By William Keck
November 29, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

Call it Queen Latifah’s breakout role. In Bringing Down the House, due in March, she escapes from jail to be with surprised Internet beau Steve Martin. ”I’m right out of prison with this big Afro, cut-off jeans, and this prison shirt,” she says. ”When he kicks me out, I cause this big scene where I talk about our black love child from that wonderful night at the crack house.” Playing a toughie came easily for the Newark native. ”Where I’m from, we don’t need to go research prisons,” says the blunt-spoken star. ”You just wait for somebody to get out. All I had to do was just go home and say, ‘Hey, what’s up, Monique? How you been, girl?”’

RANDOM QUOTE

”Salma Hayek with a joined eyebrow, a full mustache, and broken teeth would still be sexy.” — Geoffrey Rush, on the unglamourous appearance of his Frida costar

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