At 52 years old, Sanaa Lathan has this physical status:
Following her training at Yale, where she studied with Earle R. Gister and performed in a number of Shakespeare plays, Lathan earned acclaim both off-Broadway and on the Los Angeles stage. Encouraged by her father to make Los Angeles her professional base, she found early television roles in episodes of such shows as In the House, Family Matters, NYPD Blue, and Moesha.
In 1998, Lathan earned a degree of recognition with her role as the mother of Wesley Snipes' title character in Blade. The following year she appeared in Life with Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy and did back-to-back turns in The Best Man and The Wood. The Best Man, a comedy-drama ensemble film starring Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau Jr. and Morris Chestnut, was one of the top ten highest-grossing African American films in history, and Lathan received a NAACP Image Award nomination for her performance. The Wood, another ensemble film starring Diggs and Omar Epps, cast her as Epps' the love interest.
Lathan and Epps were reunited onscreen in Gina Prince-Bythewood's Love & Basketball, this time as a couple as passionate about basketball as they are about each other. Her performance earned Lathan the 2001 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actress, and a BET Award. In 2000, she appeared in the Off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues with Teri Garr and Julianna Margulies.
In 2001, Lathan earned acclaim for her work in the multicultural comedy film Catfish in Black Bean Sauce. Next was her second collaboration with Prince-Bythewood, Disappearing Acts, based on a novel by Terry McMillan. In the HBO film, she played an aspiring singer/songwriter in love with a carpenter, played by her Blade co-star Wesley Snipes. For her work in the film, she earned an Essence Award for Best Actress. That year, she was named by Ebony magazine as one of its 55 Most Beautiful People and was honoured by Essence magazine and Black Entertainment Television. In 2002, Lathan starred in the romantic comedy film, Brown Sugar with Diggs, Queen Latifah and Mos Def. Lathan's performance earned an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. The film also received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture.
In 2004, Lathan starred on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun with Sean Combs, Audra McDonald, and Phylicia Rashad, and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress for her portrayal of Beneatha Younger. She reprised the role in ABC Network's 2008 film adaptation.
In 2003 she co-starred with Denzel Washington in Out of Time. The next year, she was given the lead role in Alien vs. Predator. It was a major success, grossing over $171 million worldwide.
In 2006, she co-starred with Simon Baker in the romantic comedy Something New, and as Michelle Landau, the much younger wife of a Texas businessman (Larry Hagman) in the fourth season of the television series Nip/Tuck.
She played Andrea in Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys, also starting Alfre Woodard and Kathy Bates, released in the U.S. on September 12, 2008. In an interview with NPR, Lathan said the script took a fresh approach to an interracial love story by describing the internal conflict some African-American women confront when it comes to dating interracially. "I feel like with black women, in a way, I feel like it has been harder for us to go there just in terms of culturally. I know that there's this statistic that says that like 13 percent of black men are in interracial relationships. And don't quote me on this, but it's like four percent or three percent of black women are in interracial relationships; and I think that says a lot about, you know, either black women's loyalty to her black man or her guilt about stepping outside of the race."
In 2009, Lathan co-starred with Matthew Broderick in the drama Wonderful World. From 2009 to 2013, she voiced the character Donna Tubbs on The Cleveland Show. In 2011, Lathan co-starred in the Steven Soderbergh thriller Contagion with Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne. In 2011, she starred with Anthony Mackie and Forest Whitaker in Repentance, a psychological thriller directed by Phillipe Caland. She played series regular Mona Fredricks in the second season of Starz' original series Boss, starring Kelsey Grammer.
In 2013, Lathan reprised her role in The Best Man′s sequel, The Best Man Holiday. In 2016, she was cast in the ensemble of the sequel of Now You See Me, entitled Now You See Me 2, which was a box-office success; and in the sci-fi movie Approaching the Unknown. In 2017, she returned to TV in a lead role in the series Shots Fired, and also appeared in the movie American Assassin. She was then added to the main cast of The Affair, appearing in its fourth and fifth seasons, and starred in the Netflix film Nappily Ever After.
In January 2021, it was announced that she was cast in Season 3 of Succession as a Lisa Arthur, a high profile, well-connected New York lawyer.
In 2021, she was announced as directing the film adaptation of Angie Thomas's novel On the Come Up. The film is slated to premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
This year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is well underway, and stars from all over have travelled up north to promote some of the most anticipated titles of the year. The 47th annual festival kicked off on 8 Sept. with the world premiere of Sanaa Lathan's directorial debut, "On the Come Up," which now has a limited theatrical release, in addition to its streaming 23 Sept. premiere. Screenings for Viola Davis's "The Woman King," Daniel Radcliffe's "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story," Harry Styles's "My Policeman," and more followed after.
TIFF successfully returned for a full in-person event after two years of challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. "We never had any doubt that we are still TIFF," TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said in a statement, per CTV News. "It is exciting to know that we can come back strong but we never doubted who we were and we knew that once the time was right and the restrictions were lifted we would be good."