Morris Chestnut's first reaction to being considered for the role of Halle Berry's love interest?
"I told them no," he told me. "I said, 'I'm not gonna do it, no way.'"
So obviously he was joking, because Chestnut does in fact play Berry's paramour in this weekend's "The Call," a thriller about a 911 operator (Berry) who must save the life of a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) after she's kidnapped by a deranged serial killer. To get into character - an LAPD cop who just so happens to be in love with the most drop-dead gorgeous dispatcher in the history of the known universe - Chestnut told me all he needed was a little inspiration from his first encounter with the actress.
"Whenever you meet an actor or actress in Hollywood you never know what to expect," he said. "So when I met Halle, this was my first time meeting her, she was just very sweet, down-to-earth and just genuine. She's such a sweet person, so I took that first [impression when] I met with her and I let that carry me on throughout the whole entire movie. Even when we weren't together, I was there with her."
As to his future roles, Chestnut will next be seen in the highly-anticipated "Kick-Ass 2," in which he replaces Omari Hardwick in the role of Hit-Girl's guardian Marcus Williams. Given that he counts Hardwick among his personal friends, Chestnut described taking on the character as something of a bittersweet experience.
"It was weird," he told me. "You know, he's a friend of mine, and I kinda felt bad about that. But it was an opportunity for me to step into a big movie and it was a great experience. You know, I just hope the audience responds to that as well, because it's gonna be a kick-ass ride." (So to speak.)
After checking out the full interview with Chestnut at the top of the page, you can hear what his co-star Abigail Breslin had to say in the video below.
"The Call" hits theaters this Friday.