The movie, "Think Like A Man," adapted from Steve Harvey's book, 'Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man,' is set to open nationwide April 20. I recently caught up with two of the stars, Terrence J (TJ) and Regina Hall (RH), to talk about the film.
Q: You play the mama's boy in the movie, and you do it very well. Have you ever been that much of a mama's boy in real life?
TJ: I'm like the opposite. I'm like the dad sometimes. Me and my mom are really good friends. I have the greatest, sweetest mom in the world and I protect her and coddle her, but it’s the reverse. I'm like (my character) Duke, the protective son, but it was a lot of fun working with Jenifer Lewis.
Q: Regina, your character is a single mother having a difficult to decision to bring a man into your son's life. Did you talk with people about what's the right thing to do in that situation?
RH: That whole storyline comes from the book. Steve's advice is if you're a mom and you think this guy has any potential you need to introduce him to your son right away because if he doesn't like your son, or you son doesn't like him, your relationship can't go anywhere. In the first scene after their date she hesitates and decides to introduce them. Tim set up the dynamic when they meet in the bookstore. There's a slight assumption that maybe he won't want to go out with her because she has a child. When he says they'll just make it dinner, that's when she decides that maybe this guy is different. I don't have children yet, but I have friends and that's always a dilemma. I understood when I read the book, I never thought like that as a woman, I guess you can't do that because that becomes your priority, so you have to make sure that relationship can be wonderful even before your own.
Q: Had you read the book prior to filming?
TJ: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s very point on. Even with the mama's boy thing, I had dated a girl for almost a year and she protected me from meeting her kid for almost a year; and then when I met the kid it didn't work because you're adding in a whole different dynamic. A lot of the things in the book, from the player to the mama's boy to the non-commiter to the dreamer, these are men that women meet every single day and it holds up a mirror to society. There's a little bit of us in all these characters and so I definitely related to it. How about you?
RH: I definitely agree with some of the things in the book. I'm a woman, so I'm annoyed that some of the things are true. (laughs) It's just how men think, they think differently. In terms of our character its true, you have to know what its like to date a single mother, and the child is going to be more a part of it than its not. Yet, if I were giving advice to a girlfriend I'd go, "NO! You've only been out with him three times, you can't let him meet your kid yet." My brothers always say, "stop asking your girlfriends for relationship advice, ask me." It makes perfect sense to him. Ask three men the exact same thing, age, race, it's a general answer that they all have that's so gender specific. A penis effects the brain. (laughs)
TJ: What segway is that going to be?
Q: There's a 90-day rule in the movie. What do you guys think about that?
RH: There's certain people who need the 90-day rule. There is an emotional intelligence that some people have more of where you can know who this guy is and what he's about. I've had girlfriends where it’s obvious that her guy was no good but they're like "He didn't call me." Outside that I always think that's good. Men are hunters, and they like to wait on a very subconscious level.
TJ: If it's worth it we will wait, that's what it boils down to. I'm in a relationship right now so I'm biased, so it doesn't affect me now. "Make 'em wait 90 days!" I have some friends that work with me at the job and they're young, 21 or 22-years-old, and they get into these failed relationships because they're having sex too early. I tell my baby sisters that they need to make him wait, or don't make me go over there and talk to him for you. So now its good in that regard that we can say read the book or see this movie and you see the difference in Meagan Good's character on makin' a man wait as opposed to giving it up on the first date.
RH: Sometimes as a woman you realize after 90-days that you don't want to sleep with him!
TJ: Whether Steve approves, let's say 60-to-90!
(l-r) TERRENCE J and REGINA HALL
Q: How was working on this ensemble picture?
RH: Everyone on this movie liked each other, genuinely, loved everyone in the cast. Loved Taraji. All the guys, even though I didn't get to work with them regularly except for our big scenes. It was really happy to go to work, from the moment we got there to going inside the trailer, to being on set. Loved the director, the DPs, crew.
TJ: I couldn't agree more. For me this was my first big feature so I was nervous because I look up to everybody, from Taraji to Regina to Ealy to Gabby. They're all established actors and I didn't know how they would treat me, if they would be telling me to be the waterboy. I didn't know the set protocol, so for everybody to embrace me and help me… I would pull Ealy to the side and ask him to help me on the flow of a scene he would just pull me into his trailer and mentor me. I could say that about every person on this set where they gave me something that showed on the screen. I'm grateful to Tim and Steve and Will Packer and everybody, especially this cast, 'cause it's a very intimidating and challenging job to be around such talented people.
Q: When did you meet the screenwriters? They really had their pulse on the way men and women interact.
RH: I didn't actually meet them until after, at the wrap party.
TJ: Really? I met them at the second tableread.
RH: That makes sense. That I think is great is it doesn't read specifically like a black film. You could put a white cast in that move… you're still going to need Kevin Hart… and you're still going to get the universal theme of love and friendship. The fact that they didn't necessarily write it for a black voice comes from an African American cast doing it. That's what makes it much more crossover and stand specifically to romantic comedies in recent years. They did have their finger on the pulse.
TJ: If you'd have plugged in the guys from "Hangover" and the girls from "Sex In The City," you still would have needed Kevin and Romany Malco, but the script was applicable.
RH: They felt like they were all friends, you never questioned it, even in the jokes, you never questioned it.
Q: You told Will Packer you were going to be in one of his movies one day, and here you are. How does that feel?
TJ: It feels amazing, but I always tell people that it takes ten years to become an overnight success. For every one job I got I got told "no" a hundred times. Castings, auditions, 100 experiences before you get that 1 "yes". I'm in a state of awe. Sometimes when Regina walks into the room I'm like, "Aww, 'Scary Movie'!" I'm still a fan. I work hard and I'm very persistent about getting jobs. I'm on the grind.
Q: Do you have anything coming up next?
RH: As far as acting I have something I'm in negotiations for right now, we'll see how that goes. I have a few little ventures on my own. I'm doing a documentary about my trip to the Sahara and the Muslim women there, the Saharwis, and they actually are first, the leaders. They have their own organizations, and they wear the head covering but they wear it back 'cause it's sexier. The more divorces you've had is like a status symbol, like you've been through something.