Queen Latifah took extreme measures to prevent her characters from dying.
It usually doesn’t take a long time for a Hollywood actor to find himself in a template. Whether it’s Jason Statham, who stars in action movies, or Mads Mikkelsen, who plays villains, it’s not uncommon to see actors go through the same experiences on screen with very different characters. Sean Bean was known as an actor who dies on screen, but apparently it was the same with Queen Latifah, and she was done with it.
Sean Bean, an actor who often dies on screen, has said in the past that he has started to give up roles in which his character dies. It’s not that he doesn’t have any special problems with death on screen anymore, Bean is a special fan of his exit from the Fellowship of the Ring, but he knows that this has happened so often that Bean now says that his death in movies has become predictable, and he doesn’t want people to expect that his characters will die. In a recent appearance on the Drew Barrymore Show (via Insider) Queen Latifah reveals that she actually includes a clause in her contracts that her characters won’t die. However, her reasoning is somewhat different. She wants to be around in the sequel. Latifa explained…
You know what happened at the beginning of my career… my characters died in the movies, and apparently I died to death. I thought: “Wait, if I keep dying in these movies, I won’t be able to make a sequel.” “Hey, we should include a non-death clause in my contracts.” From now on, we kind of threw him in there.
Apparently, it’s hard to argue with Queen Latifah’s point of view here. We live in a world where all the money and attention goes to franchised cinema. Most of the big tent films that pay the most money for are also looking for the opportunity to shoot more than one movie. If you survive the first one, there’s a pretty decent chance you’ll end up in the next one. But if you die in the first movie, that’s the end of the job and the salary.
Queen Latifah, of course, was not mistaken in her early death. When in the late 90s Latifah began to move from the world of music to the big screen, she played several deceased characters. In three of her first five films, Set It Off, Sphere and The Bone Collector, she doesn’t make it to the end credits. To be fair, however, only the last one, based on a series of books, had a real chance of becoming a franchise, but the film was not well received.
If she really wanted to avoid death on screen, then it happened soon after, because since then she tends to survive in films. Of course, if she does have a clause in her contract requiring her character’s survival, then she will have the opposite problem to Sean Bean in that no one will ever expect her character to die, which can take the pressure off.