The thinking behind ‘Think Like A Man’

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In its opening weekend, the movie “Think Like A Man” knocked “Hunger Games” out of the number one spot raking in $33 million in ticket sales far surpassing initial box office estimations.

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The witty romantic comedy is an creative adaptation of comedian and nationally syndicated radio host Steve Harvey’s New York Times best-selling book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man.” The film tells the story of four interconnected and diverse friends who are knocked off their game after the women they are dating begin employing advice in Harvey’s book. Once the men find out that they have been betrayed by one of their own, they conspire to use the book’s teachings to turn the tables.

Harvey says the success of the book has been amazing. Women everywhere call, write, and approach him at his appearances regaling their stories of how they “got the ring” by applying his advice and how the book has helped them in their relationships. Harvey says he is not a relationship expert, but he is an “expert on the mind-set of men in terms of how we think and why we do what we do.” He says the book was intended to help women get beyond the myths and stereotypes of men and relationships. While Harvey speaks to millions of women on the airwaves, he says most importantly, he’s the father of four girls who deserve good men who will love them, respect them, and treat them the way they wanted to be loved, respected, and treated, and the book was mainly for them.

The predominately African-American ensemble cast includes: Michael Ealy (Takers, For Colored Girls), Jerry Ferrara (Entourage), Meagan Good (Jumping The Broom, Stomp The Yard), Regina Hall (The Best Man, Scary Movie, Law Abiding Citizen), Kevin Hart (Death At A Funeral, Not Easily Broken), Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow, Karate Kid), Terrence J (BET’s 106 & Park, Stomp The Yard: Homecoming), Romany Malco (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, No Ordinary Family), Gary Owen (Little Man, Daddy Day Care), Gabrielle Union (Good Deeds, Cadillac Records, Bad Boys II), Chris Brown (Stomp the Yard, This Christmas), LaLa Anthony (Two Can Play That Game), Arielle Kebbel (The Vampire Diaries, The Uninvited), Jenifer Lewis, the Sam Jackson of female actors (What Love Got To Do With It, Meet the Browns, Preachers Wife), and numerous others. Steve Harvey was featured as himself, narrating bits and pieces from the book throughout the film.

The film was directed by Tim Story (Fantasic Four, Barbershop) and written by Keith Merryman and David A. Newman, who also wrote the hit, Friends with Benefits. Will Packer (Stomp the Yard, Obsessed, Takers) produces via his Rainforest Films banner. Steve Harvey, Rushion McDonald, Rob Hardy, and Glenn S. Gainor are the executive producers.

Packer says he became intrigued when he saw so many women reading the book. “Everywhere I went I would see women with this book, so I had to find out about it. I read the book,” says Packer. “I didn’t know Steve was giving away all the secrets. After my initial reaction of ‘Steve, what are you doing?’—I thought that this would make a really good movie.”

Packer called Harvey and Rushion McDonald, executive producer for “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and “Think Like A Man,” and he and his business partner, Rob Hardy, co-founder of Rainforest Films, and executive producer on “Think Like A Man,” for a collaboration. For Harvey, the prospect of a movie had never entered his mind. “I didn’t see it coming,” says Harvey. “They were so serious about it that they flew to my ranch in Texas to talk about buying the rights to the movie and I went ‘Wow.’ That’s how the deal happened.”

It was paramount to includ Harvey in on the project so that the adaptation was done right. Packer says they wanted something that would appeal to people beyond the book’s readers. “Steve was instrumental in the creative process because it’s his voice, so he wanted to make sure that it was something that wasn’t limited to any particular audience-any particular niche or any particular segment of people,” says Packer.

Harvey’s main point to the filmmakers was that whatever story was developed, that it holds true to the book’s focus on helping women. “My work was good and it was meant to empower women,” says Harvey. “That was rule number one: do not take this book and make a mockery of it.”

“Think Like A Man” is a film that all can relate to. But while the talented ensemble cast and humor entertain, don’t miss the vital messages, particularly for women, that Harvey wants you to get. It’s a good date movie, but certainly a great girl’s night out movie.

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