Set to arrive March 9, 2012, Tim Story’s Think Like a Man adapts Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” into a narrative tale of couples at different stages in their love lives. When the men (all best friends) learn that their significant others have been reading the book, they team to brace against the book’s effects.
This past summer, ComingSoon.net visited Culver City High School where one of the scenes in the film was being shot. In it, several of the tale’s leading men bond over their regular game of basketball. A combination of comedic and dramatic actors, Story embraced the low-key setting to let the talent improvise and joke around as they played, hopefully delivering a natural fluidity to the final cut.
After a bit of shooting, the film’s male leads–Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Hart, Terrence J, Romany Malco and Gary Owen–spoke a bit about their characters, their interactions on set and how both the book and the film relate to their own real-world relationships.
You can check out their thoughts below and catch the recently released theatrical trailer by clicking here.
Q: Can each of you talk a little about who your character is and their relationship situation in the film?
Terrence J:: I play Michal Hanover, who is dating Candace, who is played by Regina Hall. Michael is a momma’s boy. He’s still a strong, confident guy and very funny and he’s pretty much perfect at dating and is good in relationships, except for the relationship that he has with his mother. You kind of see him grow and develop as a man and kind of break out of some of those things. Besides that, he’s a really nice guy.
Romany Malco: I play the character of Zeke. I’m a player. I’m intelligent and successful, but he has serious issues with vulnerability. He’s missing something, which he doesn’t realize in the beginning, but suddenly realizes it. He’s met someone that’s worth being vulnerable for. That transition is a difficult one for him, but he ends up going all out to win her over. I’m pretty sure that this movie will solidify Steve Harvey’s legacy in a way that nothing else will ever solidify. Unless he gets busted for something strange. (laughs)
Jerry Ferrara: I’m playing a character named Jeremy, who’s dating a character named Kristen, who’s played by Gabrielle Union, who does an amazing job. My character is the non-committer. They’ve been dating for nine years and not much has really changed since they first met. He still loves his action figures and his animated characters and video games. He’s kind of just stuck. He likes things the way they are. I guess it’s kind of shocking that he even made it the nine years. The Kristen character is at that breaking point. That’s where the book comes into play with her. She’s trying to flip it back onto Jeremy to step it up and give her that coveted ring she’s looking for. It’s kind of like a mini “Lord of the Rings,” except she’s the only walking around looking for the ring.
Michael Ealy: I play a character named Dominic and my love interest is played by Taraji P. Henson. I’m basically the dreamer. I’m the guy who has all these dreams about what he wants to do with his life, but ultimately doesn’t know how to execute them. He ultimately finds his muse in Lauren. At that point, he finds the necessary tools to execute his dreams and, at the same time, finds love because he’s somewhat of a hopeless romantic.
Kevin Hart: I play Cedric Rodriguez. He’s basically a man who was married and is now going through a divorce. Through the divorce, I’ve developed somewhat of a black heart towards relationships. It’s not in a way that I’m vindictive towards woman, but I just have a different opinion of what relationships are. Because all of my friends were single and are now headed towards building committed relationships, my advice isn’t the best advice for them. But throughout the movie, I start to realize that the way I think and the way that I’ve been thinking may not be right. I decide that maybe I had a good thing. Maybe marriage was for me. I decide to go and get my marriage back. But it’s after me becoming a loose cannon, going in all the wrong directions. Strip clubs and women and not sleeping in my own place. Not really developing my life. Trying to live through these guys.
Gary Owen: I play Bennett. He’s the happily married guy. He’s kind of the outsider looking in at the group. He’s that guy that they can pick on me, but if anybody else tried to pick on me, they’d probably jump the guy. I’m rooting for them. I’m genuinely happy for all their relationships and really want them all to work out. I’m blinded by love and am so in love with my wife. I just want them to have that feeling that I have in my relationship. I really root for these guys, almost to a point where it’s scary.
Q: When the book came out, it was very popular. Did you feel the impact of women reading it?
J: I thought when the book came out, it was actually a good thing. A lot of times when you’re explaining something to your significant other or explaining something to a girl, they think that you’re the only one who feels a certain way. When Steve put the book out, he put it from his perspective. You have something to look at. Almost like, “Here’s proof that I’m not the only guy who thinks like this!” In my case, I tell women all the time that I can’t really commit until I’m where I want to be with my career. That’s one of Steve’s biggest chapters. I would always point to that with women and say, “Look, Steve just broke it down. Read this chapter.” That’s been something that I’ve told women as kind of a base point of a relationship. Definitely, it has had an impact.
Owen: I don’t know. I thought it was fun that my wife’s been with me through my whole career. She’s taking the journey with me. That’s one good thing about hitting a certain level. I know that, if my wife’s down with me, it ain’t because of what I’ve got.
Hart: The women I deal with don’t read, so it didn’t have an impact on my life. (laughs) It’s kind of hard for me to answer that question. I wish the book had more pictures!
