Jumping The Broom - Laz Alonso and Paula Patton
Jason (Laz Alonso) and Sabrina (Paula Patton) make up © 2011 TriStar Pictures

In their new comedy Jumping the Broom, Paula Patton and Laz Alonso play a couple on the verge of marriage. Problem is, Sabrina (Patton) comes from Old Money parents, Claudia and Greg (Angela Bassett, Brian Stokes Mitchell) and Jason (Alonso) was brought up by his down-to-earth single working mom, Pam (Loretta Devine). When they all meet at Claudia’s estate on Martha’s Vineyard to plan the wedding, a gaping class divide threatens to destroy the nuptials and Sabrina and Jason’s relationship.

Paula Patton and Laz Alonso did their interview together, and it was obvious they enjoy each other’s company.

I read that you felt very close to your character.

Jumping The Broom - Paula Patton and Laz Alonso
Sabrina (Paula Patton) and Jason (Laz Alonso) become engaged © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Laz Alonso: Jason reminds me of myself. He comes from a single-parent home, as I did. His father died when he was twelve, as mine did. He attended Howard University, and so did I. He’s a financial analyst on Wall Street.

I went to Wall Street when I first graduated from college and went through an analyst problem. So there were a lot of parallels in this character that I felt I’d be able to be authentic with and bring to life.

Do you have a special wedding memory?

Paula Patton: My favorite part of weddings is when grandparents get drunk. Do you know what I mean? Honestly, that’s when you have the most fun. Like, ‘Girl, let me tell you how you need to do it.

You gotta take it all off and don’t wear no panties.’ I’m like, ‘Grandma, my God!’ They become very open and honest, when old people get drunk. It’s the best thing ever.

Is this how your wedding was?

Jumping The Broom - Paula Patton and Laz Alonso
Sabrina (Paula Patton) and Jason (Laz Alonso) jump the broom © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Paula: My wedding didn’t have all the drama that this wedding had. But it did have a joy and a celebration and I just love this character, Sabrina, when I read it., that’s why I knew I had to play her. I loved the overall story.

I wanted to do a romantic comedy and tackle the genre of romantic comedies and this just landed on my doorstep. I knew I had to play her and do it.

Can you talk about working with Angela? Did you go somewhere to bond together?

Paula: Honestly, we had to work together the first day of shooting. And it was the end of the movie when she’s like, ‘Are you sure you want to marry Jason?’ And I was very nervous because I had so much respect for Angela.

She’s just a tremendous actress and I have loved all her work. Then we got together and we just started talking about family and life and it all of a sudden we started to bond. There was a chemistry to it.

The truth is, I was a little bit nervous also because I thought she was too young and too beautiful to play my mom. She was so cool with it and embraced that character, and who she was, with so much gusto I had tremendous respect and I was really inspired by her. I learned a lot from Angela.

On that same note, Laz, what was it like working with Loretta?

Jumping The Broom - Paula Patton and Laz Alonso
Sabrina (Paula Patton) checks on Jason (Laz Alonso) after the accident © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Laz: Loretta is a method actress. I don’t know if anyone in this room knew that before.

Paula: Here we go again.

Laz: She’s breathing heavy right now because she knows what I say is true.

Paula: It’s not true, Laz, and that’s why we’re going to get into a fight again. And we have counseling on Monday.

Laz: Excuse me. Excuse me. They asked me! I can only get away with that in the room with you guys. Out there, she’s going to beat my butt. I’m running.

I didn’t know she was method until we were already shooting the film. I would see her on weekends and get yelled at for not inviting her to breakfast. If I saw her in the mall (with falsetto voice) “Boy, what’s you doing in the mall? You are supposed to be in your room learning your lines.”

She was my mom from the moment we started this film until the moment we wrapped. Even now, she still calls me her boy and I call her mom. But, what I thought was even funnier than that was the interaction she would have with Paula, because she was method, she really didn’t like her on set.

Paula: Now you’re making stories up Laz. WOW! Laz! Jumping the Broom 2: Trying Not to Get Divorced!

Laz: Unjumping the Broom.

Did you have fun bonding with the cast?

Jumping The Broom - Brian Stokes Mitchel, Laz Alonso, Paula Patton and Loretta Devine. DeRay Davis, Romeo Miller and Mike Epps
Brian Stokes Mitchel, Laz Alonso, Paula Patton and Loretta Devine. (Top - l to r) DeRay Davis, Romeo Miller and Mike Epps © 2011 TriStar Pictures

Paula: We did. We all got along so well, which in truth is hard to do with that many actors. We really just felt passionately that this was a great gift that we were all in this small town, all together. It made us all so much closer.

It really was a one-street town. You always ran into people. We were always working – all of us – because it was a lower budget. So you have to work every day and do many scenes a day. So we became a family in many ways.

So can you two talk about how you two bonded?

Paula: It’s called acting!

What do you hope the audience will take away from this movie?

Paula: It’s about the importance of loving each other, while also understanding the differences. This movie will make you laugh, and it’ll probably bring a tear to your eye, too.

It’s a feel-good, fun movie.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.