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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 together."

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 matter what."

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 party."

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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