BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP AND GEORGE PRINGLE
We were excited to not only have the opportunity to visit the set of Bad Dad Rehab and speak with this amazing cast but, to also dial into a Tele-Press conference with Malik Yoba, Robert Ri’chard, Rob Riley, Wesley Jonathan, Rick Gonzalez, Carl Seaton, Roger Bobb, Keronda “KiKi” McKnight, and Robyn Green Arrington. Bad Dad Rehab premieres on Sunday, July 3 at 7pm. This film written by Keronda “KiKi” McKnight was the winner of the 2015 American Black Film Festival Screenplay Competition sponsored by TV One.
Shawn: Wesley Jonathan (The Soul Man, Roll Bounce)
Jared: Rob Riley (Hit the Floor, Bourne Legacy)
Tristan: Robert Ri’chard (Coach Carter, One on One, Cousin Skeeter)
Pierre: Rick Gonzalez (Coach Carter, Roll Bounce)
Mr. Leon: Malik Yoba (Empire, NY Undercover)
DIRECTOR: Carl Seaton
PRODUCER: Roger Bobb
SCREENPLAY: Keronda “KiKi” McKnight
VP, Original Programming & Production for TV One: Robyn Green Arrington
ABOUT BAD DAD REHAB:
Bad Dad Rehab is about four men who are in denial of their poor parenting skills. After turbulence with their respective baby mamas and ex-wives force them to take definitive action, Tristan, Shawn, Pierre, and Jared attend a rehab for deadbeat dads that uses unusual methods to help them become true fathers. Through all the hilarity, hijinks, drama, and soul searching, the men discover fatherhood is less about making babies, and more about making men.
We personally have viewed this film and this will definitely be a film that can be watched for ages. We laughed, cried, so many emotions are connected to this film. Everyone knows someone that fits one of these characters, which will lead to connecting with your own personal experiences.
MALIK YOBA: “Mr. Leon operates a catalyst for growth and development for the dads. I began an organization called the Fatherhood Project Foundation which was inspired by my daughter. I broke up with her mom and it didn’t end on the best terms and there weren’t any resources available at the time. I came to the point where I began to pray for her and things turned around. So there is a personal connection to this character and this film. Mr. Leon is similar to my real life and the work that I am doing. A lot of healing needs to be done. No one in the cast did this film for a paycheck and everyone had a personal connection. It still amazes me how being a good dad on NY Undercover transformed lives. I still run into people thanking me for J.C. Williams and the father that he was. For Bad Dad Rehab you don’t just want to watch it but you want to experience it.”
ROBERT RI’CHARD: “Tristan is the quote on quote deadbeat dad. He’s a hopeless romantic with a bad pull out method. He’s a present father but not an atm. He has a belief that he doesn’t need help. Tristan has four baby mamas and he’s a lover. I believe that we made a classic and it will be everyone’s favorite Father’s Day movie.”
RICK GONALEZ: “It was interesting exploring the emotional side of Pierre. A lot of emotions came over me the last couple of days filming and made me dig deep. Being a new father of a 3-year-old daughter it forced me to dig deeper into Pierre. (S/N: Robert Ri’chard got on him for himself a new dad when his daughter is 3 and not little anymore.) This film is a celebration of a great cast and crew. People will sit around with their family and feel for this and will get emotional.”
WESLEY JONATHAN: “Shawn is an unintentional bad dad. From becoming a dad myself this film brought about emotions in my real life. It’s important to convey to any ex-wife or baby mama that not allowing the father to see his children shouldn’t be allowed. As hard as a critic as I am of my own work this is something that I can be proud to be a part of. Which doesn’t happen often.”
ROB RILEY: “Grateful to be a part of this film. I have a personal connection to this film because I was raised by just my mother. This film is a chance to make a change socially. It takes an incredible amount of heart to tell a story such as this.”
KERONDA “KIKI” MCKNIGHT: “Inspiration for the film came from being a single mom of a 19-year-old daughter. I had my ups and downs with her father. I wanted to show both sides of the story. Not to bash fathers. This is a love letter to my brothers. This film was intentionally not to spotlight on the women in these men’s lives. There are a lot of layers with the women and they have tolerated stuff for too long. This is a salute to the strength of women. This is a great film because while a woman wrote it, this great cast created it. They made the words on the paper tangible. We needed a film that celebrates dads. You will definitely be blessed watching this.”
CARL SEATON: “This was a journey to shape this project. We were all affected one way or another by this film. All of the actors brought their A games, everyone was on one accord. I was able to tap into the authenticity of the moment and to protect the actors and this story. This is a special film that will spark conversation. This film will inspire us to be our best selves.”
ROGER BOBB: “People cried at the screenings, they were overwhelmed with the realness in the situations in the character’s lives. You know it’s something special when it sparks emotions from viewers. Not only is this film good but socially relevant.”
ON THIS FILM POSSIBLY PERPETUATING STEREOTYPES: “I’m not worried at all about stereotypes. All of these characters are based on real people.” KiKi put out a Facebook post for stories about deadbeat dads and was shocked by the amount of responses. Tristan’s character comes from her cousin. “He is the most real, has a shoe collection that he has spent a lot of money on instead of giving it to his baby mamas. There is a reason for his madness. He had to work as a kid so he didn’t have the normal childhood. The character of Tristan all boils down to a sense of low self-worth. He compensates for his issues with the gold and the shoes that he wears.”