From blind date to BFFs: How Like a Boss stars Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne became real friends
Blind dates aren’t just for romance anymore.
When it came to casting the lifelong best friends at the heart of Like a Boss, stars Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne went an “unorthodox” route. The script for the raunchy buddy comedy about two BFFs with their own makeup company was written from “a few ideas” Haddish had, so she was already locked in to play Mia, the creative but irresponsible half of the duo. But she knew she had to find the right actor to play opposite her as Mia’s best friend and business partner, the ambitious but uptight Mel. Auditions for romantic leads usually have some (or many) rounds of chemistry reads to see if two actors have the right connection on screen that can make or break a movie. And finding two actors who have the chemistry of two best friends who are roommates, business partners, and have been each other’s No. 1 person for their entire lives was even trickier — and more important than ever.
“This story lives and dies on the chemistry between the two actresses playing the parts,” Byrne tells EW. “I knew Tiffany from her work, and I was just such a fan.” Once Byrne heard about the R-rated yet earnest Like a Boss script, she had a phone call set up with Haddish to talk about the movie. “We chatted on the phone and were like, ‘Let’s get a drink!’ We ended up at this bar in her hotel for over three and a half hours, just drinking and talking and talking and drinking and her making me laugh.”
Haddish loves how that first meeting “was like a kind of audition” without either of them ever actually having to audition for the film. “We had like a blind date and we really hit it off,” the comedian says. “It was supposed to only be us hanging out for like 30 minutes, and it ended up being four hours and both of us pretty wasted — me more than her — by the end of the evening, and both of us walking away like, ‘I love you!’ ‘I love you too!’ We’ve been pretty close ever since, supporting each other, looking out for each other, fighting for each other.”
Byrne was immediately struck by how “amazing” Haddish was at the blind date that sparked both their real-life and onscreen friendships. “There’s no one like her. She’s really unique. Being in her presence is really magical,” she says. “The idea of possibly working with Tiffany, I just thought it was thrilling. I was so excited to meet her and be in a room with her, and hopefully — hopefully! — we get along. I had no idea. It was literally a blind date. Clearly it went well because here we are! You could just have easily been talking to someone else if we hadn’t hit it off.”
Just as with a romantic blind date, Byrne was nervous about knowing too much about Haddish from her pre-meeting internet stalking. “Tiff’s life is extraordinary — she wrote her book about it, The Last Black Unicorn,” she says. “That can be weird when you’re working with them and you’re like, ‘I know way too much about you from the internet.’” She laughs, then adds, “I immediately knew I wanted to do this [movie] after that. I had never really read anything like it — it wasn’t about women talking about men, you know? It was just about a friendship and business, and I hadn’t seen that.”
Haddish also laughs as she looks back on that “super-cool date.” After meeting at Haddish’s hotel bar, things started off as blind dates usually do: the back-and-forth trading of information about their lives. “It was like a meet-and-greet,” Haddish recalls. “We talked about ourselves, and we just got to know each other. She was telling me about Australia, I was telling her about South Central L.A. It was great. We laughed a lot.”
And as the drinks kept flowing, things… escalated. “There were these gay guys there, and probably about the third drink in, I started hitting on the guys,” Haddish reveals with another laugh. “And they started to recognize me and Rose, and so we were talking with them, and I was basically offering up my uterus to these guys. She protected me, and that’s when I knew she was a good friend. She was like, ‘No, Tiffany, you shouldn’t go with them, let’s just go to the room now.’”
She breaks off into laughter again and has to pause to catch her breath. “She made sure I got to my room!” Haddish continues. “Because I was pretty tipsy by that time. I love her. She didn’t let me go off with those guys and get pregnant by a complete stranger and then they come nine months later and take my baby away. That’s the story we made up in our heads of what would have happened. Then I wouldn’t have been able to make the movie because I would have been all pregnant.”
Byrne saving her from pregnancy ultimately saved the movie, Haddish jokes. “She made me believe she’s a real friend, and I think that’s why the chemistry is so good in the movie,” she adds. And so that fateful blind date turned into the friendship audiences will see in Like a Boss — but it also turned into something even deeper for the two stars off screen.
“I invited her on some Groupon stuff, I was trying to take her to a male strip club with me,” Haddish says with a dark laugh before adding in a disappointed tone, “but they were all closed. I cook at my house and have a potluck Sunday, and she was there every Sunday.”
And Byrne reveals with a laugh, “She took me to a bunch of fundraisers, a political fundraiser in Atlanta!”
“I think it’s so important to really get to know someone, especially playing besties,” Haddish says. “This was a movie about chemistry and relating to each other and understanding each other and supporting one another and protecting the relationship, so that’s what we did! On and off camera.”
While both Haddish and Byrne got a new BFF out of the making of Like a Boss, they’re more proud of the fact they made a movie that touts the importance of friendship over everything else.
“I think it’s important to talk about friendships right now because there are so many people who have been displaced from their families and whatnot,” Haddish says. “And it’s like, God assigns you your mom and dad, your family, right? But you could make your own family with your friends. As a woman, men come in my life and they go out of my life all the time, but my friendships are like 20-years-plus. My friendships are forever.”
And Byrne is happy to be a part of a movie that she’s want to see in theaters. “It’s important to tell all parts of the human experience, whether that’s like all the movies that are out now for awards seasons or something like Like a Boss, which is obviously lighter and more fun and entertaining and a good night out,” she says. “My best friends are women, I’m very close with my sisters and my mom, I’m a girls’ girl, and that’s what drew me to this project and I feel like people want to see that.”
Haddish and Byrne recommend a girls’ night out with all your BFFs as the perfect way to see Like a Boss. “That’s what we were hoping, that you can go with a girlfriend and have a margarita and go to the movies,” Byrne says. “And afterwards, call another friend and be inspired to reconnect with your girlfriends.”
Like a Boss is in theaters now.
Like a Boss