*This weekend the curtains rise on a little film that is aspiring to a lot. Produced by Tracey Edmonds and Bishop TD Jakes, “Jumping the Broom” features an ensemble cast of some of black Hollywood’s favorite faces.
Today we would like to bring you our conversation with Paula Patton and Laz Alonso, the leading man and woman of the film. Recently Lee Bailey was present alongside many other influential media members for press coverage.
From the very beginning of the session we realized Paula Patton will speak her mind to the fullest. Here’s what she had to say about using celibacy to keep a man.
“It’s how you keep a man,” she explained. “You dangle the carrot, then you bring it back and you dangle it, then you bring it back and you dangle it and you bring it back. Once you get the ring on your finger and it’s legal then you let them eat the carrot. Hopefully, it’s bigger than a carrot that’s all I’m saying. Maybe one of those genetically enhanced half carrot, half cucumber. I don’t know.”
Everyone in the pressroom was roaring with laughter. One reporter reminded Ms. Patton that this was in fact considered a faith-based film and she got back on track if but briefly.
“TD Jakes is such an open man,” said Patton. “A kind and compassionate man. He understands that human beings are flawed. We all have needs and wants and we make mistakes. He is the one who wanted the scene from the beginning of the movie where Sabrina did something with a man that she perhaps shouldn’t have. Maybe too early and she then calls on God to help her find the right guy. She makes a promise that she wouldn’t give up the cookies until she’s married. I thought ‘what an open minded human being to want that. He understands people are people. We’re not perfect. All we can do is strive to be better every single day of our lives.”
“One of my favorite scenes in the movie is where Mike Epps says ‘God don’t like ugly, Pam. And he don’t like cute either’,” continued Patton. “I think it’s a beautiful thing because religion has become a little too didactic and judgmental.”
Laz Alonso (“Avatar,” “Fast and Furious”) is no stranger to pressure cooker type situations, especially in films. He’s been asked to stand and deliver on some pretty big films. But when it came to pressing his lips against the lovely Paula Patton he had to be coerced into added intimacy. Here he explains.
“Our first day working together we had a kissing scene and I had never met Paula before,” said Alonso. “I knew that she had just her baby. We did a small rehearsal but nothing too intimate. After the first kissing scene Tracey Edmonds pulled me aside and said ‘Look, (your character hasn’t) had sex in 6 months. You’re supposed to be bursting at the seams. We need to see that in the movie.’ I think that’s one thing Tracey and Bishop TD Jakes brought to the table was a very human and real way of approaching celibacy. Just because you’re practicing celibacy like these 2 characters were, putting their love before the physical need to represent it, doesn’t mean you’re not going to be sexually frustrated. These two people are very attracted to one another and they still have their needs and we wanted to show those needs in a very realistic way.”
“At the end of the day the scene is king, the moment is king and you have to do whatever it takes to get it to look as realistic as possible, but I think the respect we have for each other was paramount.”
As mentioned during a prior EURweb.com discussion with director Salim Akil, creating a realistic film meant having characters behave in a realistic manner. We asked Paula of her initial take on the finished product.
“It was very refreshing, especially watching the film afterwards and seeing it all cut together,” said Patton. “I had to clap for Salim Akil because he is a brilliant director. The Taylors are from downtown and you could have definitely gone into caricatures and the stereotypical ways that they might behave. The Watsons are from uptown and you could have seen them be too uppity. You wouldn’t have seen the heart and the 3 dimensional attributes you would add to the character Mrs. Watson. He wanted it to be a very honest, natural film and if the humor comes it come.”
One aspect of the film with which Laz says he can directly identify is the juggling act that aspiring brothers from the hood must play with their friends and business colleagues.
“It’s funny. I still have to juggle my D.C. neighborhood friends along with my Howard University friends who have gone off to work on Wall Street and my financial industry friends, and now my entertainment industry. It’s the kind of thing where there is a juggling act. I thought that Salim hit it right on the nose when you have the Ricky character, which is my friend from Howard and a fellow banker, then you have the D. Ray character who doesn’t want you to forget who you are and where you came from and, in some ways, doesn’t want you to evolve into something else. It is a very realistic situation where a lot of times you see guys who have transcended the streets and the neighborhood and sometimes they just get pulled back in because they didn’t know how to manage that friendship properly.”
Black love. Just mentioning the phrase elevates the heart rate just a bit. We all want it, witnessed others seize it and block out those who say it’s impossible to have it.
“There was something special about seeing black love, not black sex, in it’s truest form. Not dysfunctional black love. Very human but a way to make it work,” said Alonso.
Directed by Salim Akil, “Jumping the Broom” stars Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Mike Epps, Laz Aloson and Paula Patton with appearances by Bishop TD Jakes. It is a quality to offering to be certain.
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