The film, Think Like A Man, adapted by Steve Harvey's popular book of the same name, is set for release April 20. The comedy stars Gabrielle Union, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Reginal Hall, Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Terrence J and Jenifer Lewis.
I caught up with Gabrielle Union and Jerry Ferrara at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles to talk about the making of the movie.
Q: What was it about this particular film that made you want to be a part of it? Why did you want to be involved?
GU: Aside from just working with all my friends, which is always a good time. Love Tim Story, I’ve known him forever, um. I’ve been in the Screen Gems family for a long, long time. So, it was kind of a perfect mix of people, story, character. I had a chance to work with Jerry, who I’ve been a fan of for a long time and to play a different kind of character. I’ve never played anyone who was, well, I shouldn’t say never. Normally I’m the good girl from the right side of the tracks, meets the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. This was very different. So I jumped at the chance.
JF: I loved the story because I thought, you know a lot of romantic comedies usually told from a specific point of view whether it’s the woman or the man. I think this story was told from both points of view. I was kind of fascinated by like, you know you take a situation, like her character in the movie wants a ring, my character is clueless, like if we would have communicated better in the story, we could have answered a lot of those problems. And then when I found out Gabrielle was doing it. I was like, well this is really an acting challenge cuz how many people are going to actually believe that I could get her. So that’s a pretty good acting challenge to me. It just seemed like a lot of fun. I love the ensemble vibe. I was in pretty quick.
Q: I like how the movie made the fact that you two were in an interracial relationship a non-issue. Was that a big deal? Did the script change? Had it made it an issue? How did you guys feel about the fact that it didn’t really speak to that.
GU: I think it was one of the few times in my entire career where it was truly colorblind casting. There was no… I think there is an inherent idea that if a black executive producer and a black director are going to do a movie based on a black writer, everyone is going to be black. But when I read it there really was no distinction who was supposed to be black or not black. It was just a non-issue. So, when they said Jerry was playing Jeremy, I was like, ‘Oh, great’. It was a non-issue for me and I’m glad it was a non –issue for the character and that they didn’t feel like, “Oh, I’m going to have to change it now. We’re going to have to address the elephant in the room’. It’s like, no!
JF: It was actually one of the, I mean there was a lot, but one of the more refreshing parts of it. Nowhere in the script was it like, Jeremy is white, 30. You know, it was none of that. You’re right, we didn’t have to get rid of any sort of elephant in the room. It was a non-issue.
JERRY FERRARA & TERRENCE J
Q: Gabrielle, did you actually read the book? And, if so, what did you think about it? Do you think any parts of the book are true? Have you tried any parts of the book?
GU: When it came out, me and a group of my girlfriends, we bought the book and bought a bottle of wine and we had a reading of it. A lot of it, I was one of the people who was laughing, because I think it’s common sense. And, I think there is this idea that women don’t have common sense. And then we noticed that there were some of my girlfriends who were freakishly quiet. And I was like, oh for some people, this is a revelation. So, I get that it speaks to a lot of people. I also understand that for some women it’s just common sense stuff. But, it’s like maybe you just need a reminder about some times. I believe I practice common sense in my own life so I don’t rely on trickery. I rely on good, honest communication, effective communication, straight-forward communication about my wants and needs and expectations. So for me, no, not so much. But there are some in my group who were like “Ah haaaaa” So, um, yeah.
(l-r) JERRY FERRARA, MICHAEL EALY, KEVIN HART, TERRENCE J, GARY OWEN & ROMANY MALCO
Q: Jerry, the guys were so much fun to watch. Was it that much fun to shoot? What was the down time like with all that energy going on?
JF: I mean it really was. It’s scary though because you never know. I was part of an ensemble show for many years. We were lucky it just happened. I’ve also witnessed sometimes when the chemistry isn’t always there. And you just never know until you do it and luckily when the guys we all met, it was pretty instant. And, um, especially with someone like Kevin, who was hilarious in between. And, all the guys. He kind of Kevin went at it first and disarmed everybody. Right off the bat just got us all comfortable. And then you start saying, oh, maybe Kevin is funny, but I didn’t know this about Ealy, Ealy is kind of hilarious too. And the next thing you know we’re having more fun in between the takes than on camera. You hope that is translates. I think it did. Hope it did.
Q: Was there a lot of ad-libbing going on?
JF: A lot of it was scripted. But, there were some adlibs. I think Tim was letting it go. Lets lay down a few as is and then once we’re comfortable with that, lets just play. And, I think a lot of stuff made it in and some of it didn’t. There was definitely some freedom. But the script was so good you didn’t really have to go that far away from what was on the page.
Q; When we were in the movie theater, when your face came on the scene, a few girls screamed out …and everybody loved you as Turtle. I mean you are like the cute guy in the crew.
JF: Which crew?
Q: I mean when I used to watch Entourage, I’d be waiting for Turtle.
JF: I thought Adrian was the one.
Q: He's the obvious guy.
JF: Oh, so I’m like sneaky cute?
Q:I’m sure you have a crazy girl fan base.
JF: Uh, I, maybe, I have a dude fan base for sure. They like to wrestle with me and ask me to smoke weed.
JF: I don’t. I mean I’m not saying at one point in my life I didn’t. But, uh, no!
