Jackson gets a little 'Nutty'

— There's something so sweet about Janet Jackson.

Maybe it's that huge smile that lights up her face. Or maybe it's because Jackson is shy. Really shy. She admits to being a little nervous, which is evident by how straight she's sitting and how quickly she answers questions.

Whatever it is, it's very endearing.

No wonder, then, that when the people behind "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" were looking for a love interest for gentle, oversized professor Sherman Klump (Eddie Murphy), they thought of her.

Jackson, 34, the younger sister of pop star Michael Jackson, has sold more than 40 million recordings. She made her feature film debut in 1993's "Poetic Justice."

She was asked to audition twice for the role of professor Denise Gaines. At one point, she thought, "'Oh, they don't want me,' and I really wanted it because it's so different from 'Justice."'

Murphy plays Sherman, four members of the Klump family and Sherman's alter ego Buddy Love. Jackson was already a big fan of the Klumps from the brief appearances they made at a family meal in "The Nutty Professor."

"My friends and I, we do the dinner table scene," she said. "I had to be grandma."

You've already got a HUGE musical career. Why get back into acting?

Because I have a passion for it. I love it as I do singing, it just took a back seat. I really want to get back.

What was it like working with Eddie Murphy?

Awesome. He's such a gentleman, such an incredible actor. I loved it, I really loved going to work. I had the best time. I really truly did not want this experience to end, that's how much fun I was having, and I started counting the days because eventually I knew it would be just a memory.

Were you able to forget it was him underneath all those characters?

When you would first come on the set, it was definitely Eddie in makeup and costume and that famous laugh, but the minute the cameras were rolling ... he just brought each and every character to life the way you see them onscreen.

Who is your favorite Klump?

Granny. She reminds me very much of my grandmother when she was here, that feistiness, always having something smart to say but yet ... the love is there, regardless of all the saucy remarks grandma makes, the love is there. You can see it, you can sense it, that's the way my grandmother was, she had that life in her.

Whose idea was it to put you on the soundtrack?

Mine. They offered me the part in the film, so I offered to do a song. I didn't know if they wanted me to or not, but I enjoyed the first soundtrack so much, I had wanted to be a part of that as well.


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