In The Perfect Guy, Sanaa Lathan (Love & Basketball) plays lobbyist Leah Vaughn, who finds herself romanced and later stalked by closet psychopath Carter (Michael Ealy). EW called up Lathan — who also served as a producer on The Perfect Guy (out Sept. 11) — to dish about smooching her sexy co-stars and finding inspiration from a real-life stalker scare.
Entertainment Weekly: You’ve filmed a lot of love stories in your career. How different was it making a romantic thriller?
SANAA LATHAN: It’s kind of a dream role because my character gets to go through so many things, like the joy of the new romance, to terror, to kind of taking control of her destiny. Sometimes I’d have to do a scene with a partner where [my character] hates him and he’s already turned crazy, but in that same day you have to do the falling in love part. It was really about being in the moment and being present, because I had to be versatile.
This movie is about when you discover that the person you’re with isn’t who he seems. Was your performance influenced by a particular experience?
Honestly, it’s a lot of what me and my peers are going through in terms of wanting a relationship, being out there, dating people, and then realizing it takes a long time to get to know people. And I’ve had a brush with my own stalker over the years, so I understood from first-hand experience what that was. We see these movies all the time, but the compelling aspect were its parallels to real life.
Morris Chestnut plays your ex, and Michael Ealy your “perfect guy.” That’s some serious eye candy.
Needless to say, I had a lot of girlfriends who were like, “Can we come visit?” I was like, “You never want to visit me on the other ones!” Morris and I did The Best Man 16 years ago, and then The Best Man Holiday recently. We had group scenes [in those] but never one-on-one, so this was a treat. Michael I had never worked with, but it’s funny — in black Hollywood, everyone knows each other, and a lot of my close actress friends had worked with him. It was great.
You have some pretty hot love scenes. Did you have to stock up on breath mints?
Absolutely. That was mandatory. But one of the things I love, because it’s a quick snack that will hold you over, is tuna fish — and that wasn’t happening on set. [Laughs]
Check out an exclusive clip from The Perfect Guy, where Leah witnesses Carter lose his cool during a chance interaction with a stranger at a gas station — the first sign that her perfect guy has a controlling side.
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