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INTERVIEW: THINK LIKE A MAN TOO’s Regina Hall & Terrence J

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Director Tim Story’s THINK LIKE A MAN TOO opens in theaters next Friday on June 20. The film is the follow-up to the hit ensemble comedy THINK LIKE A MAN, which Story also directed and earned over $96 million at the worldwide box office.

In the sequel, which was inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man, all the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas. But plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.

Screen Gems’ THINK LIKE A MAN TOO reunites the original cast, including Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Regina Hall, Gabrielle Union, Terrence J and Taraji P. Henson.

As part of a lively roundtable discussion, WAMG sat down with two of the film’s stars, Regina Hall and Terrence J to talk about the sequel.

Sony Pictures "THINK LIKE A MAN TOO" St. Louis Red Carpet Screening With Regina Hall And Terrence J
PHOTO BY: Whitney Curtis. © 2014 Getty Images. All Rights Reserved.

Regina Hall plays single mom, Candace. Candace is a woman who gives everything to her 6-year-old son, Duke. She finally mastered the art of integrating a relationship with her responsibilities as a single mother and met Michael, who wants all the things she has to offer. Then she realizes he’s already taken – by his mama. Michael mans up, cuts the cord and dedicates himself to her, and they are now engaged. But his mother, Loretta, still not a fan of Candace being with her son, continues to be a thorn in her side. While in Vegas, Loretta and Candace face off and once again, Michael has to make a decision.

Hall landed her first studio feature with a small part in the film The Best Man. She left a lasting impression on viewers with her portrayal of the character Candy and co-starred in the sequel, Best Man Holiday, in 2013.

She has also had supporting roles in Love & Basketball and Disappearing Acts.  Adding comedy to her repertoire, Hall’s career further expanded when she won the part of high-school-aged Brenda Meeks, in the comedy-horror spoof Scary Movie.  After starring in all sequels of the Scary Movie franchise, she’s appeared in leading roles in such films as Think Like a Man, Paid In Full, Malibu’s Most Wanted, First Sunday and more.

She has also starred alongside Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler in the blockbuster thriller Law Abiding Citizen, and starred opposite Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence in Death at a Funeral.

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Terrence J plays mama’s boy, Michael.

Endearingly handsome with earnest eyes and a rare combination of masculinity and sensitivity, Michael is seemingly the perfect guy.  The only problem was his commitment to one woman above all others – his mama.  But Michael grew up, cut the cord and stepped up for his woman, Candace, and makes the ultimate commitment, marriage.

He travels to Las Vegas with his band of brothers and their significant others for his bachelor party and wedding weekend.  His intention is to have a great weekend with his friends.

However, Michael’s best man, Cedric, has elaborate plans that may threaten the most important day of his life.

Sony Pictures "THINK LIKE A MAN TOO" St. Louis Red Carpet Screening With Regina Hall And Terrence J
PHOTO BY: Whitney Curtis © 2014 Getty Images. All Rights Reserved.

Terrence J is a television and film actor, philanthropist, author and TV host.  Terrence co-anchors E! NEWS.

Jenkins had a huge 2013 with roles in the Fox Searchlight feature film Baggage Claim, alongside Paula Patton, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Luke, Taye Diggs, Jill Scott, and Christina Milian and Jenkins also appeared alongside Chris Brown, Josh Holloway and Josh Peck in the Screen Gems feature Battle of the Year.

After signing a book deal with HarperCollins’ It Books, Terrence’s first literary work, The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom, debuted in September 2013. His role as Michael inspired him to take an in-depth look at his own mother and her extraordinary journey of raising him while still a teenager herself. Many of the successful moments in Terrence’s life, both personally and professionally, have been credited to the lessons that his mother taught him, and he’s proud to share her words of wisdom to inspire others.

Terrence is also a spokesperson for Ronald McDonald’s House Charities Future Achievers Scholarship Campaign, a mentor with Steve Harvey’s Disney Dreamers Academy and an avid supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark.  Born in Queens, New York, Jenkins spent his childhood years in Rocky Mount, N. C., and received a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast journalism from North Carolina A&T University.

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The two of them arrived with lunch for us from the St. Louis restaurant Sweeties and during our meal (cornbread, BBQ, okra and dessert), Regina and Terrence talked about reuniting for the film, revisiting their characters and being a part of one of this summer’s funniest movies.

What do you like best about the movie?

Terrence J: We didn’t take it too far. We did have fun with it.

Regina Hall: It’s a good family movie. You can take your Mom and kids to see it.

It captures that, “In Vegas anything can go wrong” feeling, but it doesn’t capture some of the stuff you wouldn’t want your family to see.

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Jenifer Lewis is from St. Louis.  How was it like working with her?

Terrence J:  Jenifer plays my Mom and plays “Candace’s” arch-enemy. She’s brilliant and one of the veterans on our cast.  She’s a team leader. We learned a lot from her and she’s hilarious. She’s played everyone’s mother in films – from Angela Bassett to Will Smith to Tupac Shakur.  In between takes, she would tell us these amazing stories of being on the set with Tupac on his first film and what Will Smith was like at 22. Jenifer is just an incredibly strong woman.

What was it like getting back together again? In the movie, it doesn’t look like you skipped a beat.

