Terrence Howard is an unmitigated ham. That much is clear when he walks into a room full of writers, bloggers and pop culture tastemakers with random jokes. The various media outlets that have come to Toronto to interview the cast of the Nov. 15th sequel, The Best Man Holiday have indeed fallen under the Oscar nominated actor’s irreverent spell, laughing at playful jabs at fellow thespian Idris Eldra (both actors are playing legendary freedom fighter and former South African President Nelson Mandela in separate film roles), his Best Man cohorts and director Malcolm D. Lee. But Howard, who enters alongside the equally talented Harold Perrineau—one of his several co-stars that includes Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Taye Diggs, and Sanna Lathan—is an otherwise serious man when it comes to his acting craft. In VIBE’s first installment of our on-set visit with the team and cast of The Best Man Holiday, Howard and Perrineau discuss the evolution of their characters, the competitive spirit that consumed both men during the filming of the first Best Man made well over a decade ago, and what exactly fans can expect from their anticipated reunion on the big screen. —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)
VIBE: How have your characters evolved from the first film to The Best Man Holiday? Terrence Howard: Quentin always knows everything. Things become a little more calmer about his presentation…sometimes you got to let other people make their own decisions. You don’t nesserarily have to stir up the monster to get a princess out of it. Harold Perrineau: The first one I had just come off doing Romeo & Juliet. We both looked at each other like, “Yeah, man…good luck to you…because I’m going to get you.” [Laughs]. We were both going to lay it down. Howard: We were out on the balcony…it was the third rehearsal. And Harold looked at me…he had the dreads and he was pimp. Quentin is really made from Harold’s real life—who he was back then [laughs]. I was going through what [Harold’s character Julian] was going through with Shelby in the movie…I was going through that with my first wife. Perrineau: But yeah…after that first movie, I called him up; I was like, “Yeah…you got that, my man. That’s all good.” Howard: We were sitting out there, and this is when [Harold] used to smoke cigarettes…and he says, “You know only one of us is going to walk away with this movie.” [Laughs]. And I was like, “May the best man win.” But I tell you on this one, [Harold] is the man. He cleaned the plates. These characters have become so beloved amongst romantic comedy fans. Did you realize The Best Man was going to become such a cult classic? Perrineau: One of the things I love about these characters is Malcolm didn’t write any caricatures of people…he wrote some people that I think other people responded [to] and you hadn’t seen black people like that…college, girlfriends, and making mistakes and not making mistakes. You got to see some black people on the screen, not black characters. Y’all love those people? Here we come again…a little older, but better and just as complicated. I just think that Malcolm wrote a really beautiful script both times. Howard: And the nature of friendship that’s expressed throughout that film…how everyone is so dependent upon each other to achieve, to inspire and just to maintain. If the final message to those people that supported the first one was, Wow, they got good friendships; everybody comes together and has a good time. Then they should take home the message of [The Best Man Holiday] that friendship may be the thing that saves your life. Your friend may truly be your guide or your saint. You don’t know if [they are] sent by God or not, but in this movie we figure that out.