Paula Patton and Laz Alonso couple up for Jumping the Broom
She is that gorgeous woman who dazzled in the films Deja Vu, Precious and the musical Idlewild and she’ll soon be seen in the new Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. He is the hunky blue alien warrior from Avatar, was the bad guy in the Fast and the Furious reboot and will soon play a sheriff in the Straw Dogs remake. Paula Patton and Laz Alonso play a feisty bride and groom from different sides of the tracks in the new wedding dramedy Jumping the Broom.
SheKnows is at a posh boutique hotel in Beverly Hills learning that these two Jumping the Broomstars can bicker and tease with the fervor of the newlyweds they play. Picture the ever-gracious Paula in a knock-out dress of black and white lace and Laz looking GQ dapper as we launch into this candid and funny exchange.
Jumping the Broom's beautiful couple
SheKnows: Paula, the film opens with your character with a guy (not Laz) the morning after and he is on the phone with another woman. What would you do in that situation?
Paula Patton: Start drinking in the morning! [Laughs] I think what you saw in that moment is what I would do. It's sort of devastating. I thought (my character) Sabrina was a love bug, that she falls in love easily. That she didn't think it through. And so, she would go to bed too soon with a man before knowing what's going on and then think they are going to get married. She's a little flawed. She then makes the prayer to God to help guide her to find the right man and makes a promise that she won't give away her "cookies" until she's wedded if God will help her find that man. Then boom, she runs into this man here [nods at Laz] and thankfully he's willing to wait.
SheKnows: How do you feel about that decision?
Paula Patton: Every woman should make a man wait. I'm not saying you have to wait until marriage because I didn't but I still think that's a great message to young ladies, because I do think it's important for women to know that they have more power than they realize and to be strong and believe in your values. You don't have to do something just to make your man happy. You got to love yourself first. And, the truth of the matter is that making them wait only keeps them more interested and love you more [laughs]. And if they didn't want to wait, then they weren't the right one to begin with.
SheKnows: Okay, Laz, what do you have to say about waiting till wedlock?
Laz Alonso: I think as a human being, you value things you have to work for. Things that have value typically don't come easy. So I think that what Paula says is 100-percent accurate. My character says, at one point in the film to Pooch Hall's character, "For Sabrina, I would wait another six months." I think that's something that's been lost in our current society. There's a lot of overly sexualized images. This film speaks to true romance, back in the day when romance was about love, when you had to court a woman and wait, when love songs were about love and not about sex. That's what I love about this film and what stood out to me about the love story between Jason and Sabrina.
SheKnows: That is so romantic but let's get personal. Could Laz be in a relationship with a woman knowing you would not get to have sex with her until you got married?
Laz Alonso: That's a tough question to answer because I haven't been in that situation but I have been in relationships where it did not start off sexually -- where it took a while before we went there. But, because I was so heavily interested in this person, I was willing to play by her rules. I was willing to wait. It's exactly what you said. Sometimes you have to make a man wait and if he sticks around, it's because he really wants you. And I really wanted her.
SheKnows: Do you both have a special wedding memory; either a tender or just crazy one?
Laz Alonso: Yeah. One of my best friends growing up got married in Jamaica and we all had villas. On the wedding night, we did the reception, a pool party, and, at two or three in the morning, we start seeing some hands and feet crawling up over the wall. We're in Jamaica and we're thinking, "Okay, this is about to go down. They're coming to get us." We look and they start looking familiar. "Okay, they're a little too light skinned to be Jamaicans." And it was T.I., his wife Tiny and their bodyguard. They were staying at the same resort, heard about the party and wanted to join in. They could have very easily knocked on the door but they climbed over the wall and jumped in the pool. So we partied with T.I. and Tiny that night.
Paula Patton: I love that. My favorite part of weddings is when grandparents get drunk. Do you know what I mean [laughs]? Honestly, that's when you have the most fun. Grandma is like, "Girl, let me tell you how you need to do it. You gotta take it all off and don't wear no panties." I'm like, "Grandma, my God!" And that's the moment you realize that everybody was young once. They just become very open and honest. That's my wedding moment -- when old people get drunk. It's the best thing ever.
SheKnows: Hilarious! Can you talk about working with Angela Bassett as your mother? Did you go somewhere to bond together before shooting?
Paula Patton: Honestly, we had to work together the first day of shooting. And it was the end of the movie when she's like, "Are you sure you want to marry Jason?" I had so much respect for Angela. She's just a tremendous actress and I have loved all her work and so I was a bit nervous. Then we got together and we just started talking about family and life and all of a sudden we started to bond. There was a chemistry to it. The truth is, I thought she was too young and too beautiful to play my mom. She was so cool with it and embraced that character and who she was with so much gusto that I was really inspired by her. I learned a lot from Angela.
SheKnows: Laz, your mom, played by Loretta Devine in the film, is very controlling and overprotective. Did you have an overprotective mom by any chance?
