By Rych McCain
In 1999 Malcolm D. Lee wrote and directed “The Best Man.” It was #1 at the box office its opening weekend and went on to gross over 96 million. Fast forward 15 years later, Lee decided to reunite the original cast and shoot a sequel. After assembling the cast members together over dinner, Lee asked if they would support his idea and come on board before her would begin the process of writing a script and pitching the studios. The cast unanimously said yes we got your back, go for it.
Universal Studios execs attended a live table read with the cast, loved it and the green light was on. This time around, everyone is older and wiser as Mia (played by Monica Calhoun) has invited them all to visit her home with her football star hubby Lance (played by Morris Chestnut) for the Christmas holidays. Morris Chestnut’s character Lance, is the central focus of the film. How good was it for him to reunite with the original cast? Chestnut relates, “I was excited to get back together. All of us coming together; it was like riding a bike, the history and the camaraderie, it was great. I really want people to come out and enjoy this film so they can support it and hopefully we can make more films of this nature in the future.”
What are the major differences in this and the original? Chestnut explains, “The story is more sophisticated than the first because we had these great relationships in the original film and now 14 years has passed. And so you really have to understand what has transpired in those 14 years. Have you had certain conversations, have you discussed certain things, have you swept things under the rug? Where are we now with our feelings, our emotions and thoughts about things that have happened in the past? All of that while dealing with the huge, huge issue in this movie. So every-thing is a lot more layered than the first one.”
This movie was very emotionally charged. How was it getting through those scenes? Chestnut reflects, “For me it’s really tough because you have to go to that place that you sometimes really don’t want to go and don’t want to revisit. After the first movie when I was crying at the altar; I don’t really cry that much as a person. I would get chills for months after the first “Best Man” because I would have to go to that place. And then here we are with this one and we’re going to that place I don’t know how many times we went there and it’s just extremely emotional just to have to keep revisiting. But it also can be therapeutic.”
As far as going for a second round with a director and cast members that you enjoy working with, what were the key elements that fell into place for Chestnut to do another “Best Man?” This was a no-brainer for him, he laughs, “We all (cast) said yeah it will be interesting and it will be great to get together and do this again but once we read the script I think that just really solidified everything. The script spoke to me.”
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