Marlon Wayans Q and A: Scary Funny from “A Haunted House” to Future Projects

Posted in Interviews, Top Stories by - January 11, 2013

By Alexander Moore

Off To The Films: Why did you choose to make “A Haunted House?”

Marlon Wayans: I didn’t choose. It chose me. I was sitting there watching”‘Paranormal Activity 2″ because, you know, as a black actor, you ain’t working. And then it kind of hit me… And I was just like, “What if this happened to black people?” And then I was like, “What if it DID?!” And then I called my producing partner, Rick Alvarez, and we just started banging.

OTTF: I was curious about the name “Malcolm” for this film and I was just wondering, since it is kind of tied into the horror genre, was there any connection with the lead character from “The Sixth Sense” or was it just a happy coincidence?

Wayans: A happy coincidence. I don’t even know how the name “Malcolm” came up. I think the guy’s name was “Milcum” in the first one(“Paranormal Activity”) and was just like, “Black version: ‘Malcolm.’” And we never changed it.

OTTF: How hard is it to sit down and come up with that much comedy and “pratfalls” and just twist the ideas on different things?

Wayans:  It actually is hard; really hard, yet really easy. My mind is just trained to think like this. I’ve been watching cartoons, “Loony Tunes” cartoons, since I was like four… It’s easy. It’s really hard. I won’t say it’s easy, but the hardest part is making it LOOK easy.”

OTTF: Going back just a little bit, I’ve seen a lot of your movies focus on racial stereotypes and it’s in a very clever and funny way. Why is there such a focus for you to do that in your films?

Wayans: I just think that it’s a part of society that’s never going away. As long as there’s black people, white people, Latino people, gay people, women, men; there’s so many differences to talk about as people… We make fun of EVERYBODY. We are equal-opportunity offenders, but we do it with “kids’ gloves.” You know, it’s never meant to be offensive. It’s all meant to be inclusive.

OTTF: I know you mentioned that you grew up watching Richard Pryor and I was wondering, we all heard that you were signed on to do the film. What’s the status of the film?

Wayans: Like I said, they ain’t making many “black” pictures nowadays. No, it’s lying dormant right now. Hopefully, you know, we can get it going. It’s the thing that brought me to “stand-up” two-and-a-half years ago and that was only because I was supposed to play Richard Pryor… I would love to play Richard Pryor in a movie and hopefully it will happen and one day, if Hollywood don’t make it happen, then I’m going to go try and find, to raise the money and make it happen myself and, really, produce it cause it’s an awesome script.

OTTF: In “A Haunted House,”there’s the horror element. Did you grow up watching a lot of horror movies?

Wayans: Yeah, me and my brother; yeah, me and Shawn used to. My mother bought us a VCR and we was like 10 years old and we rented EVERYTHING. It was horror films and porno… So I am a fan of that and they have the same rhythm. See, horror brings the tension and then the release is a scare. Comedy, you build the tension and the release is a laugh.

OTTF: When you were talking about not getting jobs, being an African-American actor, have you considered doing the Tyler Perry route?

Wayans: I DID. This is the first of what I plan on doing. Like, I’ll do Hollywood pictures if they come about, but if not, there’s nothing better than having a script and then hiring the people you love to work with and creating jobs for people… It takes time. It took 20 years to get that rhythm and understand how to make a movie. And how to understand the business of a movie and how to put it together, you know, that’s where I’m at, this point in my career and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

OTTF: Will you ever do anymore dramatic roles?

Wayans:  Um, no, I would. Me and Omar Epps is actually working on a thriller right now we want to do together. I went to high school with him. It’s a script we’re really interested and we’re circling and, you know, something we want to do… If I get offered a great drama or if they have me read for a great drama, I’ll read.

“A Haunted House” will hit the U.S. theaters Jan. 11, 2013. Be sure to check out Off To The Film’s review of the movie here.

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