The Best Man Holiday Set Visit – Terrence Howard and Harold Perrineau

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The Best Man Holiday Set Visit
Terrence Howard and Harold Perrineau

By Wilson Morales

July 19, 2013

On a fairly cold evening in Toronto this past May,, and a handful of other colleagues, got a chance to visit the set of the upcoming ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ the sequel to the 1999 hit film directed by Malcolm D. Lee.

After nearly 15 years, the whole cast (Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall, Melissa De Sousa, and Monica Calhoun) is back in a new story that reunites the characters we have all come to love.

We haven’t been told much of the plot except that “when the college friends finally reunite over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.”

Universal Pictures had us come up when the entire cast would be shooting a scene together. Standing behind director Malcolm Lee, we saw several takes of Nia (playing Jordan) and Eddie Cibrian first arriving at the house owned by Lance Sullivan (played by Chestnut), while the group is gathered in the living room catching up.

Cibrian is playing Jordan’s boyfriend judging from the trailer that went online recently.

Afterwards, we were taken to one of the rooms where members of the cast would come in and chat about reuniting with the cast, and revisiting their characters.

For Howard, the film represents a chance to revisit the character (Quentin Spivey) that made him star. Although he had been in the business for some time before the film, playing Quentin gave him the opportunity to be seen as sexy and funny. His performance garnered him a NAACP Image Award as well as several other nominations. Soon afterwards, Howard’s career skyrocketed with other roles, including his Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in ‘Hustle and Flow.’ Recently seen ‘Dead Man Down’ with Colin Farrell, Howard will be seen in a slew of films, including Lee Daniels’ The Butler, ‘Prisoners’ with Hugh Jackman and Viola Davis, and ‘Ten’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger and fellow ‘Best Man’ Harold Perrineau.

Perrineau first gained attention as the male lead of Wayne Wang and Paul Auster’s film, ‘Smoke,’ which he received an Indie Spirit Award nomination. While he then went to play Mercutio opposite Leonardio DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ it was the role of Julian Murch that got the Brooklyn native noticed within the African American community. He has since played other memorable characters such as Link in ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ and ‘The Matrix Revolutions’ and Damon Pope on FX’s ‘Sons of Anarchy.’

When we last Quentin and Julian, Julian found the courage to leave his longtime girlfriend Shelby (played by Melissa De Sousa), whom ended sharing a bed with Quentin after the wedding of Lance and Mia.

How’s it been coming back? Is it like summer camp or high school?

Harold Perrineau: I don’t know about high school, but it certainly been fun. High school wasn’t fun at all.

Terrence Howard: I don’t know about y’all, but I spent high school in reformatory. I didn’t like high school. With these people, I like them.

When speaking with Malcolm Lee, he said he wouldn’t do the film if we couldn’t get everyone back. Did it a take from you guys individually to say “I’m in”?

TH: Hell no. I miss my man.

HP: Me too. Nothing at all. I haven’t worked with this man in a long time. I was ready to come back in.

How do you think the perception, reception, and interest in black love and black life has changed from when the original film was created?

TH: I love me some black.

HP: I actually don’t think black love has changed. The reception has always been the same. How we see it in the media is something else. What has changed is the perception of black people. Being more diverse is the difference. That’s the only thing that’s really happening now. It’s being recognized as whole human beings.

TH: I’m seeing the whole process of making the whole human being the conception of black love.

It seems that most of the male characters in the film are married, except for yours. Is that the case here?

TH: I think I’ve graduated. I’ve been married and divorced three times.

We’re talking about your character.

TH: Oh. Here’s what I say. How old was Isaac when he got married? Isaac was 40 years old before a wife was brought to him. Moses was 47 before he got his wife and 80 before he was ready to lead God’s people. Quentin has time. He’ll live forever.

HP: The rest of us are just rushing it.

How have your characters changed over the years?

HP: I don’t think we’re the opposite of each other.

TH: We’re juxtaposed in a sense to each other, but harmonic in a strange way. Harold is the other side of my side, but we’re always are the same side of the coin at the same time.

