In her new movie The Perfect Guy, Sanaa Lathan stars as a woman who thinks she’s found the man of her dreams (Michael Ealy) only to discover he is an obsessive and violent stalker.
Lathan, 43, didn’t have to work hard to prepare for the role because, unfortunately, she dealt with a crazed fan-turned-stalker, months before she started filming the thriller, which hits theaters this Friday.
Contractors found the man, Shawn Caples, asleep in her laundry room and threw him out. But he returned and Lathan had to call the police. Caples was arrested and jailed shortly after and was court ordered to stay at least 100 feet away from her.
“I swear to you in almost 20 years of being in this business, I’ve never had any problems. And then I had a stalker three months before we started shooting and it was really scary,” Lathan told reporters at a set visit for The Perfect Guy in Los Angeles. “He showed up at my house and thought he was my husband. He was mentally ill. I called the police. He came back three days later."
“It was so interesting. I thought, ‘I am being prepared for this role without even asking.’ I got frustrated with the legal system and the process that I had to go through. When I gave my report, it got on some blog like word for word. I thought, ‘All the emotions that I’m going though is what Leah is about to go through.’”
“I didn’t even have to talk to victims because I was one,” she continued. “I’m never afraid. I’ve never had any issues at my house and I went through some real fear. You know, really scary moments. It’s eerie but I really believe in synchronicity. I was like, ‘OK. Thank you for the inspiration. But I’d rather use my imagination.’”
Lathan is also one of the producers on the film along with Ealy. Morris Chestnut and Rutina Wesley also co-star.
“I’ve always been given a lot of creative input in my work but have never gotten the credit. Now I’m finally getting the credit,” Lathan said of her producing stint.
“Whether or not I was going to have creative input, I would’ve been drawn to the role. But it was great to have that input.”
The Perfect Guy arrives in theaters this Friday, Sept. 11.