By DONNA FREYDKIN
We call it FOMO: The fear of missing out, thanks to all those gaudy, glitzy, dreamy displays of captivating couplehood brandished on Facebook.
What if you're single, like Sanaa Lathan in "The Perfect Guy?" Maybe hungry to have a baby, with no prospects? Maybe knocking back wine to shut up that nagging, irritating inner voice whining that your job as a lobbyist is overtaking what's supposed to be your life?
And then, that aforementioned Perfect Guy (Michael Ealy) pops up, in the form of a latte charmingly handed over in a coffee shop. He's got the orbs, the pecs, the car (vintage, of course) and an innate sense of how to just woo the parents.
Sadly, it's not to be. "The Perfect Guy" does for showers what "Fatal Attraction" did for that poor, unfortunate boiled bunny. In the thriller, opening today, Lathan meets a dreamboat (Ealy) who can't seem to take no, no, no, a thousand million times no, for an answer.
Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy dish on the new thriller:
We sat down with Ealy, who plays stalker Carter, and Lathan, as his would-be victim, to talk about their cinematic labor of love. Her character has a gauzy view of romance. But the actress, who's been famous since 2000's "Love & Basketball," can read people in a nanosecond.
"I have a lot of trust in good things. I really believe that there's always some kind of reveal," says Lathan. "A lot of us want what we want so badly that we ignore those signs."
The key, says Ealy, is taking more time and really not giving into the hunger for instant gratification that's fed by social media. Get to know him first. And give him time.
"That's something that some of my friends are pretty enamored with about me. I have a pretty good radar. I don't get close to anyone too soon. I'm ok with that. I know how giving I can be," says Ealy.
Being famous doesn't make it easier to let your guard down. Lathan said early on in her career, she'd resent autograph seekers. "I'm not really interested in the fame aspect. I want to do great roles," she says. "You can see it in people's eyes. People are transparent. You can see when they're enamored when they're with the star."
For Ealy, he was an unknown until Barbershop came out in 2002. His mom made him appreciate his newfound luck, and why it's no big deal to take a selfie every once in a while. "If it puts a smile on someone's face and makes them happy, and doesn't cost you anything — how bad can it be," he says. "People live hard lives. You take a selfie and it gives them something to be happy about it."
Both have had their share of strange fan encounters. Lathan won't go into detail about various stalkers — "I've had some scary stuff" — but recalled a fan of her film Blade who followed her down the street in New York and blamed her for plot twists. "Yo man, I was just acting," she says.
As for Ealy, "I had someone track me down in a hotel I was staying at in New York. She called every hotel in the phone book. I was staying at the W. I checked out within hours," he says. Suffice to say that now, he uses an alias when checking in.
"The Perfect Guy" has crazy buzz. It's a film starring a woman of color, who also produced it, and she's tough, successful, smart, tenacious, pragmatic, a little myopic — much like her counterparts Gabrielle Union on BET's Being Mary Jane. or Kerry Washington on Scandal. It's a type of character seen too rarely in feature films.
But Lathan is hopeful.
"If it makes money, that's what Hollywood responds to," says Lathan, who's a producer. "It's a natural progression for me, and my peers, to start developing my own work. Yes, I do get frustrated with Hollywood and how lily white it is. Part of the solution will be us creating those stories for ourselves."
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