It was an honor to speak with show business legend Della Reese, who stars in the the heartwarming film, Me Again, the story of an unhappy minister who gets to find out what it is like to be someone else, and learns to appreciate being himself. Earlier I spoke to Ali Landry, who plays the minister’s wife.
How did you come to this project?
The script was submitted to me and it gave me a chance to be involved with something I espouse. It’s done in movie form but we’re all trying to regain ourselves and prove who we really are. That’s how you get to know who you are by identifying who you are not.
Why do stories touch us so deeply?
The Bible is an allegory. The stories say to us, “These things have happened before” and “With the proper understanding of your relationship with God, you can handle anything.” The Bible is my directions, a how-to book for me. Depends what valley I’m in or what mountain I’m on. There’s healing in the Bible. You have to find the one that speaks to you. The lady who touched the hem of his garment knew she did not want to be what she was. The man was sitting by the pool and could not get in the healing water. The nice thing about a direction book is there’s different directions for different people and everyone can find what he needs.
What is your character’s role in the film?
She is giving him love and understanding. She is the bridge over troubled water to him. She understands him and she wants what is best for him.
You have succeeded in every aspect of show business. When your fans come up to greet you, what do most of them talk about first?
All of them! People come to bring me love and I am receptive to them. It’s really a love affair between my audience and I.
In a way, you are a performer as a member of the clergy, too. Is that a different way of reaching people with the same message?
If you’re open to being reached, anything can reach you. There’s a little girl at the church and her mother has been taking classes and straightening out her life. But one day she was nervous and too involved and her six-year-old daughter said, “Why don’t you stop and sing something and you’ll feel better?” And she did. If you are open, the message will come. God supplies everything you need if you will be consciously aware of him. You can learn to do it.
The clergy’s job is to tell the truth. God doesn’t need fixing. He isn’t broken. We need to speak it in a way that people understand it so they can apply it and benefit from it. It’s not what I want them to get. Whatever part you need it is there for you.
You began as a singer. Why is music so important in church?
Music is important to our lives – the way we can speak the things we can’t speak without the music. Some people can’t say they’re in love but there’s a song that says it, some happiness you want to share, some music that’s good for you. You can just hum or stnap your fingers. Music is a great force in our lives. The first songs I sang were part of the church service. And I love all of the people who write music that says something. I’m not too much for only the rhythm and repetitiousness, I’m a lyricist, so I like lyrics. It all comes down to telling the story.