Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs & Nia Long Interview For ‘The Best Man Holiday’
Throughout the years, there have been marriages, children and divorces among a close-knit group of college friends – not to mention all the love and heartbreak that accompany a life well lived – but the group has not been able to manage a proper get-together since Lance and Mia’s wedding 15 years ago. But that’s all about to be remedied. When the friends finally reunite over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and passionate romances to be reignited.
Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall reprise their much loved roles in ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ with Malcolm D. Lee returning to write and direct this sequel to his directorial debut. ‘The Best Man Holiday’ opens in the US on November 15th and in the UK on November 29th.
After 15 years you’re all back together for this film. How was that experience, especially given that I know you guys have kept in touch since the first film?
Nia Long: We had a great time. This is like a reunion, being together all in one place.
Taye Diggs: The whole process, even promoting it.
Nia Long: Yeah. And we all really do have an already established friendship; we’re not just saying that for the sake of the film. We all have grown up together in this business. For example, when somebody gets a job we’re like, “Awesome! Did you see such and such on that? Did you see that person on that?” I think that the original was Regina Hall’s first film and now she’s been in so many films and has many films coming up. She got a stripper start and look at her now (laughs).
Nia Long: (Laughs) Yeah.
Taye Diggs: And it’s a testament to the movie as well, and her twerking (laughs).
Sanaa Lathan: Taye is the twerk master by the way. He taught all the girls how to twerk.
Taye Diggs: I can teach you at a certain level… a certain high level!
Sanaa Lathan: We shot the movie and we had a blast, and actually they should have made a reality show of the behind-the-scenes because we had so much fun. But the truth is you do your job and you have a blast and you’re out, and that’s just the nature of being an actor. But it was so nice returning.
For me, ‘The Best Man Holiday’ is about friendship. The ups and downs of friendships, and the development of those relationships and individuals after 15 years. I can imagine that was something that was very relatable for each of you after the 15 year gap between films.
Sanaa Lathan: Yeah, and I think the fact that it was 15 years later was very helpful. Malcolm did a really good job of growing these characters up and it’s really believable, where every character is. In the film we all come together for a Christmas holiday…. and then the drama begins, when these nine people come together. And look at my character now, Robyn’s got a little bun in the oven! Robyn’s a successful chef now, but there’s still a part of her that’s a little unsure. She is a strong woman, but she puts a lot of her self-worth in her man. If he’s going through something, she’s going to go through it as well.
Taye Diggs: There’s a tension of people not quite keeping in contact with each other, there’s some sexual tension that still exists between certain characters, and then you’ve got people who went down different career paths. 15 years later, we were attracted to Malcolm’s idea of these characters simply experiencing life. They are all adults, and the idea of family has entered the picture. I thought Malcolm had an interesting take on the material, as opposed to some crazy, zany events that happen – like a road trip or a caper. These characters are just experiencing life. Careers have dipped, and there are peaks and valleys. You pick up on what their lives are like now.
And where do we find your character Nia?
Nia Long: Jordan is the director of programming at MSNBC, she’s a big shot, but she realizes there is something still missing in her life. She’s the last to commit to sharing her life with someone from their group, she’s seeing all of her friends move on and commit. The events in the movie catapult her into doing so. Jordan realizes there’s more to life than her BlackBerry, powerful position and Prada bag. It’s like a class reunion. You don’t know what to expect. You’re excited but it’s also a little scary.
Sanaa Lathan: And with those elements and with us all being under the same roof for a weekend, things happen (laughs).
Nia Long: Drama! You can expect laughter and love.
Taye Diggs: And a true holiday movie.
Sanaa Lathan: With hot sex (laughs).
Taye Diggs: A true holiday movie…. with hot sex!
Sanaa Lathan: But seriously, along with that goodness, the film is about true friendship and no matter what challenges friends go through, the love that you have for your friend will get you through to the other side. That’s depicted so well in the first film and again in this one.
And Taye, you get to show off some dancing skills….?
Taye Diggs: That was my favorite couple of days on set (laughs). It was great people, good music, dancing – it was fun. We only learned a smidgen of the choreography of the dancing, and we simplified it. From doing the choreography I gained a new respect for all of those groups that dance and sing at the same time. The movement and timing, it was difficult, I have to say – even as an expert twerker (laughs). But I enjoyed that challenge.
Nia Long: And we enjoyed watching it (laughs).
Sanaa Lathan: Indeed!
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