Alfre Woodard’s favorite four-letter word is v-o-t-e.
The Emmy award winner was in town Tuesday to spread the word on a topic that’s near and dear.
As a child growing up in Tulsa, Okla., she started her education early: “Election years were always a very exciting time. We’d go knock on doors and talk to our neighbors. It’s the civic engagement that creates and expresses community.”
Woodard doesn’t think there’s any excuse to not get out there.
“The process is going to go on with or without you, so you have to stand up. Whatever happens, it’s a reflection on us.”
Her son Duncan (with husband, writer-producer Roderick Spencer) just turned 18, so now the pressure’s on him.
“I told him, ‘OK, now you have to pay the price for all the stuff you have. I don’t care what you put on there: Republican, Democrat, Other or Apathetic. But you register!’ ”
Woodard sees how regular people get weary with politics with the 24-hour news cycle.
“Those guys and gals gotta keep talking on these shows. But not that much happens: ‘Oh, Obama burped! How does that reflect on the campaign?’ ” Woodard says, imitating a pundit. “Oh, Romney yawned. He must be bored.’ You just numb out! But we’re in the home stretch now.”
Besides venturing out on the campaign trail, Woodard recently co-starred in Lifetime’s Steel Magnolias remake as crotchety Ouiser, the role Shirley MacLaine made famous in the 1989 film. Woodard did not chat with the veteran actress beforehand.
“I don’t know Shirley MacLaine!” she said, laughing. “There’s not a little celebrity ghetto where we all live and talk together!”
Though Magnolias is one of the biggest tearjerkers in cinematic history, Woodard claims she is not a weepy type.
“I try not to cry. I’m too busy being a mom.” (The couple also have a 21-year-old daughter Mavis.) “Though I do love that [breakdown] scene with Holly Hunter in Broadcast News.”
Despite a crammed schedule, the actress looks fantastic. It’s hard to believe she turns 60 next month and has more than 120 roles to her credit ( Passion Fish, Miss Evers’ Boys, Grand Canyon).
“I drink tons of water,” she says of her beauty secret. “It’s embarrassing. Everywhere I go, I have to ask, ‘Where’s your loo?’ ”
Woodard’s next project is looking to be a big-screen adaptation of Sheila Williams’ book D ancing on the Edge of the Roof, a quasi How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
“It really speaks to women — no matter what age — who postpone their own adventures because we’re either taking care of other people or reining ourselves in, trying to doing what we think is right and proper.”