Tanee McCall and Columbus Short endured a very high-profile and ugly split earlier this year, riddled with domestic violence charges for “Scandal” star Short and leading to his being fired from the hit ABC drama. Meanwhile, McCall was vilified — both by her ex husband and by many outside commentators, including comedian D.L. Hughley. Prior to the painful end to their marriage, the two actors worked together on the emotionally-gripping short film The End Again; a look at breakups and reconciliation directed by Crystle “Clear” Roberson and produced by Latisha Fortune and Felicia Pride, who also wrote the script. McCall is re-emerging after this painful ordeal to talk about this intriguing film; and she spoke to rolling out about the film and shared why Roberson wanted her for the female lead.
“She wanted to see if I connected with it and if I identified with it, and I did,” she says of her initial discussion with Roberson and subsequent audition. McCall’s estrangement from Short echoed the strain of the two characters they were playing, Jane and Joe. “We were separated. I was living somewhere else, but we were still in communication — talking and working towards reconciliation. It was really easy for me to connect to Jane, because I was going through that same thing. [On my] audition tape — the pain was real, the tears were real, the second-guessing was authentic.”
Pouring their real-life drama into a gripping piece of art was powerful but gut-wrenching in the aftermath of their final split this past February. McCall admits that she didn’t even watch the film for months.
“I could not,” she says. “I watched it for the first time two-and-a-half weeks ago.”
But she was fortunate in that the filmmakers were compassionate about her situation. She and Short became tabloid fixtures, with a seemingly endless stream of gossip headlines about fights, restraining orders and arrests. McCall, for the most part, decided to stay away from the spotlight–even foregoing the initial festival rounds for the film. But everyone involved with The End Again gave her space.
“They were completely understanding and were very sensitive to the situation as a whole,” she says. “Timing is everything and it wasn’t the time then. It is the time now. And I’m really proud of the work.
“When I finally watched it, I was ready to watch it and not watch Tanee and Columbus and embed our stuff in it. I’ve separated myself enough from it to enjoy it. Even three months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”
The End Again is a prequel for the forthcoming film Open Ended, but McCall was honest about her uncertainty regarding reuniting with Short for a full feature.
“I’m good right now, but I don’t know if I’m ready to stack more blocks on top of that right now,” McCall says, in reference to her own well-being. “Who knows how my heart could change, but right now I don’t think it would be a good idea for my healing process.”
And as far as that healing, McCall has gotten to a much better place than where she was six months ago. And she has no issue with Short’s new girlfriend, Rashida Russell. Short and Russell have been fairly public over the last couple of weeks, but McCall says she’s happy for her ex.
“They looked very happy and very cute,” McCall says. “I wanna know what she puts in her hair! Because I want to go natural! [laughs] But I was happy that I was happy for him. It’s weird to comment on your ex-husband’s girlfriend, but that’s growth. I’m happy for both of them.”
She’s experiencing life now as a single woman, and McCall is making the adjustments and seems to be relishing the chance to get to know who she is as an individual after having been a wife since she was very young. The End Again has earned tremendous festival buzz and she’s happy to be a part of the project. But she’s also happy that Tanee McCall has a fresh start.
“I love that I can own my moment and it’s mine,” she shares. “I met him when I was 21. Being now in my 30s and having a child, I haven’t really experienced adult life alone. I feel like I’m 22 years old and I’m trying to figure out Los Angeles and my friends. I’m kinda like a 40-year-old virgin. I’m not an experienced dater at all!”