Malcolm D. Lee Explains Why Mia Had To Be The Character Who Died In ‘The Best Man Holiday’

Much in the way The Best Man changed the careers of its ensemble cast, the 1999 romantic comedy also birthed the Hollywood journey of its director and writer Malcolm D. Lee. It also got him out of his mom and dad’s house. “I was still living in my parents’ basement when I shot The Best Man,” Lee told us on the red carpet for the premiere of The Best Man: The Final Chapters in LA.

“I was at the infancy of my career. It was my first movie. I had written five other screenplays. I finally wrote this one and it really spoke to people,” he added. “It got me the meetings I was supposed to have. “The acting community was ready for it. The studios were ready for it.”

Malcolm D. Lee Explains Why Mia Had To Be The Character Who Died In ‘The Best Man Holiday’

Audiences were ready for it as well. And the same was true when the sequel, The Best Man Holiday, was released in 2013. Anticipation for seeing the all-star cast — Nia Long, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan, Melissa De Sousa, Monica Calhoun, Terrence Howard, and Harold Perrineau— reunited was exceptionally high. But fans of the franchise were devastated when Calhoun’s character, Mia, died at the end of the Christmas-themed rom-com. Lee knows some viewers still haven’t forgiven him for that turn in the script, but he stands by his reasoning for taking audiences on the grief journey of these longstanding characters as they processed Mia’s death.

“We’ve both been affected by cancer, her mom and her dad,” Lee told us as his wife, Camille, joined him on the carpet. “I wanted to really tell a story where Black folks got to emote at the movie theater. We don’t get a chance to do that very often so I wanted it to happen and it wasn’t going to happen with any other character as much as it would with Mia. That was the most meaningful one which is why I think it hurt so much.”

Check out our full interview with Malcolm D. Lee on why this has to be the final chapter in the video above. The Best Man: The Final Chapters premieres on Peacock December 22.

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