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The Perfect Holiday in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Perfect Holiday

Morris Chestnut • Gabrielle Union • Queen Latifah • Charlie Murphy
DIRECTOR: Lance Rivera

Morris Chestnut THE CONCEPT:
Divorced mother-of-three Nancy (Union) is overheard by her daughter saying that the only thing she wants for Christmas is a compliment from a man, and the little girl tells Santa that on her visit to the mall. Ironically, Benjamin (Chestnut), a struggling musician who is doing a stint as Santa to make extra money, ends up giving Nancy just what she wants for Christmas, and much more.

U.S. RELEASE: December 124 2007, Nationwide • Rated: PG


“I thought this was a good script. I thought it was an opportunity to do a holiday movie that, hopefully if executed right, every Christmas people would pop it in their DVD player and watch it.”

Rachel True, Jill Marie Jones,and Gabrielle Union“When I first read this script, I was like, ‘A compliment? Why doesn’t she shoot higher than a compliment?’ And I asked my mom and my sister, who has kids, that and they said, ‘A compliment would be great.’ I’m like, ‘What are you guys going through?’ So I asked a lot of questions, and I realized my mom, sister and my girlfriend have basically given up everything they’ve ever dreamed about and put everything into their kids. And this movie is about finding balance, that you can be a good mom and still have things that you’re passionate about. So I went on a journey with this woman, with the help of some of the women in my life.”

“I’ve never aspired to be Santa, dealing with snotty-nosed little kids. [he laughs] It was tough wearing that Santa suit because we were shooting in New Jersey and it was record heat, it hadn’t been that hot in thirty years, and that was the summer that we had to do a Christmas movie and wear turtlenecks.”

“This is the fourth movie I’ve made with Morris. He’s just so easy, whenever they ask, ‘Do you have any suggestions?’ I’m like, ‘Morris Chestnut.’ I think people, for whatever reason, like us together. He’s so free of ego, he’s such a gentleman, he’s on time, he doesn’t come with an entourage or fanfare, he just shows up, he’s so humble and treats everybody with respect. You can’t do anything to ruffle his feathers, I try! He’s a good guy who is incredibly kind.”

“Queen Latifah was great, we didn’t really have any scenes together, but she was on the set because she produced it. She’s so smart and talented and I really respect everything she says and does.”

Director Lance Rivera with producer and star Queen Latifah on the set“Nobody understands what you go through as an actress, and certainly nobody understands what you go through as an African American actress, and Queen Latifah is an amazing mentor. I’ve known her for a long time. When she came with this opportunity, she said, ‘How can I make you feel comfortable, I want you to be confident to come in 12 hours a day and try to give us the best performance possible. What do I need to do to make that happen?’ Nobody says that, only another actor understands. She’s a great boss and you can’t really ask for too much more than somebody to be sympathetic to what you go through and how you prepare.”

“A perfect holiday for me is seeing the people in my life happy and smiling. The true reality is around the holiday times it forces people to reflect on certain things, sometimes on what they don’t have rather than what they have, and I just wish everyone that I know who is close to me is happy.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #691, January 2008 cover

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