"Coming back together again was like riding a bike," says Morris Chestnut.
It’s been nearly fifteen years since the cast of 1999 breakout film The Best Man dazzled audiences and left them wanting more. Now, the group has returned for yet another juicy tale of love, lust, and secrets that will change their lives forever.
When we last left The Best Man crew, Mia (Monica Calhoun) and Lance (Morris Chestnut) had just jumped the broom, Harper (Taye Digs) proposed to his girlfriend Robin (Sanaa Lathan), Murch (Harold Perrineau) had finally dumped his controlling girlfriend Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) and hooked up with Candy (Regina Hall), and Quentin (Terrence Howard), the perpetual troublemaker, was still stirring the pot.
This time the group returns with families and unresolved drama in tow for an unforgettable weekend at Lace and Mia’s palatial estate. Once again old wounds are opened and friendships are tested as the college pals reunite for Christmas. It’s a story Malcolm Lee, the film’s writer and director, always knew he wanted to make.
“There was always an idea to do a sequel,” Lee tells ESSENCE.com. “I thought I would revisit these characters in 10 years. The idea had been percolating in my mind for a while and I’d talk to the actors over the years, but I didn’t really formally do anything until I got them back together in January 2011.”
Before Lee even wrote the script, he called up the entire cast and invited them to dinner to pitch the idea. Unlike her other screen mates, Sanaa Lathan wasn’t sold on a sequel in the beginning. “I wasn’t excited when Malcolm mentioned it to me, because I was like, ‘Why are we doing a sequel 11 years later?’” she says. But after hearing the idea over dinner, Lathan was completely on board. “We were on the edge of our seats,” she says of the casts’ reaction, “And we said, ‘If you write it, we’ll do it.’”
Morris Chestnut was also wooed by Lee’s pitch, but was even more impressed once he finally read the script. “It was a page turner, it was emotional, it was funny, it was a little bit of everything,” he explains.
The Best Man Holiday is equal parts laugh out loud funny and wonderfully sentimental and tender, it’s a combination Terrence Howard argues makes this a better film than the original. “He stayed so true to what really takes place in life,” Howard says of the sequel. “[Lee] told the absolute truth in this film and managed to extoll the value of friendship and family and why it’s important.”
Lee hopes audiences will embrace the sophisticated follow-up to the film they fell in love with over a decade ago, because he’s ready to create more. “If the fans come out and support The Best Man Holiday, then I will certainly believe that the studio will want to make another one,” he says of the ending, which leaves the door open for another sequel. “And I’m ready.”
The Best Man Holiday opens in theaters this Friday, November 15.