Thursday, October 6, 2022

Lil Rel Howery: ‘Vacation Friends’ Smash Stereotypes

(L-R): Yvonne Orji as Emily and Lil Rel Howery as Marcus. © 2021 20th Century Studios.  All Rights Reserved.

*At a “Vacation Friends” press conference Lil Rel Howery (Marcus) said he was thrilled about “Vacation Friends” casting.

“I think that’s one of the smart things about this.  Some of the events we do for the wedding, you don’t normally see Black people doing in movies. That’s what I love about this movie, it’s more or less about humanizing everybody. I think that’s the cool thing we did with this more than anything.”

Yvonne Orji (Emily) agrees. “This is one thing we don’t get to see often. You don’t get to see the Black couple as the strait-laced couple. You know?  Like, they’re usually the ones that are kinda causing the mayhem. We sort of get to see a different spin on that.

“Marcus and Emily are just trying to enjoy their vacation. But there are these other folks—Ron (John Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner) wilding out that befriend them. So, it puts the humor in a different position. That’s kind of refreshing.”

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vacation friends trio
(L-R) John Cena as Ron, Lil Rel Howery as Marcus, and Yvonne Orji as Emily. Photo courtesy of © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The confident real life Rel wears his nerd status as a badge and doesn’t care what people think. “I don’t care like that,” Howery admits. “I’ve been a confident nerd a long time.” Orji jokingly encouraged Howery to trademark his self-assured declaration. “Maybe I’m late to the party, but I’ve never heard ‘A confident nerd’,” Orji admitted. “I know what, can we trademark ‘confident nerd’?  And then sell it. [Laughs]

There is great chemistry between John Cena and Howery. The question now is will we see Cena and Howery sharing the screen again? “I had a blast,” Cena enthused. “I’d love to do it again.” Howery agreed. “Same here. Hopefully we can be Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. [Laughs]

“Vacation Friends” is 20th Century Studios’ first film to have a simultaneous global release on the Hulu (U.S) and Disney+/Star (International) streaming platforms. Twitter: @thefilmstrip

Marie Moore
Veteran syndicated journalist who covers film and television.




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