“Girls Trip” hit the big screen this past weekend starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett- Smith and Tiffany Haddish, four best friends head to New Orleans for the Essence Festival in what turns out to be the adventure of a lifetime.

“It’s the female version of ‘The Hangover’ there’s drinking, brawling, dancing and some romance, shooting this movie was a lot of fun,” says Lara Grice, who plays Bethany in the film.

Grice known for her roles in “The Big Short” “Free State of Jones” “Rectify” and “Runaway Jury” plays ball breaking executive “Bethany” a woman on a mission to sign a million dollar brand deal with Hall’s character Ryan and her husband for a giant chain store.

Grice said, “I was on set for about a month—as the show revolved around the Essence festival, we shot the last scene first. All the extras in those scenes were real festivalgoers. I was called to read for the part last year. I was heading on vacation to Florida, so I enjoyed the audition and didn’t get into my head about it as I was excited about my trip. I was thrilled to get the part and being a single digit on the call sheet was a big deal for me.

“The budget on this movie was huge – about 28 million so it’s great that the smaller roles are offered to in-state actresses. The character was interesting to play – I am trying to broker a million dollar deal. I got to work in close collaboration with Kate Walsh, who plays Hall’s agent Elizabeth in the film- she is a lot of fun.”

“I am the reason the girls decided to all take this trip together. I can’t say if the deal goes through or not- you will have to watch the movie. Universal sent me an outtake reel it was almost 30 minutes long, so that shows you how fun this movie was to make. I made it to the outtake reel, so that made me happy!”

Grice says she loves acting in movies but like many her passion is for stage acting.

“I am a stage actress, but the movies pay the bills these days, and I enjoy doing both. Stage and screen are night and day it’s very different. There is so much that goes into making a movie of this caliber, and I was just a small part of that.”

On the ever-changing film industry, Grice says actors have to be savvier these days.
“The landscape is so different today when I was first starting out in this business I remember you got your 300 headshots from New York and sent them out to casting agents. They were black and white, and no one worried about social media! These days you can become a star from being on YouTube. So when people ask me about a career in acting – I tell them to go to business school to prepare for it.”

“ This movie is about women and for women. Women all working together they gave each other such support. Each day I would have to kick someone out of their seat at the Essence Festival for the leading ladies. I told them when the movie comes out you can hashtag “Girls Trip” and me this is the bitch who stole my seat! I am excited to be heading out to LA for the premiere later this month.”

” I developed a lot of girls crushes on this set. The ladies were great, they treated me very well and loved the fact that I was local. I have worked with this director in the past on a movie in Memphis, so it was nice to have that immediate vocabulary with him. The set was amusing and easy going. I felt like I wasn’t working. You can’t always say that about working in New Orleans during the summer—it’s so hot!

SO what will the audience take away from what is already being called a summer blockbuster!

“It’s empowering; it shows how our lives change and how it’s important to stay in touch with close friends as they are a great support system and a lot of fun. It’s a lot of R-rated fun,” adds Grice.

Some of the cast of the Girls Trip were in attendance for this past weekend’s Essence Fest in New Orleans to promote their new film. Grice recently finished shooting “Logan” which is now on demand.

“It was shot just a few miles from my house, and it was unreal that I stood in 100-degree heat selling Hugh Jackman a car. As a local, I also told him where to buy the best po-boy in Nola. Jackman was great to work with, I have such mad respect for him, and it was nice to talk theater with him. I auditioned for an entirely different role in “Logan” I was supposed to be a woman the lead character was having an intimate moment with but that’s not me, I couldn’t take it seriously! I made the casting director laugh, so they had me try for the role as the car salesman – a role intended for a man. No woman had read for this part. Sorry to all my male actor friends- but boom! I got cast. Sometimes as a woman, you have to take a chance.