Larenz Tate on his connection with Love Jones costar Nia Long: 'The thirst was real'
In honor of Entertainment Weekly's special issue A Celebration of Black Film, Tate opened up to Blackprint about the beloved '90s romantic drama, including what it was like to collaborate with Long, who at the time was an up-and-coming actress whose work he admired from afar.
"I had already seen Nia's work in the past. I thought she was incredible," Tate says about his first screen test with Long in the exclusive clip above (starting at around the 7:15 mark). "Immediately, we just kind of had a nice little spark and a connection and it just felt natural. I didn't feel any pressure going into the room [for the screen test], I don't think she felt any pressure. Once we began to do our scene, I think they saw immediately that we were the right pair."
Although he couldn't remember which scene they performed when they first met, he did recall a specific rehearsal day where his character Darius was really vibing with Nina (played by Long).
"I do remember once we got to rehearsal in Chicago that the real connection really happened," he shares. "In a moment where Darius and Nina had gone on their first date, and he takes her back and drops her off at her doorstep. And he's talking about [whether] he should come upstairs or not and she doesn't want to take things too fast, and he approaches her and they kiss."
Find out what Nia and Larenz's favorite songs are from the Love Jones soundtrack:
He continues, "Now, I don't know what Nia Long was used to in rehearsals, but in rehearsals, I'm gonna give it up! So what you saw in the movie is what happened in the actual rehearsal."
What Tate is coyly trying to say is that he and Long actually kissed.
"Listen, it was very easy to want to kiss Nia Long," he says with a grin. "Let me just say that."
When it's noted that Darius was rather forward, Tate responds, "The thirst was real. That's that love jones. When it starts hitting, man, I'm trying to tell ya!"
Check out the video above to watch the full interview with Tate, where the actor, writer, producer, and director not only reminisces about Love Jones, but shares his thoughts on Black American cinema and more.
EW's A Celebration of Black Film is available on Amazon and wherever magazines are sold.
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