God uses ordinary people to perform extraordinary acts. And Ruth is no different. Although her story only comprises four chapters in the Holy Bible, that is no indication of how big her purpose is. “The ‘For the Love of Ruth’ writer Rhonda Baraka does an amazing job of modernizing her story and making it relatable to today’s audiences,” shares actress Denise Boutte who plays the lead in this film, which airs on TV One on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 8 p.m. EST.
Ruth, an orphan, searches for her place in a lonely world, until Naomi Marachond – played by Loretta Devine (“Grey’s Anatomy“) – enters her life and provides the guidance and warmth she’s been seeking.
“The film is not preachy or it’s not beating you over the head with Bible verses. We can all relate to it,” continues Boutte. “It’s a beautiful journey of an orphan who experienced a lot of loss and loneliness in life. When the new opportunity opens up her life flourishes. Ruth goes through some things and she has always had that glass half full in life. It isn’t until Naomi continues to push her to discover it [that] she begins to understand her foundation of faith. She has a new perspective.”
“Between Loretta, James [Pickens Jr.] and Gary [Dourdan], it was an amazing experience. When I first heard that we were doing this film and was told who was in the all-star cast … Loretta and I had a wonderful chance happening before one of our scenes.”
Rounding out the cast are James Pickens Jr. (“Grey’s Anatomy”) in the role of Stephen Marachond, Naomi’s sullen brother-in law and Gary Dourdan (“CSI”) as Braxton Marachond, damaged isolated cousin Ruth’s love interest.
Naomi not only saves Ruth from a hopeless situation in the film, but in real life Devine bestowed nuggets of wisdom onto Boutte. Here’s what Boutte has to say about Devine. “A legend, the words that she shared with me, I will not let that go for the rest of my life. I have admired her and how she goes from one endearing character to another – one that we can all relate to. If Loretta Devine says I am good, I have nothing to say to y’all, laughs.
“It’s so funny, when you work with professionals on this level, you don’t find that air of conceit or a demanding diva because they are so secure in who they are and their skill set. They don’t have to have all that pomp and circumstance. They are so real and so raw and so relatable. The times I have had to play alongside people of this caliber, it has always been a magical experience. Loretta was no exception. That’s the amazing thing.”
Boutte isn’t the only who admires Devine. Her 4-year-old daughter Jordan is also a fan. The Emmy Award-winning actress is the voice of the character Hallie Hippo on the popular Disney show, “Doc McStuffins.”
“Jordan is 4 going on 40,” Boutte says of her toddler whom she affectionately calls the little tornado.
On how she’s enjoying motherhood …
“I am going to be real. The first year and a half was like whoa. She wasn’t a sleeper. She’s feisty. She has a very interesting perspective. She is very vocal. It is so interesting. You have to mold, shape and direct it in the right place. You don’t want a weak kid, they will fall for anything or follow anybody. She has a strong personality. She came into this world like a little tornado and she is still such. She is a force. It’s our job to steer the energy in the right direction. It is fun; it’s challenging. They are such a reflection of you. They are like a mirror and will shine your personality back into your face. I see so much of myself in her. Terrible Twos were the best days ever. With each year comes new challenges, new phases. I am ready for the experience and ready for the journey.”
What does Boutte have cooking (literally)? …
“I love cooking. I am from Louisiana, the mecca of cooking I got in the kitchen and started playing around and started a cooking show called ‘Denise’s Dish.’ From that I started writing a cookbook. The goal was to have it independently published and out by August, now I have a publisher interested in it which has a dozen of my family’s signature dishes and a line of seasoned salts.
“Also I have film projects and scripted TV projects. I am not a writer … I am good at stringing things together. We have a reality show based on a family in Louisiana, the Donald Trumps of the swampland and one is a doctor.
“I poured myself into these extra activities and have polished them up to be showcased proud to say they are ready how I was raised in Louisiana. I am a strong believer that you have to give opportunities to other actors who are trying to get their break. What if Tyler Perry hadn’t took that gamble on me? Somebody has to give you a break. Somebody has to look beyond the line items on your résumé and say I believe in that person. They have the ‘it’ factor and I am going to give them that chance. He gave me that opportunity and I would like to pay it forward to someone else.”
“For the Love of Ruth” is produced by Eric Tomosunas of Swirl Films. Christine Swanson served as Director for the film. The screenplay was written by Rhonda Baraka. Lamar Chase is producer for TV One. Executive In charge of production and programming is Tia A. Smith. D’Angela Proctor serves as executive producer for the network.
(Photos credit: TV One)