In the Lifetime original movie With This Ring, Regina Hall, Jill Scott and Eve star as three single friends who vow to get married within a year after attending their best friend’s wedding. The romantic comedy is based on the 2006 bestseller The Vow by EBONY Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller, Denene Millner and Angela Burt-Murray.
After attending their friend Elise’s wedding on New Year’s Eve, Trista (Hall), a career-driven talent agent, Viviane (Scott), a successful gossip columnist, and Amaya (Eve), a struggling actress, make a pact to get married within the year to either a new love or a man waiting in the wings. But the close friends face their own set of challenges. Trista hasn’t gotten over her commitment-phobic exboyfriend Damon; Viviane is secretly in love with Sean, the father of her son; and Amaya is desperate to break up her boyfriend Keith’s unhappy marriage so they can live happily ever after. Each woman starts the year with high hopes and dreams of what will happen over the next 12 months… but will they all make it to the altar?
Written and directed by Nzingha Stewart (Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters), With This Ring is executive produced by Tracey Edmonds (Jumping the Broom) through her Edmonds Entertainment Group and Gabrielle Union in her first producing role. Edmonds and Regina Hall recently sat down to answer some questions about the production.
What was it about this film that really made you want to be a part of it?
Regina Hall: I read this script and I thought it was smart and poignant. And I thought, “I love the characters in the film, the women.” And then when I found out who was behind the film—it was Tracey Edmonds and then also Gabrielle Union—it made a really big difference, you know? Because then you knew the film was going to be shot and done with integrity.
And Nzhinga was directing. And I just always loved her work. So there were so many components. And then of course when the movie had the cast, it was wonderful. Not just the women, but the men in the film as well. All the elements came together, so it was exciting to be a part of.
You recently joined Twitter. Are you looking forward to that instant fan feedback you’re going to be receiving when the film premieres?
RH: Oh my goodness, I have been trying to get myself Twitter ready. I am trying. Because, you know, honestly when you’re not on—when you’re not really abreast of technology in that capacity—it’s new for me. I am just learning how to work Instagram.
I’m a fish on dry land now, but I am about to get rid of these fins and walk. In the next month or two, I think I’ll really know what I’m doing. But this is a great way to start.
I spoke with a couple of the authors of the original book. They said this project was a long time coming. At what point, Tracey, did you get involved?
Tracey Edmonds: I got involved way back in late 2008, early 2009. Gabrielle wanted me to read it because she thought that it would make a great movie, which it did. And so we took it over to Lifetime and set it up way back in 2009. And believe it or not, it has taken this long to actually get made. There were some regime changes that took place over at the network, and we had a few false starts, but it did not go into production until the summer of 2014.
Do you feel like even though the book was set 10 years ago it still works in 2015?
TE: Absolutely. I mean, the themes are still the same and the issues are still the same. You still have these amazing, fabulous women who, for whatever reason, are still single.
Regina, what was your favorite part about doing this role ultimately?
RH: Well, I am a woman who is single, who has also made that vow. And it has been my friends that have gotten me through a lot of situations and who remind me of so many great things in my life. The scenes in the book and in the script, they resonate with me so much. And what doesn’t resonate with me resonates with friends in my life.
Did it matter to either of you guys whether this was a TV movie or a film in the theater?
RH: I mean it didn’t matter to me. I don’t know how Tracey feels.
TE: Well, you know, I can tell you we were just really happy to get this movie made. We set out to make this movie look and feel like a theatrical movie. And so from a production perspective, we wanted the look of the film to feel like a big theatrical movie. And of course, you know, we had A-list actresses delivering amazing performances, and Nzhinga as a writer and director wrote an amazing script. And so even though we ended up on television, we wanted to give the viewer a theatrical viewing experience on television.
Regina, your comedic antics were superb in this film. Did you start out as a serious actor and transition into comedy, or is this something that has always been your passion, comedic acting?
RH: It was kind of neither. I never thought of comedy or drama. Humor is universal, and certain things in life happened to all of us beyond, you know, race or culture. I just happened to end up booking a lot of comedies first. So it was not an intentional choice, but I certainly do love it.
Do you feel that you’ve had any parallel moments or views of the character that you portrayed in the movie?
RH: Oh my God, yes. I made that vow and clearly didn’t stick to it, so I must have come to the same conclusion that she did. But I think the whole point of the movie—and I certainly resonate with this—is that, especially as a Black woman, we can’t wait to be happy.
I think that was the important thing that I thought about when reading this character and reading the script, is that it’s not like they’re not married because they’re uptight, or they’re not married because they’re frigid or they’re not married because they have bad personalities. Sometimes we’re just not in a relationship. We’re just single. Maybe it’s a numbers game.