Return of the Mack: Morris Chestnut

Morris Chestnut

Morris Chestnut was excited when he got the call.

It came sometime last year when Chestnut and the rest of the cast from 1999’s The Best Man were told that they’d all reunite to make a sequel to one of the most beloved Black romantic comedies of all time.

The gang (everyone is back!) will begin shooting the new film very soon, and it’ll release later this year. Considering that the film was a good look for many of them—everyone has been working steadily since the film’s release; Terrence Howard eventually earned an Oscar nomination—it’s a major coup.

Right now, of course, Chestnut is promoting his latest film, The Call, in which he co-stars alongside Halle Berry. The heartthrob actor says it’s a dream come true.

EBONY: What made you say yes to The Call?

Morris Chestnut: My manager sent me the script and basically said that Halle was attached to it! I’ve always admired her work. Then I read the script and I really felt strong about it. It was a page-turner, I just couldn’t really put the script down.

EBONY: You melt inside of these characters. Lance Sullivan (The Best Man) and Ricky Baker (Boyz N the Hood)they’ve become a part of our pop culture presence. Why do you think they stick with us for all these years?

MC: I think I’ve had a combination of things: good writers and good directors who have written some very strong characters for me to play. Knock on wood, I was able to convey it, take it from the page to the screen. With the films, it seems like everything is a combination of a lot of people working together. If the writer didn’t write the part in such a way and didn’t have such a collaborative effort with the writers or directors, then I wouldn’t have that character to play. If I didn’t have a collaborative effort with the director about his vision of the character and the things that he wants with the camera angles, then the audience probably wouldn’t have the connection with the characters.

EBONY: The Internet almost broke when it was announced you guys were going to make a Best Man sequel. What does it mean to you that this movie is still so beloved by people all these years later?

MC: I’m really excited that people want to see these characters again. Obviously throughout the years everyone has come up to me: “You guys gonna do another one? You gotta do a sequel!” So the fact that after all these years we’re able to do another one and everyone’s coming back and everyone’s excited for this process, it really feels good. But now when you talk about pressure? Man. The pressure is right there because we have to really raise the bar from what we did before. We all are looking forward to the challenge; we’re all excited. Now it’s time to put the work in and make it happen.

Hollywood is really not Black or white, it’s green. Will Smith is the biggest movie star in the world; he can do as many movies as he wants to because he makes money.

EBONY: It almost felt like there wasn’t much love for Black romantic comedies after The Best Man. Now we’re about to see an onslaught of them in late 2013 and a good chunk in 2014. Is the time right for us to see more love stories with us at the center?

MC: Yes, I think so. I know you’re not saying this, but people have said this to me: “You know, Hollywood is racist. They only make certain types of movies and they only use certain types of actors.” But Hollywood is really not Black or white, it’s green. Will Smith is the biggest movie star in the world; he can do as many movies as he wants to because he makes money. So what I think has happened here is, at one point there was a lull because it was just mainly Tyler Perry movies. But then with the success of Think Like a Man, Hollywood finally saw the green associated with these types of movies. So that’s why there’s been an onslaught going into production.

EBONY: What would you love to see Lance Sullivan doing all these years later?

MC: That’s the thing. Lance Sullivan is going to be in the process of some huge milestones in his career when this movie opens up. There are going to be some great plot points revolving around what he’s doing in his career. So you will see where Lance Sullivan is in the history of the NFL, and a couple milestones he’s going to be approaching.

EBONY: What can you tell us about The Best Man 2?

MC: It’s going to be a holiday, and basically everyone is going to be gathering at Lance Sullivan’s house for the Christmas holiday. It’ll be the whole thing with the gift exchange, and it’s going to be a good, heartfelt movie that’s going to make people laugh, cry and laugh again.