Movie opening Valentine’s Day brings Hart to metro Detroit

By: Sherri Kolade | Royal Oak Review | Published February 12, 2014

 Actors Kevin Hart and Regina Hall speak to a crowd during a special media screening of their movie “About Last Night” at Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak Feb. 6.

Actors Kevin Hart and Regina Hall speak to a crowd during a special media screening of their movie “About Last Night” at Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak Feb. 6.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

ROYAL OAK — Valentine’s Day is typically about the passion, the fire, the romance and the sweet nothings whispered in your lover’s ear.

It can also be a reminder about the crazy exes, the bad breakups, the awkward moments, single nights and everything else reminiscent of all that is insanely beautiful, and terrifying, about love.

Actor and comedian Kevin Hart has a new movie opening on Valentine’s Day that touches on these themes. He was in town Feb. 6 with co-star Regina Hall to promote “About Last Night” during a special advance screening that brought a hyped-up, standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 to Emagine Royal Oak, 200 N. Main St.

Hart said that he and his team don’t depend on others to do their work for them, and they want to go to places where Hollywood doesn’t often travel.

“You are looking at hard work and driven individuals,” he said. “Detroit isn’t a place where Hollywood comes to bring stars and … we are going to go where our people are, and we are going to go and give our people what we deserve. We are not paid to be here. … We are doing it because we want to, because we are doing things differently. We are breaking the mold. Spread the word and tell people you saw it, and help us do what we do best — that is win.”

The movie, a remake of the 1986 romantic comedy, is rated R and follows two couples as they take their love, and lust, from the bar to the bedroom, eventually being tested in the real world.

With Hart and Hall headlining the film and making an appearance, hundreds of media representatives, fans, special guests, and radio-show winners couldn’t help but pack the theater to see and hear the actors, who play an unstable couple in the movie, speak about their roles during a question-and-answer segment with producer and moderator William Packer.

During the segment, Hart told a few jokes in a raunchy humor that he is known for and riled up the crowd with his seemingly boundless energy when describing behind-the-scenes stories.

“We’re that couple you have a meeting about before (we come over),” he said with a smile, of his and Hall’s roles. “They were funny, but they were believable.”

He added that his role took a different direction than what he typically performs.

“You know what, man, I got to play an adult for the first time in my theatrical career, man,” Hart said to a roused crowd. “I got to play a grown man who had issues. Bernie was a guy who wasn’t necessarily about love.

“This movie is edgy, edgy, edgy, edgy. But the contrast we had between both couples and the dynamic that they showed between their friends, me and (actor) Michael (Ealy), which is Danny and Bernie in the movie, as well as Joan (played by Hall) and Debbie (played by Joy Bryant), you know, you get to see how women approach relationships and how they talk to one another.”

He added that on the other side, it showed how men talk to one another and how they deal with problems.

“And then, (the movie showed) how one couple was so reserved on the outside trying to be so perfect, but on the inside going through the same things, if not more, and one couple was a little more open about their problems,” Hart said.

“Bernie and Joan think they know everything,” Hall quipped.

“Everyone else is crazy; we’re fine,” Hart said to a laughing audience about his on-screen relationship.

“This is one of the most fun movies to make,” producer and moderator William Packer said during the segment. “These guys, their energy is real.”

They channel that energy into 100 minutes of love, anger, sadness, regret and joy.

“It kind of balanced the movie out to give it its own voice and modernized it, where relationships are today as opposed to where they were in the ’80s,” Hall said. 

The stars felt that the movie should have universal appeal.

“Understand something: There is no such thing as black movies anymore, because black movies are being so successful in the box office that they are now becoming universal projects,” Hart said. “So these black producers that you see before you are now being respected on a different platform, people, because you got to take them and their body of work serious.”

“I loved that they had a woman (the role) that wasn’t necessarily written for an African-American,” Hall said. “It is a movie written for whatever culture, and we made it our own. She (the character) was independent — a real woman.”

Southfield resident Franneika Perkins attended the event and agreed with the stars about the movie and other mediums.

“Hip-hop and what we thought was black is now universal,” she said. “I feel that the movie is universal. The movie was good, and how often do you get to see stars come to the Emagine? I would pay to see it again.”

The movie is directed by Steve Pink and written by Leslye Headland, based on a screenplay by Leslye Headland, Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue, and originally based on the screenplay “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” by David Mamet.

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