HP: We’re really are one. This is the unit that is tight and always stays together. I don’t think it has changed. I think they loved each other before and love each other now. That’s the thing about this movie that is beautiful. It’s about friendship. They are friends that are in love and you can’t beat that.

Terrence, in the first film, you were like the chess player; knowing everything. Has that changed?

TH: No. Quentin always knows everything. He’s become more relaxed about his presentation about the things he knows. Sometimes he’ll let other people make their own decision, and not necessarily stir up the monster to get a princess out of it. I don’t know what that means but you’ll get it.

This film made you a star. Did you come to the set as the big dog?

HP: I’m going to tell you what happened in the first film. In the first film, I had come off from doing ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and he was doing something else, and we were both looking at each other and saying “Good luck to you.” We both were going to lay it down.

TH: He was out in the balcony and it was our third day or rehearsal and Harold looked at me and he had the dredlocks, looking like a pimp. Quentin is made from Harold’s real life of who he was back then. He was really, truly Quentin. What he was going through with Shelby in the movie, I was going through the same thing with my first wife.

HP: After that first movie, I called him up and said “It’s all good. You won that.”

TH: He looked at me and this is when he used to smoke cigarettes. He doesn’t smoke anymore. He had a Marlboro light and I had a Newport and he said, “You know only one of us is going to walk away with this movie. I was like “May the best man win.” A year after the movie comes out, he called me and was like, “Ok. You got this one.” On this new film, he clean the plates off this one.

The both of you have gone on and done over 30 projects since the first film, but why do you think audiences still love and remember Quentin and Julian more than your other roles?

HP: I’ve said this before. One of the things I really love about these characters is Malcolm didn’t write any caricature of people. He wrote some people and I think other people responded to it and you had seen black people like that. There were just people. Folks who had gone to college, had girlfriends, making mistakes, not making mistakes, and I think you got to see some black people and not black characters, and I think people loved those people. I think we bring them back again. We’re older, better, and just as complicated and I think Malcolm wrote a beautiful script, both times. That’s what people are responding to.

TH: The nature of friendship that is expressed throughout this film is how everyone is dependent on each other; to achieve, to inspire, and just to maintain. If the final message to the people who supported the first one was “Wow! They have good friendships. Everybody comes together to have a good time,” then they should take home the message from this film that friendship maybe the thing that saves your life. Your friend may truly be your guide and your saint. You don’t know if he’s sitting by God or not but in this movie, we figure that out.

How do you feel how life has helped the both or you become better artists, better men, and how you approach the roles to add more colors?

TH: (looking at Harold) What did you say about truth the other day when we first started acting?

HP: I think life happens and that’s the deal. What Terrence was saying is that people would say, “I can’t talk to you. You’re an actor and you guys can lie real easily.” Actors don’t lie. They actually tell the truth. They’re really great truth tellers and under certain circumstances. Life has made us more observant, grown, three divorces.

TH: Three divorces from two women. Figure that one out.

HP: That stuff just adds to the truth of how these people are; how they have grown and learned, stepped in shit and changed.

TH: We dare each other to be honest.

How much fun was working on this film than the film that both of you are in, David Ayer’s Ten?

HP: Not as much testosterone and a bunch or dudes beating the crap of each other. You didn’t one gun and no one got shot.

Has the characters from this movie taught you about you in real life, as actors or people in general?

TH: Yeah. There were pieces of Terrence Howard that I stored into Harold 15 years years ago that I didn’t know. That maybe I left on the sitting room table and I’ve been walking around fro 15 years looking for that little piece of me. You know how you get lost at times. You then see your friend and he looks at you in a way and shakes your hand and it reminds you of something. He’s like, “Here. You left something. I picked it up along the way. That’s what this is like. With the first film, we were getting to know each other, but we didn’t really care about each other. My children are grown and he’s has a grown daughter. I have a granddaughter now. We are really friends now. We love each other now. All of us are and that was the difference from 15 years ago.

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