Arriving just in time for that perfect stay at home Valentine's Day date is the romantic comedy smash hit of last year, The Best Man Holiday, which is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. The cast of 1999's The Best Man reunite more than ten years later, realizing that while times change, friendships don't.

To celebrate the release, we caught up with one of the returning stars behind this ensemble. Monica Calhoun plays Mia Sullivan, the one responsible for bringing all of her old college pals back together. This comes just as Mia receives some serious news about her health that will have complications for everyone involved. (Be sure to stock up on the tissues!)

Here is our exclusive interview with Monica, where we chat about everything from resurrecting her character ten years later to Morris Chestnut's essence. Just don't ask her about the third chapter of this saga. That's best not discussed until after you've seen The Best Man Holiday. We kick things off with a look back at one of the actress' first forays into show business...

You were in one of my favorite movies of all time, Bagdad Café! I think that movie was one of the first to kick off the indie film movement back in the 80s, and to this day, I find it such a fascinating, surreal experience. Its such a beautiful film...You must have been 1 when that came out...

Monica Calhoun: (Laughs) Dear, I was in high school. It was my first independent film experience. We shot that through Island Pictures, and the director of Bagdad Cafe, Percy Adlon and Eleonore Adlon, they wrote, produced and directed that...We were working in the middle of the desert somewhere, stationed in Barstow. It was my first time on set, having a feature, being in front of the camera...It was my whole first experience...

What was your first thought about that movie? It's such a unique experience to discover for any film fan. What were you thinking as you saw it come together around you out there in the desert?

Monica Calhoun: Honestly, I was just coming off doing theater camp at the Morgan Winston theater in Santa Monica. An agent saw me, and wanted to represent me, but I could never land anything theatrical or on Television, so they put me into commercial classes. I would go to commercial audition after commercial audition, but there was just something a little too serious about my demeanor. Finally, they sent me out on a couple of movies of the weeks and a few independent movies. I wound up landing this film. So...During that process, during that time, I was attending the School of the Arts, everything was super, super fresh in terms of the creative process, and the art of taking the dialogue off the page, and becoming that person. Making it live. That was my baby steps of getting there...

You also got to be in the TV series. You were one of the only returning actors for that, right?

Monica Calhoun: Yeah. I was one of the original actors when Bagdad Cafe went to series on CBS. I was one of the only people...I actually auditioned. It was for the same character, but I understood the audition process. Going from feature film to a half hour comedy, with four or five cameras. It's a five-day week back then. It was completely different, so I understood having to audition. And I was super excited when I landed the role. I was like, 'Wow!' Then to work with Jean Stapleton and Whoopi Goldberg? That was another big 'Wow!' At that time, I was just fresh out of high school.

We'll transition into The Best Man Holiday, in terms of reprising a character. With Bagdad Café, even though you moved from Film to TV, it was pretty close in terms of shooting both projects. Here, you are coming back to a character you haven't visited for ten years or more...

Monica Calhoun: Yeah, it was about ten years...

When you go to a reunion, and it stretches on for a few days, it's fun at first, but by the time Sunday rolls around, you're kind of over it. I didn't get that sense here. You guys seem to genuinely be having a blast on screen, with each other.

Monica Calhoun: On screen and off screen, we had a ball. Going to dance parties, and fight parties, maybe going out to a club. Enjoying life and enjoying working with each other...The chemistry was so real, it translates into the work process. Just in terms of our lives, how we kept in touch over the years...But we weren't constantly in the same space. Here, we were constantly in the same space, catching up on life, and at the same time focusing on the work. With the girls, it's a sisterhood. Not a sisterhood of the traveling pants, if you will...But a sisterhood of looking out for one another, caring for each other, and in terms of the work process, not being a self-centered actress, but being there for each other, even in the complexities in the relationships between each other, and being able to step back from our true friendship, our respect for each other, and bringing an element of uncomfortableness...Specifically Mia slept with Robin's now husband...You know, those complex insecurities, being able to just flow with that.

