Marlon Wayans Talks Dreams, Comedy and “A Haunted House 2”

Adam Reynoso ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Marlon Wayans

Following a preview screening of the comedy A Haunted House 2, Emertainment Monthly sat down with actor-writer Marlon Wayans as part of a roundtable discussion.

Wayans began the interview cracking jokes and showing the same comedic talent he’s known for. And even as the interview went on, he continued to have fun with the small group of college reporters. He spoke about his past experiences with television, film and his current projects.

*Emertainment Monthly: You started off your career in TV and have since moved on to film. What was behind that decision?

Marlon: I don’t know, it’s something that I’ve always dreamt to do. I’ve had massive dreams, and little by little I try to fulfill each and every one. I want a brand of comedy one day. I want to build a Disney for comedy. I want to build a studio. I have huge dreams. So, little by little, you try to accomplish them when it’s time and you just keep on going. It wasn’t like the opportunity was given to us to do movies, we had to take it. It taught us to write, and in turn it taught us to be beasts and not sleep and get it done.

What would you say was your big breakout role?

Mo’ Money, which my brother made me audition for because he actually told me, you’re not gonna get the part. He said you’re gonna have to be real funny, I’m just being honest with you. I was a little nervous, and he said, just make me laugh and then I knew exactly what that meant, in Wayans terms. And that’s be bold enough to bring something to the page that’s on the page and to be daring enough to rewrite his material and go, I’m better than those jokes that you wrote. Show him something that he didn’t even think was there. And so I went in there with that attitude and I just, I blew that shit up. And I got the call and I got the part. I knew that if I wanted a career in Hollywood, and one that would sustain and one that would not have little spotty things here and there, but consistency over the years, that I’d have to be more than an actor and had to be a writer and the only way to be a star was to write myself into stardom.

Cedric the Entertainer and Marlon Wayans in A Haunted House 2. Photo Credit: Will McGarry/Open Road Films.
Cedric the Entertainer and Marlon Wayans in A Haunted House 2. Photo Credit: Will McGarry/Open Road Films.

*Why would you say comedy is one of the hardest genres in film to make?

Because, you know, laughter is a hard emotion to evoke, to get everybody to feel the same way at the same time because you know don’t know what people are going through, you don’t know what people find funny. Comedy is subjective, so if you get an audience full of a couple hundred people, a theater full of five thousand people to laugh. If I can make a movie where packed audience here, in Boston, they’re laughing here and take that same scene and take it over seas and they’re laughing in Europe and then I take that down to Brazil and they’re cracking up in Brazil, you know that’s a very hard thing to do, to make all those different people, all those different cultures laugh at the same time and I’d love to challenge it. It’s hard because, at drama is, you have to be vulnerable, I got pain and a lot of shit to cry about. But let me take my pain and make other people laugh with it, that’s the joy of comedy.

Last night, you were talking about potential rom-coms or action movies. Is there any techniques that you can take from doing a comedy-horror to that production side of it?

You can take a lot of it. I think a good team is always a good team no matter what. I’ll bring the same DP, the same special effects guys, the same visual effects guys, bring the same practical effects guys. You have your team, you work with your team no matter the genre, you sit down and you attack it. I have a flavor and a sensibility and a certain humor and I’ll always have that kind of little spicy, crispy formula of I don’t know what to expect from this dude. Some times, like I learned in The Heat, sometimes it’s good to play other parts. Like, the female audience liked when I was charming and I wasn’t always funny. So when I did Haunted House, there was times when I tried to lay in a pocket and just kind of have a conversation, especially when I did A Haunted House 1, it was more of a relationship kind of movie. 2 was just, he’s spiraling out of control. And so I try to take what I did The Heat, that charm of making a woman smile instead of laugh. It’s just there’s one word that, for me, I want to be mindful of whatever genre I do and that’s to be appropriate.

Gabriel Iglesias and Marlon Wayans in A Haunted House 2. Photo Credit: Will McGarry/Open Road Films.
Gabriel Iglesias and Marlon Wayans in A Haunted House 2. Photo Credit: Will McGarry/Open Road Films.

*Having worked in many areas of film such as writing, acting, etc, which job do you like the most?

All of ’em. I love them all. I guess at heart, I’ll always love performing because I write and develop and produce movies, just so I can act.

Why do you say your movie is comedy-horror instead of a parody?

Because the movie really isn’t making fun of movies. The intent of the movie is not to make fun of those movies. Malcolm has his own journey, he has his own relationship, and he has his own story. Basically, there’s similar experiences that he goes through, but it’s not I’m making fun of those movies, it’s its own movie with some of the same experiences, but with a comedic twist. It’s not a lampooning of a movie or genre. It’s a guys with his own set of circumstances and relationship that he invests in and it goes to crazy places, but it’s an original story.

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