Review of Lil Rel Howery & DeWanda Wise Talk Fatherhood & Kevin Hart

Daljit Kalsi

Lil Rel Howery Fatherhood

Netflix’s Fatherhood is out on the streamer today. Directed by Paul Weitz the film follows an emotional true story about a widower who has to take on single parenthood unexpectedly after his wife dies the day after giving birth. It’s based on Matthew Logelin’s memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love. The film stars comedy superstar Kevin Hart in the lead role, Melody Hurd (Them), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It), Anthony Carrigan (Barry), and Paul Reiser (Mad About You).

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Fatherhood stars Lil Rel Howery and DeWanda Wise about working with Kevin Hart, Hurd’s ability to steal scenes, and more. Check out our video interview, or read the transcript, below.

Tyler Treese: Lil Rel, you have so many fun scenes in the film with Melody Hurd. Despite her working with a bunch of comedians, she kind of steals the show in some scenes. She winds up really showing a lot of great comedic timing and acting ability. Can you speak to just how impressed you were by just how funny she was?

Lil Rel Howery: I think she’s a superstar. I’m not even just saying that. Like watching her do Fatherhood, watching her in Them, she’s so talented, so gifted, but to me that comes from an amazing upbringing. Shout out to her parents, they’ve done an amazing job with her. I don’t know how you can do a scene with her without just smiling the whole time. Especially when we’re doing the playing cards and stuff like that, it’s kind of her just doing her thing and we just kinda play along with whatever she wants to do. But so funny, so talented. It’s almost cool to watch. I think I got a good eye for this, but you could just tell [that she’s] somebody we’re going to see in this business a long time killing it. Like she’s so talented and she makes this movie.

Yeah, she really shines. DeWanda, your character is put in a very relatable place throughout the film. She’s trying to start a relationship with someone that’s still tied to their past. The film shows that you can really honor a loved one and move forward with your life. What really drew you to this role?

DeWanda Wise: That, the honesty of it, the vulnerability of it, the healing, the light of it. I think both my character and Lil Rel’s character serve similar functions in supporting [Kevin Hart’s] character Matt in the ways in which he might not even know that he needs to be supported. So much of Swan’s chemistry and the nature of the role was tied to Maddy. So that was so important. It was important to me, it was important to Paul to kind of show that and show that kind of united front at times. But it was just something that pulled at my heartstrings, and how can you say no?

Lil Rel, Kevin Hart has been such a big part of your career and you guys go way back. He presented your standup special. How great was it to really support him in a movie and just work with your friend?

Howery: It was a full-circle moment. I know for a minute we were trying to figure out what that next project will be, but Kevin’s been very supportive since like early in my career. He had me open for him. It’s so interesting because I like have legit, real moments with Kev. I remember when Kev, right before we got crazy and we literally were in the club having a conversation like, “Rel, things are about to happen,” and I’m like, “All right, cool, brother, I’ll be there whenever it happens.” But it’s just watching one of your friends ultimately become a superstar and then actually invest into you too, right? He did my special, produced that first hour special I had, and that was dope that he did that. But then to be able to do this film with him and I always thought we’d have great chemistry on screen and it really works. I think it shows it in his movie, but man, it was so much fun working with him. I like that we just laughed a lot and that was fun. Just laughing a lot is always good. I think our blooper reel, that’s gotta be on its own thing. There’s gotta be a Netflix special called Fatherhood Bloopers.

I’m sure. Speaking of that, DeWanda, there are so many funny scenes. How hard was it not to break?

Wise: That’s the challenge. There are two goals when working with Kevin. One is not to break when you’re not supposed to. Thankfully Swan is very laughy and Matt is hilarious also. So, so I got to laugh in the laughter, anytime [Swan is] laughing, DeWanda is laughing. It was authentic, and then the other part is just like seeing how you can try to make him break and make him laugh. What it means to kind of go like toe to toe in that respect. It was a lot of fun. A dream come true.

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