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Morris Chestnut Perfect Holiday Interview

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Morris Chestnut
Star of
The Perfect Holiday (2007)









Question: What attracted you to do a Christmas film?

Morris Chestnut : I had never done a holiday movie before, and when I read the script I initially responded to the script, and then I thought it would be great to be part of a movie, if executed right, every Christmas time people would break out and watch it with the family like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or something like that. I thought this is my opportunity to be a part something like that.

Question: With your character being a musician, can you actually play instruments?

Morris Chestnut : Am I musically inclined? No, negative. I wish I was. My father was a singer but I didn’t inherit any of those traits.

Question: So you can’t carry a tune?

Morris Chestnut : No. Not to save my life.

Question: What about that world? Did you sort relate to that character? As he was struggling to sell himself as a musician, isn’t it the same way for an actor?

Morris Chestnut : Exactly. I related to the character from a struggling artist perspective. The entertainment industry is difficult. You have your ups and your downs but this took me back to a time where I was really struggling to my ‘big break’ and once that happens, how do you deal with it. The thing about when you are a struggling artist, a lot of situations and scenarios come up where you get your big break, but you don’t really know if it’s your big break or not. So I can definitely relate with the character.

Question: Isn’t it better to have a big break than to always be waiting for one?

Morris Chestnut : Well, it depends. I’m joking. ‘Boyz N the Hood’ was a big break. I was in a movie with a bunch of people that no one knew and after the movie came out, everyone was familiar. It’s tough to be a struggling artist because it’s a small percentage that work consistently.

Question: What do you do when you are not working?

Morris Chestnut : I spend time with my family and play sports and stuff like that.

Question: What was it like working with Charlie (Murphy) and Katt (Williams)?

Morris Chestnut : It was interesting. When I was working on this movie, Katt was like a different person. If you ever saw his stand up shows, then you’ll know why. His character was not Katt Williams. It was an interesting dynamic to see them on set and how they worked with each other. Charlie had the more showier role and Katt being more reserved but it was fun. Working with Faizon (Love), every line was something different in every take. It was fun.

Question: Have you ever dressed up as Santa Claus before?

Morris Chestnut : No. That was my first and it will be my last. It was touch. We shot this movie in Nee Jersey during the summertime and not only was it the summer, it was record heat that summer, and to be in that suit with 110 degrees outside was not funny.

Question: This is another reunion for you and Gabrielle. What’s that feeling like of working with a close friend again?

Morris Chestnut : Yes. We have worked together several times. We did a film called ‘The Brothers’ many years ago and we also did ‘Two Can Play That Game’ and the thing about working with Gabrielle, aside from her obvious talent and her obvious good looks, is that she is a good person. When you are working with someone for 12 to 14 hour days, you want to be around people you enjoy being around with and she’s that type of person.

Question: Although you and he are not seen together in the film, you and Terrence Howard are also reuniting again since ‘The Best Man’.

Morris Chestnut : Yes. He was in a scene after Gabrielle and I left the scene. It’s funny because I always felt that Terrence is one of the best actors out there and he came to my trailer after the first day of work and talked and reminisce about being on ‘The Best Man’. I’m proud of him. I’m glad he’s doing what he’s doing.

Question: What was something new that you learned from a director like Lance?

Morris Chestnut : A lot of stuff. Basically, I’ve been in this industry for a minute and have done quite a few films and you learn different things just by watching people and just the whole experience. Most directors say the same things but have a different approach and style. I thought Lance did a good job. He’s the writer as well as the director of the movie. He was fun to work with.

Question: Do you have a favorite holiday memory?

Morris Chestnut : I do have a favorite Christmas memory. My kids can relate to this because my wife gets them everything they want, and even the stuff they don’t want, she gets them. When I was growing up, I never got everything I wanted for Christmas. I would put ten things down on a Christmas list and I would get two and so, in that anticipation of Christmas time, and putting together a list and not certain of what I was going to get, that was fun for you because I was looking forward to see what I would get. Imagine when you wake up and you see a box and assume it’s the race car you wanted, and it’s something else. I remember one particular Christmas where my brother and I went to this mall where this bike there. We had bikes at the time but they were old and beaten up, and so we wanted these bikes, and wasn’t sure if we would get them, although it was on the list. I never forget but we woke up probably around 3 o’clock in the morning and the bikes were there and my brother and I took the bikes outside and riding them in the back yard in the mud. We were so excited and I remember that very strongly.

Question: What was the experience of doing a play?

Morris Chestnut : Yes, I produced and did a play with David E. Talbert called ‘Love in the Nick of Time’. It was something that I had never attempted before, so it was s different challenge and I was looking forward to it. It definitely was an experience to be on stage and I’ve been doing films for so long, it was fun to do it.

Question: Unlike Broadway, were you surprised to see folks come down the aisle as you entered the stage for your scenes?

Morris Chestnut : I can’t relate to Broadway because I was never on Broadway, but being on stage period not having to hear, ‘take 1, take 2, and take 3’, that was new for me. You have to be on at that particular time, no questions asked. People pay a lot of money for theater tickets.

Question: How old are your kids?

Morris Chestnut : My kids are 10 and 9.

Question: What sort of films are you looking to do? Are you going out for auditions or are these films coming to you?

Morris Chestnut : It’s a little bit of both. There’s not one particular film I’m looking to do. I respond to the script, because throughout the years, people come up to me with a great idea, and then when you read the script, it’s not well executed. So I respond to the material I read.

Question: What sort of roles do you respond to the most? Is there a role that you want and that you haven’t played yet?

Morris Chestnut : I can’t really say that there is because I don’t really know what it is yet. If you someone were to come up to me 10 years and say, ‘Listen, I have this role about a pimp that wants to be a rapper’, I would have laughed it off, but it was a great role was, years later, well executed in ‘Hustle and Flow’. So you never really know.

Question: Would you go back on the stage again? On tour?

Morris Chestnut : The tour was difficult. I really would have to think about it. It’s a lot of work and a long way from home. I was the producer as well and we set box office records across the country. We left in January and came back in May. We took a break in between. Although we are stage from 7:30pm to 10pm, we worked Tuesday thru Sunday and travel day was Monday, which is really not a day off because if you have to go to the airport on your day off, then it’s not a day off. Going to the airport is work. We’d get up to do TV shows and promotions throughout the day and work at night, so it’s really an intense work schedule.

Question: What’s your next role?

Morris Chestnut : ‘Not Easily Broken’ is a film I star in and produced with T.D Jakes and it’s a movie that I’m very proud of. Basically it’s about the trials and tribulations of a marriage. It’s has Taraji Henson, Jenifer Lewis, Wood Harris, Kevin Hart, and we have a great cast and I’m really looking forward to that. It comes out sometime next year. Sony Screen Gems is putting it out.

Question: Why should anyone go see ‘The Perfect Holiday’?

Morris Chestnut : You should go see ‘The Perfect Holiday’ because it’s a fun family movie that the whole family can enjoy. You can bring a child from 0 to 18 and even adults can relate to it. It’s feel good movie about anyone.


Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2007 - Present
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