Director Adam Shankman and Taraji P. Henson on the set of "What Men Want" from Paramount Pictures and Paramount Players. (Credit: Jess Miglio)

Director Adam Shankman knows what men want, and the "Hairspray," "The Wedding Planner" and "Bringing Down The House" director is excited to tell audiences with his latest movie.

"When I got 'What Men Want,' I said, 'Listen, I'll tell you what's on this man's mind," he told "What this man wants is what both men and women fundamentally want -- to feel safe and appreciated. Which is what the [male lead in the film, Aldis Hodge] says because I wrote it and made him say it. That was very important to me to have that said. The fundamental difference is how they go about getting it."

In the film, Taraji P. Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Hidden Figures," "Empire") plays high-powered sports agent Ali Davis, who repeatedly goes after what she wants -- a much deserved promotion at a male-dominated sports agency -- only to keep getting passed over in favor of less qualified men.

When she's struck with the ability to hear men's thoughts, in the hilarious comedy inspired by director Nancy Meyers' 2000 hit "What Women Want," and co-starring Tracy Morgan, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Max Greenfield, she finally feels that she has the edge she needs to sign the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick and advance in her career. "What Men Want," out Friday, examines the cost of thinking and acting "like a man."

But the position that Henson was most concerned with advancing in on set breaks, according to Shankman, was that of a short order cook in an iPhone cooking game. It seemed so fun that Shankman downloaded it himself. The only trouble was that he couldn't remember the name of it now.

SEE: 7 best cooking games you can play on your iPhone or iPad in 2019

So he picked up his phone and sent a voice text to the star of his movie. "What's the name of your favorite cooking game where you're flipping burgers, question mark, " he said. "Tell me immediately, period. I'm talking about this to the press because it's obviously important..."

Shankman got his answer -- it's Cooking Craze -- and also spoke about the other apps that keep him entertained, sane and sober on and off the set.

What's the one app that you use the most?

Instagram (download for iOS and Android) because I don't do drugs or drink, so I need some way to escape. Because nothing on Instagram feels particularly real because our lives are so curated on it, so it's as close as I get to fantasy. Photographic cosplay is what it is.

What's the last app you downloaded?

I recently downloaded Tunnelbear (download for iOS and Android) because of the VPN, so that I can link to England and watch 'The Great British Bake Off' in real time. I fake being in England, so I don't have to wait for it to get to Netflix (download for iOS and Android) to watch.

What I've really been downloading in games are all those weird cooking games. Cooking City (download for iOS) is a good one, Food Truck Chef (download for iOS and Android) is a good one and Cooking Craze (download for iOS and Android) is a big one. And Taraji got me hooked. In between working, it relaxes me to run a diner or a food truck -- like that's all I do. I'd say, 'Where is she,' and I'd hear in the background, 'I'm flipping burgers.'

When you wake up in the morning, what are the first apps you look at?

Meditation apps like Calm (download for iOS and Android) and Headspace (download for iOS and Android). Calm is a very, very big deal for me. I also read recovery apps, because I've been sober for five years. There's 12 step stuff, inspirational quotes, readings from the book, etc.

If you could invent your own app, what would it do?

Rub my shoulders and feet. [Laughs] Mostly I'm having a hard time finding ways to aggregate. One of the things I do a lot of is cooking, so aggregating for the best recipes and for the best skin products 'cause I'm getting older and it's freaking me out. So I want some way, 'cause if I google 'best skin products,' it's just gonna take me to advertisements. So it's almost like a feed of what's been tested to be the best of the best of things.

If there was an app that could save civilization, what would it be?

It would be an app that somehow distilled all social commentary into facts vs. fiction. Some sort of PolitiFact but for everybody. My problem in the world today is that it's so important for people's identities to hold onto that which they believe. And letting go of something that you believe seems to be so scary for people that it actually turns to rage.

I can liken that to when I gave up alcohol because I was so scared of how I was going to cope that I just didn't know who I was going to be on the other side of that.

But we've stopped listening to each other, which is what this movie is about, frankly. Not to bring it back to the movie, but...

Are you an Android or Apple user? Why?

I've had both and loved both, but I decided to try this now. I've had Samsung for years and I just decided in the course of... I'll tell you this, what I thought worse than giving up alcohol for me was giving up my BlackBerry. I thought that was going to be the end of my life. That BlackBerry was almost super glued to my hands. And so when I gave over to these devices, I've been a part of both cultures. Who knows where I'll be next year, but for now I'm iPhone.

"What Men Want" opens in theaters nationwide February 8.

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Taraji P. Henson in "What Men Want" from Paramount Pictures and Paramount Players. (Credit: Jess Miglio)

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Joshua is an editor for CNET's He covers the mobile tech and apps that power our lives and interviews celebrities about their favorite apps. Previously, he worked as an editor at Healthline and and as a contributing writer for Mac Directory, MacAddict, SF Weekly, SF Examiner, and SF Chronicle.