Director Tim Story talks Think Like A Man
Director Tim Story talks Think Like A Man
By Wilson Morales
April 19, 2012
It’s been nearly five years since we last saw director Tim Story with a major project on the big screen. His last film, 2009’s ‘Hurricane Season,’ which starred Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and Taraji P. Henson went straight-to-DVD, and prior to that he had done both 2005’s ‘Fantastic Four’ and the sequel, 2007’s ‘Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer.’ He also directed ‘Taxi’ with Queen Latifah and the first ‘Barbershop‘ film, which was a breakout role for Michael Ealy.
Coming out this week is the hilarious, smart romantic comedy ‘Think Like A Man,’ starring a bevy of talent which includes Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Terrance J, Romany Malco, Gary Owen, Gabrielle Union, Lala Vazquez, and Arielle Kebbel.
Based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, Think Like a Man follows four interconnected and diverse men whose love lives are shaken up after the ladies they are pursuing buy Harvey’s book and start taking his advice to heart. When the band of brothers realize they have been betrayed by one of their own, they conspire using the book’s insider information to turn the tables and teach the women a lesson of their own.
What happened after ‘The Fantastic Four’ films that we hadn’t seen you in the spotlight for some time until now?
Tim Story: After the second ‘Fantastic Four’ I did do another film, a film with Forest Whitaker called ‘Hurricane Season.’ It was a passion project. I also did five films and a pilot in a matter of six years and was basically burnt out and I just needed to hang out.
I remembered that film received little fanfare and went straight-to-DVD. How did that affect you?
TS: It was right around the time we were with an independent company (The Weinstein Co.) that depended on bank financing and it was around the time of the debacle of the economy. You have to look at it with a grain of salt. If we had been with a regular studio, it wouldn’t have been a problem. What was great about it and it’s not the greatest feeling, but it slowed me down for a second and gave me an opportunity to get to my family. I took a break. In this industry, we work long hours and for a director, it mentally wears on you. You need time to recharge your batteries and travel a bit and not worry about the numbers this weekend. You need to live a little bit so that you can come back and tell stories better. In hindsight, it felt great at the end of the day.
What was the attraction to working on this film?
TS: When I read the script, and for lack of a better word, I felt like I was home. It was one of those films that you just felt and lived. I had to do it. You don’t get scripts that are so well read and really developed and are true to the core of what this genre is and I knew these come around once in a lifetime. I felt that way when I read ‘Barbershop’ and I felt that way when I read ‘Think Like A Man.’ This is like one the best that this genre will get and you better do it and wanted Will Packer to let me do the movie. I knew that I could do the story justice.
As a director, what did you think when you looked at the call sheet and saw so much talent on the list, including those making cameo appearances? What goes through your mind when trying to fit everyone in and have them make their mark in the film?
TS: The only thing that goes through your mind is “Don’t screw it up” and there’s a lot of “Tell the story.” At the end of the day, with all the talent that is there, you have to make sure they look good and for that to happen, they have to be inside of the movie and not outside of the film. What I mean by that is that as long everyone in the movie is telling the same story, they will all look good. You have get over the “Oh my God” of it all quickly when someone appears on camera and get to how to get their voice in the same space as everyone else and make them look good.
With a predominant black cast, what makes this film stand apart from other black ensemble films we’ve seen recently?
TS: That it’s honest. It’s not so much that I’m trying to make it stand apart or stand away from it. It’s more about we are completely honest from the story that we are telling and that it makes people feel. We have some movies come out and we don’t surrender to it. What makes this stand is that when they leave the theater, they will feel better than when they came in. Like they have on an adventure. I think the cast were in incredible locations. If there’s anything that makes it stand alone, it’s that it’s classy, honest and intelligent.
Does it make it easier for you as a director when the cast has a good chemistry?
TS: Yes. It does make it easier. The other thing we had going for us is that most of the cast knew each other. That’s the cool thing about the film. Not often do we have project where we can get together and do this. When is the last time you had an ensemble film where friends can get together and do this and make it work. Judd Apatow is a guy I admire and study. I have learned throughout my career, and it’s been about 10 years, is that when you have good actors, why not use them. This is my second film with Taraji (P. Henson) and my second film with Michael Ealy, so why not keep using them? These guys are amazing! Before the Judd Apatow crew, there was the Ivan Reitman crew with Bill Murray and those guys like Harold Ramis, they have done films together and I go “Why not?” There’s also Ben Stiller and his camp. They do multiple movies together and I want to work these folks (in the film) again. They are friends of mine and talented. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Having done the big and small budgeted films, what do you want to do?
TS: I’m looking for the right thing. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I love comedy. I want to work with these actors again so I’m constantly looking for these stories. At the end of the day, and what hits me and helps me get up in the morning, is the excitement when I read a project and tell myself that I want to do this movie. If I’m in love with a story that I think I can tell well, that’s what I’m going to go for. I love the big films with aliens and car crashes and all that other stuff, but I will just be patient and look for that passion project.
What do you make of 20th Century Fox’s possibly rebooting ‘Fantastic Four’?
TS: I knew that would happen. It’s inevitable. I was part of a franchise where the guy who’s going to do the next one will do 2 or 3 films and someone else will come in when they reinvent it again. I literally can’t wait to see the next one because you want to see what they do with it. It’s all good. It’s about commerce and the also the industry that we are in.
What storyline would you like to see with a reboot?
TS: I would like to see ‘The Ultimate Fantastic Four,’ where they use the young kids who don’t go up in space. Reed Richards builds this thing and creates an ultimate universe and that’s how they get their powers. In my opinion, that would be amazing.
THINK LIKE A MAN opens nationwide on April 20th.