Malcolm D. Lee wrote the 1999 film The best man with a desire to showcase black men like him who were underrepresented on screen at the time — the “educated, aspiring African Americans who were just ‘normal’.”
Now, 23 years later, Lee will release all eight episodes of the Peacock limited series The Best Man: The Final Chapters this Thursday December 22nd. We pick up where we left off with the 2013 sequel The Best Man Holidaythe show will catch up with the audience with the friend group as they deal with midlife crisis and rebirth as they step into a different phase in their lives.
“It’s a continuation of those characters that were introduced in 1999 to graduate students in their mid-twenties who were thinking about life and career, marriage and friendship,” says Lee, who serves as co-showrunner on the series TVLine.
“People will get what they expect from the two Best man Movies that are complications of life and friendship and relationships and marriage and raising children and in the sandwich years between raising children and trying to fight your parents. There’s a lot going on, and I think especially since we’ve had this pandemic, there’s been a lot of re-evaluation and re-evaluation.”
While the first two films mostly focused on the men, including bestselling author Harper (played by Taye Diggs) and NFL star Lance (Morris Chestnut), the show will take a closer look at some of its marginalized female characters and offer a more balanced story when it comes to the beloved ensemble.
“Since we have eight hours of television for that, it would be criminal not to elaborate more on the female characters,” Lee added, noting that more than half of the Peacock series’ writing room was made up of women. “I really wanted to make sure we had that perspective, which I don’t have. I’m married to a black woman but she has her own thing she’s going to do. She can’t help me with the scriptwriting.”
For former Unsure Writer/Executive Producer Dayna Lynne North, who assisted in development, writing and production The final chapters Along with Lee, it was important to bring the female voices to the forefront of the show.
“Coming into this era of the franchise and adapting it for television, it was important to me that the women didn’t feel like they were counterparts or supporting actors in the men’s stories,” says the co-showrunner. “From a series like Unsure [and] As a black woman with a company called Loud Sis Productions, it was important to me to get into this franchise and make sure the women fully realized three-dimensional, layered arcs.
That meant exploring more sides of a character like Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), who had previously been portrayed as a fiery, realistic housewife character without much depth.
“She was this funny, gossiping, hateful character in the first two movies,” explains North. “She was funny and we can enjoy her. It was funny to see her accidentally end up with Quentin [in both The Best Man and Best Man Holiday].”
“But it’s like, ‘Who is this woman beyond that? Besides the woman that Murch lost?’” she continues. “It was like, ‘What’s the bow? What does it look like to meet this woman and actually take an interest in this character? Sure, she’s still someone to roll your eyes at, but it was fun creating a character that I now love. That was fun: building each of these characters and really putting a lens into their world like we have a lens into each of the men.”
https://tvline.com/2022/12/19/the-best-man-the-final-chapters-preview-malcolm-d-lee-peacock/ “The Best Man: Final Chapters”: Malcolm D. Lee on highlighting women