ABOUT LAST NIGHT
About The Casting
When it came time to flesh out the roles of the four leads, the filmmakers
knew that casting was of paramount importance. "A film like this is all about
casting," argues Packer. "We have great material, but it's truly brought to life
by the right actors."
They began their search to find actors that could create nuanced characters
beyond the page that would resonate with audiences. "We needed the right actors
that understood the tone of the material and could add depth," says Packer.
"These characters are real emotional, thinking and feeling beings and we needed
the right actors to put their own stamp on these characters and work well
The filmmakers didn't have to search far. Excited by the prospect of
reuniting several cast members from Think Like A Man, Packer hand-picked a
select few he felt would perfectly embody the four singles. For the role of
Danny, a man on the rebound from heartbreak who's ready to learn how to love
again, Packer knew actor Michael Ealy would bring the passion and commitment
needed to embody this complex character. "Mike is a consummate professional,
he's always going to be the most prepared actor on set and have everything
figured out," says Packer. "He's a very cerebral actor and is somebody that
always adds his own texture and layer to his characters, something that you
didn't necessarily expect."
Upon first reading the script, Ealy appreciated the candid picture painted of
the true nature of relationships, from the thrill of hooking up to the work
required to maintain a healthy connection. "Most movies gloss over some of the
real issues that couples faces, some of the quirks and little intricacies that
tend to complicate relationships," explains Ealy. "This film confronts the
realities and takes us inside to see a much more in-depth version of what a
relationship really looks like."
Although the role is steeped in romantic moments, Ealy enjoyed portraying a
character not heavily romanticized; a man with flaws and vulnerabilities.
"Danny's a good guy, but like most of us, he's very human and makes some
mistakes. He pursues new love haphazardly, doesn't always think things through
entirely and can be a little selfish and I really enjoyed playing a real guy."
For the role of Bernie, Danny's loud-mouthed best-friend and consummate
bachelor, Packer knew that comedy superstar Kevin Hart would embrace the role
and run with it. "Kevin is somebody who is always going to give you more than
you ask for. He will give you exactly what you've asked for and give you ten
other equally as brilliant options, some of which you may or may not be able to
use," laughs Packer.
Hart was intrigued by the challenge to make Bernie a likeable character that
audiences would connect to and want to root for despite his antics. "There was a
certain vulgar sense to this character, from his sexual practices, language and
aggressive personality, that was different for me, but the fun comes in making
this guy likeable despite all that," explains Hart. "He does a lot of crazy
stuff and is a bit of a mess, but you root for this guy and the changes he makes
as the story develops are amazing."
In addition to his formidable comedic presence, Hart was able to bring a
depth beyond the one-liners and comedic moments. "Kevin is extremely quick and
has amazing improvisational skills, but at the same time, like all great comedic
talents, he is also able to channel dramatic intentions for a dramatic
portrayal," comments Packer.
In the film, Danny and Bernie share what can be considered an all-American
male relationship; they are lifelong buddies who work together, go to bars and
drink together, pick up women together and throughout the years have seen women
come and go. The lines between art and life were blurred when it came to the
chemistry between Michael Ealy and Kevin Hart, who forged a close bond while
working together on Think Like A Man. "Mike is a good friend of mine and I think
audiences will experience that through our characters," says Hart. "We are able
to bring out the best in each other and I don't think I would have wanted to do
this with anyone else. Mike's a good dude."
Ealy shares the sentiment. "Kevin and I have grown a rhythm with each other
whereby we can look at a scene and it becomes a blueprint. We're both going to
improve and have a natural back and forth and have a lot of fun, which is the
best thing you can ask for during the long hours. There's no version of not
laughing on this set with Kevin Hart around."
For the role of Debbie, the beautiful and successful businesswoman who
uncharacteristically lets her guard down and falls hard for Danny, talented
actress Joy Bryant was cast. "I thought the script was great," says Bryant. "The
people who love About Last Night, they keep it in a special place in their
heart. Ours is a modern interpretation of that, and also funny as hell. Ours is
definitely a romantic comedy. I love the fact that they added more comedic
elements to this version, so that it can stand on its own."
