Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “The Five Heartbeats”

25 comments
November 19, 2012 ‐ By

In 1991, after the success of his self-funded project, Hollywood Shuffle Keenan Ivory Wayans and Robert Townsend decided to take on a studio film, a first for Townsend. The collaboration didn’t do so well in theaters but over 20 years later, it’s a favorite in the black community. You know the lines and the songs. Check out these behind the scenes secrets.

Source: cinema.de

Where did the story come from?

Though the story was based on several R&B groups and solo artists, including The Temptations, The Dells, Frankie Lymon and Sam Cooke, Robert Townsend told Black Voices that the breakup of The Temptations when he was a child, inspired the story. “I grew up with a lot of the singing groups from the ’60s, such as The Temptations, The Dells and The O’Jays. I always loved music. When The Temptations broke up, I took it personally. [The Five Heartbeats] came out of that.”

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  • J.T. but not Matthews

    People can call it “corny” & I know that at points things just seem to leap out out of nowhere with no explanation whatsoever (J.T.’s affair with Tanya being the most glaring example), Nevertheless, this has been of my favorites since the day that I saw it & it will always be such. These characters made you care about them & with the world being as it is today, who doesn’t like to see a happy ending every now & then?

  • http://www.sonikkinicole.com/ NikkiG

    Luv this movie.

  • Cheryl

    Keenen Ivory Wayans as JT would have been a whole nother movie. I’m glad Leon was cast.

  • Nea J

    Despite some bad acting and editing, I love this movie. It truly is a classic. My favorite scene is when Eddie is singing “I Feel Like Going On”. Makes me wanna stand up & testify everytime I see that part.

  • http://twitter.com/MsRedboneBrite Tee Elyse

    “It takes more than love! More than love to to BUILD it up! To BUUUUUUIIIIILLLLLLDDDDDDD it up! Is there a heart! Is there a heart in the house tonight! STAND UP!”

    Wooooo, chile!! I just flashed! Lmaooooo!!

    • Rayjulian85

      YAAAAASSS!! My FAVORITE scene!

    • TRU

      YOU GO TEE!!!!!

  • janice

    My favorite part of this movie is….

    The Slap- Big Red “Ooh God Eleanor you shouldn’t, Ooh God you shouldn’t be alone…maybe sometime…” SLAAAAAAP….
    Eleanor-”Get Out!!!”

    • Cheryl

      LOL yes!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ERJitterbugg Johnnie Q. X. Sturner

    Mannnnn this was (and is) my movie!

    By the way, did Leon get Madonna’s song titles mixed up or did the author of this article misquote him? He was in “Like A Prayer”, not “Like A Virgin”.

  • PA-TX

    I guess my country arse was the only one who actually thought his name was Eddie King, not Kane, this whole time!

    • IllyPhilly

      LOL. At the end imo you can hear the “ing” when he says that line.

    • ms. lisa

      u from port arthur?!

      • PA-TX

        Haha, based on my username it would seem as such. But no, I’m not big pimpin down in P.A.T.! (in my Bun B voice)

    • J.T. but not Matthews

      You were correct. His name was Eddie KING Jr., not Eddie KANE.

  • Nenah

    This is a classic!

  • msgeegee

    i feel like such a traitor saying this but I NEVER liked this movie. I thought the whole thing was sooooooo corny.

    • Nenah

      No you didn’t! LOL It actually took me forever to finally watch it. The first time I was like meh, but the second or third time I saw why people loved it so much.

  • IllyPhilly

    Harlem Nights and This movie I’m shocked to find didn’t do well because of the fact that they are sooo entertaining.

    • Tamz

      Harlem Nights is another movie I watch EVERY TIME it comes on TV. Lol You’re right, that movie was hilarious, I didn’t know it didn’t do well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tiffanie-MadameGigglez-Thomas/665285721 Tiffanie MadameGigglez Thomas

    Im glad im not the only one who found that scene with Duck’s & JT lil sister extremely annoying…

    • psylocke_2001

      Me too! It’s definitely a cringeworthy moment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/southphillygirl215 Kenya Tyler

      The face that Robert Townsend makes during that is creepy. JUST SING THE DAMN SONG!!!

    • Cheryl

      My least favorite part of the movie. They could have cut that entire part out and it wouldn’t have done anything to change the plot.

    • J.T. but not Matthews!!!

      After first seeing it in 1991, I’ve ALWAYS fast-forwarded past that part. I simply can’t watch it. I thought that they had her singing WAYYYY too hard & it just made no sense. Writing songs is a lot harder than pulling rippe-up pieces of lyrcs out of your sock drawer or a waste basket. It simply made no sense.

      Then again, the majority of hits over the last 10 years sound as though they were written by 5th graders, so perhaps there’s something to that old sock drawer after all!