You three went through a lot of the emotions in this film. How emotional was it for you all to do this and how did you get rid of all that bottled up anxiety after you got through shooting?
Regina Hall: Well the movie did have a lot of emotional levels. We all had different journeys that were going on emotionally, but we would have a cocktail or two after shooting.
Melissa De Sousa: We still had fun. It was tough, but it was so easy to get to (those emotions) for some reason because we are such good friends behind the scenes. We’ve known each other for 15 years now, so we actually feel a bond. The emotional work between Regina and I was a lot of fun to do. We had fun with it, but we really worked hard. We didn’t want it to look like just some ghetto madness, we didn’t want it to look like it didn’t come from someplace real, and we didn’t want it to look like the housewives for real. We wanted to layer it up and really make it believable that we really would go there. So we had rehearsals, stunt doubles and everything, and behind the scenes we were laughing to where I was saying, “Regina, I’m supposed to hate you. Stop it!”
Harold Perrineau: It’s a testament to how good they are as actresses because you really have to trust each other in order to be able to go that far and feel those things and then be able to let them go. You can see that they trust each other, they work well together, and they are just amazing actresses.
Regina Hall: And this one, it was easy to fall in love with him (Harold laughs). I was like, “He’s not your husband, let it go” (laughs). He was my husband all the time.
Harold Perrineau: Even my (real life) wife was there. It was weird (laughs).
Regina Hall: She is lovely, and he has two beautiful kids and I saw them and said, “They look like me” and they do. It’s true. But he was an easy man to love, and it’s a lot of trust we have on set with each other.
Harold Perrineau: As actors, yeah.
Melissa De Sousa: I was tired of them (laughs). They really were like a married couple. I really started to feel some kind of way. Listen, I was first! We actually got kind of weird because I’ve known Harold since high school on the real, and Regina really just took him from me and he really went (laughs). He just forgot about me completely. At moments I was really kind of hurt. We would go to dinner, and they would just be really chatty (laughs).
Regina Hall: He’s compassionate which is why I was in love with him as a man, and he’s compassionate over there giving this one talks and attention and I’m like, “She’ll be fine (laughs). You need to step into the present, alright?”
Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan mentioned that they were more vocal this time around as far as their characters were concerned. Did you have any opinions or recommendations for Malcolm regarding your roles in this movie?
Melissa De Sousa: I did, because I really wanted to see another side of Shelby. Everyone’s like, “Oh she’s a bitch,” and I didn’t want her to be one note. I wanted you to see her grow and go through changes and see emotions and see that she is a human, and not just for the comedy and for the laughs. She actually has real problems and she has a real life going on, you know what I mean? She had the fight and the kid, and she is still Shelby at the end of the day. I asked him to at least show a different color, and I think I did that.
Regina Hall: I fought for the hair. He didn’t want a short bob, he wanted long hair like she had in the first movie and I said, “No. You can’t be a ho in the same city and not try to change her look” (laughs). I still live in New York, I’m married and I don’t want people going, “Candy!” I was like, “Just trust me please. Let me just go shorter for it.”
Melissa De Sousa: That was a good idea.
Harold Perrineau: I said less this movie because the first one I was more opinionated, and with this one I was like I’m just gonna trust Malcolm and I’m just gonna trust his genius and let him do this thing.
Some believe that The Best Man Holiday will be the start of many, many, many holidays. What starts your holiday?
Melissa De Sousa: A Charlie Brown Christmas, I love it. I just watched It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown the other day when it came on for Halloween. I have to watch that and I like to watch The Nutcracker, the one with Mikhail Baryshnikov, because I used to be a dancer. A Charlie Brown Christmas, it just warms my heart and I even have the soundtrack. I do like It’s A Wonderful Life too, and there’s the one with Vince Vaughn…
Harold Perrineau: Fred Claus?
Melissa De Sousa: Yes! It’s hysterical! I love the movie.
Harold Perrineau: Because I have the girls now, one of the things is The Nutcracker because we used to go to the Lincoln Center to see it, so that would start it off for us. I’m going to start that with my youngest girl this year.
Regina Hall: Christmas is a hard time for me. It’s an emotional time. When I hear Nat King Cole, it’s like a happy and a sad feeling that comes over me at Christmas, and I think it’s because I don’t have children. I just have my nieces so there’s something about Christmas that is really tender. I still feel it more when I lived in New York because I would walk and I’d smell the nuts roasting on the streets. I remember it because it’s a strong smell. And I love Prince and he has this song called Another Lonely Christmas. It’s an emotional time for me, Christmas.
Harold, was it different for you this time around playing your character without dreadlocks?
Harold Perrineau: It made sense actually that he didn’t have the dreads because I was growing up and doing different things, and now they have their charter school. Not that the dreads are a bad image or anything, but they are definitely, as we talked about it and thought about it, trying to do something for the children and showing an image. So it all made sense just like Regina’s hair makes sense. It made sense for me to have moved on to something else.
That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank Harold, Regina and Melissa for their time. Be sure to check out The Best Man Holiday, now in theatres.