House Party star Jacob Latimore isn’t labeling the 2023 version of the iconic franchise a remake. Instead, he insists this House Party crew’s approach was “let’s do something fun, comedic, and show our own personality, show our chemistry, and create our own energy.”

That approach certainly makes this latest House Party, penned by Atlanta writers Stephen Glover and Jamal Olori, not only different from the 1990 original, but also more modern. First off, it’s set in L.A. Latimore (known for the The Chi) plays aspiring music producer and young father Kevin who is struggling to make ends meet. When his best friend Damon played by 61 Street's Tosin Cole (who also plays Medgar Evers in Till), with whom he promotes parties, suggest they throw an epic and lucrative bash at the home of LeBron James, where they happen to be working in a capacity far from hosting a party, it takes a moment for him to get on board. But once he does, all kinds of fun, havoc, and intrigue ensues.

Karen Obilom, who plays Kevin’s longtime friend Venus, believes this version of House Party raises the stakes. “We are definitely older and are in a space where I think there's more to lose,” explains Obilom, who is known for her series Games People Play and Doom Patrol. “When you're in high school, you usually just get a slap on the wrist. Even if you do something really bad, you're not going to adult prison; you're going to go to juvenile [prison]. But, when you're adults, and you're doing things like this, there's a lot more at risk, especially when you have kids, especially when you have a career [or] want to make something of yourself. So, I think that just makes the stakes higher when adults are involved as opposed to high school kids or middle school [kids].”

For comedian D.C. Young Fly, of Wild ‘n Out fame, taking on the role of Vic (the DJ inspired by Martin Lawrence’s Bilal) is a sign of greater things to come. “[Martin] is my all-time favorite sitcom to watch and for me to play a role significant like that and he played in it as well, it was just letting me know God has my back and we're on the right path,” says D.C. Young Fly. “It was just like a dream come true because I can’t wait to have my own sitcom.”

Rotimi plays one of the bullies with a comedic twist. This House Party, he shares, is special and rare for him. “Being a part of something that is legendary is very, very hard to find in your career,” he says. “You got to bring your A game and you can’t second guess yourself.”

“But we had fun and I feel like people are going to really feel the energy we had on set when they watch,” continues Rotimi.

Taking this lighter approach was one Cole welcomed. But his role as the main troublemaker Damon also came with the big perk of working with LeBron James, who produced the film through his production company SpringHill and also plays a big role. “I didn’t tell no one because I was super duper excited,” admits the British actor. “Just to get to work with him and see him in the flesh and be able to have a conversation and just have that on screen forever to one day show it to my kids, it’s like a surreal moment.”

That awe for the NBA superstar was universally shared by everyone. “That’s Black Excellence,” shares D.C. Youngfly. “Meeting LeBron James was definitely like a crazy moment [on set] for me,” says Obilom. “Like, I cannot believe I’m next to the king. We're taking pictures on a basketball court together. And we're in scenes together …. I was just like ‘how is this my life right now’”

Then there are the cameos, which include the hip-hop duo Kid n’ Play, who originated the roles that inspire this new Kevin and Damon duo, Lena Waithe, Tinashe (with whom Obilom recreates one of the film’s iconic dances), and the,original Hot Boys Lil Wayne and Juvenile, Snoop and more. But as crazy as these cameos are, Latimore says “there are a lot of people who didn’t make the cut.”

While Mya and Scott Mescudi, better known as Kid Cudi, play especially big roles in well-known video director Calmatic’s feature film debut, there was a very unexpected guest during filming that caused a panic. “It was a bear on set,” Cole says, with Latimore backing him up. “One day we couldn’t go on set because he was just chilling in the pool, like sitting down in the pool splashing water on himself,” Cole shares incredulously.

Still, there’s a timeless message in the film that Obilom says resonates with us all. “I think the American dream is to go for your dreams,” she says. “I think literally anybody that's watching can relate to that. I would never recommend doing anything like the boys did, but I do recommend going after your dreams and going hard for them like they did.