In “Think Like a Man Too,” the follow-up to 2012’s “Think Like a Man,” Regina Hall, a veteran of both silver and small screens, fresh-off of the romantic re-boot of “About Last Night” with Kevin Hart, and Terrence Jenkins, seasoned co-anchor of “E! News” with Giuliana Rancic, reprise their roles as Candace and Michael, a devoted couple heading to the altar in America’s playground: Las Vegas.
But, sure-fire marital bliss becomes a steep gamble when Candace, Michael and the rest of the original gang, face unexpected obstacles, which raise the stakes and lower the odds of a “happily ever after.”
On June 2, the Daily sat down with Hall and Jenkins to talk about their respective roads to their most recent project and how success doesn’t come from laying down your winning hand on the table, but rather, playing smart and hard with the cards you’ve been dealt.
“I was in New York, and a friend of mine who lived in my building was an actress,” Hall said. “I was broke, and she suggested I try doing some commercials. She introduced me to her manager.”
At the time, Hall was a master’s student in journalism at NYU.
“I wasn’t making (it to) any auditions, and (my manager) said, ‘You’re either in the business, or you’re out,’ ” Hall recalled. “I said, ‘I guess, I have to be out,’ because I couldn’t do my thesis and go (to auditions), too.’”
Jenkins also studied journalism during his academic career at North Carolina A&T State University.
“I started off interning for a radio station when I was 16,” he said. “Then studied it, and did commercial and community radio at the local station and on campus.”
Hall mentioned how the greatest lesson from her college experience wasn’t what she learned in the classroom, but rather, the discipline that a student life instills.
“You have to turn in your papers, and there’s a certain amount of work responsibility that you have to have” she said. “That stays with me more than the lessons. I remember certain books I read, but the work ethic of finishing four years of school, like, partying all night then having to go to class, that’s served me the most. Because I was like ‘I have to go to class, no matter what.’ ”
Jenkins weighed in on his similar feelings regarding the benefits of his education.
“As an actor, it’s kinda like we never really left (college),” he said. “We get paid to party (in ‘Think Like a Man Too’). It’s the best job in the world, but that being said, the skill set is the big takeaway from college. And all the rest of the stuff, you can go back and re-learn, or learn things for the first time, for example, I’ve been really interested in World War II lately.”
“You need to talk to my brother,” Hall interjected. “He loves (learning about) World War II. That’s what college is good for, too. I think it makes you a voracious learner.”
Hall described the voracity she also required when she first avidly attempted to break into the entertainment industry.
“I got a zillion ‘No’s’ before I got a ‘Yes,’ ” she said. “I got ‘No’s’ just to getting an agent. I had someone tell me, ‘No, it’s going to require too much of a push to start you.’ A lot of it is timing. All of a sudden, it will just surprisingly fall into place, like with Terrence. I hadn’t seen him act yet, but when we had our table read, I couldn’t imagine anybody else (playing the role of Michael). So, you can break through anything if you’re just great at what you do.”
Jenkins echoed Hall’s words of advice on perseverance.
“I knew going into that role, on paper, it should’ve been (a more well-known actor), so for me it’s just about working hard and studying the script,” he said. “I knew I was the least-experienced (actor on set), so I always wanted to be the most prepared. Humility gets you a long way, and I’ve never been scared to go to Regina and ask for help.”
Hall empathized with a memory of one of her first prominent, reoccurring roles on TV’s “Ally McBeal” where she was once in Jenkins’s nervous, newcomer shoes.
“(It was my) first day, and I had these braids because I was shooting ‘Scary Movie,’ ” she said. “I was so horrified that that’s what my hair had to be. Then the (crew) tell me, ‘You’re with Sting and Robert Downey (Jr.).’ There’s no rehearsal; there’s no table read because it’s television, and they’re like ‘You ready?’ I was nervous, so I spoke really fast, but (her character, Coretta) was a lawyer, so I guess that worked out. It was really fun.”
For Hall and Jenkins, a college education yielded much more than an advanced degree or an official diploma – it fostered an air of discipline and drive that’s served them well as actors constantly moving forward in the entertainment industry.
“Think Like a Man Too” hits theaters with a wide release on Fri. June 20.