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‘THE FAMILY THAT PREYS’ STARS TALK TYLER: Actors Cole Hauser and Rockmond Dunbar star in new Tyler Perry film

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*Tyler Perry’s latest box office offering entrenches two dear friends from two very different families in a web of greed and scandal.

As infidelity, power, seedy business dealings and paternity secrets threaten the harmony of the two families; the two friends/matriarchs make a cross-country road trip to rediscover themselves, their friendship, and a way to save their families.

Perry’s sixth film, “The Family That Preys” stars Oscar winner Kathy Bates and Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, along with Sanaa Lathan as her daughter, Rockmond Dunbar, as the loving young husband, and Cole Hauser as her lover and boss.

“I enjoyed this,” Hauser said of doing the film. “It’s different in the sense that working with Tyler is different. I was kind of hoping that it would be what it ended up being. When I met Tyler, he said, ‘I want you to have fun.’ So we had a great time.”

When Hauser first came to be considered for the role of wealthy son William Cartwright, he admitted that he didn’t know much about writer/director Tyler Perry.

“My first reaction was, ‘Who is Tyler Perry and what is he into?’” he said. “After that, they sent me some of his films and I then I looked at this script and said, ‘Wait a minute. This doesn’t make sense for him to do something other than what he’s done and what he’s famous for.’

Hauser, who starred in 2004’s “Paparazzi” and the television series “K-Ville” continued that Perry’s jump into another kind of story made joining the cast an attractive offer. He added, though, that his award-winning cast mates made it a sweet deal.

“And then I looked at, can I get along with the director? Does he understand what I want to do and do I understand what he wants to do. And I had a great conversation with Tyler.”

The conversation pretty much sealed the deal for Hauser. He told reporters that Perry-the-director had no qualms about changes to Perry-the-writer’s script, and that made doing the film even better for the actor. He explained that having the freedom to make changes and develop the story and character made him appreciate the script more and Perry.

While Dunbar joked that on the contrary, Perry gave him notes all the way through filming, the actor also talked about one particular scene in which he really relied on Perry’s direction. In a very heated scene with Lathan, who plays his new wife, Dunbar’s character is overtaken with rage over his wife’s infidelity and hits her. Actually he doesn’t just hit her, he slams the living crap out her, so to speak. Needless to say, it’s a scene that will have folks talking.

“It’s one of those situations you have to handle very, very delicately because you don’t know how it’s going play, you don’t know how it’s going to end up coming out,” Dunbar said of doing the scene. “A black woman being hit by a black man on screen? I was scared. I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I told myself, ‘This is not something that you want to turn out bad, so just commit to it and hopefully Tyler will make the right decision when it gets to the editing room, and he did.”

Dunbar, who’s credits include stints on “CSI: Miami,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Prison Break,” admitted that in handling the scene and situation as his character, he drew from his own recent experience and divorce.

“I just went through that whole situation with my ex-wife,” he said. “I’m newly divorced, so I had a lot to pull from. Even the similarities of her cheating for such a long time, was something I just went through unknowingly. I have common sense, I love women. It was just that similarity to have your heart on your sleeve.”

On the other hand, whether or not Hauser’s character has a heart is for the audience to decide. His torrid affair causes one of the many rifts suffered by both families in the film. And though this dynamic is a major story in the film, Hauser and Lathan and Perry make no grand point about it being an interracial affair.

“The first thing I did when I got to Atlanta was call [Sanaa] and say, ‘Let’s talk about where we want to go and how we want to go about it,’” Hauser said of conspiring with his co-star about the characters’ relationship. “I never look at her and see a black woman and she didn’t look at me and see a white man. It was two [characters] who were attracted to each other by sex, or lust, or by love and you leave it up to the audience to decide that. We just looked at it and said, ‘How can we make this as realistic as possible?’ I hope we’ve done that.”

For more on the film, check the website at “The Family That Preys” opens in theaters nationwide on September 12.


Written by Symphony

September 5, 2008 at 11:49 am

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