â€œThis is the Black Pack,â€ writer/director Lee says of his cast in The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday. â€œThis is a collection of really, really talented actors who embodied themselves in the first movie.â€
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 â€œIt 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 didnâ€™t strictly define themselves as black. They were just sort of everyday Americans,â€ he continues. â€œSo I think that was refreshing for our audience who had not seen themselves like that on the big screen.â€
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 â€œbecause itâ€™s a departure from the first one.â€ Feeling that the departure was very necessary, however, Lee stuck to his guns. â€œLiterally, we have life and death issues right here,â€ he says. So, he and his cast decided â€œletâ€™s just grow. Letâ€™s not do the same thing. Letâ€™s do it. Letâ€™s do it very well.â€
And he truly thinks audiences will not mind. â€œItâ€™s still fun. Itâ€™s still funny. The characters are still engaging,â€ he says of the sequel. â€œPeople love these characters and, whatever situation we put them in, I think people will be engaged by it.