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‘We’re Like Family’ – Keshia Knight Pulliam and Lance Gross on Returning to ‘House of Payne’ After 8-year Hiatus [EUR Exclusive]

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Keshia Knight Pulliam and Lance Gross

*Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” is back on BET with a revival series starring the original cast, after an 8-year hiatus.

Original stars LaVan DavisCassi Davis PattonLance Gross, Demetria McKinneyChina Anne McClainLarramie “Doc” ShawKeshia Knight Pulliam, and Allen Payne have reprised their beloved characters for the comedy sitcom, which centers on a multi-generational family in Atlanta led by patriarch Curtis Payne and his wife Ella. The show ran for 254 episodes on TBS from 2006-2012. 

Returning for its seventh season, “House of Payne” picks up five years later, as the family continue to navigate the problems of life, love and marriage.  

EURweb caught up with Keshia Knight Pulliam and Lance Gross to dish about what fans can expect with this new season — check out our Q&A below. 

READ MORE: Tyler Perry Announces ‘House of Payne’ Revival on BET + New Comedy Series ‘Assisted Living’

Keshia Knight Pulliam and Lance Gross

How exciting is it to be returning to these characters and this series and working with Mr. Perry again?

Lance: Oh man. It’s a great feeling. We’re like family. I mean, we’ve been working with each other so long, so to get back on set with each other, it just feels like we’re picking up where we left off.

Keisha: Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny because we know the characters so well, and so intimately after having played them for so long that we really did just jump back in. And so like Lance said, we really are like family and it was just fun. And we enjoy just having everyone back together again. 

Lance: Yeah. We definitely had to do it the right way. It was a trip just getting back on set and seeing how much China and Doc had grown. Like, they’re adults now. I remember them as kids, but it’s crazy where the time goes.

Keisha: Yeah, now we’re tackling some really different storylines and issues, but it’s all good. It’s fun.

Where does life find the Paynes when this season kicks off?

Lance: Well, it’s the same good, old fun, you know, it’s just a little bit of time has passed since our last episode. In the (premiere) episode, Malik comes home from college with a bit of news for his parents and the family. He’s gotten his girlfriend pregnant. So-

Keisha: Who happens to be a stripper.

Lance: Yeah, who happens to be a stripper. So it’s a lot of comedy in that, I’ll say.

Keisha: Absolutely.

Talk about some of the themes explored this season that you think will resonate with Black viewers.

Keisha: Well ultimately, to the core, it’s about family. It’s definitely about family and the family dynamics and how you navigate through change and circumstances. And life happens to everyone, like an unexpected pregnancy in college or what have you. So with China and Doc now being older, we get to explore different storylines through them that are age appropriate and that are really things that people are experiencing in that 20-something year old age range. 

But then you also have the old favorites like Lance and I. Our characters, Calvin and Miranda, left off with me asking for a divorce. So what’s going to happen with that? How are we going to navigate those waters? Are we going to get divorced? Are we not? We’re co-parenting, and the good thing is that because you have so many different age demographics within the show, it’s a generational comedy, that you have the ability to touch on a wide span of topics that relate to so many.


You’re both parents so you can relate to that aspect of your characters’ journey this season. How much of your own personas do you embed in Calvin and Miranda?

Lance: I think there’s a little bit of Lance in Calvin, just in the sense that, you know, he’s a good guy. He means no harm to anyone. Now I, myself, I don’t like drama. So I just try to live my life in a way that is drama free. Calvin on the other hand, he doesn’t mean to, but he gets himself into situations. And like this season where we’re dealing with the rollercoaster ride of getting a divorce or are we going to stay together? You just don’t know. And we’re co-parenting, we have kids together. Now I can relate to that because I have two wonderful kids, two very young kids. So I relate in that way.

