Casting the guys of Think Like A Man
With a script and director in hand, the task turned to finding the right actors to bring Harvey's ideas and observations, and the scriptwriters' characters, to life. "Casting for a film is essential. You must have the right voices," says Packer.
Kevin Hart was one of the first actors cast in the film, as Cedric. "I saw Kevin Hart do stand up. That's why I wanted him for the movie. His Laugh At My Pain (comedy) tour sold out everywhere. I went to see him in Memphis, Dallas and L.A. I went because I wanted to hear him and hear how he interacted with different crowds and I was blown away," says Packer.
When Hart heard about the movie, he couldn't resist. "Will and I talked and he told me about a project that he was interested in me being a part of," says Hart. "I'm a fan of the book and Steve Harvey so it was exciting for me."
Tim Story gave Hart a lot of free reign to bring his comedy chops to the role. "What's great about Kevin is he does know storytelling quite well and he's pretty seasoned at it. We talk a lot about what the comic beats are, and he just goes at it. Send it to him and he slam dunks it."
Harvey sees a new movie star in Hart. "I know funny, and Kevin Hart is the new giant," says Harvey. "He is the new homerun hitter out there, and in this movie, he's hysterical from beginning to end."
Soulful-eyed Michael Ealy was cast as Henson's love interest: cash-strapped, upcoming chef Dominic. "I basically got a phone call from Will Packer saying 'I want you to read this script' and it was perfect timing because I had just filmed a comedic pilot and a very serious special effects movie so, to jump into a romantic comedy-my first romantic comedy, I thought it was a good challenge for me," says Ealy.
Harvey describes the dynamic between Henson's and Ealy's characters as reflecting something real in the world today. "She's fighting with the fact that she makes more money than him, and how do they make that work," says Harvey. "This movie allows Michael Ealy to be something he's never been before, an underdog but a hero at the same time. I thought he did a fabulous job with his role."
"Michael and I go way back," says Tim Story. "We started with 'Barbershop' together, so working with Michael Ealy is a complete dream. He's such a smart actor. We actually spent probably most time outside of production just talking about the characters. He really thinks of every nuance of what his character is, what's going to make him standout and make him special."
Next to be cast was "Entourage" star Jerry Ferrara for the role of Jeremy, Kristen's non-committal love interest. Says Ferrara, "I read the script and I immediately was intrigued. Kevin got involved, and then more and more people got involved. It was just an easy decision. It didn't take that long to say yes."
"It's rare that when you're in the conceptual stage you think about somebody for a project and you're able to get that person. That's what happened with Jerry Ferrara," says Packer.
Harvey parses the relationship between Jeremy and Kristen this way: "She's trying to help her man get on his feet, and he ain't really there yet. He's not as mature as he needs to be. That struggle is real: the guy she's involved with is just not a self-starter."
For Terrence J, getting the part of mama's boy Michael was a process years in the making.
Opportunity knocked when Packer called the actor Terrence J in New York to participate in a table read for the film ... scheduled for the next day in Los Angeles. Packer recalls, "I said, 'I know you probably can't make it, but I want to offer it to you. It's cool if you can't come.'" But Terrence J was already online searching for flights. "That's how serious he was."
A BlackTree Media Production
Segment Journalist/Producer Shawn Edwards (ILoveBlackMovies)
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