Tiffany Haddish Reveals How Billy Crystal Helped Her Cry While Filming Their New Movie

"I was like, 'I've been spending 39 years of my life suppressing tears ... do you know how hard it was to train myself to turn all tears into jokes?' " said Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish had a little trouble tapping into her emotional side for her new film Here Today — but her director and costar Billy Crystal supported her every step of the way.

In a Tuesday interview with Hoda Kotb on the Today show, Crystal, 73, and Haddish, 41, discussed their time working together on the comedy, including the actress' disbelief that she was even being considered to star alongside the veteran actor and comedian.

"My agent called me and was like, 'Billy Crystal would like to talk to you, he would like to meet with you.' I was like, 'Billy Crystal wants to talk to me? Are you serious?' " she told Kotb, 56.

And while she "felt really good about everything" on set for the most part, Haddish, who's widely known for her comedic roles, admitted, "The only thing I had an issue with was when Billy was asking me to cry."

Tiffany Haddish and Billy Crystal
Tiffany Haddish and Billy Crystal. Edward Opi/

"I was like, 'I've been spending 39 years of my life suppressing tears, not crying in front of people — do you know how hard it was to train myself to turn all tears into jokes?' " she said.

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here today movie
Tiffany Haddish and Billy Crystal in Here Today. Sony Pictures

"[Billy] was like, 'Nah, I want you to cry.' And he got it out of me," Haddish continued.

The Girls Trip star told Kotb that she managed to show the emotion Crystal was looking for in that she "just stayed in the moment" and "listened."

"It was hard because I do it with my friends, in real life, but to do it with a whole crew around … " Haddish said. "I've trained myself to be like, 'When I feel like busting out with the Viola Davis snot tears, just make a joke! Do something, laugh, swallow those tears! Do something to make it go away.' "

"And Billy was like, 'Don't do it. Just be,' " she added.

here today movie
Here Today movie poster. Sony pictures

RELATED VIDEO: Billy Crystal Recalls Meeting Tiffany Haddish for the First Time Before Here Today: "It Was Perfect"

Last month, PEOPLE got an exclusive look at the first trailer for Here Today, in which Crystal plays veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz who meets New York singer Emma Payge (Haddish), only to find himself learning something new from the free-spirited vocalist.

"I was really looking to do a movie about a relationship between an older man and a younger woman that was about friendship and love, but not in a romantic way," Crystal told PEOPLE of the film. "It was an interesting place to start a story. When I heard that, I said, 'Oh, this is how they meet.' "

The comedian and 9-time Oscars host said Haddish was "great to act with, and a joy to direct."

"When she said to me, 'Just tell me what you want. Help me get to where Emma needs to go. I totally trust you,' I knew she would be great," he added.

Here Today hits theaters Friday.

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