‘House Party’ director Calmatic defends new reboot
Tosin Cole and Jacob Lattimore at House Party. (Photo: Warner Bros.)
Calmatic is aware of all the derision it gets about Hollywood’s tendency and over-reliance on remaking beloved old movies.
But the revered music video director, who has provided visuals to the likes of Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Nas X, brings a unique perspective to the reboot debate, especially when it comes to House Party, his new remix of the teen classic of 1990 with the famous rapper. the Kid ‘n Play duo.
“I know there’s a lot of talk about remakes and you can’t touch a classic and all that stuff, but I feel like a property like House Party needs to be rebuilt every 10 years,” says Calmatic, born Charlies Kidd II. Yahoo Entertainment in a new interview.
“Why why not? Imagine if there was a House Party in 1970. I’m sure we’d probably watch it and love it and enjoy the references. To be able to look back at how they did it [then]. And there should be a House party 10 years from now and then another 10 years after that… I’m just happy here that I was able to get into this point of the culture and give a glimpse of what’s going on now.”
It’s a valid point. American culture—especially the hip-hop culture that Reginald Hudlin’s 1990 original helped popularize upon its release—changes so quickly every year, from music to clothing to fashions to slang, a House Party movie is made every decade. it would definitely seem far off. unlike its predecessor and successor. (Also, it’s not like the original House Party brand wasn’t already tarnished: Two such Kid ‘n Play sequels in 1991 and 1994 were followed by two sacrilegious direct-to-video follow-ups in 2001 and 2013.)
There are similarities, like the knuckleheads that want to beat them, and a necessary revamp of the Kid ‘n Play (aka The Funky Charleston) step. But surely, the House Party of 2023 has a significant difference from the House Party of 1990, not only in its contemporary atmosphere, soundscapes and aesthetics, but also in its more polished and visually friendly premise. The story follows best friends Kevin (Jacob Lattimore), an aspiring hip-hop producer and father of a young son, and Damon (Tosin Cole), an unpleasant promoter, who work together for a cleaning company. house. When they’re fired for taking time off at the mega-mansion they’re cleaning, the pair conspire to throw a legendary heist at the luxury home.
The story continues
Lattimore and Cole weren’t even born when House Party first came out, but they were both deeply attuned to the film and its legacy.
“I grew up watching it with my older cousins and older siblings,” says 30-year-old Cole (The Cut, Doctor Who), who moved from New York to London when he was 8. “So I grew up knowing about it. and being very aware of what the House Party was and what the House Party meant to the culture. And to the people of that era and that generation.”
Adds Lattimore, 26, who grew up in Milwaukee (The Maze Runner, The Chi): “I knew it was important. You’ve seen the cover, you’ve seen the hairstyle, you’ve seen the fashion, you’ve seen that this was an important film for the time… So I knew the weight of what we were getting into.”
Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin at the 1990 House Party. (Photo: © New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Calmatic was just 2 years old when the original dropped, and grew up not only aware of House Party’s stature (“It’s like that Bible,” he says), but also a huge fan. So much so that he actively pursued the opportunity to direct the shoot, which marks his feature film directorial debut.
Among the music stars Calmatic had worked with was Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover. So when it was announced that the rapper-actor’s Atlanta collaborators Stephen Glover (Donald’s brother) and Jamal Olori were writing a new House Party movie, it went right into their DMs.
“I said, ‘No, I need the first records at House Party!’
House Party was developed by Springhill, the production company founded by basketball great LeBron James and his creative partner, Maverick Carter.
This explains the origin of one of the best twists in the film: The mansion where Kevin and Damon illegally host their grudge belongs to LeBron, who has left Los Angeles in the offseason for a two-week meditation retreat.
King James also appears in the film, first in hologram form, then eventually in the flesh. And as in 2015’s Trainwreck , the hoops superstar gets a big laugh, though here mostly in self-revealing form (the hologram in which Kevin and Damon collide is meant to deliver LeBron’s true everyday assertions like “You made the decision to go to Miami perfectly” and “Your hairline is perfect”).
Jacob Lattimore, LeBron James and Tosin Cole at House Party. (Photo: Warner Bros. / Everett Collection)
“Some of that stuff, we didn’t write,” Calmatic says, pointing to a line where James states that he only has a 97 rating in NBA 2K. “And we had a bunch of things that didn’t work out… It was fun to hear him talk to himself… I think he wanted to explore his comedic and creative sides and just have fun doing it.”
“He was a cool guy, really cool,” says Cole. “He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He laughs a lot [at the jokes about him] but at the same time, it’s LeBron, right? So he probably hears all that stuff in the game, anyway. People talk trash and all that kind of stuff.”
“I think he’s so closed off at this point,” Lattimore interjects.
Kevin and Damon use LeBron’s address book to gather a star-studded guest list for the film, which gave the filmmakers the opportunity to stack the comedy with cameos from other famous actors, musicians and athletes.
We’ll mention just one, since that cat was long ago let out of the bag: The original House Parties, Kid ‘n Play (né Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin), return for a particularly memorable moment.
“I remember seeing them for the first time and being like, ‘Oh, wow, we owe these guys a lot,'” Calmatic says. “Like that’s why we’re here. So we definitely rolled out the red carpet and made sure they were comfortable.”
Martin (Play) even gave a speech to the cast and crew about how grateful he was for the opportunity.
“It just made everything feel official,” Calmatic recalls.
“I feel like that was their stamp of approval,” Cole says.
Adds Lattimore: “It was definitely a comfort. As if they were passing the torch to us.”
If it were up to Calmatic, Lattimore and Cole would be snuffing out the torch again in 10 years.
House Party is currently playing.
Watch the trailer: