I recently interviewed Marlon Wayans in Houston while he was on tour promoting his latest project. He co-wrote and produced ‘A Haunted House.’with Rick Alvarez. It is scheduled to be released by Open Road Films in January 2013.
Marlon is the youngest sibling in the multi-talented and highly acclaimed comedic family, the Wayans. He readily acknowledges the importance of his family and their impact on his life and career by keeping him grounded.
In fact, Wayans Brothers Entertainment (a successful production company) was formed with brothers, Keenen and Shawn Wayans, and producer Rick Alvarez. He also created and starred with his brother Shawn in ‘The Wayans Bros’ on the WB.
After all, not only did he get his start on the Emmy® award winning ‘In Living Color’ he also graduated from the prestigious High School of Performing Arts and Howard University’s Film School.
From comedy to drama he is blessed with true talent showcased in several films such as ‘The Ladykillers’ with Tom Hanks, directed by the Coen Brothers; the record breaking Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2 and his gripping dramatic portrayal of a drug addict in Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Requiem for a Dream.’
Yet this time around, Marlon has set out on his own to create ‘A Haunted House’ a movie crafted through his vision. He is a man with a plan for his career, family, friends, and future.
‘A Haunted House’ is your project. So how do you feel about it?
I can’t blame my brothers. It’s all me. Either they hate me or they love me. I’m standing in front of the firing squad buck naked. It feels good. It’s a good time to step out and do your own thing. The big boy is growing up. You know I work with my brothers, and even in spirit, they are with me. But this is all me.
Is this film a parody?
No, it is more of a comedy with parody moments. Because a true parody is a lot more desperate in how it plays. This (project) plays like a movie. There is a story with two characters you can care about. But, it also has organic moments with parody and then it comes out of left field. We tried to do a funny movie with no ceiling.
How was it working with Cedric the Entertainer? Did you guys improvise?
I think it is a shame when you hire somebody that is funny and you ask them to only perform the lines in the script. When you have guys like Cedric the Entertainer, Nick Swardson, and David Koechner, these are veterans. These guys have been doing comedy for twenty or something years. So, you want them to take your words that are funny and put their funny in it and make them funnier.
I always say, hey man we will do one or more take and then I want you to go off script. It its funny, we’re keeping it in the movie. We were encouraged to improvise. And I would say seventy percent was scripted and the rest was improvised.
You’re a father. What is it like parenting?
I think you should ask my kids that. I would love to see what they say. I think I am the most inappropriate father ever. I curse all the time. I’m like you can’t. But, I do allow them to let it out. Just don’t embarrass me and be respectful when you are around adults.
My dad would slap my mouth off if I cursed. And, sometimes he did. My mouth is still on Sixteenth Street and Ninth Street Avenue. But, that made me want to curse more.
You have to get to the point of mixing parent with friend. That way you know where they are at and you can guide them. You know, it is just like an undercover cop, I can see where they are going and they can trust me as a friend. It is better than having them scared to talk to me. I am a different kind of dad. I challenge myself to be a communicator and not a dictator. I talk to them and I’m stern when I need to be. I’m stern about character, self respect, and being disciplined about your work and school.
As long as you have the tools of hard work, self respect, and self motivation. These are the things you take with you in life. If you have these tools and are willing to do what it takes to be successful, you will carry these tools in anything you do.
Are there plans to do dramatic roles?
You know, I want to. There is a project that me and my boy, Omar Epps are talking about. I went to school with him and he is my dear friend. We are like Sydney Poiter and Harry Belefonte. We have been boys since we were fourteen years old. We have a dramatic thriller we want to do.
But this (comedy) is what I know. What I put my brand on. I love drama. But there are not Black anything anymore. Black has got to make it itself. Otherwise, they (the studios) will try to make everything a Tyler Perry movie. You go to the studio with a project and they will say ‘Great!’ ‘We’ll give it to Tyler.’
But Tyler Perry is a pioneer in his own right. Although we have been doing it for twenty years, when you look at his business paradigm, you say that is the way to do it. By becoming the supplier and your own studio. This way, you hire people, you give them jobs and you become a producer in your own right.
If you know how to create something you do it. This movie is something I created out of necessity. After being written out of the prequel of ‘G.I.Joe’ (Marlon starred in Parmount’s first G.I. Joe film, ‘Rise of the Cobra’), I went back to comedy, since I have been doing it with my brothers for years. I went back and created something. When one door closes, a thousand open up. I’m a big boy. I just put pen to the pad and I created ‘A Haunted House.’ I am going to do more comedy, but I do want to do drama in the future.
Next, Marlon will be seen portraying the title role in Sony Pictures, ‘Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?’ produced by Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. Marlon Wayans is an exceptionally talented actor, producer, and writer with his life grounded by family, friends and dynamic work ethic — A great plan for success.