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How Lena Waithe Convinced Halle Berry to Team Up for ‘Boomerang’ TV Series

Halle Berry wasn’t immediately sold on the idea of a “Boomerang” reboot.

The 1992 romantic comedy, which starred Berry, Eddie Murphy, and Robin Givens, told the tale of cocky ad executive and insatiable ladies’ man Marcus (Murphy) who meets his match in his new boss Jacqueline (Givens) — an exec who treats him the same way he has treated his conquests around the city. Berry played Jacqueline’s quiet assistant Angela, who he eventually falls in love with. It was a role that launched her career.

So, when “Boomerang” TV series creator Lena Waithe approached the Oscar winner with the idea, she was hesitant at first. Waithe’s pitch was so good, though, that Berry ended up being the co-executive producer of the project.

“She came to me and she said, ‘Hal, I really want to redo “Boomerang” and I was like, no,” Berry told the audience with a laugh as she took the stage at the “Boomerang” premiere Monday night at the Saban Theater in North Hollywood, Calif. “At first I was like, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ I didn’t think it was a good idea. I love this movie so much. I know how many people love this movie so much. I was like, ‘I don’t know if there’s a way we can do this, Lena.'”

“I quickly realized that Lena was not taking no,” she continued. “She was not going to let me off the hook and I realized it was a good thing to do. We talked about what the new version could be and how we could take the same story and modernize it and make it about the millennials of now.”

That new version is not a remake, but a spinoff of sorts. It centers on Marcus and Angela’s daughter, Simone Graham (Tetona Jackson) and her and her friends’ dealings with life, career, and love. Jackson told Variety she would tell die-hard “Boomerang” fans and skeptics of the TV show to “give it a chance,” adding, “It’s not the same story. These are new faces. We’re not trying to remake a classic. We’re just adding on to it.”

For Waithe, having Berry be a part of the project was essential. “I talked to her and I was like, ‘Yo, I would really appreciate having you be involved and watching what I’m doing just to make sure we don’t veer too far away from what the movie is really about,’” Waithe told Variety. “She was like, ‘I will but I really think you got it, I’m just here to support you’ and she was on it. She was really about that life and just supported me and let have me space and room to do my thing. So I’m just really grateful, for her, and all that’s she’s done for the show.”

Waithe said seeing the project come to life has been “emotional.” She continued, “It’s a culmination of a big dream, you know, of watching that movie every single night to being here right now and having Halle next to me, and this amazing cast behind me. I’m just so grateful.”

As guests took their seats inside the theater, Berry talked more about what “Boomerang” meant for black culture and to her. “When we made ‘Boomerang,’ we were babies and it was about our culture and while it seemed like a fantasy,” she said, “it was so aspirational. It was so aspirational. It was lives that we as black people were all seeking to live,” she continued. “With this new version of ‘Boomerang’ it’s no different for these new millennials. It’s about the life they’re hoping to live freely in so many ways. We deal with so many issues our community is facing today. A lot of people are going to go kicking and screaming but they’re going to have to swallow it bitter and spit that s— sweet.”

“Because that’s what it is,” she went on. “We have to move forward and we have to be inclusive and accept all of who we are and love all of who we are.”

Following the screening, Waithe took the stage and told the audience, “now we’re gonna party.” Guests went on to mingle, toast champagne, and dance as DJ Mos pumped out hip-hop for the bash.

“Boomerang” premieres on BET Tuesday night, Feb. 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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