Ealy: I can’t say I’ve ever met a woman who has read the book and tried to live by it, but I have met a lot of women out in LA who have been to therapy. It seems kind of the equivalent.
Ferrara: I think that, if I have encountered a woman who has read it, she has not admitted it to me that she’s read it. I think that maybe it’s not something that a woman would tell a man. It’s kind of like “Hey, I read this book and you’re doing this, this and this!” It’s kind of like their little secret. If I have felt the impact, I haven’t realized it yet.
Malco: I don’t believe I’ve ever dated a woman who has read the book. I’m actually reading the book now. My godsister read the book and she insisted that it was a game-changer. What I realized from what I’m reading so far is that it implements a lot of ideas that I think I kind of intuitively understood, but never really was able to articulate. And the book articulates it like no one else really ever has. At least not in my 32 years of existence.
Q: Do you think that men really want a woman who thinks like a man?
Hart: I would say yes. Because if a woman thinks like a man, that means she can understand a man. If you can understand a man, you can understand a man’s ups and downs. If you understand a man’s ups and downs, a relationship can only be up. That’s the best answer you’ll hear today.
Ealy: I think it’s actually kind of impossible for a woman to think like a man, but it would be great if she could appreciate some of the things that a man appreciates like sports and quiet.
Ferrara: I agree kind of with what Kevin was saying. It’s more about understanding, but I also think that life would be kind of boring if all women thought like men and didn’t think like women. I think the dynamic between men and women would be really boring. I think the fun and adventure of it all is that it’s two different mindsets. That’s the second best answer today.
Malco: I don’t know, but I know that I’m damned sure I ain’t getting with no woman who thinks like me. That’s a wrap. It’ll never happen. No thank you. I don’t want no woman who thinks like me.
J: Yeah, I don’t think you want a woman who thinks like you, but you want a woman who understands you. I think that’s what the book is about and that’s what the movie plays off of. The intention is for women to have a better understanding of how we think, but somewhere along the lines, they end up thinking a bit too much like us and that’s where the problems arise.
Malco: You talk so deep!
J: No, I’m trying to focus! I’m trying to sell some movie tickets over here! Stay focused on the task.
Q: How much time does the movie cover? Do we see a lot of the relationships develop throughout the film?
Hart: It’s about six weeks to two months. Maybe more like three, even.
Q: Is there much room for improv? It looked like you were having some fun playing basketball earlier.
Hart: The good thing about this cast that I can speak on everybody’s behalf is, we’ve got a great group of guys. We kind of feed off of one another. It’s not just about being funny, but also about making the scene make sense. That’s one thing that we’ve all taken pride in since we started the project. Every scene we go into is about trying to make it better. We feed off one another. The great thing about Tim Story is that he allows us to play and he takes our feedback about what the script is and our ideas. Constructively, we all put them together and come back with something better in the end.
Malco: Yeah, and I’ve never been on a job where the script was 100%. You’re always rewriting until the very last day in some instances. We’re very lucky that we have a strong foundation on this one and a lot of people on the set who have very strong intuition. With the exception of [producer] Will Packer. (laughs) Will is complicated and he wears those little pink and lavender shirts and then he tries to be hard.
Owen: But the good thing about it is, there’s a good balance. Mike is a more seasoned, dramatic actor. Then there’s more comedic actors and Tim trusts everyone’s instincts. You hired a comedian, trust his instincts about where he can go with a scene.
Malco: In fact, Mike is usually egging on the comedians.
Q: Mike, this is your second film with William Packer. What is it about these projects that keeps you two working together?
Ealy: Money! (laughs) Each script presents a different challenge. I had never tried to do a romantic comedy. I recently shot a pilot that was my first attempt at comedy. This was more about timing. This allowed me to continue going down this comedy route, working with comedians I love. When I did “Takers,” I just needed to do something in an action movie. The timing just worked out. I had just come off doing “Seven Pounds.” I had done serious drama, I just wanted to do some action.
Q: What’s the common thread between all of you as friends in the film?
Ferrara: We all play basketball weekly, so we’re really close friends. We all go to the same bar. A couple of us went to college together. A couple of people are godfathers of people’s children. We’re all very close friends.
Q: How did you incorporate your real-life experiences into your characters?
Hart: Well, I’m going through a divorce for real.
Owen: And I’m happily married for real.
Malco: I’ve got a real issue with vulnerability. I’ve been in 17 relationships in the last year.
Ealy: I always date dreamers.
Ferrara: I haven’t put rings on fingers in my life, much.
Malco: I will tell you one thing, though. Since this book, I’ve discovered standards for myself that I never even gave a thought to before.
J: Are you saying you’re now thinking like a man but acting like a lady?
Malco: I think I’m thinking like a lady and acting like a man.
Think Like a Man hits theaters on March 9, 2012.