A nontraditional girl

Sanaa Lathan has been moving up the Hollywood ladder since 1995, when she graduated from the Yale School of Drama in New Haven, Conn. At 32 the native New Yorker counts among her credits such films as "Blade" (1998), "The Best Man" (1999), "Love & Basketball" (2000) and "Brown Sugar" (2003), as well as regular roles on the television series "Built to Last" (1997) and "Lateline" (1998-1999).

Sanaa Lathan plays a sexy seductress in "Out of Time."

"Right now, my agents and I are still trying to get me in for roles that are not specifically written black," Lathan says. "More often than not we have problems with that, but I'm a real optimist. It's about time people start opening their minds and do nontraditional casting.

"That's the world we live in," she concludes, "and the movies we make should be a reflection of the world we live in. And right now I don't think they are."

Lathan isn't a workaholic, nor does she turn up in four or five films a year. Part of that is by choice -- she says that she's "got the luxury" of being able to pick roles that mean something to her. Besides, she adds, even when she's not working, she's still plenty busy.

"I read a lot, I write a lot, I work out and I'm in an acting class that I go to once a week," says the actress, who these days lives in Los Angeles. "I'm dating a little bit. I started taking French lessons.

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