Keisha: And I think the funny thing is when we started this journey, we’ve grown just as the characters have grown and evolved as well. Because Lance and I both didn’t have children, hadn’t been married, you know, any of that when we first started as Calvin and Miranda. And now, fast forward several years, we definitely have that to pull from. But I agree with Lance, even Miranda starting out kind of as an interesting character, the core of who she is good. And I genuinely feel like her and Calvin love each other, but just like in real life, sometimes you have these experiences and you can’t get past words that are said or actions that have occurred to find that place back to love again. But it doesn’t mean that you ever stopped loving each other, but it’s just a journey, that’s life.


With the show coming back after going on hiatus in 2012, is it important to you as performers to follow the social media conversation after each episode? Do you read blog recaps or engage with viewers online about what they think of the series?

Keisha: I don’t really do that. I think a part of this business, you have to make a decision for what is going to keep your peace and sanity. Because everyone is going to have an opinion and some will be amazing, some won’t be. But I feel like ultimately as long as when I approach the role, I’m doing it from a space of honesty and authenticity and doing my best job in that moment, that’s all I can do. Yeah, people will post on my page or what have you, but seeking it for me just isn’t the best. It’s just not what I do for any role.

Lance: Yeah. See, and I’m trying to get better with it, but I look at it as… I read a lot of it and I take the positive from it because there are so many people that just love this show. It resonates with them, it hits home for them. And it’s been long awaited. Like I don’t care how many jobs we do that’s outside of Tyler Perry’s umbrella, everybody always asks about House of Payne. Just because there were so many stories that were rich and that resonated with them. So, I look at the positive and all that and we’re back -and people are glad that we’re back. 

You’re also back at a very timely moment, as we’re living in stressful, uncertain times. This series is what folks need right now, laughter in the age of COVID.

Keisha: Absolutely. One thing I do have to say is we did shoot this pre-COVID. COVID hit literally right after we finished filming these episodes. So it’s not addressed in the season, but it’s true. Like everyone has been home and I feel like the resurgence of family is so important. I feel COVID has kind of forced everyone to re-shift their priorities and their focus a little bit. And people do want to just watch something the whole family can sit down, can enjoy, can have this moment where they kind of escape to this world of the Paynes and they can laugh with us. They can cry with us. They can see themselves in us. And it’s an important part of mental health in these times, of having that moment of just enjoying and laughing genuinely. So we hope that our desire is to continue to bring that to households.

Catch new episodes of Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” every Wednesday 8/7c on BET.

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New York Film Festival 58 Has Upped its Game

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Lover's Rock
Time family

The Time family (credit: Amazon Studios)

*Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) has upped its game and offers relevant films in this pandemic period at the 58th New York Film Festival (NYFF58) running until October 11.

Director of Programming Dennis Lim says, “Movies are neither made nor experienced in a vacuum, and while the works in our program predate the current moment of crisis, it’s striking to me just how many of them resonate with our unsettled present, or represent a means of transcending it.”

This year’s Main Slate showcases films from 19 different countries, including new titles from renowned auteurs. Frederick Wiseman explores  behind the scenes of the Boston city government in “City Hall;” indictments of America’s racist past and present in Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI” and Garrett Bradley’s “Time, dealing with the crisis of Black mass incarceration in America”

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Tragic Jungle_3_credit-malacosa Cine

Scene from “Tragic Jungle.” (credit” Malacoser Cine)

Steve McQueen not only has the Opening Night selection “Lovers Rock,” but “Mangrove;” and “Red, White and Blue.” The Centerpiece is Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” and Azazel Jacobs’s “French Exit” will close the festival

Also of note are  “Night of the Kings,” “Tragic Jungle,” “All In: The Fight for Democracy,” “David Byrne’s American Utopia,” “Hopper/Welles,” “The Human Voice,” “The Monopoly of Violence,” “On the Rocks,” “The Inheritance,” and “Ouvertures.”

Small Axe - Lovers Rock

Scene from “Lovers Rock.” (credit: Amazon Studios)

Included in the lineup also are “The Revolution Will Be Filmed,” “The Artist, the Athlete, and the Revolutionary,” “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” “Muhammad Ali, the Greatest,” and “Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris.”

The 58th New York Film Festival (NYFF58) runs until October 11.

For more information: https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2020.