In terms of finding your character, I would think you'd have to approach it a little differently than, say, if you are doing a superhero sequel, in that you are playing a realistic type of character. And she has had all of this real time pass, so the character would naturally evolve and change, just as anyone would over a ten-year span of time. And you've experienced that same time span. This has to be a different creative process in terms of the character, and what the actor can do with it compared to what you might have wanted to do ten years ago.

Monica Calhoun: Yes, there is a lot of life experience that helped develop who we were. Also, [director] Malcolm [Lee], the story that he wrote, and what he wanted specifically from each character was there in the things we created in terms of backstory and he was mindful of the questions we asked him, specifically in what he wanted for each character. He wanted to use that to develop his story that he was presenting to the audience. Malcolm had his vision of who Mia is, who Mia was, and who Mia will be. In terms of the creative process, it was more about being in touch with her truth, and becoming that to service the story, so that it would be as affective as it needed to be. Does that make sense. So, in terms of my creative input, it was more or less...I would try something, and if he liked it, he would allow me to go further with that. He would let me know if he wanted me to go there. Or if he wanted something different. But he did always have a specific vision in mind for Mia. We did have conversations about creativity, and the creative process.

Was there a period where you guys work shopped the screenplay?

Monica Calhoun: Yeah. We had a rehearsal process. We did rehearse before we set off to film. During the rehearsal process, I worked with Morris Chestnut. We worked through each beat. We also worked through the beats with the girls. Specifically Nia Long who plays Jordan Armstrong, and...Who else...I'm going back...Sanaa Lathan...And then we got back, and it jelled.

Do you guys stay in touch? Had you stayed in touch in the ten years between the two movies?

Monica Calhoun: It was definitely a reunion. We would see each other out and about, at different events. We kept in touch through email, or text messages. Maybe social media. But here we were going to dinner, and not living too far from each other, and connecting to go to the movies. We all went to go see 42, the story of Jackie Robinson...And it just, to me, felt like reuniting with friends, but it also felt like we had matured, and we had the opportunity to sort of connect again, and say, "Oh, wow! I appreciate you. And respect you. And love you for who you are, and who you've been, and what you represent to me in my life. And I will be wherever you need me to be in your life, I'm there." Does that make sense? It was a family reunion, more so than a friendship reunion. I feel like I'm rambling, I'm sorry.

Now, lets talk about Morris Chestnut. It doesn't matter who I'm in the theater with, be it man, woman or child, but a certain thing happens in that theater. This hushed silence befalls the crowd, followed by gasps and moans at his sheer beauty as a man. It's a very strange thing to behold...Can you describe that essence?

Monica Calhoun: Can I describe Morris Chestnut's essence?

Its almost like this otherworldly being has stepped in front of the audience...

Monica Calhoun: You're giving Morris Chestnut god status?

I'm not trying to give him God status. It doesn't sound right to call him a space alien, either...

Monica Calhoun: You know what? He's a genuinely nice guy. And I think that's what resonates whenever he comes on screen. Unless he's playing a bad guy. Though, I don't know that he's ever done that. I don't know that I've ever really seen him do that. But he is a genuinely nice guy, and I think that's what resonates more than his exterior beauty...Because he is a beautiful and handsome man. And his work ethic is tops. He has worked hard at developing his body so that he could conceivably be that football player. But I think what makes the audience sigh is that he is a sincerely nice guy.

I agree. I think that niceness is inherent in him. It's a naturally quality that he has. Very few people have that genuine niceness.

Monica Calhoun: Terrence Howard has a huge heart, he's extremely smart, and he loves to push the envelope. And Taye Diggs is just a laid back cool daddy, he'll make you laugh when you need a little laughter, and Harold Perrineau...

Now, I hear that you guys are making a second sequel. Only, they are moving a lot faster on it. It's not going to be ten years.

Monica Calhoun: Mmm-hmm. I have no idea...I have no information about what the third movie is going to be about. My guess is that Lance has an injury and it was all a dream...I don't know. (Laughs)

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange