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Whoopi knows where her groove is

After finishing 'Groove,' Whoopi to be a 'Hollywood Square'

Web posted on: Tuesday, August 25, 1998 5:16:41 PM

From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- After a perilous journey by air to find out "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," the irrepressible Whoopi Goldberg now takes the bus to the studio where she blocks or connects as the central character of the "Hollywood Squares."

How did the notoriously airplane-phobic Whoopi get to Jamaica?

"Bitching and moaning the whole way," the comedienne said, laughing. "You know, I said, 'Why do I have to? ... Why are we shooting after Thanksgiving? Just give me a week to get there. I'll just take a boat.' They're like, 'No, we need you the day after Thanksgiving.' So I got on the plane, and I took as many things as I could to knock me out. Nothing worked. Nothing works anymore. So now I take the bus, and I don't go to places like Jamaica."

Scenes from "Stella"

Clip - Exercising on the beach: 2.6Mb QuickTime
Theatrical trailer: 5Mb QuickTime

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Two short weeks

It's nice that she made it once. Whoopi spent just two weeks on the set of "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," enough screen time to steal her scenes -- even from the esteemed star, Angela Bassett. The Jamaican location was paradise, the lingerie disco bizarre, and Whoopi exercising alongside Bassett was pure comic relief.

With some urging from Whoopi as best friend Delilah, Bassett as Stella emphatically gets her groove back with a handsome fellow named Winston (Taye Diggs), whose age is half that of 40-year-old Stella's.

But Whoopi didn't wait around on the movie set for the love scenes, based on the Terry MacMillan novel of the same name. Instead, she went back to square one, or more accurately the center square, on a new edition of "Hollywood Squares."

Paul Lynde... the next generation

Whoopi's 'other kind of fun'

"Be there or be square," Whoopi says of the syndicated show, premiering this fall, which she also produces. Contestants score in the tic-tac-toe-style game by judging the accuracy of other squared-off celebrities' answers. An example of the show's sometimes silly questions:

Show Host: "He did the conquest of his grandfather. His last name is Khan and his first name is?"

Square Goldberg: "Chaka."

Why would an Oscar-winning actress who has worked in television, theater, recording, publishing and more than 25 feature films put so much energy into producing a game show?

"I generally try to have some fun and do that which is of interest to me, and that which is going to put me financially and emotionally in the place I want to be," Whoopi said.

Career burnout?

Is her latest TV work a sign of career burnout, like that film character Stella's? Does Whoopi need to get her groove back? Does the mighty Goldberg ever hit the wall?

"Well, yeah. I guess, I -- you know, where you get to the place where you go, 'You know, it's not just this.' But I think that most people fall into that bag because they want to really establish themselves," she said.

"I've left a lasting impression, and now I want to do some other stuff, you know. I want to have some other kind of fun."

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