TJ: The good thing is that everybody loves each other – it was like coming home from a summer break. It felt good to be back with the cast and everyone has done so well since the first movie. Kevin Hart has turned into one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood. Regina’s been working nonstop with 3 or 4 films.  Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson, everybody has been working. Jerry Ferrara has been working on the ENTOURAGE movie. I’ve been with E! News. So everyone’s been working. It was such a joyous occasion. We were in one of the greatest cities in America – Vegas was so fun.

What stories do you have Regina from THINK LIKE A MAN TOO?

RH: It was a great shoot, but you’re in Vegas and we had to film when places were closed, like at 3 or 4 am. You’re getting hair and makeup at 1:30 am. We had to wait for places to close. There’s a strip club scene that we couldn’t shoot in until 5am, so we had these small windows in which to film. To see those places when they’re empty – it’s an interesting phenomenon. No one’s around, no one is drinking. No traffic.  It was an interesting experience to be in Vegas when there’s nothing going on. It was reverse of a city that’s known for so many things.

What was your favorite scene in the movie?

RH: I loved seeing how every scene played out after reading the script, especially the ones between me and Jenifer. Terrence came with so much emotion. He was so mad at her. It was really wonderful to watch.

TJ: My favorite part of the movie is a part that they guys are not even in. It’s where they sing this version of “Poison”

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In the film, Sonia (LaLa Anthony), Mya (Meagan Good), Lauren (Taraji P. Henson), Candace (Regina Hall), Kristen (Gabrielle Union) and Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey) do their best rendition of BBD’s hit sing ‘Poison’ for the crowd at Planet Hollywood’s Gallery Nightclub.  It ‘s hilarious and could be a stand alone music video.

RH: I read in the script – “The girls go up and sing “Poison”. Then we’re told we’d have to go into a studio to record it. And we did it over and over. We had a vocal coach. I’m thinking how are we going to do this?

TJ: All the script said was, “The boys are at the pool and the girls are at a strip club singing “Poison”. You don’t even think about it – it’s just words on a page.

Tim (Story) came up with it the morning of – the day we were shooting it. It was like a competition between the guys and the girls. Everyday we’d come on set. We’d see the girls walking through the lobby and would tell them, “we just shot video at the pool that’s gonna kill you” and they’d come back with, “yeah, we just shot Poison in a strip club!” What’s that?!  And then you watch the movie and think OH MY GOD! The girls just kill the guys in this movie. Hands down, they murder us.

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In the first movie, the guys were all together and the girls weren’t. What was it like to be all together in this movie in Vegas?

RH: It was so much fun. I really got to know all the women on set. They’re all so funny and smart.  It was just so great.

Working with Tim Story (director) again proved especially appealing. He is the best. There’s just this freedom that he allows you, which makes you more confident as an actor, especially comedically. We couldn’t ask for anything better.

Who could you relate to the most?

TJ: I really love the 5 characters in the film. Any young man, like myself, who thought they were a player with the right girl, and I’ve been called out on things in the past. A first job, a girlfriend, your relationship with your Mom, sticking by your friends – I can relate to all these things and to these characters. It’s what’s so unique and special about the movie.

What’s the one thing you hope audiences take away from the movie?

RH: The heart of the relationships. It’s really about the friendships. I love how the men in the movie are all so different. It’s such a diverse cast. The movie looks like life and the way we deal with each other and how special those bonds are.

TJ: Sometimes with movies, they formulate these contrived friendships that don’t seem realistic where, oh, here’s the token black friend with white people or here’s the token white person we’re putting into this film. It’s not like that. In real life, black people and white people are friends.

RH: You see where “Michael” and his friends – you see why they’re such good friends.

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This was your first major role as a lead. How was that transition?

TJ: Do we look like the leads in this film?

It’s not Kevin (Hart), it’s you. It’s your story. You’re the catalyst.

RH: We’ve been hearing that a lot. We never thought that.

TJ: You watch THE HANGOVER movie and the people getting married, they’re not the leads – it’s more like Bradley Cooper. It’s hard for me to look at it like that. I’m just so blessed to work with Regina and I admire her work so much. She’s just so professional and such a lady.

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In another funny scene, the women travel to The Hustler Club for Candace’s bachelorette party not knowing that Cedric (Kevin Hart) and the guys are preparing to take the stage as male strippers (and in full costume) to clear a debt.

A comical knock-down, drag out fight ensues with both the men and the women involved.

How much fun is the big skirmish at Hustler?

TJ and RH: That was so much fun!

RH: It went on a lot longer than what you see on screen. Plus we hadn’t seen their costumes either. It was so much fun filming the jail scenes.

When you watch all these scenes, you realize the actors are really in it.

TJ: I was hoping we’d shoot the scene – with us in costume, up on stage – like in a dream sequence, so that we could add to the end of the movie while the credits were rolling.

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You’ve been a part of Wayans Brothers SCARY MOVIE franchise as well as BEST MAN HOLIDAY. What do you like about these big ensemble films?

RH: I love that I’ve gotten to learn from so many people. I started kind of late and getting to work with the Wayans was so interesting. I never thought of myself as comedic, so having a part in BEST MAN was a learning experience.

Being with a large group of actors in a film feels very safe. You get to learn from the rest of the cast. There’s no pressure, so it’s been really delightful. If the movie does well, you’re part of that.

TJ: If it does well, great. If it doesn’t, we can blame Kevin.

THINK LIKE A MAN opens in theaters June 20, 2014.

This film is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for the following reasons: crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material.

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Huge passion for film scores, Lives for the Academy Awards, Loves movie trailers.

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