Could you talk about how The Best Man changed your life? Some actors in the film, like Morris, were already known, but for most of you this was your biggest role.
Hall: Well it was my first job. I had a Honeywagon! I thought it was huge…I thought it was the best trailer in the world [laughs]. It was great for me. I was working with people whose work I loved. I didn’t even know who was in it until I got the job.
Lathan: There’s a funny story. Robbie Reid was casting it and they called me in for Candy (Hall’s character). When you are an actress in this business you don’t think that you have any kind of power…that you could suggest anything. But this was the first time I said, “Can you ask them if I can audition for Robin?” And they said yes! That was a really big moment for me in terms of my destiny as having a voice as an actor.
Hall: And she didn’t want me to get Candy.
Lathan: I didn’t want her to Candy because my cousin who was a really great actress, I was like, “She’s going to get it, she’s going to get it!” So when she didn’t get [the role] Regina got it…when she walked into the trailer I was like, “Who is she?” [Laughs]
Hall: And I come into wardrobe to pick out a dress and they were like, “Sanaa is going to wear that…she’s going to be gorgeous.” And I was like, “Sanaa who?” [Laughs]
Speaking of wardrobe, who has the best wardrobe this go around?
Lathan: It depends…but definitely not me.
Hall: But you wore gorgeous stuff. But everyone is in character…that’s the thing. So I think we all dressed according to character.
Lathan: I think Nia (who plays Jordan Armstrong) is definitely the flyest…but then there’s also Shelby (Melissa De Sousa).
Why do you think The Best Man has resonated with so many people after 10 years still?
Lathan: I just think there’s a reason some movies become classics and I think this is a new classic, and the reason why is because it doesn’t matter if you are black, what social economic background you have; it doesn’t matter who you are…you can relate to these characters. I think Malcolm did such a great job…the cast did such a great job. All of the elements came together so beautifully. It’s so funny because we all got together and watched [The Best Man] in the screening room at the apartment where we were staying. And we didn’t want to watch it. Malcolm was like, “Come on.” But we were all like this [Lathan gives an attentive stare]. It was so exciting.
Hall: A lot of times with black movies they allow one type of movie at a time. This came during the romantic comedy and it was the first [in our genre]. It was so real and it set a bar. I think people remember, “Wow, that was a proud moment on screen.” There had been a lot of great movies, but there had been a genre of gangsta movies. And then after The Best Man there were a lot of romantic comedies, but this was the first one where people went in that was fresh.
Lathan: It was also good…and well written. For me, I’ve read [for] romantic comedies…I’ve seen so many white romantic comedies, and I read this one as a dramedy. The idea was fresh and actors were also fresh.
Hall: It really stands out today.
How was it working with Taye? Because you did this one, you did Brown Sugar, now you are back again re-playing these characters?
Lathan: I know…we have this whole life on screen. It’s great. We’re buddies. Me and Taye, we probably hang out every couple of months in LA. We like to go out in LA. It’s fun…it’s just like hanging out with your family.
Hall: How does one kiss their family [laughs]?
Lathan: You know what’s weird? All the men in the movie are married and we are single, so we are all kissing their men and they are fine. You meet their wives and you are like “Hey!!!”
Hall: I’m going to kiss your husband today [laughs].