'Girls Trip' Stars Celebrate Sisterhood at L.A. Premiere
"Women, particularly black women, we made this movie for you," said Director Malcolm D. Lee. "It’s time you receive the big-screen treatment and we hope we delivered for you."
For the ladies of Girls Trip, their relationship onscreen was representative of their relationship offscreen. The Universal film's Los Angeles premiere was held at Regal L.A. Live, where the stars of the film walked the pink carpet and shared their praise for a comedy spotlighting a rare big-screen theme of positive sisterhood.
The film follows four lifelong friends' (Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish) trip to the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans with nights of partying, hookups and bad decisions, as well as raw and vulnerable moments that strengthen their bond. Filming took place during last year's Essence Festival, where the cast joined in on memorable appearances made by Ava DuVernay, Mariah Carey and Diddy.
Each woman brings her own flavor to the film, which THR's critic David Rooney writes in his review is "how you do an R-rated female comedy." Hall portrays a successful wife and personality who "has it all," Smith is a responsible mother of two who is in need of letting loose, Latifah runs a popular gossip blog and Haddish brings on the laughs as the fun girl in the group.
"It was just nice to know wow this is a really phenomenal group of women," Jada Pinkett Smith told THR. "What I took away from it, the best thing is our friendship. We’re really tight in real life so that was the best part ... that I made two new friends."
"Tiffany [Haddish] I learned how hilarious she is. Jada [Pinkett Smith] is so spiritual and thoughtful. Latifah is so generous and welcoming so I learned how warm they are as people," added the film's leading lady Regina Hall.
The script was penned by Kenya Barris (Black-ish) in collaboration with Karen McCullah, Erica Rivinoja and Tracy Oliver (The Good Wife, Survivor's Remorse) who pulled from her own experiences going out with her female friends. Oliver told THR she wanted to break down the barriers of respectability politics and portray "black women being carefree and having fun just like everybody else."
"I think we need to show all aspects of black lives. I love Moonlight. I love Hidden Figures, but I also want to see some people who are having fun and just showing female friends hanging out," said Oliver. "It doesn’t have to always be so serious. We can just relax and like hang out and have a good time too."
While introducing the film, director Malcolm D. Lee told guests his vision for the female comedy was three years in the making.
"Will [Packer] came to me three years ago and said hey let’s do a movie where we switch the paradigm of men behaving badly and do it with black women," said Lee. "Women, particularly black women, we made this movie for you. It’s time you receive the big-screen treatment and we hope we delivered for you."
With positive reviews and currently a 92 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, Packer said the film is hitting what has been missing from the big screen.
"There has to be something with a sense of immediacy in order for consumers to feel like 'I’m going to go out and watch this movie in a theater' and I think we have that," said Packer. "I think we’ve got something that is different than anything else that is out there but is very timely. I think that women especially are making their voices heard and 'voting,' if you will, with their dollars, especially this summer."
Packer also shared that he would be eager for a sequel.
"If people have as much fun as I think they will taking the journey with these characters, the fun is figuring out where you take them next, " said Packer. "Vegas is just too easy for this crew. We’ve got to find something unexpected I think. I hope that’s a conversation we’re having after the movie opens."
Girls Trip hits theaters on July 21.