From chapters about “mama’s boys” and finances, Harvey’s intent is to educate women on how to succeed in relationships, from the beginning stages to marriage and beyond. He said he originally wrote the book for his daughters and never anticipated its success.
“All I wanted was for the book to be No. 7 on the New York Times Best Seller list,” he said. According to www.steveharvey.com, the book reached No. 1 and remained on the list for 64 weeks. It has sold more than 2 million copies to date and has been translated into more than 30 languages.
Harvey, director Tim Story, producer Will Packer and many of the cast attended a premiere at Atlantic Station on April 3. While on the red carpet, they all shared their views not only the film experience and the book, but their opinions on love, relationships and all that comes with it.
Steve Harvey: author, comedian, actor, philanthropist, radio and television host
Harvey describes his wife, Marjorie, as his best friend, saying, “I don’t hang out with any dudes. I hang out with my wife, and we have a very simple motto. We form a two-handed circle. That’s it. Nobody is in the circle. We make all our decisions holding hands. We keep all the misinformation out of our lives, and we know the truth. We give a lot of credit to God.”
He said the screenwriters took five chapters out of the book to form the film. Because of this, Harvey shares something special for his fans.
“That’s why we’re going to do a sequel,” he said. “We are going to do some more chapters.”
When asked to describe everything — the success of the book as well as the anticipation of the film — in one word, Harvey said, “Unbelievable. It’s just a testament to how big God really is.”
Kevin Hart: “Cedric,” almost divorced
Hart, who is recently divorced, said he essentially played himself — with a some embellishment, of course.
“I am ‘Cedric.’ With me going through a divorce, with me experiencing the point of my life where I wanted to be around my friends, I didn’t want anyone else around me — I was like that.”
He said it helped him with the character’s authenticity. “People can relate to my character and understand that people have been this guy. I’ve been this guy. I think that makes the movie so much better when you walk away and believe these men and women exist. It makes the movie that much stronger.”
What is this actor/comedian’s best relationship advice?
“Being funny will get you far!” On a more serious note, he said, “Communication is key. Honesty is key if you are trying to have a good relationship. (For the men), you have to experience lying to see that it doesn’t work. Once you see that it doesn’t work, then you take the honesty route. Then you give women a choice. It’s a much better situation.”
Regina Hall: “Candace,” Divorced, single mother
Hall said she worked to make sure her character appeared soft, but not bitter because of her marital status.
“I think we always see a lot of portrayals of moms, especially black moms. I did want to show that soft vulnerable side. I tried to provide a balance where she’s single, she’s been hurt by love but she’s not bitter,” she said.
The cast is large, but Hall was fortunate to share the screen with Broadway star Jenifer Lewis. She describes her as “amazing,” adding, “She’s a diva and always will be. She’s fabulous to work with. I’m a huge fan of her work.”
Another co-star, Terrence J, is best-known for his hosting gig on BET’s 106 and Park. Hall said, “He’s so professional and worked so hard. He’s wonderful.”
Gabrielle Union: “Kristin,” dating Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara), her boyfriend of nine years
Union said people will learn about themselves and others during and after watching the film.
“People are not mindreaders. If you don’t tell people what your wants, needs and expectations are, they’re not going to know. I think for some people, this movie will be a revelation.”
She said both men and women will see themselves.
“I think there will be a lot of mama’s boys in the audience and a lot of noncommitters, and a lot of playboys, and hopefully a lot of guys like Gary Owen’s character — happy, family guys.”
Union, who admits she’s been through “a lot of relationships,” said the book was full of lessons she had already learned. However, she said it was helpful to others in her life.
“For some of my friends, it was a revelation. I think for some of us, it’s a reminder. Sometimes we act like a moron and think like a dingbat, and this is a nice reminder to use common sense. I think that’s what people mean when they say ‘Think Like A Man,’ but I think men and women can both use common sense.”
Michael Ealy: “Dominic,” the dreamer
Ealy said the most fun part of his role was working with Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson. As for the most challenging? “Not falling in love with Taraji,” he quips.
Like his co-stars, Ealy said the scenes with guys, especially in the gym, were his favorite to film.
“It was like being high school again,” he said. “That was our barbershop. We actually played in between takes. We went three on three, and the final score was like 54-53 over four days. It was a really good game, and we had fun.”
He said the writing of the film, as well as the cast, makes this film stand out from others.
“Everybody’s characters and their relationships are fleshed out,” he said. “This whole thing breathes and you’re invested in every single couple, and that’s real.”
Romany Malco: “Zeke,” the ladies man
Malco, who has also been featured in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” said this movie can’t be categorized as just a romantic comedy.
“I think what makes it stand out is you have guys — a whole cast of dudes — talking about relationships. That’s funny, and that’s probably the worst thing that could happen to an individual to fall prey to that kind of advice.”
He said the only time he picks a project is when he knows it will resonate with him. “What I love about this is that the misinterpretation is that people think Steve Harvey’s book will provide you with the answers to life. The book is $14.99. You won’t get all of life’s answers. People have been reading the Bible for centuries, and they still haven’t figured out (everything).”
Malco said the movie opens dialogue, which leads people on the way to a healthier relationship: “For me, that’s where the substance comes from.”
Gary Owen: “Bennett,” happily married guy
In the film, the characters give their honest opinion of the book. In real life, Owen — actor and comedian — said he ran from it.
“I wanted no part of it. (My wife, Kenya,) was more familiar with the book,” he said. “Will Packer, the producer, came at me with the movie. I looked at (Packer’s) track record and I said, ‘He believes in it, so I’m just going to roll with this.’”
When asked the secret to a happy marriage, Owen said, “Find a woman and just listen to her and agree. Even if you don’t agree, just agree. It just makes life a lot easier. Nine times out of 10, she’s going to be right anyway.”
Owen could relate to his character … in most instances.
“It was pretty much me,” he said. “I’m not as goofy as my character, but in real life I’m happily married.” He said when he goes out, he asks for permission … or as he puts it: “It’s not permission. It’s just letting her know where I’m going to be.”
With comedians on set, improvisation on set was a no-brainer. In his scenes with Kevin Hart and the rest of the male cast, Owen said, “Ninety percent of the stuff was ad-libbed. But that’s the good thing — if you hire comedians, let them do what they do. Tim (Story) did a good job of that.”