Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of About Last Night
It’s about compromise. It’s about love. It’s about a good wingman.
An all-Black cast remake of the 1986 film of the same name, About Last Night starred Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant and Michael Ealy. Released on Valentine’s Day 2014, About Last Night was executive produced by Will Packer under his old shingle, Rainforest Films, and Screen Gems. The contemporized rom-com follows two couples – Bernie and Joan and Danny and Debbie – both on their journey from first date to instant relationship to breakups and all the juicy hiccups in between. Made with a budget of $12.5 million, About Last Night grossed nearly $49 million at the box office. Here are some secrets behind the making of About Last Night.
About Last Night is a remake of the 1986 film of the same name. That film, starring Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins, was an adaptation of a 1974 David Mamet play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago. A line of dialogue in the 2014 film, uttered by Danny during the Halloween party scene, gives a nod to the original source material: “Here’s to another night of sexual perversity in Los Angeles.”
There’s another nod to the original film in this remake. When Danny and Debbie are Netflix and chilling, the film they’re watching is none other than the original About Last Night.
Didn’t Regina Hall and Kevin Hart have such great chemistry? While that’s certainly a credit to their talent, it’s also indicative of the fact that this was their sixth movie together, though this was the first where they actually interacted so closely as romantic interests.
One of the elements that attracted the actors to this film is the realness of the dialogue. At times raunchy or lewd, and other times laugh out loud funny, they said the story is something that both men and women can relate to.
It’s not every day that you get to film a sex scene on the set of a film while your girlfriend watches from the sidelines, but that’s exactly how things went down for Kevin Hart. His now wife, Eniko, was on deck throughout the filming of About Last Night.
Leslye Headland wrote the script for About Last Night and encountered some unbelievable reactions from fellow White industry players regarding an all-Black cast. Here’s what she had to say: “I heard some very interesting reactions to the casting, specifically from white people who work in the movie industry. While I was doing the rewrite, I got dozens of really mean jokes, most of which I don’t feel comfortable putting into writing here because they were sometimes racist and always hurtful. The most clever one (still lame) was: ‘How’s your David Blamet script going?’ It was like my script was suddenly not as good or less than or just plain not cool because of the casting. Whatever. Those people suck.”
The original About Last Night (and the play it was adapted from) was filmed in Chicago, but the remake was shot in a place you don’t often see in film: downtown Los Angeles. Michael Ealy thought the location change – keeping the story based in an urban environment – was a smart move, and made the film more accessible.
About Last Night premiered at the 22nd annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival, an LA-based film festival that showcases a wide range of works from Black creatives.
Michael Ealy plays a character named Danny in About Last Night. He made the decision not to watch the original film or to read the play because as an actor giving his own interpretation, he needed to approach the role and the film as a “fresh idea.” If he’s involved in a remake, Ealy only likes to watch the original after his work is complete.
How Joy Bryant Got the Part
Clint Culpepper, president of Screen Gems, simply called Joy Bryant up and offered her the role of Debbie. No audition, no call back.
Having a comedian like Kevin Hart as a lead in a film pretty much guarantees improv. And though this did happen on set, the actors largely remained faithful to the words in the script.
Joy Bryant created a love and relationships playlist to help her get in the mood to film scenes. Here’s what it included: Minnie Riperton’s “Inside My Love,” the Isley Brothers’ “Make Me Say It Again,” Aretha Franklin’s “You’re All I Need To Get By,” The Gap Band’s “Yearning For Your Love” and Whodini’s “One Love.”