The ensemble comedy Think Like A Man, inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man, was a huge hit, naturally leading to a sequel that will be bringing all of the couples back for a wedding in Las Vegas, when it hits theaters on June 20th, what was supposed to be a romantic weekend goes terribly awry when their various misadventures, and the bachelor and bachelorette parties, get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.
Back on June 13, 2013, Collider was invited, along with a handful of other press, to visit the Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino set of Think Like A Man Too and chat with the cast and filmmakers. During a group interview, producer Will Packer and director Tim Story, talked about the challenges of this sequel, how they started talking about possible ideas once they finished the first film, why they chose Las Vegas as the setting, working with such a fearless cast, keeping the PG-13 ratings, where the story is headed this time, and working cameos into the film in an organic way. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
WILL PACKER: Sequels are usually lose-lose propositions. You already have an audience that liked the first movie and is invested in it. That’s the only reason sequel conversation even comes up. So, you really can only disappoint your fans. We entered into a tough proposition the first time because it was a beloved book. It was a book that had done very, very well and had a built-in fan base, and we were trying to do a cinematic retelling of that. That’s tough. It was a book that didn’t have any narrative or characters, so we went about creating the characters. That was really the tough part. So then, to come back and do a sequel when we already had characters that had resonated with people and that people had connected with, it was a challenge, but it was a fun challenge. It was very different from the first one.
Tim, did you already know that you wanted to do the sequel?
TIM STORY: We definitely started talking about ideas, once we finished the first film. The characters and us, behind the scenes, are all really close friends. We just wanted to take this group that everybody fell in love with on another adventure. It seemed like it would be wrong, if we didn’t explore it. So, we started talking about it pretty soon after we had a cut of the movie.
PACKER: It’s like a family, so the truth of that is that, within each family, you’ve got all these different personalities. Kevin Hart is the resident gambler. He gambles a lot, anyway. Michael Ealy is the resident player who teases the women. Any particular weekend, we would be in Vegas with them, anyway. So, I told Tim [Story], “You know what? Let’s just film it. Let’s shoot this shit! Kevin is going to be spending too much money. Taraji [P. Henson] is going to have her hair done. Michael is going to be looking at girls with those eyes. Let’s just shoot this shit, and we’ll call it a sequel.” And the studio fell for it.
What was it like working with this cast?
STORY: They’re great! They’re like sisters and brothers. We just have a lot of fun. When we are not filming on set, and even back in L.A., we hang out. And we’ve hung out a lot in Vegas. We’re truly a family. It’s like hanging around with your brothers and sisters.
PACKER: This cast is fearless. The reality is that, for the cast, a sequel is a risk. It makes a lot of sense from the studio standpoint. As a producer, I don’t mind saying that the studio stands to gain. The first one was a success, so why wouldn’t you make a second. Even for myself, as a producer, it’s about exploiting a brand that we already have. For the cast, they created a character that their fans fell in love with, and now they’re putting those characters back out there. That’s tough to do. That’s a big risk, and it’s a professional risk. But each and every one of those actors, I will honestly say accepted the challenge, and accepted it head-on. They said, “You know what? Let’s do it! Let’s go again. Let’s go back to the well. I will give you everything that I’ve got.” In some shape or fashion, I had a conversation, along those lines, with each of them. So, I thank them for that because that’s the magic. They’re why it all worked. It’s a great brand, the writing is good and the backdrop is great, but without each of them, it would be nothing.
On the first film, you didn’t cross the line into the R rating. But now, you’ve taken everybody to Sin City, so are you still not crossing lines?
Since you don’t have a book as your guide with this film, where are you taking the story?
PACKER: It’s about the same couples. We got them together in the first one. This one is about them coming to Sin City for a wedding. You’ve got the bachelor and bachelorette parties. It’s about the same relationships that we saw form in the first one, and whether they can survive against the backdrop of Vegas. It’s one thing to live in L.A., New York, Chicago, Atlanta or whatever, with your significant other, but it’s another thing to go and drop that same relationship in the middle of Las Vegas. It’s the international iconic city of sin. Will it survive? We have a lot of fun answering that question.
Ensemble comedies are becoming a big thing in Hollywood, and Think Like A Man was quite a bit funnier than most. Were you satisfied with the level of cross-over appeal that you had, or do you think you could have pushed it even more?
PACKER: As a producer, I always think that you can have more, and we certainly plan to pus it more, this time. I believe in just making a really good movie. If you build it, they will come.
What do Kelsey Grammer and Adam Brody and the new characters bring to this ensemble?
STORY: We did something that was really special in the first film where we were able to make a lot of the cameos seem organic to the storytelling, but at the same time, give you a wow factor. So this time around, I told Will that he had to up it, and he came through. We have a lot of great guys, like Kelsey, who was just a last-minute thing. He was my first choice. He plays Lauren’s boss. And we had Floyd Mayweather. We got a lot of great cameos. It’s become our thing to have a lot of great cameos, but at the same time, make them organic to the story.
Think Like A Man Too opens in theaters on June 20th.