“This is the Black Pack,” writer/director Lee says of his cast in The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday. “This is a collection of really, really talented actors who embodied themselves in the first movie.”
For Lee, The Best Man, starring Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Monica Calhoun, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Melissa De Sousa, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall and Terrence Howard, struck a chord when it was released in 1999 because “It was a movie that spoke to a generation of African Americans, people who were educated, who were sophisticated, who were straight out of college and had had experiences, people who didn’t strictly define themselves as black. They were just sort of everyday Americans,” he continues. “So I think that was refreshing for our audience who had not seen themselves like that on the big screen.”
As for the follow-up, The Best Man Holiday, which reveals unexpected but realistic twists and turns as the characters truly reunite for the holidays, Lee admits that the studio was a little nervous at first “because it’s a departure from the first one.” Feeling that the departure was very necessary, however, Lee stuck to his guns. “Literally, we have life and death issues right here,” he says. So, he and his cast decided “let’s just grow. Let’s not do the same thing. Let’s do it. Let’s do it very well.”
And he truly thinks audiences will not mind. “It’s still fun. It’s still funny. The characters are still engaging,” he says of the sequel. “People love these characters and, whatever situation we put them in, I think people will be engaged by it.