The film Breaking In is Gabrielle Union like you’ve never seen her before: as the leading woman of an action thriller.

Speaking with Shadow and Act about the new film, a thriller she produced with Will Packer, Union told us about what drew her to the character and the script, what type of training she did for the role and why she wants to create content and opportunities for people who are not underrepresented.

Breaking In  stars Union as Shawn Russell, a woman who “will stop at nothing to rescue her two children being held hostage in a house designed with impenetrable security.  No trap, no trick and especially no man inside can match a mother with a mission when she is determined on Breaking In.”

Photo: Universal
Photo: Universal

On the character of Shawn, Union said, “I love that she saves her damn self. There is no one that comes at the end after she’s done all the heavy lifting to save her. Because of most of us, we save damn selves everyday. We are heroes in our own life, but we’re not in the DC and Marvel universe. We’re just heroes in our own life. Especially as caregivers, we are moving heaven and earth on the daily to be heroes to children. We just never really get the spotlight. So this movie about a strong woman; a mother who literally will do everything to save her kids…she saves the day! That never happens! And if it does happen, they’re never black.”

Discussing how she prepared for the role, Union says she did some risky moves but also had a stunt woman to help. “I did some though. Without putting my life and my hip and danger. I’ve got a wonky hip (laughs). But I literally just did pilates…and drank to stay well lubricated,” she said.

Meanwhile, her stunt woman for the film had just finished up a stint with T’Challa! “My stunt woman had literally just got off of Black Panther. She was full of vibranium. She had her stamp from Wakanda,” Union said. “I was like, ‘You’re ready? Great. Because this walking through the woods with no shoes on….(laughs).’”

As of recent, Union has been taking on more roles behind-the-scenes. Aside from being a producer for Breaking In, she’s also co-executive producing the Bad Boys television spinoff, L.A.’s Finest with Jessica Alba. They both star in the potential series as well.

“I want to create opportunities for myself and people who are underserved,” Union said of these endeavors. “I always talk about our global community. Our global community through social media has shrunk. Except, we don’t have a true representation of that global community. We want the global community’s dollars, but we don’t want to show that global community in front of the screen or behind the-scenes. I’m trying to provide as many opportunities to as many people so inclusion…real inclusion, can finally be something that is standard. It takes people creating the jobs and opportunities and putting people on.”

The film premieres on May 11 and is produced by Will Packer, James Lopez, Craig Perry, Sheila Hanahan Taylor and Union. James McTeigue is the director. Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Levi Meaden, Jason George, Seth Carr and Christa Miller also star. Jaime Primak Sullivan (whose story the screenplay is based upon), Valerie Bleth Sharp and Jeff Morrone are executive producers.