*The individual careers of actors Forest Whitaker and Regina King have skyrocketed in recent years.
Whitaker has taken on roles in “Street Kings,” “Bird,” “Where The Wild Things Are,” “The Great Debaters,” “Vantage Point” and “The Last King of Scotland” in which he played Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, and won an Academy Award for best actor.
King, who made her television debut on the sitcom “227,” easily made the transition into film with roles in “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,” “Daddy Day Care,” “How Stella Got He Groove Back,” “Enemy of the State” and more. She is currently playing Detective Lydia Adams in the TNT television drama, “Southland.”
Now, these two stellar thespians have teamed up in “Our Family Wedding,” a comedy set to open March 12.
The film, directed by Rick Famuyiwa (“Talk Radio,” “The Wood,” “Brown Sugar”) is about cultures clashing when an African American man (Lance Gross) and a Latina (America Ferrara) decide to say “I Do.” While the engaged couple is happy and secure with their upcoming nuptials, their families are at odds.
Whitaker plays the father of the would-be groom, while King plays his confidante/lawyer and best friend.
We spoke to Whitaker and King about “Our Family Wedding” and what it was like working together.
“I wanted to do this movie because I like the story and I like the character,” said Whitaker, who plays Brad Boyd, a ladies man and a popular Los Angeles DJ, whose son, Marcus (Lance Gross), is about to marry. “It was a great opportunity to get a chance to experiment with myself. I keep trying to see what I can do. In this one I was thinking I can stay a little closer to myself and to see what that means. I’ve played a lot of roles that are emotionally and psychologically challenging. So I decided it was the right time to explore a new side. It was great for me. It was very freeing for me.”
On the subject matter of the film, Whitaker said he wouldn’t have a problem with any of his children marrying outside of their race.
“I’m sure I would think about it,” said the married father of four. “I’m not going to act like I wouldn’t think about it or anything. “My daughters, I have three of them and my son. I’m sure amongst that, they may make that decision. I’m with whatever makes them happy. It depends on the quality of the kid, the person who wants to marry them. I kind of have my ideas of the way it might go. We’ll see.”
Director Rick Famuyiwa said Whitaker “was always at the top of my mind for the role of Brad Boyd. Comedy is about truth and Forest’s ability to get to the truth of a character is unsurpassed.”
King, too, said there is something special about Whitaker. She said she was thrilled to play opposite the Oscar winner.
“Just being in his presence,” said King. “That guy is amazing. He’s an amazing man and an amazing actor. It was awesome to be able to play in a movie that wasn’t real heavy. So, we got to know each other in between takes. He is so layered. It’s good to meet people so layered. They are so interesting.”
Whitaker also had nothing but good things to say about his co-star.
“Regina’s amazing,” said Whitaker who will next been seen in “Repo Men”.
“She has an openness and a rise that makes you feel like you’re falling into her heart or something. So when you’re across from her is a scene, you feel like something amazing is going to happen.”
In the film, King plays Angela, a longtime friend of Whitaker’s character, who is also his attorney. Their relationship becomes complicated once they become unexpectedly romantic.
“For most of us in our 30’s plus, we’ve experienced that situation, but don’t often get to see it in films..so this is very cool!,” said King. King, who has played opposite some heavy hitters during her career, including Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and Oscar® winner Cuba Gooding Jr., is very impressed with Whitaker’s acting.
“Forest has an understated confidence about him that makes you feel that he can do anything he sets his mind to,” she said. “So when we did the table read, I thought to myself, this is going to be so much fun!! And it was.” “Our Family Wedding,” (Fox Searchlight Pictures) directed by Rick Famuyiwa, with a screenplay by Wayne Conley, Malcolm Spellman and Famuyiwa, stars Whitaker, King, Lance Gross, America Ferrera, Carlos Mencia, Diana Maria Riva, Anjelah Johnson, Lupe Ontiveros, Charlie Murphy and Shannyn Sossamon.
“Our Family Wedding” is Rated PG-13, Running time: 101 minutes.
Watch the trailer for “Our Family Wedding”: