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THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY

Take It to Church: Music and Choreography
It wouldn't be a Best Man movie without a signature soundtrack and killer moves. To make sure the cast was ready, the filmmakers chose seasoned choreographer JAMAL SIMS (Footloose, Step Up Revolution) to prepare the male castmembers for a scene in which Harper, Lance, Murch and Quentin entertain Robyn, Jordan, Mia, Candace and Shelby by dancing to New Edition's "Can You Stand the Rain."

Lee sets up the scene that has its roots in his lip-synching days at Georgetown: "After dinner, Mia tells the guys that they're not going to have dessert until they do 'air band.' This catches them by surprise. She has the jackets, hats and outfits they had circa 1991, and they're going to perform this number they did back in college. It's a great thrill for them, as well as for the wives who never saw their husbands in this light."

For the stage-trained Diggs, learning the choreography was worth the effort. He shares: "It was not easy for any of us, so we were just so proud of ourselves when we got it down. It was one of the best shooting days for me. There was so much energy, and nobody had to act. We were sweating; the girls were screaming. It was a good time."

For his part, Chestnut laughs that he could've used just a few more days: "I wanted a month of rehearsals because I wanted to get the moves down pat." According to Lathan, he had no reason to worry about his performance. She tells: "We were crying with laughter and joy! First of all, the guys can dance. All the girls were saying, 'I'm glad we didn't have a dance scene,' because we wouldn't have been able to do it. They really went for it. I can't wait to be in the audience when this scene comes on because people are going to go crazy."

The cast and crew got to experience another scene that will undoubtedly be the topic of much discussion. The day featured hundreds of extras, multiple cameras and singers ANTHONY HAMILTON and MARSHA AMBROSIUS with their take of Stevie Wonder's iconic song "As." Lee explains that this was an intentional, full-circle moment: "In The Best Man, we featured Stevie Wonder's 'As,' which is one of the greatest love songs made, but it's an up-tempo song, celebratory. We used it with Harper and Jordan, and it became very much associated with the film."

While Lee had partnered with the multitalented Hamilton for the soundtrack of Soul Men, this was his first time working with Ambrosius, whose voice he describes as "incredible and soaring." The day proved extremely busy and emotional, as each department exerted maximum effort to honor this critical aspect of the story. Being on a film set was relatively new for Hamilton and Ambrosius. However, they agree that it was a welcome challenge. Shares Ambrosius: "Just watching the reaction of the characters during the scene makes you feel the emotion that much more. Singing a song like 'As' meant so much."

Between the singing and the heightened emotions, there wasn't a dry eye on set. The whole crew was extremely focused, and the entire cast was moved by the performance, which made it a day to remember. Perrineau shares: "Anthony and Marsha were astounding. They both have really well-crafted voices. We were just amazed that those sounds could come out of them. They were there the whole day and being great take after take. This is going to be one of those scenes that you won't easily forget."

His director agrees with the actor's assessment. Adds Lee: "I knew that when we got to this scene that I wanted to have something that was going to be emotional and strip that song down. These two tremendous voices made it very simple, just with strings and a piano. I have to say, I've never been on a set where crew members are crying during the performance of a song. They took it to church with their rendition of 'As.'"

In addition to the work of Ambrosius and Hamilton, the soundtrack to The Best Man Holiday is filled with re-imaginings of old favorites and new ones, just in time for the season. With holiday-themed tunes from J. Blige's "This Christmas," Monica's rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Mario's "at Christmas," Fantasia's "What Christmas Means to Me" and Jordin Sparks' "Christmastime to Me," not to mention Emeli Sande's take on "Wonderland," Ne-Yo's "Want to Come Home for Christmas" and Jayda Brown & Jasmine Watkins' version of "O Holy Night," the soundtrack offers up platinum-selling and award-winning artists who bring their signature vocals to beloved songs.>{? "I am a firm believer that music is essential to the entirety of a filmgoing experience. The Best Man Holiday soundtrack is no exception," ends Lee. "Thesongs listed here not only make up the fabric of the movie, but manyserved as inspiration to the creation of the screenplay. With acombination of new R&B tunes and Christmas classics by contemporaryartists, this is the soundtrack I heard accompanying this movie.I hopeaudiences enjoy it this holiday season and every year."

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