Gabrielle Union Explores 'Good, Bad and Ugly' of Dating Younger Men in 'The Perfect Find' Trailer (Exclusive)
Director Numa Perrier calls The Perfect Find a "love letter to rom-coms"
Gabrielle Union is ready to heat up the summer with a new romance.
In the upcoming Netflix film The Perfect Find, which is based on Tia Williams's 2016 novel, the actress stars as Jenna, a fashion editor ready for a comeback after a very public firing and breakup. But, when she strikes up a relationship with a younger man, Eric (Keith Powers), her career revival gets complicated: Eric, as it so happens, is her boss's son.
Union, who is also a producer on the project, tells PEOPLE she could relate to her character.
"I've been Jenna time and time and time again in my adult life, a woman hitting rock bottom and having to find her way back to herself, with her soul and scruples intact," the actress, 50, says. "I've also dated younger guys and experienced all the good, bad, ugly and indifferent that comes with that."
Director Numa Perrier adds that the concept of "giving yourself a second shot at love and career after a dual heartbreak in both arenas" was something that "really spoke to me."
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"I had been through that work of piecing myself back together and finding happiness on the other side, so when I read the book and the script I related immediately and knew this was a world I wanted to bring to the screen," says Perrier. "This story has fairy-tale elements and real-life crossroads at the same time, and that combo also spoke to me."
Perrier says she and Union "were very aligned in terms of wanting the film to feel honest, provocative and also fresh."
"She told me she wanted to do something different than she had done before inside of this genre," the director says, "and I also wanted to show those sides of her in this role, the openness and vulnerability alongside the ambition. She truly shines as Jenna."
How did Union build her onscreen chemistry with 30-year-old Powers? "Developing chemistry, for me, has to come from a mutual respect and general interest in wanting the best for someone," says Union. "Kindness, consideration and respecting boundaries is the way to go."
"I don't subscribe to the 'hate me to love me' route, where the chemistry stems from a darker type of passion," she adds.
The movie also stars Gina Torres, Aisha Hinds, DB Woodside, Janet Hubert and Alani "La La" Anthony. One scene in particular that Union can't wait for fans to watch involves a heated dinner party — a sequence that is "definitely going to be talked about," she teases.
She adds, "The best day on set was definitely the dinner party scene. That group of actors has known each other forever and we got to really let loose and cut up. When I get to be with my friends at work, every day is a treat."
Perrier calls Perfect Find a "love letter to rom-coms," and Union — who is a self-proclaimed "massive fan of historical romance novels and anything that centers love against all odds" — agrees.
"I think the lure of romance in art is to see all the different ways love can be expressed and received," she says.
The Perfect Find lands on Netflix June 23.
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