Whether you felt personally attached or knew someone like her, Mia was the glue that kept everyone together. We were heartbroken to learn that the crew has to go on without her for the next installment of Malcolm D. Lee’s trilogy, or do they?
With the holiday movie now available on DVD, we caught up with the actress that left tears streaming down our faces long after the credits concluded. During our exclusive Vixen Chat, Monica told us how similar or different she was from Mia, what it was like on set and if she’ll be making an appearance in the next film.
Flip the page to learn more about Ms. Calhoun’s character and get the just-released DVD today!
Photo Credit: Getty
VIBE Vixen: What was your initial reaction once the movie was done?
Monica Calhoun: I was a bit nervous, excited, and during one of the press days that we had, I was overwhelmed with how excited everyone was about the reunion aspect of it. But I was pleasantly surprised by the support in the theater. I was talking to somebody the other day about the first time The Best Man was released in 1999. What we did in terms of numbers over the weekend; we did that in one day when The Best Man Holiday was released the second time.
How much are you like Mia?
I have some elements of Mia that are definitely a part of my character, who I am, but not everything. To define that, I am the type of person that looks out for everyone and wants everyone to get along. That aspect is very much me, but I don’t know if I am as sweet as Mia.
Some people say that I am. I don’t know; have my mom tell it [laughs].
What scene was the hardest to film?
To be honest with you, none of them were hard; it was a walk in the park. But in terms of not wanting to be what some people call a “selfish actor,” like there’s certain circumstances that my cast mates had to go or places that they had to go; not wanting to intrude or interfere with what they were in their mindset during the filming process.
Like one day, someone invited me to a game and I didn’t look at the schedule–they were filming the funeral scene–and I sent out this random text like, “hey, let’s go to a basketball game.” Nobody responded. [Then] they responded a little later on, and then I realized, Oh yeah, we were filming the scene, and I was like, “oh crap!”
That was not cool! [laughs]
You know what I mean; so I realized I had to be sort of be sensitive to the process in some respects, so that was sort of the hard part. But getting into the work; we’re all friends. We grew up in the business together. We’ve seen each other go on auditions and supported each other in various ways and so [there] was the chemistry.
How critical were you of yourself after watching the film?
Initially I saw it twice, actually more than that. The first two times that I saw it, it was a private screening and I was in love with everything that I saw. And then the second time that I saw it, I am super critical of myself and everything. I saw certain things that I wished that I could of approached in different way, I was like “oh, they took that edit?,” or “they took that take?” It was different things. The first time I was just in love, and loved how everything felt and how it took me through all of the emotions that I sort of look for in projects to be a part of. It made me laugh, it made me cry and I was able to divorce myself from the idea that this is something I am part of.
How hard was that?
It is not hard at all and in the second time I watched it, I was able to just sort of self-critique myself in order to better myself.
Which scene was your favorite to film?
My favorite scene as Mia is the bedroom one; watching the football game with the kids and Nia Long. My other favorite scene with Morris Chestnut in the football game. The guys are on the sidelines crowding around him and to support him to play a better game and he gets the phone call and makes that win. The scene when Lance and Mia are in the bedroom embracing each other. Favorite scene where Sanaa Lathan who plays Robin and Melissa De Sousa who plays Shelby; they are in the kitchen preparing the meal and Melissa is on the phone with her producers for her reality show and she just can’t handle the news about her best friend. The scene with Terrence Howard and Taye Diggs when they’re in the church they are having that conversation–“Call me Daddy,” [laughs] There are so many more favorite scenes!
So it seems that you like the scenes that were more emotional.
Yes, but my all-time favorite scene is when the guys were performing New Edition’s “Can You Stand the Rain” on air band. Somehow the girls lost out on doing their version but that’s okay maybe in the next one.
I know you passed away but, is there any talk of doing a flashback scene with you?
I don’t know, that’s sort of up to [them], I don’t know what the story would be, but I’m there.
Who is the funniest on set?
Oh my god, are you kidding? They’re all funny [laughs]. No seriously, everyone had their moment If it wasn’t Harold, it was Regina. If it wasn’t Sanaa, it was Taye. If it wasn’t Terrence, it was Nia. I think Morris was the only one who was sort of laid back.
What was the dynamic like working with the same cast?
It was awesome, are you kidding me? The original crew set it off from the beginning! Very powerful ensemble. A cast of lead actors not just supporting actors–we all supported the story line–but everyone in the film, they are all lead actors.
If you can work with the cast one more time, what kind of film would you like everyone to do?
Of course! I would work with this cast again from The Best Man Holiday; each and every one of them! There are so many ranges of opportunity to work with them on. Different capacities of ensemble: romantic, centered around two person comedy, drama or biopic. The story of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott–it would be great if Morris and I did that.
How do you think you’ve grown as an actor and as Mia?
There’s a little more maturity to me , I think I could still mature a lot more. Mia is extremely mature; she’s the female head of household, she keeps her family tight and maintains the relationship and balances family life in keeping and holding everything together. I’m still maturing; I got a long ways to go. As an artist, as a human being, I haven’t learned all the life lessons yet; I mean there’s some things that I’ve stumbled through, some things I walked through very gracefully like I was on the red carpet, I am still stumbling through, I am human.
What do you want the audience to take from the movie?
I would love for the audience to just live, laugh, and love; and never take a moment, never miss a moment to say to someone how much you appreciate them whether they piss you off or not.