Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds and his wife, Tracey, hot off the success of their first production effort, "Soul Food," saw the film and bought it on the spot. ")In a fit of pique, Hav invites struggling writer Lee Plenty (Cherot) to spend the weekend with her, her best friend and her sister.
So, putting the first film aside, Cherot cast the new movie that fall.
By early 1996, its mostly-unknown ensemble cast was rehearsing.
But the budding auteur was preoccupied."At that time I had just gone through this relationship and was suffering, I guess, from an intensely broken heart," the 30-year-old filmmaker recalled in a recent telephone interview, "and the creativity that I thought I would have for this first project was stunted.
All of my thoughts and all of what I guess you'd call the creative juices were consumed with the after-effects of this relationship.
And -- after wowing audiences at Sundance just for good measure -- "Hav Plenty," the little romantic comedy that started with a broken heart, opened in theaters last Friday to warm reviews and pretty respectable box office."I'm sure some people out there will say, 'This happened to this guy overnight,' " Cherot allowed. But I think my overnight success is how quickly I came out of obscurity. Although the title indicates that this hot-and-cold romance ends in the Hollywood-style wedding, nothing in "Hav Plenty" is that simple.
Actually it took me three and a half years.""Hav Plenty" is set during an eventful holiday weekend at the Architectural Digest-worthy home of one Havilland Savage (Chenoa Maxwell), a lovely young professional who is currently dating a rap impresario (Hill Harper) who is rich, handsome and cheating on her like a dog. At one point in the film, Cherot -- who took the starring role when one of his actors dropped out at the last minute -- turns to the camera and says, "Remember folks, as outlandish as this all seems, this is a true story." In fact, Cherot initially wanted to keep the story's real-life roots hidden: He even put a pseudonym on the shooting script. "Once we started shooting, something about my performance as Lee made people think that I wrote it.