Conversation with . . . Marlon Wayans

28 05 2009

As a member of the “first family of Black comedy,” Marlon Wayans has two projects this summer – one behind and the other in front of the camera and if the plan works out he’ll be dancing all the way to the bank!

Wayans lent his comedic perspective to his family’s latest genre spoof, “Dance Flick.” Parodying movies like “Step Up,” “You Got Served,” “Hairspray” and more, Wayans served as co-writer and appears in a cameo. His big on screen work comes later this summer as Ripcord in “G.I. Joe,” so Wayans talked comedy, family and action in an interview with Fred Topel.

Of all the spoofs you could have done, why dance movies?

Marlon Wayans: There’s several things you can do at one time but we just decided this one was the one that we were just kind of, personally, tired of so we were just like let’s do this.

Did you plan this family dynasty?

MW: I think we just had such an affinity for Keenan that if Keenan would’ve turned out to be an engineer like he had planned, we’d probably have a family full of engineers.

How did you decide when to include old school dance flicks?

MW: I think it was like the wedding day for us, a little bit of old, a little bit of new, little bit of red, little bit of blue. I’ve never been married so I hope it’s close enough. I think you have to have some old because those are the classic movies and you always want to pull from there. We had a “Dirty Dancing” scene in there, just a little bit too dirty. Too dirty.

Will it be on the DVD?

MW: Hopefully, the red label. It was so bad someone threw up and I think that’s when we were like, “Yeah, we might have crossed the line a little bit.”

How will this go over in Europe?

Marlon Wayans: I just filmed “G.I. Joe” in Prague. They like physical and they like good characters and I think what we do is we add some pretty spicy characters in there, so even if you never saw the dance movies, I think there’s still a lot to laugh at.

Do you ever worry the racial humor goes too far?

MW: No, I don’t think we went too far. Pretty much, people know us and know what we do. We’ve been doing it since “In Living Color.” We’ve always been and we do it with kids gloves. We’re not just bashing. We come with some jokes and hopefully just make it really funny and it’s based and comes from characters, not just, “Hey, let’s do a gay person just to make fun of them. Let’s make fun of black people.” I am black and I have sensitivities but I think we approach it with kids gloves. One of the greatest compliments that we’ve been able to get was, it’s like when we did “Men on Film,” a lot of the gay community would write in it’s their favorite characters. For the most part, it’s our approach. Some people might be able to tell the same joke and it’d be offensive. For some reason, oddly enough, we’re able to tell the joke and people kind of like it.

What was your favorite dance flick to spoof?

MW: I think “Save the Last Dance” lent itself. It was actually a good movie for the time. I’m not just saying this because “Dance Flick” is an MTV film and so was that oddly enough, but it actually was a good movie. It was a good one and lent itself to a really good storyline that everybody kind of bit off and it was the common denominator for each one of these movies so we kind of used that one the most.

How do you decide which celebrities to skewer? How do you get away with questioning Tom Cruise’s sexuality in a Paramount film?

MW: He’s no longer at Paramount. If this was United Artists, we definitely couldn’t get away with it. Plus the audience will tell you. We only do it if it’s appropriate. It kind of fit within the confines of the song. Everybody does kind of question that. No, we’re not saying that he or anybody else is. We’re just throwing the question out there because everybody’s familiar with it, so we just thought it would be funny.

Click here to read the rest of the Wayans interview.




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