The actress breaks down her new comedy with partner-in-crime Kristen Bell.


"I don't think I've yet played a really bad role," says actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste. But her character in the new film Queenpins isn't exactly a saint. "I think JoJo is kind of debatable. It's not really bad; it's kind of a victimless crime, so I don't think she's bad, and I think at her core she's good."

Now streaming on Paramount+, the crime comedy stars Howell-Baptiste and Kristen Bell (her former costar on The Good Place) as two women who hatch an illegal coupon club scheme that begins draining millions of dollars from corporations.

It's a "fun, feel-good film," says Howell-Baptiste, who recently sat down for EW's A-to-Z video series to give us the lowdown. "There is definitely a message that's woven in there about being undervalued and about the way we treat certain people, but it's also kind of got a spoonful of sugar [with its] comedy."

Kirby Howell-Baptiste as JoJo Johnson and Kristen Bell as Connie Kaminski in 'Queenpins'
| Credit: Courtesy STX Films

She adds that "a common theme in Queenpins is the idea of being undervalued, and I think that's the idea of not only coupons themselves, but couponers. A lot of the people who do this have multiple people in their family involved, so they're sort of teaching their kids financial lessons that the majority of people don't get taught, and I think the art of it is undervalued."

And while JoJo takes her couponing to the extreme and turns it into a criminal enterprise, she does know a thing or two about success. Howell-Baptiste points to a line in the film about how personal wins can become a habit. "I think that's genuinely true in life," the actress says, "and something that we're not really taught is a life skill is confidence, and I think confidence is what brings forth those wins. And the more you win, the more that increases your confidence, and that gives you the courage to know that you can continue to win in whatever way you take 'win' to mean for you."

Watch the video above for more from Howell-Baptiste.

Related content: