Director Malcolm Lee and actors Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut on the red carpet for the Washington, D.C., premiere of “The Best Man: The Final Chapters” (Marckell Williams/The Washington Informer)
Director Malcolm Lee and actors Regina Hall and Morris Chestnut on the red carpet for the Washington, D.C., premiere of “The Best Man: The Final Chapters” (Marckell Williams/The Washington Informer)

Washington, D.C.’s special screening of “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” brought Hollywood home.

Georgetown graduate and director Malcolm D. Lee, actress and D.C. native Regina Hall and actor Morris Chestnut were at the local screening at the Howard Theater, offering audiences a deeper understanding into the film franchise and its new series. The red carpet, celebrity-studded event marked a moment for the nation’s capital as more than a place for politics.

District native Terk Stevens, one of the producers of “The Best Man” franchise and host of the premiere, said D.C.’s leadership encourages creative culture.

“D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and her team, have encouraged creatives like me, living in the District, to help me make D.C. one of the ‘Creative Capitals of the World,’” Stevens said. “Therefore, it is very important for me to continue to produce quality and culturally relevant content that continues to elevate D.C.”

LaToya Foster, the newly appointed director of the Office of Cable, Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) and former communications director for Mayor Bowser, said bridging Hollywood and D.C. will become more commonplace.

“D.C. is open,” Foster exclaimed.  “Terk, Morris Chestnut and I, we’ve already had conversations. This is going to be one of so many events like this. So many great films and television productions are coming right here to the District of Creators, the District of Culture, the District of Champions. Our D.C.”

The crowd roared and cheered at Foster’s proclamation.

This is not the first time “The Best Man” franchise has had a screening in the nation’s capital– both the original 1999 film and the holiday movie 14 years later held  D.C. premieres. 

“We came back to the Howard Theater in 2013 for ‘The Best Man Holiday,’” Stevens said during the event. “This is our home.”

Audiences got a sneak peek at the first episode of “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” which had audiences clapping at the return of key characters, cracking up at funny moments and “oohing and aahing” at moments like Chestnut diving in a pool with swimming briefs.

A panel after the screening, moderated by actor and comedian Chris Spencer,  featured Lee, Hall and, to the chagrin of some, a clothed Chestnut. They reflected on their work in the franchise and some experiences in the more than two decades since the first “Best Man” film was released. 

Hall also shouted out her hometown and Lee showed some Georgetown Hoyas pride.

One audience member asked Lee for whom he created “The Best Man,” and its subsequent film and series.

“I knew that everyone, from any racial background would be interested in this, because it’s a universal story,” Lee said. “We’ve been watching universal stories with white faces for centuries. And so I wanted to tell a story about a group of friends, who are very American, and upwardly mobile, and aspirational, and wanting love and wanting to be loved, and tell that with faces that look like mine.” 

Miss DC for America 2022 Bismah Ahmed, the first South Asian, Muslim and Pakastani person to win the title, said she loves seeing the representation on the screen.

“I think diversity is so important and to get that on the big screen is just phenomenal,” she said.

Ahmed said it’s to have “The Best Man: The Final Chapters,” creative team in person in the nation’s capital.

 “Hollywood is coming to D.C,” Ahmed said.  “It’s really exciting to see.”

While many audience members made no secret that they were sad to see “The Best Man,” wind down, Lee said he was tactful in how he wanted to close the franchise and cement its legacy.

“I knew we were going to do this iteration,” Lee, who is filmmaker Spike Lee’s family member, said. “I’m glad we got this and I feel like we’re wrapping up in an appropriate way and a way I think is going to be satisfying for the audience.”

Micha Green

WI Managing Editor Micha Green is a storyteller and actress from Washington, D.C. Micha received a Bachelor’s of Arts from Fordham University, where she majored in Theatre, and a Master’s of Journalism...

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