Posted Jan. 30, 2008 -- It was like one big family reunion when the stars of "Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins" and other celebrities hit the red carpet at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on a chilly Monday night.
Joining cast members Martin Lawrence, Mo’Nique, Mike Epps, Cedric the Entertainer, Margaret Avery, Nicole Ari Parker, Joy Bryant and Damani Roberts were Alfre Woodard, Vanessa Williams, Fumi, Dorien Wilson, Barry Bonds, Raven Symone, Justin Martin, Jeanatte Bayardelle, Terry Crews, Jimmy Jean-Louis and the film’s director Malcolm Lee.
Lee, who said he wrote this film years ago, thinks that audiences across the board will be able to identify with the Jenkins family. Lawrence plays RJ, a tabloid TV host and the baby son of James Earl Jones and Avery who has come back home for the first time in nine years to celebrate his parents’ 50th anniversary.
And of course, comedic drama ensues.
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“Once we got Martin involved everybody else kind of fell in place,” Lee said. “The rest are people I really wanted to work with. I wanted Mo’Nique, I wanted Cedric, I wanted Mike Epps. And when we got James Earl Jones, that was like icing on the cake.”
Lee also got Avery, whose last film was 1985’s "The Color Purple" to come out of retirement. Avery, who will next appear in "Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns," said she was taken by Lee’s script and that she might extend her big-screen comeback. “The business will tell,” she said. “I don’t know, but this is a great start."
Although Lawrence didn’t walk the carpet last night, there was a lot of clowning. Michael Clarke Duncan jokingly referred to Epps as an “android,” prompting Epps to say: “I’m gonna get his big Planet of the Apes ass."
Even the young bloods got their digs in. Roberts, who plays Lawrence’s son in the film said he had a great time working with such an accomplished veteran cast—especially Epps, who taught him some skills that may come in handy in the future.
“What I learned from him is how to be ghetto!” Roberts said. “He’d be all on the set talking like he had no sense. It was a shame.”
Cedric said he taught the boy how to roll. “You see he’s wearing the hat tonight,” said Cedric tipping his trademark Fedora. “He’s pimped out. I tried to give the boy style and some flava.”
Roberts, however, later denied that claim at the party held at The Annex in the Hollywood & Highland complex. “No, he had nothing to do with this,” he said with a grin.
Parker, who attended the premiere with her husband Boris Kodjoe, just had time to chastise her mate about their upcoming Valentine’s Day plans before dashing into the party.
“Don’t listen to any answers he gives you,” she said. “It’s all lies because he has no idea what he’s getting me for Valentine’s Day. He knows it has to be big, shiny and delicious because he’s going to the (NBA) All-Star game. He’s going to ditch me at dinner and get on the plane.”
In his defense Kodjoe posed this question: “If the All-Star game is on Valentine’s Day, what you gonna do?”
Sounds like BoKo might be pulling out that platinum card.
Other celebrities making their way upstairs to the party that featured a soul food buffet were Dondre Whitfield, Salli Richardson, director Jeff Byrd and Michael Jai White.
"Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" hit theatres on Feb. 8.
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