TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME
About The Production
For the cast of Two Can Play That Game, a comic battle of the sexes raged not only onscreen but off screen as well. Whether between takes, in their trailers or in conversation on various locations during production of the film, the cast and crew engaged in good-natured debate about whether all really is fair in love and war and shared how the romantic risk-taking performed by their characters parallels-their own lives.
"For me. what it's really all about is finding the soul mate in your life," says Vivica A. Fox, stars in Two Can Play... as
Shante. a sassy, confident woman who thinks she's got love — and men - all figured out. "All women want to find the right guy, but it can be difficult because sometimes you can attract the wrong guy and they throw you a sucker punch."
Fox, who celebrated her second wedding anniversary during production. said she's glad that the days of dating are behind her. "When I was dating, I was what you'd call a 'jerk magnet,"' she says. "When you start dating. everybody goes through a period of running into these types of guys. But my philosophy is that you've got to kiss a couple of frogs until you find your prince."
Two Can Play That Game marks the directorial debut of Mark Brown (co-writer of How To Be A Player) who wrote the script with Fox in mind.
"I had been after Vivica for about a year in regard to this role," said Brown, "and when we got the script to Screen Gems, the studio took an active role in getting her to play this part. She's an exceptional actress. The energy and layers that she gives to a part are incredible. I needed someone who could play Shante, this professional woman, and then turn things around and give me an edge. some attitude, when talking about her man.
The story is one. Brown admits, that is based not only on personal experience but also by watching how his sister handled certain aspects of her love life and how an ex-girlfriend handled him.
"I think that everyone understands stories about relationships, because the whole battle of the sexes happens not just in dating. but continues into marriage," Brown said. "The whole relationship dynamic is fascinating to me, and I liked the notion of a strong woman who through manipulation or charm has the skills to control a man. For me, the way to my heart is definitely through my stomach. But some of the other ways
I've been made to behave is when a woman doesn't return my phone calls or doesn't seem too eager to be with me. Then it makes you wonder, why not me?"
In addition to Fox. the cast of Two Can Play That Game includes a "Who's Who" of talented and popular African American actors including Wendy Raquel Robinson, Mo'Nique. Tamala Jones, Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut. Anthony Anderson. and a cameo appearance by Bobby Brown. Two Can Play That Game reunites several of the cast and filmmakers involved in Screen Gems' hit comedy, The Brothers, including Chestnut. Jones, Union. producers Doug McHenry and Paddy Cullen and director of photography Alexander Gruszynski.
"As a filmmaker, you get comfortable with certain actors, and these actors are very special," said McHenry. "I don't think it's good to discriminate against actors just because you've worked with them before. In fact, I think that's a strong reason to use them. Besides, these are two very different and very positive stories about African Americans that have implications and meaning for relationships regardless of a person's background."
For Tamala Jones, who plays another girlfriend, the emotional and sometimes confrontational Tracye, the script for Two Can Play That Game, actually gave her some ideas in the area of relationships.
"Tracye has a very short fuse, and Shante is trying to teach her how to tone it down, to use that
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