Christmas is coming early this weekend as Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut hit the big screen to star in the Screen Gems thriller, The Perfect Guy. And just a heads up ladies, they will be shirtless.
In the film actress Sanaa Lathan plays Leah, a career-driven woman whom appears to be in a loving relationship with Dave (Chestnut). After learning that her partner of two years does not want marriage or kids, she decides to pump the brakes on their relationship. Soon after, she finds herself in the arms of Carter (Ealy) after running into him at a bar, and let's just say that their chemistry is bananas. He smoothly wins over Leah’s parents, which we know is a sign that he’s a keeper, but just when you’re trying to find out if Carter has a fine brother with blue-green eyes, we learn that he’s far from perfect. Our man crush turns out to be crazy, and for the next hour the audience is taken on a wild ride. Who will be the last man standing? No spoilers over here!
Ealy (42) and Chestnut (46) are proof that "black don’t crack." The handsome duo (who are both husbands and fathers) give xoNecole the inside scoop on what they really think about their characters and how their 20s and 30s have prepared them for where they are in their careers today.
In addition to starring in the movie, you’re also an executive producer of the film, what does that title entail?
Michael Ealy: As an executive producer, you’re much more involved in the project. You don’t just show up and say your lines, you actually know what the budget is, and you know how much overages costs. You understand the business side of things a little better. Most importantly for me, was having a say when it came to the creative aspects of the film. If I was going to play a villain for the first time on the big screen, I’m glad that it was this project because I was able to be apart of the development process and actually push the boundaries of the script so that we could get this kind of a movie and I feel good about it.
Michael: I remember when I first started acting in New York, I had a lot of people tell me, ironically, that I couldn’t play a criminal because I was light skin which is a whole systematic issue in and of itself. But I was told I didn’t look like a criminal and I couldn’t play “black” well enough. All of these things helped me not to become complacent. When I break the mold and play a character like Carter, it’s me trying to continuously change the dynamic in which people think about me. When you go to the theaters to see a Michael Ealy project, you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get but you know that it’s not going to be the same old same old.
One of the biggest things I learned [in my 20s and 30s] is to keep pushing yourself, keep fighting for things people don’t think you can do.
Morris Chestnut: In my 20s and 30s, I was living life and constantly learning. I’ve grown and matured and had experiences in my 30s that I didn’t have in my 20s as an actor you learn from life experiences and you incorporate that into each of your characters.
One of things that isn’t really addressed in the film is that your character had a mental illness. Do you think Carter had any redeeming qualities? Was there any hope of him finding love given his issues?
[Tweet "There is no hope for love when you don't understand the concept"]
Michael: No, there’s no hope for love when you don’t understand the concept. That’s one of the unfortunate traits of sociopathic disorder. There are millions of sociopaths in this world amongst us. They don’t understand fear or the emotions that you and I take for granted everyday. Everyone is trying to fall in love but what if you didn’t actually understand what love was and you were incapable of feeling that for anyone, even your parents because you’re born that way. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about them, you’re just detached and that’s a scary place to be.
In The Perfect Guy, we learned that a crazy man can come in a pretty package. How do you advise your daughter and other young women to do a better job at screening men they want to date?
Morris: Regardless of your age and gender, first and foremost, you have to get to know the person. So many people are getting into situations too fast. Just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t mean you should be in a relationship with them before you’ve really had the chance to get to know them.
How have you and your wife maintained a successful marriage in the entertainment industry?
Morris: Communication is key and it’s been a little bit of luck. We respect each other but having really good communication is where it all starts.
Morris: You can say Carter (Ealy) was a rebound for Leah (Lathan) when she left Dave and it happened kind of quickly. Maybe if she would have held off a little bit and they and really got to know each other, maybe she wouldn’t have been in that situation or she would have been able to see the red flags. Sometimes you’re driving so fast you don’t see the red lights or red flags.
In the film, your character Dave said he wasn’t ready for marriage or kids after two years with Leah. For young men in their 20s and 30s how do you get on the same page with your partner about these important topics?
Morris: I’ve always been a fan of listening to people. Sometimes when people are having dialogue it’s really like a monologue. They say what they need but they really aren’t hearing what the other person has to say. When you meet someone you really have to listen to them, don’t just listen for what you want to hear. People will reveal themselves if you let them talk long enough. Take your time, get to know them and watch if their actions match what they’ve said. "I always tell a young woman:
[Tweet "If you want to know what type of man you have, see how he treats his mother and the women closest to him"]