Laz Alonso: No. I would say she's more over-judgmental than overprotective. But I can say my mom has a very innate skill to judge character. And she does somehow find a way to separate herself from that skill. And what she says has pretty much been accurate. Sooner or later I've figured out, "Okay, she's got a point."
SheKnows: From talking to the cast today, we gathered that everyone had a blast making the movie and kind of becoming a family. True?
Paula Patton: We did. We all got along so well which, in truth, is hard to do with that many actors. We really just felt passionately that this was a great script and we wanted to do our best to make it come to fruition. And in some ways it was a gift that we were all in this small town (in Nova Scotia) together. It made us all so much closer. It really was a one-street town. You always ran into people. It was a lower budget so you have to work every day and do many scenes a day. So we became a family in many ways.
SheKnows: You two recently worked together on Just Wright with Queen Latifah. Had you bonded on that one?
Laz Alonso: Yeah, but she was extra "Hollywood" on Just Wright.
Paula Patton: You were extra Hollywood on Just Wright. You came in saying [in deep manly voice], "I'm Laz Alonso. I'm fabulous. I got pecs and abs and everything." You came in with that attitude.
Laz Alonso: I can't believe you remember because you had so many assistants. I had to get patted down six times before I got to shake her hand. Queen Latifah's got one assistant and Paula's got six.
Paula Patton: As if but, honestly, I saw him in Just Wright and I thought he was magnificent. He really killed that scene at the beginning of the film and I was blown away. I hadn't seen his work. We did meet in the hair and makeup trailer and he did come in fabulous but he did a great job and I was so happy when they told me that it was going to be Laz for this movie. I really knew he was a special actor and I really believed, and I can't believe I'm going to say this in front of you so don't listen, Laz is a big movie star. I think he's really special.
Laz Alonso: Thank you, Paula.
Paula Patton: Don't let it get to your head. But then you can't count on chemistry. If he knew how fabulous he was, it might not be hot. And luckily he didn't... well, too much. And right when I met you at the table read for the second time, I knew it was going to be great. Right?
Laz Alonso: No. I agree. It's funny. Here she is, somebody whose work I have admired for so long, and our first day rehearsing together, Salim (Akil, the director) got so enthused when he saw us working together, going back and forth and we were ad libbing and he wanted to do the proposal scene.
Paula Patton: He got down on both knees.
Laz Alonso: There are some things you are prepared to do in a rehearsal and things you are not prepared to do in a rehearsal. And having to get down on one knee and having to propose to this woman, on my first day working with her, it was a little overwhelming. I was really nervous. I started flubbing my lines. I couldn't get the words out. Do you remember that?
Paula Patton: I do remember that.
Laz Alonso: So I think the chemistry just happened organically. That was a moment I wasn't expecting. Salim told us what scenes we were going to rehearse that day and then he started throwing out scenes from I don't know where. And I think that opened up a vulnerability in me that at that point... I think she saw me at my worst. The fabulousness that she saw in Just Wright was out the window and I think it really opened the doors for us. I think after that it was just "let's work."
SheKnows: Laz, your character's background closely follows your own. Did the script change to fit your own background?
Laz Alonso: It was already that way when I got the script. I read the script and there were so many similarities in this character to my personal life; from having a single mom, he lost his father when he was 12 years old, went to Howard University, worked on Wall Street, etc. You kind of sit back and go, "Okay, God I get it. I know. This is one of those moments. Thanks." Now it's time to go in and win this role.
SheKnows: Did you ever think you would fit a role in a romantic comedy? You've been the tough guy a lot.
Laz Alonso: Sometimes what you think you may want to do may come in a different form. If someone had told me a year ago that I was going to be starring in a romantic comedy, I wouldn't believe them. My career's always been playing very aggressive, man-ish types of roles whether it be bad guys or war movies. Had you said, "Laz, what do you see yourself doing in a year?" I probably would have predicted something along that line. Never would I have thought I would be in a romantic comedy and enjoyed it as much as I did. Now, seeing the finished product, it's one of my favorite films I've worked on.
SheKnows: Paula, what did you take home from doing your role?
Paula Patton: Just complete and utter joy. I think I was left with the idea that God is love and it was a celebration of talent and of passion and I left every day of work with a smile on my face. And it was an utter joy to work on and it was a blessing.
SheKnows: How big is your part in the new Mission Impossible movie and Laz, I was curious if you've heard anything about Avatar 2?
Paula Patton: I've been sworn to secrecy. But, I can say this -- Mission Impossible came as a surprise. It was an incredible opportunity for me especially after being pregnant. I got to do all my own stunts. I got to be a very fierce, bad ass chick and it was a dream come true in many ways to get to play this character. That's about all I can say. It was great. It was an amazing experience for me.
Laz Alonso: Same thing. I think you know when we did Avatar 1 we were sworn to secrecy and the same deal goes with anything that comes after. We're just not allowed to talk about anything that has to do with it.
SheKnows: But are you coming back in Avatar 2?
Laz Alonso: You never know.