‘Best Man Holiday’ revives Morris Chestnut’s lure

By Jessica Herndon | 11/22/2013, 6 a.m.
Back in 2012, while filming "The Best Man Holiday,’’ Morris Chestnut and Nia Long became increasingly nostalgic.
Morris Chestnut, Nia Long and the entire original cast of "The Best Man’’ _ Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall, Monica Calhoun and Melissa De Sousa _ return in the Christmas-themed ``The Best Man Holiday,’’ now playing.

He’s since appeared in films like "Think Like a Man,’’ "Identity Thief’’ and "Ladder 49,’’ and on TV shows such as "V,’’ "American Horror Story’’ and "Nurse Jackie.’’ But he still fights for roles.

"It’s a never-ending story,’’ said Chestnut, who admires the talent of "Best Man’’ co-star Howard.

"He’s a different cat,’’ Chestnut said of the Oscar-nominated actor. "We call Terrence the beautiful mind because sometimes a person can be so brilliant that it is hard for them to stay focused. ... When you say `action’ he is so phenomenally present, but when you say 'cut,’ he is phenomenally detached.’’

As Lance, the devoted football star in "The Best Man Holiday,’’ Chestnut "had to have his poker face on and cracks in the armor,’’ said Lee. "He played all of that beautifully. He was extremely serious.’’

Yet he couldn’t evade his hunky habits. The 44-year-old, who lost 30 pounds for the part, goes shirtless in the film.

"We didn’t shoot that scene until the second to last week of production!’’ said Chestnut. "Maintaining a diet and exercise routine at my age is a lot. I couldn’t cheat.’’

But it was all in a day’s work. "This movie was fun and emotional,’’ said Chestnut. "To be able to go deep into this character and see my development as an actor at this stage in my career - 20 years in - I’m very fortunate for that.’’