Last week we had the opportunity to talk to actor, writer and all-round funny-guy Marlon Wayans about his upcoming movie A Haunted House. Most people might know him from his comedy roles - Little Man, White Chicks, Norbit, Dance Flick - but he's also involved in some actions roles (G.I. Joe: Rise Of Cobra) and some pretty heavy dramas, which we discuss below.
We were the last interview with Wayans right before he took his lunch, so with his first ever Nando's cooling in the room next to him, we dove right into it...
Entertainment.ie: First off, congratulations on A Haunted House. It's done really well in the box office in America.
Marlon Wayans: Yeah, $40 million in America, and it's at $20-something (million) overseas, so it's going really good.
E.I: That's a great start!
MW: It's huge! Especially because we made the movie for only $1.7 million.
E.I.: So that's your money back already then, many times over!
MW: Oh yeah!
E.I.: Of all the modern horror films, what was it about Paranormal Activity that made you want to focus on making a parody of it?
MW: You know what's funny is that I didn't set out to make a parody. I set out to make a found footage comedy and this is where it kind of led me. I was watching Paranormal Activity and I was just like "Boy, white people do really stupid stuff in these movies." And then from there I said "What if Paranormal Activity happened to a black couple?" and the movie just started taking shape.
E.I.: You co-wrote A Haunted House, as well as Scary Movies 1 and 2. What is it about horror movies that you think lends itself so well to being made a parody of?
MW: I think because they're so dark and so crazy that people wouldn't expect anything funny to come from there. My brothers and I, no matter how dark or crazy it is, we always see the funny.
E.I.: You obviously really like horror movies if you're able to watch them and poke fun at them the way that you do. Would you ever consider making a full on horror movie yourself?
MW: Absolutely not. Not without comedy in it. Who the hell am I to ever try to take that on? I'm not that crazy. My mind don't think that way. I always go "What's funny?" Uhm, so, I probably wouldn't.
E.I.: You're probably most known for your comedies, but you have starred in one of the harshest dramas in modern cinema with Requiem For A Dream. Do you ever get the itch to revisit another heavy drama like that?
MW: If one comes up, then sure, I would love to. But Hollywood... they're more likely to give it to the likes of Jamie [Foxx] or Will [Smith] or Denzel [Washington]. It takes a long time before it gets to me, and if it gets to me, then I go "This can't be that good."
E.I.: Requiem For A Dream was fantastic, though. And you were fantastic in it.
MW: Yeah, but I had to audition seven times, and eventually Darren [Aronofsky] wore down and just said "Okay, fine. Fine! FINE! Give him the role!"
E.I.: Most people in Ireland would've been introduced to you by Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood. What are your memories of making that movie?
MW: That was all out, balls out fun. We had fun making that movie! That was our first one, so we just went for the goal, we were just joke after joke after joke, and it was good because the hood movies were those powerful movies, and you would go "There's nothing funny about this." But let me and my brothers get our hands on it, and we're going to find the comedy. It was fun to play those big, crazy characters, and it was kind of similar to A Haunted House, in that it has our flavour. So I'm looking forward to people in Ireland seeing A Haunted House, because I think it has that same Don't Be A Menace kind of flavour.
E.I.: Do you have a favourite film of your own back catalogue?
MW: I would say White Chicks and Don't Be A Menace are my favorites.
E.I.: Why White Chicks?
MW: Because we had so much fun making the movie, we had so much fun with the cast. And it was such an incredibly hard movie - we were playing as two black guys playing two white women. We were filming like it was summertime in The Hamptons, but it was really wintertime in Vancouver. It was just hard, with seven hours in make-up, and we had to lose 35 pounds for the role. But it turned out to be a cult classic.
E.I.: Speaking of cult classics, do you have a particular favourite comedy?
E.I.: We could narrow it down to the last ten years?
MW: Oh boy, the last ten years... that's even tougher...
E.I.: Or ever, if that's easier?
MW: Ever, I could probably give you my top ten. I'd probably say The Nutty Professor; that was brilliant.
E.I.: Is that the Eddie Murphy remake or the original?
MW: The Eddie Murphy one, his performance was just... I just couldn't understand how he couldn't win an Oscar for that. It was one of the greatest performances I'd ever seen. Coming To America is another one of my favorites, and Eddie Murphy again, playing five to seven characters, it's just brilliant. Liar Liar, I thought was great. I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. Dumb & Dumber. Airplane. City Lights with Charlie Chaplin. There's a lot, when it comes to comedies... I just love them, especially the good ones... Boomerang I thought was funny as hell. Major Payne, I thought Damon [Wayan]'s performance in that was just hilarious. Evil Roy Slade, which was a series, but a really funny one. Blazing Saddles. I just love all kinds of comedies.
E.I.: Next up we're going to see you in The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. What was it like working with those two actresses?
MW: It was a lot of fun. Melissa was crazy as all hell, and she's just a doll! And Sandra is sweet as hell, sweet as pie, but we were all silly. We laughed a lot. They're a lot of fun.
E.I.: Final question, we understand that A Haunted House 2 is already in pre-production?
MW: Yes, we officially started pre-production this week.
E.I.: Can you tell us anything about that?
MW: Malcolm is going to be in it! I can tell you that much, he lives! I can tell you that much, and the only reason he lives is because I wrote it. I'm not going to do what writers do all the time and kill the black guy.
E.I.: Is he going to come back as a ghost, maybe?
MW: No, he's just going to come back. We're going to change it up.