Q: Gabrielle, how do you like to work and how does that mesh or not mesh with how Tim likes to work
GU: Part of the reason why I wanted to work with Tim for so long is that, um, we have a similar philosophy – that we don’t believe we are curing cancer. You know it has to do with process. I didn’t go to Comic Con to like research. I just acted and Tim was like, “good, you’re prepared, lets shoot.’ It was a really easy process. I wouldn’t even call it a process. Come to work , be preopared, be ready in the moment. Whatever comes out, lets see where we go. He was open, he wasn’t married to everything that was on the page. There was so much we did that we were just ad-libbing and they would just let it roll for a long time. We would just come up with stuff just to kind of keep going.
CAST OF 'THINK LIKE A MAN'
JF: He would never call cut.
GU: He would never call cut and with this group you’re always going to get more and more and more. A lot of it ended up in the movie. For me, it’s a comedy, it’s a great way to film. Cuz otherwise if you get so tied down to, oh , this has to be. I need every and, but, the, the way it’s written you kind of lose the freedom to create the funny.
Q: Were you always going to play the character you played or were you ever going to play one of the other characters?
GU: I think initially because of my history of maybe more of a bitch, maybe more of the woman who doesn’t need a man or whatever it is. I think there was an idea floating around at one point for me to do the Taraji role. But, because I’ve done it to death, um I was like, ‘you know what would be more interesting, would be, you know, to play, Kristin.’ And they were like, ‘yeah’.
Q: Seems like you’re getting a lot of roles. Are you getting the type of scripts you want now that you weren't getting before?
GU: Yeah, you know it’s not that I didn’t get them before. I just wasn’t getting picked for a stretch of time. There are some very talented people. So, I’d read it. I’d be like, ‘me’, please, Jesus, why not me? Like if they had a stand selling roles, like if I’d walk up, they’d close shop. This is just a matter of Tyler [Perry] was like you want to come play again? And then, literally in the middle of shooting that, no actually, I take it back, we filmed “Little In Common” with me and Kevin Hart, a pilot for Fox. So while we were on the set of that, Will had come, so Will is like, “here’s the script, tell me what you think.” I start shooting “Good Deeds”, Tyler gave me a break. Screen Gems and Will and Tim gave me a break. And, then in between those two movies they were like “would you want to come do this indie, up in the woods in the Catskills with John Slattery. I was like, ‘Where have you been?’ It was a nice change where I was suddenly getting some yeses. After trying, uh, you know, for the same yeses for a long time. So, everyone has their little season.
Q: I was just curious, was that couch as nasty and as much of a bio-hazard as it seemed?
JF: It was kinda gross
GU: It was pretty gross.
JF: It was kind of nasty. I thought it could have been nastier.
GU: It did look like it came from an alley.
(l-r) JERRY FERRARA, GARY OWEN, TERRENCE J, MICHAEL EALY & ROMANY MALCO
Q: Jerry, did you maybe had like an inanimate object that, uh, you were attached to as sentimentally as much as Jeremy with his couch?
JF: Yeah, and it’s very, this is going to sound weird and typical. I have a blanket. It’s not a blankie, it’s a blanket that my grandmother made for me many, many years go when I was a kid. It’s kind of old and ratty looking. I keep it clean. But, it’s old. I just need to have it around. I’m not saying I sleep with it at night. But, yeah, I have a blankie. If someone asked me to throw it away, I’d sooner throw them away.
Q: Just to piggyback on what Crystal was saying about your cuteness and all that, are you ready for all the sisters to be looking at you little eyebrow raised a little bit more than in the past?
JF: I’m ready for it. I just don’t know, I mean is it going to be that different? I mean what’s going to happen?
Q: 7500, what kind of film is that?
JF: '7500' is a psychological thriller with the director from 'The Grudge', Shimizu, who is really good at scaring people and creeping people out. It’s a lot of fun, it all takes place on a plane, which is interesting. When I read this I thought it was going to be like a horror film that people’s heads were going to get chopped off. It’s not like that at all. It stays psychological, kind of ala, 'The Grudge', where, yes, there are a lot of scares, but they had some of the best cliffhangers, unexpected twists and I know that’s kind of typical in those types of movies. But they really did a smart job. Best word I can use to describe it is smart.
Q: Are you a passenger in the movie?
JF: We’re all passengers in the movie, uh, but there are like six stories going on on this plane and I’m one of the storylines on it.
Q: Do you make choices that allow you to avoid that kind of pigeonholing and stereotype? Are you doing that consciously?
JF: Um, I mean yes and no. I think that the rules are kind of different. I wouldn’t say 20 years ago, but 10 years ago, it’s like, yes, if you were a TV guy or girl and that’s what you are and you play a character for so long. I think that you know I mean there are people who have only done movies for the last 10 years who are jumping into television. I think those lines and those rules are all different. I do think that it would be foolish of me to not think that people think of me that way, I mean, I’m actually proud of that because it means I did a good job. So, yeah, I’m not going to really take any roles that require me to be like the sidekick/stoner. Um, but, yeah, man, I think I gotta be careful about it. Sure, I think I’d be foolish not to take that into consideration. And that’s part of the reason I was happy that this opportunity came on. You know being in a relationship with her character for nine years. I mean, I think that’s pretty different from anything I’ve ever done for the last nine years.