A successful, wealthy businessman, Wesley Deeds (Tyler Perry) has always done what’s expected of him, whether it’s assuming the helm of his father’s company, tolerating his brother’s misbehaviour at the office or planning to marry his beautiful but restless fiancée, Natalie (Gabrielle Union). But Wesley is jolted out of his predictable routine when he meets Lindsey (Thandie Newton), a down-on-her-luck single mother who works on the cleaning crew in his office building. When he offers to help her get back on her feet, the chance encounter with someone so far outside his usual circle ignites something in Wesley. This one good deed may finally spark his courage to exchange the life that’s expected of him for the life he’s always really wanted. ‘Good Deeds’ is written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry, and stars Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Eddie Cibrian, Jordenn Thompson, Beverly Johnson, Phylicia Rashad, and Gabrielle Union. The film is set for release Febuary 24th in the US. Look out for a more in-depth interview with Thandie Newton and the rest of the cast next week.

As a mother yourself, what was it like playing Lindsey Wakefield? When we meet her she’s impulsive and understandably pretty tense?

Thandie Newton: When I went into the ‘Good Deeds,’ I remember reading the scenes and I felt like Lindsey was quite tough with her daughter. You know, like, “You’ve gotta be brave, you’ve gotta do this.” And I never speak to my children like that, I don’t think they need to be brave, they’re kids, you know? They just need to express themselves, and we adults will take responsibility and take care of the rest. There’s time to be brave as adults. And I said this to Tyler Perry, “Maybe when she’s in the janitors closet, maybe I can say to my daughter, “Lets pretend this is your little den,”’ and Tyler said, “Yeah, I thought about that Thandie, but I think Lindsey’s gone far beyond that.” And I loved that note, because I wanted to be more sympathetic, I wanted to be still the mother that creates fantasy when there is none. That was interesting playing that.

How was it working with Jordenn Thompson, in that role as your daughter?

Thandie Newton: She’s a star in the making, she just brings light and a breath of fresh air whenever she’s around. I had my children visit the set of ‘Good Deeds’ for a week, and we all hung out together, we went out to get picnics in Atlanta….[whispers] not really in San Francisco. Picnics in the Aquarium, we just had a lot of fun, which was actually….not that I was cunningly thinking about work (laughs), but the downtime I had spending with Jordenn and her mum and her little sister, that meant that when we were on set we had an ease and trust. Which was really really helpful. She’s just lovely.

What was it about this story that interested you?

Thandie Newton: I particularly like the story of ‘Good Deeds’ because Wesley Deeds is someone who has acquired and worked hard for what most us in the western world look at as having everything and wanting for nothing. Yet, he feels empty. And purely by chance he happens upon someone who, under normal circumstances, would be someone he would ignore, someone he would walk over, someone who is of no use to him in his pursuit of the American dream.

There’s that saying that a stranger can be your best friend, and I do believe it often takes that outside perspective sometimes to see clearly onto a situation, when you’re inside it you don’t see it. For Wesley Deeds, he’s someone who toed the line, he’s followed in his fathers footsteps, he’s done, within his universe, he’s done the right thing. He’s made people proud and that, he has thought, would make him feel proud, would make him feel happy – but it hasn’t. This is about courage and doing what really makes you happy, being open, and also certainly kindness. I really liked that.