Meagan, I loved your performance of Bell Biv DeVoe’s classic “Poison!”
MG: It was an evolution. Initially the song was supposed to be En Vogue’s “Never Gonna Get It.” We were all excited to learn the words and everything and then they were like, “You know what, we want to do ‘Poison’ instead.” We actually went into the studio and recorded it and all of us girls sounded like pretty bad except for Taraji who really sings. And then we got the set and we literally just sang to our own voices basically. And we did it for two days and it was like the easiest thing because you don’t have to do anything, just come to work, show up, have fun,be silly, laugh, joke, crowd surf, whatever it is you’re doing that day, it was just a lot of fun. It was actually just like going to a party.
Michael, I have heard that the hardest thing for actor is to play a nice person and your character is the nicest person of all of the characters. With so many colorful characters around you, with Kevin Hart being so extreme, how do you create a character who is nice but doesn’t get lost in all the hubub?
ME: I think it’s knowing who you are playing with. Like you said, Kevin Hart is at decibel 10 throughout the film and if you don’t have something to kind of ground that it could be a bit overwhelming. And having done three films with Kevin I know exactly where I need to be in every scene and it’s usually the straight guy, I think of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. And I have so much fun doing it. Dominique’s sincerity was in my opinion in the words especially in the first script, so love to Keith and David for writing such a character that is kind of endearing in that way.
Meagan, your character is very fashion oriented. How did you create her look?
MG: Shout out to [costume designer] Salvador Pérez Jr., who did an incredible job. I really wanted to do something that I felt a little bit out of the box and I wanted her to kind of have more like a rocker vibe and something that was like a little ‘vintage-y’ but a lot more on the edgy side and with that rocker-esque thing. So we did a lot of cuffs and we did a lot of shirts that were cut out in the side and just different stuff like that and for me, I felt like there is always that girl but she doesn’t always get represented. So that’s what I’m trying to do.
You can tell me. Behind the scenes, did you guys have some real fun in Vegas?
ME: The first two weeks I think everybody was like, “Yeah, we’re going to party. We’re going to do Vegas. We’ll do Vegas, get some stories.” And literally that work schedule just kind of knocked all of that out. We did like the first week, we hung out with Kevin at a party but that was about it and after that it was like we need to film in the casinos during the off hours , when there are still people in there playing but it is not nearly as crowded. That’s when the casinos gave us permission to shoot. So we would have to sleep from five or six in the evening until midnight, wake up, go to work, go do hair and makeup, be ready to shoot by 2:00 AM. So our hours were so off at a certain point, we were starting to become vampires, it was just crazy. And then we did all the daytime stuff and it was just awkward. And we were there for two months. Vegas is a place you stay for two days. Needless to say, we all kind of got to the point where it was like, “Yeah… How many days left, I’ve got to get out of here.”
Meagan, you had to be angry and frustrated in a comic way without going over the top. You kept the character sweet and gave her a lot of depth. And all of that opposite Romany Malco, who has a lot of energy, too.
MG: I think me and Romany have very good chemistry. We both kind of refer to ourselves as aliens because we are the same kind kind of awkward in a way which works out very well. But I think it’s the chemistry and I also try to be very conscious of not being in the way. I did not want to be that girl that’s always like, “He’s not doing what I want him to do.” Just whining and being obnoxious. I tried to be very conscious of that and still be sincere with the frustration and anxiety but not play it in a way that comes off obnoxious; which is kind what I believe in real life too, just bring it all the way back, to be honest but relaxed.
So are we going to have a third one?
MG: We hope so.
ME: It’s up to the fans. It really is up to the fans, I mean we weren’t anticipating a second one so the fans dictated the second one and the fans dictate the third one.
You encourage people to Tweet and Facebook to get the word out. How has social media changed the way that people find movies? Are you guys both on Twitter?
ME: Yes. I joined right before the first film at the request of my publicist. I remember talking to Meg and neither of us were really enthusiastic about it and then we both got TV shows and you have to push and you have to interact with your fans weekly. So you just kind of get better at it almost naturally and then you kind of see the power. So the things that you are able to do, the charity organizations that you work with and what you are able to do not just for your own self promotion. It is a powerful, powerful tool and I do think it is a good way to motivate people and create some sort of movement and I think the social media effect on Think like a Man was probably like responsible for about 70% of the box office. That was one of the most powerful campaigns on social media that I think there ever was. We all learned on the first that you can just buy into the system, reach out to the grassroots and watch what happens.
What are the most important lessons people have learned from these films about male/female relationships?
MG: My gosh, that we are very different! Which I think is important. I think it’s very important to recognize that in a real way because what’s common sense to him is not common sense to me. What’s common sense to me is not common sense to him and so if you can really understand that then you can start to understand the person better or if you are not seeing eye to eye on something, there is more of a respect level just because you understand that you see it very differently, not just that you disagree. The interesting thing is that people walk away saying, “Well, I am a Dominique” or “I am a Maya” or “ I am a Maya mixed with Lori” and people kind of see themselves in our relationships.
ME: Yeah. That’s the coolest part.