Everyone loves a good thriller, and director Deon Taylor (Meet the Blacks, Traffik) offers up what is sure to be one the year’s most talked about movies, The Intruder. Starring Michael Ealy and Meagan Good (as well as veteran actor Dennis Quaid and Power’s Joseph Sikora), Intruder depicts Ealy and Good as a young couple in love searching for the perfect home to start their family. When they purchase their dream house from its eccentric owner (played by Quaid), their lives are instantly turned upside down and their fantasy is transformed into a nightmare. Of the film, which is in theaters nationwide May 3, Ealy says, “Everybody that sees it walks away like, 'Wow, that was more than I expected – that was really kind of creepy!'”
BET.com spoke with Ealy and Good about coming together (again) for this suspense thriller, working with Dennis Quaid, dealing with jealousy in relationships and setting boundaries.
BET: It’s been several years since you two starred in the Think Like a Man movies, and now you’re together again in The Intruder. What was it like reuniting for this project?
Michael Ealy: Reuniting with Meagan was kind of interesting, because we realized we didn’t do any scenes together in Think Like a Man. We were in the same movie, and we went on a press tour together, but we didn’t have any scenes together, so this was technically our first time working together, and it was actually kind of cool because we already knew each other, so the foundation was there. We didn’t have to waste any time getting to know each other, asking about each other’s pets and stuff like that. It was like we just jumped right into these characters and how can we make it real, how can we make it tangible to the audience, and break the mold of the clueless horror movie subject. So we worked on that, and I think we were able to work that out. I think it’s a couple that everybody can relate to.
Meagan Good: On Think Like a Man 1 and 2, we actually didn’t have many scenes together, and when we did we actually didn’t interact with each other. We really got acquainted on the press run for Think Like a Man 2 because we were paired up together. The vibe on this set, I would say there were a lot of similarities, a lot of cracking jokes in between scenes and having fun and hanging out, but it was different because it was basically the two of us and Dennis, and then Joseph [Sikora] when he as there. But it was still like a bunch of little kids on set just hanging out, and with this [film] we were definitely getting cabin fever because we were stuck in the house for the majority of it, out in the middle of nowhere – mosquitoes, and I’m pretty sure that house was slightly haunted – so it was kind of interesting.
Have you ever had a real-life experience where someone like Charlie [played by Dennis Quaid] takes advantage of your kindness, and if so, how did you deal with it?
Ealy: Thank God I have not. I’m very thankful that I have not had any experience like that. I also think that, and I’m pretty sure my wife will attest to this, I definitely am that kind of person who everybody is made aware that I have boundaries, so coming by the house unannounced is not something that will get you in the house. It’s kind of common knowledge in my circle that you can’t just show up. I definitely hold up pretty clear boundaries that that’s pretty unacceptable behavior, but I’m grateful that I’ve never had someone as invasive as Charlie.
Good: I’ve had some interesting situations. I can relate to my character [Annie] a bit because at 22, I was very similar to her, where everything is like, “This person is not perfect, they’re going through something, who knows what they’ve been through…” and give people the benefit of the doubt, which I think it’s good to give people the benefit of the doubt, but to a point. I definitely in my 20s was the person where if someone didn’t have a place to stay they’d come stay with me, or if someone couldn’t eat, I’d be paying for their lunch, or if someone needed a ride, I’d be the one to pick them up, and I think by the time I got to 30 I was like, hold on a second! People will take advantage… but you’ve got to know what your boundaries are. I’ve definitely had some weird ones, like people who’ve stayed with me and stolen things out of my house, or people who kept popping up when they weren’t invited – I’ve had some situations.
In the movie, Scott and Annie trigger each other’s insecurities and a bit of jealousy emerges for the couple, which Charlie plays on. Have you ever had to deal with jealousy in real life, and what’s the best way to confront it?
Ealy: I have had to deal with jealousy before in past relationships, and some of them ended because of that. But the reality is, to me, the best approach to any relationship is couples counseling. I am a strong advocate for that, no matter what. I think in couples counseling is where you can find the tools to be able to handle issues like that in a healthy way, rather than an unhealthy way. The unhealthy way is where people project, they place blame and all of those things, and that’s not the best way to handle it. What happened to you in your previous relationship, you cannot bring into the current relationship.
Good: For me, I’m not a jealous person, so that’s never been an issue on my side, but I have dated guys before who were jealous. They’d get jealous when people came up to me on the street… or guys who got jealous if I was showing too much energy or attention, and they would take it really personal and just be weird about it. I do think that therapy is a great option, however, dealing with someone who has those issues, for me it’s something that I’d prefer not to do, because I think that it is something that is within them, that has nothing to really do with you. I think if you love the person and you’re deep in the relationship, then yes, therapy is a good idea. But if you’re in any type of new relationship, anything that you don’t want to settle for long term, if you can avoid putting yourself in that position, it’s better.
The love scenes in this movie were quite sexy and sultry. What was filming those scenes like?
Ealy: Ironically enough, Meagan and I, being married, both talked about the newlywed sex – we wanted to make sure that there was a lot of love, that it was evident that it was love and not a lustful one-night thing, because I’ve shot both, and it was Meagan’s first time. So, it was kinda cool, because she was down, and she was open, but she was also very silly about it, which is always helpful. You can’t take it too seriously, because it just doesn’t work.
Scott and Annie make love in the kitchen and the living room of their new house. Where’s the most interesting place you’ve ever been intimate with someone?
Ealy: A phone booth at a museum I think is pretty out there [laughter].
Good: In the parking lot at the movies. It was right after DeVon and I got married.
Dennis Quaid is such a force in this movie, and this role is a real departure from his past ones. What was it like working with him in this movie?
Ealy: I think people will be surprised when they see Dennis in this role, because they’re used to seeing him in heroic, morally sound roles. He definitely breaks bad in this one and goes dark, and I think that’s part of the appeal of the movie. You get to see an actor do something different, break the norm, and it’s always much more exciting. But more importantly, I think movies like this require a really, really dope villain, and Dennis, he rises to the occasion like none other. I mean, he’s so good and so invasive in our lives that we start to fight with each other, and that’s the perfect infiltration into the relationship. And the way in which he does it, it’s not only creepy but it’s also real. You could actually see this happening with you and your partner, so I think everyone’s going to walk out of [the movie] with some basic rules for how to handle situations like this. You gotta learn how to stand together on certain things.
Good: The great thing about Dennis is he’s such a legend – he’s a brilliant actor, and he’s brilliant in everything that he does. Sometimes we’d have conversations and he’d say, “Listen, I’m going to try this,” but you never know how that’s going to manifest in the actual moment. In that scene where we really faced off, by the time that day was done I had literally been choked past the point of my safe word, I’d been bitten by accident, and Dennis asked me to spit on him at one point in the middle of a scene. It was really crazy, but it was amazing because you don’t always get that with every actor, and I think that’s why actors who come from his era are so iconic. They tap into something different, and once he taps into something like that it allows you the permission to go to that place too and take art to its purest form. You’re not just in it, but you’re willing to take risks, and that for me was an extremely gratifying and amazing experience.
The Intruder is in theaters May 3!
Photo Credit: Serguei Baschlakov.