In Debbie, Bryant sought to convey a modern woman looking for love, but also
trying to strike that balance between career and human connection. Says Bryant,
"Debbie is obviously committed to work, but I don't know - it's pretty awesome
when you sort of get totally blindsided by the magic and power of love. In order
to enjoy life, you have to give up some type of control. So her transformation
is starting out as this person who is very guarded, and who gets blindsided by
this handsome stranger, and goes on this journey. And that's life, you know?"
Says Packer, "Joy is passionate about her work and brings a great energy to
the set. She's a perfectionist and always wants to give as much as she can no
When casting the roles of Danny and Debbie, it was incredibly important to
find two actors who shared an organic chemistry that audiences could connect and
relate to. Luckily there was no shortage of this great energy between Ealy and
Bryant. "Joy and I met right before we began shooting and I immediately knew we
were going to be all right, we had a natural chemistry together, it was all
there," recalls Ealy. "We had a really strong understanding of where these
characters were and where they were going, and I couldn't ask for anything more
from a co-star."
Bryant affirms that she and Ealy hit it off better than she could have hoped.
"I couldn't ask for a better partner on screen," says Bryant. "You know when
they say about chemistry, that off the jump some people just get along? That
makes things so much easier. When it came to our chemistry, it just pops because
we genuinely dig each other. There's respect."
Rounding out the ensemble, Regina Hall was cast as Joan, Debbie's passionate
and forthright best friend and roommate. who is not afraid to tell her truth and
call it like she sees it. A huge departure from the role she played in Think
Like A Man, the character of Joan gave Hall the opportunity to venture into new
territory. "I loved playing someone who really lives through her emotions,"
explains Hall. "Joan is full of fire but there's something behind it. She's not
the girl who's just sassy or angry for no reason. At her core she's actually
very happy and fun-loving. She has a big range of emotions that are a bit more
complex, and that was a lot of fun for me."
While those on set marveled at Hall's transformation into this wild and
outspoken character, co-star Kevin Hart purports to have a different side of the
story. "Here's the truth, and I've known her a long time -- that's the real
Regina. Loud, doesn't respect her man, says whatever she wants, puts her man
down when she should put him up, truth is, Regina is just the worst thing
walking," jokes Hart. "But at the end of the day, just like Joan, her loyalty is
what makes her character amazing and when she says she's going to ride with you,
she'll be there."
A volatile relationship to say the least, the connection between Bernie and
Joan is less a slow burn than a whiplash-inducing roller coaster. The fire these
two characters ignite is palpable and while it brings heat into the bedroom, it
makes for quite a mess in the real world when elements of a traditional
relationship begin to take shape. Joan loves without reserve and Bernie panics,
which results in a break-up that perfectly encapsulates their personalities:
loud, messy, passionate and ridiculous. "Bernie and Joan are like a car wreck
that you can't take your eyes off of," explains Will Packer. "But I think most
people know a couple like Bernie and Joan. They're the people that you don't
want to invite to the dinner party because you know they're going to end up
breaking stuff and storming out early, but they're always the life of the
Hall agrees. "I think we all know a couple like Bernie and Joan who are
equally as dysfunctional as they are passionate and their fights certainly
provide a lot of humor. Bernie and Joan are on volume ten all the time and can
go from zero to ten in thirty seconds, and within a brief moment can go from
talking to all out yelling."
The dynamic between Kevin Hart and Regina Hall perfectly captured the magic
intensity found in these characters. Hall surprised everyone with her ability to
keep up note for note with Hart's sharp one-liners and improved snipes. "Working
with Regina has been a blessing; she keeps up and is never lost and there were
times we really went there," laughs Hart. "I don't care how far we went off
script, she was right there and we always found a way back to the page to bring
a scene back to reality. It's truly been one of the best experiences I've had
working with a co-star."
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