Almost Christmas stars Danny Glover, Mo'Nique, Gabrielle Union, Nicole Ari Parker, J.B. Smoove, Romany Malco, and Omar Epps, the makers of one of my favorite holiday movies, "Next Christmas."

Author/director David Talbert and actress Keri Hilson spoke about their favorite holiday memories in a recent interview.To see what they were getting for Christmas, Talbert and his brother found the toys on Christmas morning and unwrapped them.“One christmas, my mom discovered that we had done that, and she announced that we were not going to get any toys. We were like, ‘Oh, man,' so she played that all the way up to Christmas morning.When we went outside, all of the toys were there."

It can be difficult to reconcile what we would like to have with what actually occurs during holidays.In our minds, things seem better than in reality.Despite being the most wonderful time of the year, the holiday season is also one of the most saddening.There may be family members you do not see anymore, relationships that have ended.Although we go through so many dysfunctions, it is important to remember that it is the most wonderful time of year and family is the most important thing at the end of the day.I hope you enjoyed this movie."

Hilson's challenge was to make her character stand out in an all-star ensemble cast.My intent was to show up, be prepared, and not get lost in the sauce, and I think I accomplished my goal.Some scenes were harder than other, one in particular where we are all present, and I had to stay there, stay present, in the scene." "Keri is a competitor," Talbert added."She was going to make sure no one would ever beat her in the scene."Having worked with so many talented comedic performers, Hilson was "just a sponge as she was throwing lines and ad libs for the big dinner scene which drives the comedy in the scene.".“It was an excellent learning opportunity for me.”

He gave Hilson high marks for his performance.Her looks are outstanding.The sensuality leaps off the screen and we managed to capture that.Her performance was effortless; there was no guidance needed."

Taking his playwriting to movies, Talbert spoke about the challenge of moving from its immediacy to a more visual medium.Playwriting is actually a hindrance to directing film, because theater relies on words whereas film relies on pictures.It took me a couple of years to really find a balance.Both require an understanding of the performance and an understanding of what is true and what is honest.From a theater world perspective, performance is what helps me most in film because I am comfortable communicating with actors, and that's what I bring, I am comfortable communicating with actors and I know how to work together to produce the best performance.

It was also Talbert's challenge as a director to balance all the characters and moods in the story.“Just hold on,” he said.This is kind of like being on a bucking bronco where you have to hold on and not get thrown off because everyone has a different point of view.You should let it happen without interfering as a director.Keri was bringing her character to life; she was totally in character. There was no longer Keri Hilson at that table; it was the character Jasmine who had been invited to dinner.It was her aunt May who posed as Mo'Nique.They all completely embodied their characters.Then it was less about me trying to direct a movie, write lines, and more about capturing the real life happening at the table.That's why people can relate to it best, from Danny Glover to the kids, everyone brought real life to the photo, and I was blessed with fantastic camera men and DPs who helped capture it."


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