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FLY Interviews Videos

Fly Interview: Omar Epps and Will Packer talk ‘Almost Christmas’, Being on Set, The Importance of Family, and More [SFPL Exclusive]

The holiday season is upon us and there’s one film with its sights set on becoming a holiday classic. Almost Christmas, the new family holiday comedy from writer/director David Talbert and producer Will Packer, follows Walter the patriarch of the Meyers family as he attempts to keep his family together after the death of the family matriarch. His wish is for everyone to get along under the same roof for five days without killing each other which proves to be no easy task.

Starring Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Kimberly Elise, Romany Malco, Jessie T. Usher, Mo’Nique, Omar Epps, JB Smoove, Nicole Ari Parker, John Michael Higgins, Keri Hilson and D.C. Young Fly the movie delivers the laughs and drama making it a holiday film everyone can relate to.

SFPL‘s own Arlene Danna chatted with producer Will Packer and Omar Epps who plays the neighbor next door Malachi, and has hopes of rekindling his romance with Rachel portrayed by Gabriel Union. Packer and Epps dished on how the movie came to be, working with comedic masterminds Mo’Nique and J.B. Smoove, being on set, as well as the importance of family especially during the holidays.

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Loved the movie. Could you briefly tell us about the film, your character, and his role in the film?

Epps: What I loved about the film is how they flipped the usual storyline. Normally, it’s the patriarch who passes, and it’s the mother who holds it all together.  It’s about love, family, and the trial and tribulations that come with that. Everyone will be able to relate because we all come from family, we all have our own interpersonal relationships. So and so doesn’t get along with such and such and oh here comes crazy uncle so and so. My character grew up with the family. He’s known them his whole life and he’s back home visiting as well. He has some history with Gabriel Union’s character Rachel who has been holding onto a grudge all these years over a misunderstanding.

The scene where you’re helping Gabriel Union’s character squeeze in through the window was it hard to keep a straight face? We’re you guys able to bang it out or did it take a few takes.

Epps: Oh yes, that was a good one. We did do it a couple of times but we banged it out rather quickly. Gabi was only going to fall in through that window but so many times. [Laughs]

Malachi (OMAR EPPS) reconnects with Rachel (GABRIELLE UNION) and the rest of the family in "Almost Christmas." The new comedy from writer/director David E. Talbert and producer Will Packer tells the festive story of a beloved patriarch who asks his family for one gift this holiday season: to get along. If they can honor that wish and spend five days under the same roof without killing one another, it will be a Christmas miracle.
Malachi (OMAR EPPS) reconnects with Rachel (GABRIELLE UNION) and the rest of the family in “Almost Christmas.”

The chemistry between everyone definitely shows on-screen. How was it being on set? Did you guys play any practical jokes on each other? Any memorable moments? 

Epps: Gabi and I have known each other for years so we had that synergy throughout the whole film. Everyone was great though. There was so much respect on set. There weren’t necessarily practical jokes but we formed this camaraderie and we shared a lot of laughs. Some of the most memorable moments for me were watching the scenes I wasn’t in. Mo’Nique and J.B. are hilarious. It was great to see them do their thing.

What 5 fly things are you looking forward to receiving this Christmas?

Epps: Well I don’t really care about getting anything for Christmas. For me it’s more about getting to spend time with my family and making it special for my kids. So I’m just really looking forward to getting this family time in.

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Hi Will. I’m a fan of your work. Absolutely loved the film. At the end everyone including myself stood up and applauded.

Packer: Wow, really. Thank you, that’s great. It means a lot.

Almost Christmas is your second holiday film. Going into it was making sure it was noticeably different from This Christmas something you always had in the back of your mind?

Packer: Not really. You know This Christmas is one of my favorite movies that I’ve made. It’s one of those movies that audiences really responded to. It shows on cable TV every year. People will hit me and go, “When are you going to do a sequel? We want another Christmas movie.” Dave sent me a script at the perfect time, but it was about a family coming together around Thanksgiving after the death of the matriarch. I called him and I said, “Dave, I love it. I’ve got one note for you. Let’s make it Christmas instead of Thanksgiving, and let’s go make this movie.” He said, “All right. I’m in.” If you’re going to make a holiday movie it has to be about the biggest holiday of all. You can avoid people all year-long, but Christmas is the one time that you’ve gotta spend time with the folks you haven’t seen since last Christmas, and that’s true for a lot of families. After that the first person I called was Gabrielle Union. I’ve known Gab for a while and we’ve done a bunch of projects together in the past. I called her up and I go, “Gee, what do you think? I think this is the one we should do. We should produce it together.” She goes, “I’m in,” and everything just started moving from there.

You mentioned immediately reaching out to Gabriel. Prior to shooting the film did you have other people in mind for the cast as well? It’s clear the cast had great chemistry it really translated on-screen. J.B. Smoove and Mo’Nique did a superb job of bringing the laughs. 

Packer: Gabi was really the anchor that helped attract the rest of the cast. Danny Glover is a legend. Everyone was great. Nicole Ari Parker, Omar Epps, Mo’Nique, J.B. SmooveKimberly Elise, Romany Malco, they all did such an amazing job. We even have these up and comers representing the younger generation with Jessie T. Usher, and D.C. Young Fly.  The cast was able to really embody these characters and tell the story of this family that I feel will definitely resonate with audiences.

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My favorite scene was the scene with everyone gathered around the table for Christmas dinner. There were so many layers and as it progressed the comedy just got bigger and bigger. The kids also really stole the show, I think. I loved them texting back and forth with all the emoji’s and how they set-up the phone so they wouldn’t miss any of the action. How was it capturing that scene? How did everything come together? Was it written that way originally or was there some improvisation?

Packer: I have to give props to Dave for making a really solid script. The smart thing that Dave did was that he allowed his actors to embody the characters in their own way and to bring their own perspective and nuances to the characters. In the specific scene I thought it was important to include the kids texting because that’s actually what would be taking place. The way that scene was shot is how you see it, that scene is continuously moving. The transition from the dining room to the kitchen and back again was flawless. It was shot that way intentionally. We didn’t shoot the dining room and cut then go to the kitchen. We wanted it to progress naturally and the end result was better than we had imagined.

What does fly mean to you?

Packer: To me fly means being unapologetically you. Fly means standing by your convictions and making your own path. Fly is about setting your sights on something and never wavering from accomplishing it.

What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

Packer: I love the holidays. I love family movies. My immediate family is small. I have one sister, and I grew up with both my parents. Family was always very important. The holidays were the time when all the extended family would get together. I did grow up in the South. I grew up with a great sense of culture and tradition and all of that. So I’m just really looking forward to the time off and getting to spend that time with family. Work keeps me really busy so it’s nice to get a break and get that quality time in.

Almost Christmas opens in theaters Friday Nov. 11. Watch the trailer below and don’t miss out on a film destined to be a staple family Christmas movie for year’s to come. 

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Entertainment Last Night in NYC

Mo’Nique, Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union and more at ALMOST CHRISTMAS LA World Premiere

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In celebration of the release of Universal Pictures’ upcoming holiday comedy, ALMOST CHRISTMAS, filmmakers and cast members Danny Glover, Will Packer, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps, Jessie T. Usher, DC Young Fly and Keri Hilson attended the red carpet world premiere on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at the Regency Village Theater in LA.

Photo Credit: Exclusive Access

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Entertainment FLY NEWS

Fly News: Polow Da Don Wins Big with Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”, Lands New Deal with LA Reid at Epic Records

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Polow Da Don is impacting the music business, yet again, with a new production house & a new label deal from LA Reid‘s recharged Epic Records. It’s going to be a huge year for those in this man’s vicinity.

Already, the Zone 4 produced (Polow Da Don & Anonymous) “Anaconda” from Nicki Minaj’s latest LP has knabbed both an MTV Video Music Award and BMI Production Award this year.

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Widely known for his production for Ciara‘s “Promise” to Ms. Fergie screaming his name at the beginning of her smash, “London Bridge,” Polow is a staple in the music industry and has indeed begun a legacy of pioneering sound. Polow’s unique ability to urbanize pop music, and bring mainstream success to urban artists, emphasizes that music essentially has no boundaries, and that hit records are driven by one thing, creative innovation.

Polow’s Zone 4 imprint has impacted the music space by birthing such artists as Keri Hilson, Ester Dean, Rich Boy and Roscoe Dash.

Stay tuned for more on Polow!

SEE ALSO:

VERONICA VEGA: “WOMEN OF THIS GENERATION ARE AMBITIOUS AND POWERFUL”, DEBUTS “PAY ME” VIDEO PROD. BY POLOW DA DON [EXPLICIT] [FLY VISUAL]

MONICA FEAT. LIL WAYNE – “JUST RIGHT FOR ME” PROD. BY POLOW DA DON [FLY MUSIC]

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Entertainment FLY Events Last Night in NYC

2015 MTV VMAs Weekend: Cassie, Roc Nation’s Vic Mensa & more Takeover Playhouse Nightclub in Hollywood

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Over the MTV VMAs weekend, “Fly Girl” Cassie celebrated her birthday at the number one talked about Hollywood venue, Playhouse Nightclub!
#FeatureFridaysLA inside of Playhouse powered by super promoters Supreme Team and Miss Diddy was the talk of the town. With Cassie new Collab with street brand Diamond Supply and talks of an album being released, she has tons to celebrate. Cassie was accompanied with KUWTK and now “Dash Dolls” star Malika with a few other girlfriends.
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Roc Nation‘s artist Vic Mensa who’s buzz is growing as the days continue also came out to Host Playhouse Night Club and catch the reactions of the party go-ers when they drop his single which features Kanye West.
Also spotted in VIP were: Keri Hilson and her Bae Serge Ibanka, Jermaine Dupri and Bow Wow.
Photo Cred: Networkingz 

SEE ALSO:

LAST NIGHT IN L.A.: CASEY VEGGIES CELEBRATES HIS BIRTHDAY AT PLAYHOUSE NIGHTCLUB IN HOLLYWOOD

LAST NIGHT IN L.A.: DIDDY TAKES OVER PLAYHOUSE NIGHTCLUB FOR FINALE OF MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

FLASH BACK FRIDAY: 5 TIMES CHRIS BROWN DONE WENT AND CHASED SOMEBODY

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Entertainment Music

New Music: Keri Hilson Is Back with Two New Songs “Scream” + “100” feat. Young Thug

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After a long hiatus, Keri Hilson is back with two new joints, sexy ballads that will make you back in love with her all over again! It’s been about 5 years since her last album No Boys Allowed. But, Keri is ready to take on the music world full throttle, and we’re here for it!