Facebook.com/TheFilmStrip   Twitter: @thefilmstrip   Instagram.com/thefilmstriptm

 

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John David Washington Talks ‘Tenet’ & Being Named the Black James Bond! – EUR Exclusive / WATCH

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John David Wshington

John David Washington

*EURweb sat down with John David Washington, the star of Tenet, to talk all things inversion, classic spy movies and being named “The Black James Bond!”

The highly anticipated, globe trotting action epic, Tenet, from the great mind of Christopher Nolan, has landed in IMAX theaters.

Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, this movie is a Protagonist’s journey through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

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Simply called, the Protagonist, John David Washington’s character takes the viewers on an unprecedented thrill ride through time, within the concept of inversion.

We asked Washington what it was like to film his own inverted fight scenes and he said:

“For all the physical requirements of the film, it took about two and a half months of training before principal photography started.  It was intense.  I was on a strict diet and [he] had the mentality of a strict operative. A mentality of a killer. A savior of the world.”

He went on to say that the training was very difficult, but he loved every moment of it.  The moves that you see in this movie, have never been done before.  The hand-to-hand combat, in the rules of inversion, have never been filmed before…ever! The moves were specifically created for this film and filmed through an IMAX camera.

Washington gave interviews for “Tenet,”  as recent as last week, even though the movie opened on September 3rd.  Tenet can only be seen in theaters.  It is not streaming anywhere.  But, with many cineplexes still closed and many moviegoers reluctant to return, due to the global pandemic, its $20 million opening was low by the nine-digit standards of director Christopher Nolan, whose blockbusters include “The Dark Knight,” “Inception” and “Dunkirk.” Washington and Nolan, want you to feel comfortable going back to theaters, safely.  This blockbuster is the answer.  It is a palindrome, in title and in viewing. It is epic and it’s looking for viewers to experience the unexperienced!

John David Washington is phenomenal in this movie!  He is indeed “The Black James Bond!” If you want a new viewing experience, if you want to see the genius of a strong Black lead in a thriller of a lifetime, Tenet is the movie for you!

“You’re not shooting the bullet, you’re catching it.”

If this statement makes you curious, you have to add Tenet to your “must see” list!

Check your local theaters for showtimes.

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‘Bachelorette’ Alum Mike Johnson Says He’s Making the Love He Wants / EUR Exclusive WATCH

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Mike Johnson1

*Mike Johnson has made a name for himself leaving “Bachelorette” fans in an uproar after not being selected as the first black bachelor in the franchise.

Even though Johnson hasn’t made history yet on his path to love, he hasn’t given up either. Debuting his new book called “Making The Love You Want,” Mike is now focused on making the love he wants.

EURweb correspondent Monique Loveless sat down with the season 15 The Bachelorette contestant to discuss his relationship status, his new book, and making the love he truly wants.

“I like a woman that has a strong backbone. I like a woman who has confidence in handling themselves. I like a woman who can teach me some things, someone who knows she’s a boss.” Johnson goes on to say “ I want one lady for the rest of my life, I want to build with her, I want a partnership, I want to build businesses, I want to be a mogul couple.”

Before “The Bachelorette” Mike lived a life of anonymity as a financier in Grand Prairie, TX. But once he received the phone call that he was cast on Hannah Brown’s season, life as he knew it completely changed. The Texas native knew on the journey to finding love, his life experiences would be exposed on national TV. Ready to tell his story The Bachelor In Paradise participant was compelled to take a deeper dive into his past leading him to write his debut book.

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“I love my title so much because that’s what its all about, making the love you want within my book, within life, and all the things you want out of life. Really starting from within.” Mike let us know that he got so transparent in the book that he had to sit down and have a conversation with his mother whom he’s very close to, about it.

The handsome bachelor has turned his full focus on his philanthropic work, speaking engagements, and continuing being an active mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Get to know Johnson better by purchasing his book “Making The Love You Wanton October 2.

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson – Photo By: The Riker Brothers Grooming: Crystal Tran Styling: Apuje Kalu

 

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