The halls are decked, you've risked life and limb to put up the Christmas lights. Now all you need is a bowl of popcorn and a holiday film to fill you with Christmas cheer. You're in luck: The Perfect Holiday, a family film with an African-American take, opens in theaters Dec. 12.
Actress Gabrielle Union plays the role of Nancy, a single mother of three who struggles to find love. Morris Chestnut, Faizon Love and Queen Latifah, also known to audiences as Dana Owens, also star in the movie.
"It's an honest reflection of what America is like. ... Every kid always has this hope that his parents will get back together," Latifah says regarding Union's character.
A New Kind of Christmas Movie
Latifah's production company, Flavor Unit, co-produced the film. She said they tried to think of a Christmas movie with an African-American cast and couldn't think of one, so they decided to make one.
"This might be a black cast, but it's not a black film," Latifah says. "The public is not as naive as some [movie] studios might want them to be."
That cast includes the queen and king of black romantic comedy: Chestnut and Union, whose on-screen chemistry may be familiar to fans because they've been paired in other films, including The Brothers and Breaking all the Rules.
In The Perfect Holiday, Chestnut plays a department store Santa Claus who has a love interest in Union's character, Nancy.
"When you're working on a film set, you're working 12- and 14-hour days, you want to be around good people ... and that is Gabrielle. She smiles, she's witty and she's smart ... and that's why I think our chemistry is so strong," Chestnut says.
Union says that although Chestnut is known as a Hollywood heartthrob, he "doesn't know he's fine ... he's a gentleman, he's mannerable. He treats everyone with so much respect."
'Black Is Not Just One Person'
Latifah says she's committed to showcasing a full spectrum of cultural experiences in her films.
"For us at Flavor Unit, it's been about making films that [portray] the 'middle' [experience] about Africans-Americans. Everything is not going to be about the 'hood and drugs and guns. ... It's an opportunity to present a lot of different sides of who we are. Black is not just one person, or one style, or one thing."
Latifah says that principle also applies off-screen.
"I make sure that each one of our sets [is staffed in a way that] looks like America. If I don't do it, I will have a white male set," the Grammy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actress says.
Written and produced for the Web by Lee Hill.