It’s been 24 years since we were first introduced to Francesca “Frankie” Sutton and it’s almost impossible to imagine what the movie would be like without Vivica A. Fox. But thanks to Will Smith, we don’t have to. In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the actress revealed Smith’s part in helping her land her major Hollywood breakthrough role in the 1996 classic, Set It Off.
While discussing the beginnings of the NAACP Image Award Winner’s career, Fox disclosed that the Philadelphia native paid it forward by helping her land the role of Frankie. Additionally revealing that she was set to audition for Tisean “T.T” Williams which was later given to Kimberly Elise.
“We were actually filming Independence Day and at the time he was dating Jada,” she said. “I said ‘Oh my God, I got the audition coming up’ because they made me audition for two roles. For T.T. and for Frankie and he was like ‘You’re Frankie!’ So he said come in my trailer and he coached me and was like ‘go in there and just take it.’ And I’m so grateful ’cause I went in there and I nailed the audition and got the part.”
The F. Gary Gray directed film had a budget of $9 million yet grossed over $41 million worldwide. Although Takashi Bufford never met Jada Pinkett Smith nor Queen Latifah, he wrote the story with them in mind and were later cast as Stony and Cleo respectively.