‘I wanted to see Mike Epps in an Agbada,’ says ‘Love Jacked’ director Alfons Adetuyi

His latest film casts comedian Mike Epps as a self-proclaimed African aficionada who knows nothing about his African traditions. For director Alfons Adetuyi (“High Chicago”), Epps, a stand-up performer best known for “The Hangover” and “Meet the Blacks” was the perfect actor to embody that role.

Mike Epps in Love Jacked

“In a movie like this, you need those comic element that he does naturally. I thought he could have fun playing the uncle and I wanted to see him in an Agbada. He looks great in it and he really loved it and he loved the whole cultural aspect of it. We had a Nigerian dialect coach, but Mike is such a quick study and really surprised me with the African stuff.” With superb comic timing and a satirical edge, “Love Jacked” centers around a headstrong young women who decides to travel to South Africa for inspiration and returns with a fiancé, much to her father’s chagrin.

Love Jacked cast from L-r – Angela Gibbs, Mike Epps, Marla Gibbs, Shamier Anderson, Amber Stevens West, Keith David

“The idea is that the protagonist in this film thinks she is going to fall in love with one particular person, but by the end of the movie, her heart has been hijacked by love,” says Adetuyi, an award-winning producer and director whose credits include episodes of the TV medical drama “Jozi-H” and “Survivors.”

Mike Epps (UNCLE RUFUS), Amber Stevens West (MAYA), Shamier Anderson (MALCOLM) – Photo Credit Steve Wilkie

“Love Jacked” stars Amber Stevens-West, Shamier Anderson, Lyriq Bent, Marla Gibbs, Demetrius Grosse and Keith David who plays the movie’s matriarch. “I needed Keith to get away with the African nuances as he does make fun of Africans,” adds the Afro-Canadian director whose father is Yoruba. “People will understand that even though he makes fun of Africans in the film, he is just trying to protect his daughters and has an overbearing love.”

Marla Gibbs (GRANDMA ROSE), Angela Gibbs (AUNT CLARA), Mike Epps (UNCLE RUFUS)

The film, which marked the opening night movie at the 26th annual Pan African Film festival will screen on February 14th at 8pm and February 19th  at 8:55pm at the Cinemark Rate 15 Theaters in Los Angeles, Calif.

Alfons Adetuyi

Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She can be reached at sofole@gmail.com. Photos courtesy of Inner City Films & Royalty Image

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