Lauren London is opening up about how “apprehensive” she initially was about starring as Jonah Hill‘s love interest in Netflix’s You People.
London stars as Amira in the Kenya Barris-directed film, the girlfriend of her Jewish boyfriend Ezra (played by Hill). The rom-com flick follows the happy couple as they work to bring together their parents, Amira’s dad and mom Akbar (Eddie Murphy) and Fatima (Nia Long), and Ezra’s parents Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and his casually racist dad, Arnold (David Duchovny).
The Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner-inspired film was directed by Barris and co-written by Hill and tackles issues of racism and cultural/religious differences. The flick’s underlying themes are what initially made London reluctant about taking the role.
“Before doing the movie, I was just apprehensive [if] this a story I want to contribute to,” London told ET. “I just wanted to make sure that is a story that I wanted to contribute to.”
London had a serious talk with the team behind the film about the “soul connection” she knew the movie couple would have to have considering the physical differences between their characters.
“I [also] asked them, ‘OK, well, why her and him?’ Because she was written like hella stylish and he was like this… very low-key [guy],” London explained.
“So, to me, it had to be about their soul connection and not what we saw appearance-wise or [why] we would assume these two people would date. It was about them meeting, connecting and having a soul connection.”
Barris was adamant that London play the role of Amira and revealed how he “begged” her to join the film’s cast.
“The whole point of it was if I’m looking on Twitter and I see Jonah Hill’s dating… certain white actors I’d be like, ‘I’m not blown,'” Barris explained.
“I love Zazie Beetz, but if I saw [her with] Jonah, I wouldn’t be like, ‘What?’ [But] if I saw Jonah Hill was dating Lauren London, I would be like, ‘Hold on, what!?'”
“That’s the movie. That’s why she was so important,” he added.