By Darlene Donloe
When The Bough Breaks is an intense drama about John and Laura Taylor (Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall respectively), a professional couple who hire a young surrogate (Jaz Sinclair) after they find out they are unable to conceive. Everything is wonderful – until it isn’t! Soon the young surrogate develops an irrational fixation on the husband (Chestnut) that turns violent.
Morris Chestnut (MC) and Regina Hall (RH) recently spoke about the film.
Q: Talk about doing this movie. Are roles and movie opportunities getting better for black actors?
MC: To me, I just think, just to be able to be working in Hollywood for a sustained period of time is just something whether you black, white, just Hollywood in general, is just definitely a blessing. In particular for black Hollywood, I definitely think the opportunities are – Hollywood in general, I think opportunities are increasing. They’re improving in terms of television. I still feel that we could be doing a little bit better in films in terms of opportunities, but there are opportunities, nonetheless, in both.
Q: How do you feel about doing this movie and how it fits in with opportunities getting better?
MC: Just to be able to be working in Hollywood for an extended period of time is a blessing. Hollywood in general is improving in terms of television. We could be doing better in film.
RH: I agree with Morris. It’s always a work in progress. It’s constantly evolving.
Q: The subject matter of this film is heavy.
MC: This film was challenging and an emotional film. It was challenging. Working with someone like Regina, Jaz (Sinclair) and the director – it was like another day at the office. Regina makes it fun every day.
RH: We were both able to do something light after the film ended. When you’re working you’re in the mode of the project being most important. The intensity is driving it. It’s an emotional journey.
MC: When you do a film like this it can take an emotional toll on you. To be in that space day in and day out is draining. You have to be in that mental headspace. I was looking forward to doing something fun afterward.
Q: Morris, you are executive producing and starring in the movie. How was that experience?
MC: It wasn’t my first time. It’s always a good experience. To not just be an actor in front of the camera, but to work behind. To be able to have some type of input into the overall process beyond just being an actor is something that I’ve been continually trying to do more and more or each time out. It was cool.
Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall
Q: What was the attraction for doing this movie?
MC: It felt different. It was unique in its voice.
Q: Was your character naïve?
RH: I think that her desire for a child – overrode anything else. Sometimes your sixth sense as a woman sometimes doesn’t kick in. Human beings are complex. The movie explores that. Sometimes life goes in a direction no one planned.
Q: Shooting in a wonderful city like New Orleans. How does the city impact your character?
RH: New Orleans felt like a character in the movie. What’s amazing about the city is the cuisine and how they express themselves. It played an important part for both of us.
Q: What was it like working with Jaz Sinclair?
MC: I thought it was great. Watching Jaz and how she approached the job at her age – if her character isn’t convincing, the movie falls apart. Her professionalism –it was a great experience.
Q: Some actors don’t like their movies being described as black films. What goes into your decision to star in a particular film?
MC: I like to start on the material, the script. Hollywood never starts out to make a bad movie. It’s all about the execution. Black films and black projects – it is a challenge. I wish they would just look at films for what they are. I wish it didn’t have that label. That being said, I’m fortunate to work in Hollywood and to do films.
Q: What has been the key to your success?
RH: Looking for and picking the right parts and working with great people and to pick material you connect with – and doing the work.
MC: Longevity in Hollywood. One of the things I feel is an element of success is - you have to be courteous and respectful of people you work with. You sit around people for 14 hours a day, you don’t want tension or conflict.
Q: 25 years since Boyz N The Hood. Best advice from doing that film?
MC: It really went so fast. No one really gave me advice. I would always ask Cube questions, but it was questions about the industry. When we came out the trailer at the same time he would go back in because I would ask him so many questions.
When The Bough Breaks is in theaters nationwide September 9.
Running time: 1h 47m, RATED: PG-13