'About Last Night'
By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 1/31/2014, 10:09 a.m.
ATLANTA – If we are witnessing the rebirth of black cinema, then Will Packer is quickly becoming one of the leaders of the new era.
The rising movie producer, still milking record-breaking earnings from “Think Like a Man” (2012) and “Ride Along” (2014), served as moderator for the roundtable gathering at Strip restaurant Mon., Jan. 27 in Atlanta, with actors Michael Ealy (“Almost Human”) and Regina Hall (“The Best Man Holiday”), who star in Packer’s new romantic comedy film “About Last Night,” which opens Valentine’s Day weekend (Feb. 14).
“This is kind of a second wave, a renaissance for black films,” Ealy said to the press. “I even go as far as to take credit— I feel ‘Think Like a Man’ just spawned it.”
There were a slew of films green-lit within a month after ‘Think Like a Man’ opened so strong. And now, with “Ride Along” pushing past the $100 million mark in theaters, Packer aims to hit another homerun with “About Last Night.”
“Hollywood is a revenue-driven business,” Packer explained. “There is an economic imperative. The bottom line is that if a movie makes money, some other filmmaker has a chance to make a film that is like that.”
Packer’s latest comedic offering, which set in Los Angeles, follows a group of 30-somethings, led by Danny (played by Ealy) who is a charming but mild-mannered man with an unfulfilling job. He confides in his best friend and co-worker Bernie (played by comedian Kevin Hart), who invites him out to meet the wild and uncompromising Joan (played by Regina Hall), who Bernie hooked up with the night before, and who happens to be best friends with Debbie (played by Joy Bryant), a successful career-woman who gets more stimulation from work than her romances.
“What I love most about Danny is he’s a guy that doesn’t get the relationship thing right,” Ealy explained. “He’s flawed. That’s accurate for a lot of guys. It was accurate for me for a while. He’s also someone who wakes up and realizes, ‘I have a job; I don’t have a career.’ Those are the things that made him tangible and made me want to play him.”
But in a movie with lady’s man Michael Ealy and megastar comedian Kevin Hart, it was Regina Hall who made her character Joan and the movie her own.
“The biggest thing is that you have to make it a real person,” Hall said about making a character resonate with the audience. “[Joan’s] really unapologetic for what she is in her life. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s passionate. She’s a dentist.”
Hall has certainly come a long way since that titillating portrayal of Candice/Candy in “The Best Man.” The 43-year-old veteran has proven herself to be ageless, as well as impeccable with her comedic timing, from the “Scary Movie” franchise to “About Last Night.”
“My first role was a stripper,” Hall said, as laughter filled the room. “No one has asked me again to play a stripper and I’m offended.”