Today, “Ms. Keri Baby” links back up with hit-maker Polow Da Don and Mansur for a smooth tempo track entitled “Scream.” On the track, Keri keeps it thorough in the bedroom, taking charge, satisfying her companion.

On the 2nd track, produced by Timbaland and Rock City, Hilson keeps it “100” with her cheating-half with the help of Young Thug. After, tossing her now “ex” to the side, Keri advises him that she betters off without all of the drama, that their relationship caused.

Check both tracks out below:

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Welcome back Keri!

@GabrielofSFPL

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Stories The Daily Word

The Daily Word: Rihanna Unveils Her New Gray Hair Style and ‘Rogue’ Fragrance, Timbaland Pens Apology Record To Jay-Z…

Rihanna unveiled via her Instagram account her to reveal her new interesting choice in hair color. The change comes as no surprise as she doesn’t stick to a particular style for too long anyway. She dubbed her new color “ice grey” how lovely.  Now ladies this isn’t one color that can be pulled off very easily. There are certain styles only certain women can pull off this is definitely one of them. 

“New color ice grey ish, call it #Brrr”
“‘Everything feels like touchdown on a rainy day’ #brrr”
“Grey is the new black! Blondies, it’s quiet for y’all! #brrr”

Hmmm do we like Rihanna’s new color?

Her hair wasn’t the only thing she revealed via IG she also showed off her new ad campaign for her new fragrance ‘Rogue‘. The Mario Sorrenti shot campaign has Rihanna topless with her legs kicked up on an image of the fragrances bottle.

Via WWD:  The Rogue scent, available in September at Macy’s, Dillard’s and Belk, is a “flirty, sensual Oriental” blend of lemon blossom, cyclamen, jasmine, rose, plum and suede over a musky base of woods, patchouli, vanilla and amber. Housed in a glass flacon with inverted spikes at the base, prices will range from $18 for a roller ball to $69 for a 4.2-oz. bottle. Limited-edition accessories — a stingray clutch, stingray leather zip-around bag and studded fashion bracelets, will be offered as gifts with purchase.

A men’s fragrance is also reportedly in the works peep the images below.

Looking forward to getting a whiff of this scent.

It seems J.Cole has started a new trend when it comes to apologizing to musical peers and idols. In a sit-down with Revolt TV super producer Timbaland confirmed that he and Jay-Z had a falling out. The rift began during the recording of Jay-Z’s album ‘Blueprint 3’ after tracks produced by Timbaland were ‘leaked’. Jay-Z revealed the interesting tidbit during an interview BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe. Timbaland revealed that during the interview he penned an Apology record to his friend Jay-Z. Heres the funny part the song also features Keri Hilson and she is actually apologizing to Beyonce  on it. Funny she claims she was never taking shots at Beyonce or had any ‘beef’ with her but apologizes anyway. Well anyway check the interview below.

So Keri let Bey down huh? 

Stay Fly!

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Uncategorized

Fly-LIGHTs: Beyonce & Blue Take NYC, Keri Hilson Comes Outside & The Smith Kids Swag It Out…

We first got a glimpse of Blue Ivy Carter‘s pretty face during her Momma’s HBO documentary, “Life Is But A Dream”. And every since, we’ve been ready for more! Welp, Baby Blue was spotted in these streets fully uncovered yesterday, as she stomped through Brooklyn to have brunch with her Mama, clad in timbs and a camo jacket.

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Fashion Music

[Mag Covers] Keri Hilson Shines In Glamour Magazine

Keri Hilson graces the pages of the November issue of Glamour Magazine with a photo compilation. The feature was a part of the “What Inspires Me” series the magazine is doing with top Fashion/”Glam Girl’s”. Check it out below…

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[New Music] Lolah Brown – Show Me (feat. Dunson)

Lolah Brown, a singer/songwriter from Cleveland, Ohio who has sung background vocals for the likes of Nicki Minaj, Keri Hilson and John Legend, releases a new collaboration featuring Dunson. The song entitled “Show Me” is produced by Phatboiz, the Grammy-nominated producers behind John Legend’s single “Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” as well as Dunson’s single “Count On It”, is a good preview of what to expect from Lolah Brown’s upcoming Black Lily project.

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[New Music] Timbaland ft. Keri Hilson, Attitude & Sebastian – ‘Covers Blown’

Timbaland teams up with Keri Hilson, Attitude & Sebastian for a hit track title ‘Covers Blown’. I am really feeling this one! Check it out!