When The Bough Breaks Set Visit – Morris Chestnut Interview

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When The Bough Breaks Set Visit – Morris Chestnut Interview
Posted by Wilson Morales

August 12, 2016

When The Bough Breaks poster 2

No one knows how to put out a good thriller in September than Screen Gems. This is the studio that brought us ‘No Good Deed’ with Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, followed by last year’s ‘The Perfect Guy,’ starring Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut and Michael Ealy. Both of those film were successful at the box office, with each placing #1 during its opening weekend. Well, Morris Chestnut is back in another psychological thriller called ‘When The Bough Breaks,’ co-starring with Regina Hall, and newcomer Jaz Sinclair.

Directed by Jon Cassar (“24,” “The Kennedys”) from the screenplay by Jack Olsen and Karl Gajdusek, John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall) are a young, professional couple who desperately want a baby. After exhausting all other options, they finally hire Anna (Jaz Sinclair), the perfect woman to be their surrogate – but as she gets further along in her pregnancy, so too does her psychotic and dangerous fixation on the husband. The couple becomes caught up in Anna’s deadly game and must fight to regain control of their future before it’s too late.

Morris Chestnut

Back in March 2015 Blackfilm.com visited the set in New Orleans while the film was in production. Not only was it hot, as expected, but watching a few scenes take place was intense. Without giving out any spoilers, from the scenes seen, there’s a lot of emotional and action-packed drama going down from a fight scene to a car chase taking place in the middle of the night.

For Morris Chestnut, who’s also an executive producer on this film and starred in ‘The Perfect Guy’ last year, the film was shot before he started his TV show on Fox, ‘Rosewood,’ which was renewed for a second season. Having appeared on TNT’s Legends, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and now Rosewood, along with the success of Think Like a Man and Best Man Holiday from a year ago, Chestnut’s status in Hollywood has certainly gone up.

Considering the fact that he made his film debut in John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood in 1991, one can say that Chestnut’s now hitting his stride, 25 years later. Better late than never.

During his break from shooting, Chestnut spoke to a handful of journalists, including Blackfilm.com, about his role in the film, working with Jaz Sinclair, having a romantic role opposite someone he’s known for years and working behind the camera.

When The Bough Breaks hits theaters on September 9, 2016

We’ve heard little bits about the plot, but how would you describe your character?

When The Bough Breaks poster

Morris Chestnut: Well, he’s a loving husband who gets caught in a situation where he has to make some decisions. He’s an alpha male, so he does what he feels is best, which turns out probably not to be the best decision.

You’re wearing a little bit of a different hat this time. Not only in the acting but you’re also the executive producer. What made this project optimal for it to be your first one out as EP on it?

MC: I’ve EP’d before but I was really excited about this one because I read the script. I just loved the script. The scale of this movie is bigger than any other movie I’ve EP’d before, most the other projects. I loved the script and the scale.

Morris Chestnut 2

What did you fall in love with about the script?

MC: Just the story. A character who is extremely conflicted and he has to make a lot of decisions. He makes some right decisions but the wrong decision make him look like this *laughter*. He’s just a very conflicted character.

Is this as physically challenging as it was any of your other films?

MC: Nah, I’ve had some physically challenging roles. This one wasn’t physically challenging at all.

But the mental, was it mentally challenging?

MC: It was mentally challenging because there’s so many different dynamics. In a lot of things I’m reacting to a lot of things. I’m reacting to a lot people around me. Sometimes not necessarily saying anything but I just have to be thinking it. SO yeah, definitely mentally challenging.

Jaz Sinclair and Morris Chestnut 2

How’s it working with a new young actress like Jaz?

MC: Jaz is great. One thing I love about Jazmine, she kind reminds me of when I was starting out, just being on the set and kinda being amazed by everything. Just the innocence and just the learning and the newness of everything. I love watching her. She’s a great actress. Much greater than I was.

She said had the most fun beating you up.

MC: Yeah, she did. She took it to me a couple times. She’s pretty good too. She’s a strong girl. She might could take me.

Does it make any difference to you, because the director and Regina said, the characters could play both ways that it wasn’t really race specific? Did that make any difference to you, like the story that character wasn’t necessarily a black character with this, her husband?

When The Bough Breaks 7 Jaz Sinclair and Morris Chestnut

MC: Well, that was actually the difference when I read the script. I could tell it wasn’t written for black actors. As a matter a fact, they tried to do the movie two years ago and they offered the lead role to…


MC: Wow, I’m staying away from that one. No comment *laughter*. No, they offered the role to, I think it was, Jon Hamm, or somebody like that. So when I read it that was one of the things that really appealed to me.

When The Bough Breaks 1 Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall

You’ve worked with Regina before, what makes this different and special?

MC: The last movie that we worked together on, I don’t believe we talked in a scene. When I think about it, matter of fact, both of the movies we worked together on, I didn’t really talk to her character. Now we’re doing a lot of talking, a lot of touching….a lot of kissing. That’s the difference.

How weird is that? You’ve known somebody for a long time, as you’ve mentioned, you haven’t been on scene on camera but now you’re working together, now it’s like, OK?

Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut

MC: It’s not that weird because even though our characters didn’t talk we were still talking off camera. So we were still in the same environment having conversations. And then just when they say “Get ready to go” and act, then we just get into our own little places. So it wasn’t that weird.

A lot of the stories, the way we’ve heard it, sounds like a struggle between two mothers over this baby. Does that sort of leave you as the man on the outside looking in, or where does that place you?

MC: No, it leaves me right at the center of the triangle because I’m somewhat responsible for their challenge, one wanting it, both of them wanted, but I’m kinda like right in the center of it. So I’m definitely not on the outside looking in. As you can see (laughter).

When The Bough Breaks 10 Jaz Sinclair and Morris Chestnut

Is there any bit of you in this character?

MC: Yeah, you know what?  I think there’s a bit of me in every character. Basically it just depends on what happens with the character. Yeah, there’s a bit of me in every character, it just depends on what’s happening in the character’s life, that’s how you bring out what’s repressed.

Regina mentioned that her character went through some levels of frustration, with in vitro, not having these houses – did your character manifest some of that frustration about wanting to start to a family?

MC: Right, I’m a father of two. It took me back to the time when I wanted – I still want kids – when I didn’t have kids and I wanted kids, and what I envision when I had kids. So it took me back to that time.

When The Bough Breaks 9 Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut

How about New Orleans? Everyone’s talked about Louisiana being a character in this film. How do you think it played out, since it was originally set in California, How was the transition to Louisiana and what does it bring out?

MC: I’m actually glad that it’s here instead of California because California is like the Mecca of the film industry. Everyone’s seen California. I like being here. Different aspects. You have the lake house. You have a huge, almost plantation-style house, so I like the different elements of the city and what the city has to offer and putting it on the screen.

Morris Chestnut pic

What’s happened in the last few years, that you’ve been doing a lot more work, and obviously this is a leading role, what’s changed from before?

MC: I sold my soul. *laughter* I think it’s just growth, and development, timing. I’ve been fortunate to be around for a long time. Allowed me to get better as an actor. Allowed me to play better roles. Just luck…God…fans…not necessarily in that order.

As Executive Producer, what was it like joining Nurse Jackie at the end, then moving to this film role.

MC: I loved Nurse Jackie. As a matter of fact, actually, working on that set that was one of the best sets I’ve ever been on. I came in like Season 5 and they have been doing the show for 5 years. Everything was so streamlined. Everybody was great to work with. That’s actually one of the best sets I’ve ever been on in twenty-something years.

Have you had a chance to visit New Orleans? Have you been here before, have you gone to different places?

When The Bough Breaks 5 Morris Chestnut and Jaz Sinclair

MC: I’ve been here before. Very limited time. Since I’ve been here this time, I haven’t really checked out too much. I’ve been working quite a bit. Been eating a lot of food, a lot of different restaurants. Just in travelling to different locations.

What is the ultimate role for you? What would like to see yourself do?

MC: That’s a good question. I’ve done a lot of different things. I would say, it’s really hard for me to say what the ultimate role would be. You look at a film if it comes to you. If someone had said to me ten years ago “Yo, we have this role of this pimp who wants to be a rapper, he lives in Memphis”, I’d be like, “Really?” But then when you read it and you see it, you say “That’s a great role.” Ultimately what I want to do, I want to go back and do some more action movies.

Morris Chestnut 4

For many years you were rumored the Black Panther, and they’ve announced Chad Boseman, of course. How did you feel about that selection and do you still maybe see yourself in some of that Avenger or DC Comics type of roles?

MC: You know, to be honest, I don’t really know where the rumors started. They just started. Because I saw a number of people rumored for the role and there was never any discussion, never any conversations. I think Chadwick Boseman is a great actor. I saw Get on Up and he killed that role. So, I think he’s going to do a great job.

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