Taraji P. Henson hopes to do better all by herself

Taraji P. Henson is not the type of actress who avoids watching her performances on the big screen. With the release of “Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself,” Henson is as excited as any Perry devotee to see the movie in which she takes a long anticipated star turn.

“I enjoy [premieres], particularly when I haven’t seen the film,” said Henson, who has been away for two months while filming in China. “I just want to get through all the interviews and walk the red carpet so I can see the movie.”

The film, which hits theaters today, is Perry’s second Madea release this year. Henson stars as April, a heavy-drinking nightclub singer supported by her married boyfriend. She wants nothing to do with the troubled niece and nephews that Madea deposits on her doorstep, but ultimately has to choose between her current life and new possibilities for family, faith and love.

Singers Mary J. Blige and Gladys Knight are part of the cast headed by Henson, Perry, and Adam Rodriguez — best known for his role on “CSI: Miami” — who plays a caring stranger.

Perry’s last film, “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail,” was his highest grossing opening to date at $41 million. Only the box office will tell what happens with this film, but Henson thinks it’s a pretty good sign that the release date is also her birthday.

Not that she’s banking on superstition.

Though her acting profile was boosted after earning an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Henson remains rooted in reality.

“People have this misconception that after you win an Academy Award or after you have been nominated that somehow these incredible roles are going to come this way,” Henson said. Her work ethic as an actress is the key to her success, she said, and that is firmly in place.

Henson is currently filming “Kung Fu Kid,” a remake of the 1984 hit “The Karate Kid,” but she switched gears to chat about her latest role and the man who made it possible.

Q: Why did you follow what could be considered your entree into the Hollywood establishment with a director that some in the industry consider a Hollywood outsider?

A: I don’t consider Tyler Perry an outsider. He is definitely on the inside. He’s got Hollywood standing on their ears. He has been able to accomplish what they said was impossible. He is the first person who called after the Academy Awards. Steven Spielberg did not call. [Perry] had an incredible script, I loved it and he had an incredible character.

Q: This is your second movie with Tyler Perry. [Henson had a role in the 2008 film “The Family That Preys.”] How is working on one of his films different from working on a big Hollywood production?

A: Tyler Perry moves very fast. He has it down to a science. He has a formula that works, and he is in and he’s out. It just goes to show that it can be done. You don’t have to spend 10 months on a film. He is growing as an artist as well. He is trying new things.

Q: You play a nightclub singer named April. How did it feel singing in the same movie with Mary J. Blige and Gladys Knight?

A: Everyone told me, “You sound just like Cheryl Pepsii Riley [an ’80s R&B singer]!” I was very intimidated. Mary J. Blige said she was intimidated in the acting lane, so we just gave each other mad support. I really am not as passionate about singing as I am about acting. It is something that I can do if I have to, but I’m not trying to figure out what producer I’m going to work with. That is not where my head is at as an actress.

Q: April seems like a pretty selfish character when the movie opens. Did playing this character leave you with any life lessons?

A: I’m nothing like her. I’m not a selfish person. I’m very nurturing. What I did learn is that we are all flawed as humans. There is no such thing as perfection, but it is never too late to do better in your life.