Zane (Addicted)

Zane: The Interview (Addicted)
Shakefire sat down with erotic fiction author Zane to discuss the upcoming film adaptation of her most popular book, Addicted. It her first feature film based on one of her works, although she is no stranger to the entertainment media, having already optioned one of her works for Cinemax. 

Shakefire (SF): What has been the reaction to the film like?
Zane (Z): Everybody has said they’ve really loved the movie, which I’m very happy to hear. That’s what somebody wants to hear when they put a lot of time, energy, and passion into something. That’s my baby, one of them at least. I look forward to doing a lot more.

SF: How could a reserved woman such as yourself come up with such a dynamic script?
Z: Well I’m not always reserved. I think I’m a normal woman who is professional but also is very passionate. I’m passionate about everything in my life, my career. That passion trickles over into everything else I do.

SF: Does any of your real life scenarios factor into your work?
Z: Yes, all the time, haha. I never say which scenes in particular. A lot of my best friends are just tickled because they see stuff that they’ve done in my stuff. So there’s a lot of me and my friends in the different stuff.

SF: You had Christina Welsh and Ernie Barbarash write the screenplay for Addicted, but you’ve written plenty of your own work for cable. Why did you relinquish that control?
Z: We went back and forth. I was originally asked to write the script, but at the time I had so much other stuff going on. I just really didn’t want to do it so we had a lot of writers pitch. And they had to pitch a director to me as well and explain their vision of the story and how they would carry it out. A lot of the dialogue in the script comes directly from the book. There were certain things we had to change, but for me to take a 95,000 word book and to cut it down to about 20,000 words and really see the vision of how I could do that might have been a little bit of a challenge for me. Now having written my stage play based on a book, I feel like what I did with that was have the same characters, the same overall premise, and I never even looked at the book. Where I think with Addicted I would have been going back and forth.

SF: The film has been in development for almost 10 years now. What took so long to get it made?
Z: Well many many years ago we had a different director, a different cast, and we had a few shooting schedules, and for reasons that happened it didn’t happen. Lions Gate came back to me and said that this is the one we felt that got away and said they still wanted to do it. I said, “Okay, well if you really want to do it you’ll do it within a year” and that’s exactly what they did.

SF: Talk about the process of gathering this cast for the film. How closely did they resemble your original vision of these characters?
Z: When I wrote the book I really didn’t envision it as a movie. As far as Sharon Leal, when we were going to do the movie before she was one of the main contenders that we were going to have in the lead. When Billie [Woodruff] called me and asked me about Boris [Kodjoe] playing the husband that was a natural thing for me because I had already met him before. Once we had Boris as the husband the question became “who’s going to cheat on Boris?” With William Levy it made a lot of sense because this is a woman who has seen a lot of attracted men her whole life. She’s had men try to pick her up and just like the trailer’s called “Cross the Line” where everybody has fantasties, everybody has desires, but sooner or later they cross the line. So it had to be someone who has something that would just make her lose it, which is what happened in the movie. A lot of me so far have said to me that they were just upset at how quickly she gave it up. But we had to have someone who would make it seem like the woman would do that. William did a great job. That was actually, even though I think he’s done five or six American things since, that was the first major thing he filmed speaking English, and I think he did an amazing job.

SF: Do you feel it’s liberating to show woman having these experiences and showing control over their sexuality?
Z: Absolutely. I’ve always said that sexuality is usually the area a woman feels the least comfortable, but if they can feel comfortable in that area it generally trickles over to other parts of their life. Let’s face it, when women are sexually satisfied they have a different appearance about them. I was joking about in New York with Boris and William and I was talking about how I can always tell when my friends are not having sex because their skin’s dry, their hair is brittle, they’re like snap dragons. When they have a really good sex drive their skin is glowing, their hair looks great, and they’re coming over to my house baking red velvet cupcakes.

SF: We see so many romance writers like yourself, but there’s something about what you write that keeps your fans coming back for more. How would you describe your writing?
Z: I think it’s just my vivid imagination. I think I write outside the box. I have a very unique writing style and keep it very real. I’m very detailed. I think most of it comes from the fact that I really dig deep into creating my characters where people really feel these characters and become engrossed in them. I remember when I first wrote Addicted and put it online there were people online actually having arguments about Zoe and Jason like they were real people. That’s when I knew I had something.

SF: What is it like being a Black woman in Hollywood who is so open about sex?
Z: I’ve never really dealt with criticism to be honest. I know I got here because my parents had sex; I don’t know about ya’ll. It’s a very natural part of life. I was really shocked when I first started doing this when there was all this backlash and stuff, and that’s one of the reasons why I really continue to do it. On one hand, there are those people saying all this stuff, but on the other hand there were women emailing me all around the world like, “Thank you for letting me know I’m normal.” I feel like woman, if we’re going to have sex and most of us are, why shouldn’t we enjoy it as much as men? That’s my whole thing. Why should we just be a vessel for the man’s pleasure? We should be just as satisfied from the process as men. A lot of men didn’t realize, or still don’t, that women are more sexual in nature than men.

SF: What do you hope your fans get out of the film?
Z: I hope both men and women understand how important it is to communicate in a relationship and to realize that even if you feel the relationship is in good standing sometimes that’s not the case and when your mate is trying to discuss something with you, really hear what they’re saying instead of just ignoring what they’re trying to tell you. Also, I hope people will take away the fact that sexual addiction is really a true disease. Just like other addicts, you can lose everything from having that addiction. And also more importantly there’s nothing wrong with going to get therapy. There are a lot of people walking around every single day who have not dealt with something, and I hope that this is a catalyst to spark them to want to deal with it, which is what the book has done for a lot of people.

Addicted opens in theaters on Friday, October 10, 2014.

Matt Rodriguez
Interview by Matt Rodriguez
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