THE BEST MAN
About The Production
When producer Sam Kitt
first read Malcolm D. Lee's screenplay, he was moved by the universality of the
story of young adults coming of age and learning to embrace adulthood.
"I look for scripts with characters that I can relate to
emotionally," says Kitt, "and this film is about life and life's
dilemmas. These are upwardly-mobile people who are attempting to get through
their lives by adding closure to open wounds. We spend most of our lives
obsessed with relationships, so this is something we all can relate to."
For Lee, the story presented a unique opportunity: to tackle issues by delving
into relationships from his perspective. A recipient of the Black Filmmakers
Hall of Fame Award, Lee's passion for seeing positive role models for the
African-American community was one of his foremost concerns.
"I wanted to do a real story," Lee says. "Educated people who
haven't seen each other in a long time because they are so busy with their
careers...a film where no one shoots anyone, no one does drugs, people just live
their lives-that is something that is always interesting."
Lee admits that while the screenplay is not autobiographical, there are some
similarities between him and some of the people he grew up with and with
characters in the film. But he was also interested in developing characters that
were successful, intriguing people with realistic goals and aspirations.
"There are a lot of universal themes in The Best Man...love, fidelity,
trust, friendship, betrayal...life is filled with emotional periods, and I
thought it was important for the characters to show these emotions in the
film," Lee says.
Fortunately for Lee, he was able to round up a first-rate cast of young
African American actors to embody the roles in The Best Man.
The character of Harper Stewart, the upbeat, confident, promising young author
whose steamy new novel Unfinished Business is about to hit bookstores, is played
by rising star Taye Diggs, whose feature film debut in How Stella Got Her Groove
Back made him one of the hottest young actors working today.
"Harper is a little uneasy because he is such a control freak; he doesn't
want certain things to happen, and there's something in the book that could
possibly jeopardize the wedding," explains Lee.
Actor Diggs was drawn to the script because of his immediate kinship with the
character of Harper.
"I am very close with my friends from high school, and whenever we get
together we are always cutting up," Diggs says. "Plus, I love
Diggs continues, "This is a very interesting story; it's got a little
mystery, very pretty girls, handsome men and some serious present-day
Lee elaborates, saying, "In Harper's dilemma, he's at a crossroads in
his life, and at a point where he knows he has to make some serious decisions
about his life. His career is about to take off, so he is trying to decide who
he is going to spend time with."
Nia Long, who made her mark in such films as Soul Food and Friday, plays the
aggressive, career-minded and sexy BET producer Jordan Armstrong. Like Diggs,
Long was also intrigued by the script.
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