EXCLUSIVE: Morris Chestnut, who made his film debut in John Singleton’s seminal 1991 drama Boyz N The Hood, has signed a three-picture deal with Sony’s Screen Gems as an actor and producer. The first of the pics is upcoming thriller The Perfect Guy, which stars Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, and Chestnut. The next film to follow will be When The Bough Breaks, a psychological thriller that will star Chestnut and Regina Hall.
Bough, directed by Jon Cassar, tracks a professional couple who hire a blue-collar surrogate who develops a violent obsession with the husband. The pic is being produced by New Line founders and Lord of the Rings EPs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, and Chestnut will exec produce.
Chestnut’s third Screen Gems project will be The Syndicate, from writer Cliff Dorfman (Entourage, Warrior). Chestnut is producing that project, which is exec produced by Jeff Waters and James Farrell.
The deal seals a long history between Chestnut and Screen Gems, headed by Clint Culpepper. Not counting the new trifecta of projects, Chestnut’s starred in no fewer than nine films for the studio including its 2012 hit Think Like A Man. That film also starred Ealy, who reunites with Chestnut in The Perfect Guy, and Hall, who joins Chestnut in When The Bough Breaks.
Chestnut’s two-decade acting career has included Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, G.I. Jane, The Brothers, Identity Thief, Kick-Ass 2, Think Like A Man, Two Can Play That Game and its sequel, The Call, V, and American Horror Story: Murder House. Earlier this year, Chestnut nabbed an NAACP Image Award for his work on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and scored a major box office hit in Universal’s 2013 sequel The Best Man Holiday. He currently stars opposite Sean Bean on TNT’s Legends, and this fall filmed Bus 657 opposite Robert De Niro and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Chestnut is repped by the Gersh Agency and Link Entertainment. Dorfman is repped by ICM and Apostle’s George Heller.