Gabrielle Union has dazzled us on both the big and small screens for almost 20 years. From the tough-talking, no-nonsense cheerleader Isis in "Bring It On" to the scheming daughter of the beloved and bitchy Wilhelmina Slater on television's "Ugly Betty," she's pretty well nailed being a woman in control, or "the girl who's got it all figured out and somehow can't find a man, or the girl from the right side of the tracks with the boy from the wrong," as she puts it. And her recent shifts in character are refreshing, albeit surprising, as we start to see a little "bad girl" emerge from one of the good girls.
In the recent "Tyler Perry's Good Deeds," Union played Natalie, the perfect fiancee to the staid and stoic Wesley Deeds -- perfect, that is, until she hits the clubs for a night out with her BFF and gets herself unabashedly sloshed. Now, in Tim Story's hilarious "Think Like a Man," Union takes it a step further as Kristen, a woman forced to do exactly what the title suggests in order to get her boyfriend of nine years to propose. And part of that "male thinking"? Sprawling out on the bed smoking a bong and talking, of all things, existential time travel with her man.
While she refers to her own history as a "person who really enjoys a good time," according to Union, assuming these character traits is all part of "reality." It's something that, in "Think Like a Man," she and co-star Jerry Ferrara fought for during filming as an important aspect to their onscreen relationship. "With some couples, this is reality," she says. "You might get a little drunk with your girlfriend. You might smoke a spliff with your man and talk about time travel. Every couple has to decide where's the line in the sand. What are your expectations? What are you willing to deal with or not deal with? In their relationship, weed was part of it. Obviously in my real life, it is not."
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Viewing the scene as one that gives the audience a sense of "why these two have been together nine years," authenticity was important to both Ferrara and Union. And just how authentic was it? "We really wanted the smoke to be seen so you got what was happening," she lets on. "It was authentic smoke."