Principal photography has begun on Universal Pictures and Stuber/Parent Productions’ latest film, The Better Man. The comedy unites James Earl Jones and Martin Lawrence to play a father and son who share the screen with an all-star ensemble of actors from three generations. Malcolm D. Lee, who has previously brought The Best Man, Undercover Brother and Roll Bounce to the screen, directs from a screenplay he wrote.
In the film, Martin Lawrence stars as talk-show sensation Dr. RJ Stevens, who has shirked his simple Southern past and the awkward boy he used to be to dispense “you can do it” advice to millions of adoring fans. With a reality-series star on his arm and loads of cash in his pocket, there’s nothing he feels he hasn’t achieved.
Set against the backdrop of the deep south of today, The Better Man will shoot on locations in Louisiana including Shreveport, Minden and Bossier City. Joining Lawrence and Jones in the film are Margaret Avery as RJ’s mother, Mama Jenkins; Joy Bryant as RJ’s fiancee, Bianca; Louis C.K. as his producer, Marty; Michael Clarke Duncan as his big brother, Otis; Mike Epps as his sly cousin, Reggie; Mo’Nique as his smart-mouth sister, Betty; Nicole Ari Parker as his childhood crush, Lucinda; and Cedric the Entertainer as RJ’s childhood rival, Clyde.
When his parents request that he come home for their 50th wedding anniversary, RJ packs up his 10-year-old son and spoiled princess of a fiancee and heads back to his sleepy, Southern hometown. Ready to impress his down home kin with how much he’s changed, RJ will prove he’s not the walking disaster they used to pick on. At least, that’s the plan…
But as his crazy, lovable family reminds RJ of the kid he once was and the big-ego’d adult he has become, this superstar will take a hard look at the life he is living. Roscoe Junior might’ve felt teased, second best and laughed at as a child, but the love from home could be turning Dr. RJ into The Better Man.
Scott Stuber (The Break-Up, You, Me and Dupree), Mary Parent (Big Brothers, You, Me and Dupree) and Charles Castaldi serve as the film’s producers. Greg Gardiner (She’s the Man, Herbie Fully Loaded) is the film’s cinematographer; Bill Elliott (Epic Movie, Roll Bounce) serves as the production designer. The film’s editor is George Bowers (The Preacher’s Wife, A League of Their Own). The costume designer is Danielle Hollowell (Undercover Brother, The Best Man). The comedy is executive-produced by Timothy M. Bourne (ATL, Mr. 3000) and Lee.