Although About Last Night is billed as a remake of the Rob Lowe and Demi Moore film of the early '90s, it would be better described as an adaptation of David Mamet's stage play that inspired the film, Sexual Perversion in Chicago. The film follows two couples Danny (Michael Ealy) and Debbie (Joy Bryant), a couple who romanticizes sex and relationships and their friends Joan (Regina Hall) and Bernie (Kevin Hart), who express themselves more sexually than verbally. The result is a funny, candid look at modern relationships and the overlooked role sex often plays in the forming and maintaining of those bonds. This is second ensemble romantic comedy from Will Packer's Atlanta-based production company, Rainforest Films. Their recent pictures, Ride Along, and Think Like a Man topped the box office on their respective opening weekends and grossed over $200 million worldwide in box office sales to date.
Recently Regina Hall and Michael Ealy visited Atlanta for the red carpet premiere of the film and spoke candidly regarding About Last Night, relationships and how sex played a larger part in this remake.
Compared to other romantic movies, what sets this movie apart?
REGINA HALL: This is about a couple that is dysfunctional and a couple that looks functional but deep down they are dysfunctional in a different way. Its about flawed people who love each other - but how do you get through that and if that's enough. We got to take a lot of what we all learned in relationships and inform our characters with a lot of that information so it felt real and layered.
MICHAEL EALY: I think that was part of the appeal specifically for me. I've only done one other romantic comedy which was Think Like a Man, so if I compared Danny and Dominic, I don't see two of the same guys, I think Dominic was more idealistic, more of a romanticize version of a man in a romantic comedy and Danny is more realistic and more relatable for everyday guys out there who are messing up their relationships. They end up playing games.
RH: And what I like about Danny is that he starts out as the dream guy, I don't just mean physically but he starts off and he's ready to commit and somehow in the midst of it happening he just ... and the truth about most men, sorry men, its that it sometimes carries over, ruined for life ... one woman in third grade. [laughs].
ME: ... And that doesn't happen with women, huh? You don't carry over any baggage from any relationship?
RH: ... We do but we walk with an open heart. Its like we have the baggage but we're still ...
ME: ... What, no! Women carry baggage from their relationships, too.
RH: Is that what Erykah Badu meant by Bag Lady?
ME: Bag Lady, you're gonna miss your bus! Yes, its about baggage, and I think everyone can relate to that. If you were cheated on, the next man - he may have never done anything wrong but he will suffer for what the other guy did.
One thing of note, this is the first urban comedy I've seen that had so much gratuitous sex ...
RH: Mmm - I requested that. If it not gratuitous sex, then I don't want to do it! [laughs]
ME: If you talk about About Last Night, you're talking about a one-night stand. The core of the one-night stand is the sex, and if it's good enough it will probably lead to more of it. And that is the flaw we fall prey to. If you define your relationship by how good the sex is then you will probably find yourself in a situation that is somewhat dysfunctional. It just won't last quite as long. But in this particular film sex is part of telling the story especially with Danny and Debbie. Its more real that way.
Your character was very open about her sexual appetite that is very unusual to see in an urban comedy. How do you feel about that?
RH: You know what, I liked it. She's smart, she's not out there having sex for random reasons outside of pleasure, like the dolphins. Joan is a dolphin. Dolphins actually have sex for pleasure. They are one of the few animals that do ...
ME: ... And they make similar noises.
RH: ... They do. But Joan is very comfortable with who she is. She's a professional and I think when she meets someone she's attracted to she would love to see where that goes. But she's also not married to it going anywhere. I think that's what makes her and Debbie different. Debbie is a lot more in her head and Joan is in the moment.
Is it powerful or empowering to play such a sexually strong character?
RH: It did. I like to play varied characters and it was a good opportunity to play her and have fun with it. Especially when I've never been seen that way on screen. It was a lot of fun to have that image of a black woman on screen. We have so many varied images of women of all types, but I don't think black women have a lot of those where they can be comfortable in their sexuality yet not apologize for it.
ME: ... But there's nothing safe in doing a sex scene with Kevin Hart
RH: ... No, and that's why I liked it.
Name a song you like that puts you in the mood.
ME: "Simply Beautiful" - Al Green.
RH: I'm not gonna lie, anything Chris Brown sings - I don't know what it is but I know I'm not the only one either. Even with this new one [Show Me], when he says, "Let me push your panties to the side," its like romance to me [laughs]. Donell Jones, anything R Kelly - Just give me an iPod with five songs and here I come.
ME: Did you like "You remind me of my jeep?"
RH: Yup, and I liked "Half on a baby." I like "Sex Genius", too. Sometimes its just in the timbre of the voice. You know I never compared myself to a jeep after listening to it.