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Stuff happens. It just does. And so it was when I talked to Marlon Wayans about A HAUNTED HOUSE 2. For some reason, my recording suite failed, and what should have been broadcast quality sound was a static mess.
It would have been annoying with any interviewee, but with Wayans, it’s especially irksome. When he’s joking, there is laughter burbling in his voice even when taking on the mock-stentorian tones of British actor, and when he’s serious, as he is about the Richard Pryor film he’s had in development for far too long, there’s steel. And so it is with regret that I present only a written transcript of our chat from March 25, 2013. I ask you imagine it being spoken by a quick-witted man who takes what he does, even when its ravaging a doll for comedic effect, but not himself, very seriously.
This is Andrea Chase and I’m talking to Marlon Wayans about A HAUNTED HOUSE 2, another excursion into human folly, supernatural persistence, and the pleasures and perils of a blended family. Our hapless hero, Malcolm, played by Wayans, has moved on with his life since the tragic events of part one, which was followed by death of his beloved Kisha. He’s now setting up a home in his dream house with a hot new lady love, played by Jaime Pressley, and her two children, a plucky little boy with an imaginary friend with a penchant for vodka, and a teenager girl with a bad attitude and a cursed box. Alas for Malcolm, his brush and subsequent drubbing by the supernatural has not come to an end, as he violates the wrong doll and learns that breaking up is hard to do. The film co-stars Rick Overton, Gabriel Iglesias, Dave Sheridan, Affion Crockett, Larry Moran, Essence Atkins, Missi Pyle, and Cedric the Entertainer in his triumphant return as cake-loving Father Doug, the exorcist in over his head. Wayans co-wrote the script with Rick Alvaraz. It was directed by Michael Tiddes. Wayans’ previous work includes television’s THE WAYANS BROTHERS, and in theaters, THE LADYKILLERS, SCARY MOVIE, SCARY MOVIE2, and a dramatic turn in Darren Aronofsky’s REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. And it is my fervent hope that one day he, or another Wayans, will be seen as Richard Pryor in a bio-pic based on the legendary comedian’s life.
Andrea Chase: Seventeen years in development, when to we get to see that film, Mr. Wayans?
Marlon Wayans: (Laughs) It’s going to be the greatest movie ever! I love it, it’s transcended two generations of Wayans. You know, the spirit of Pryor is everywhere now. Lee Daniels has jumped on board to direct. I would love to do it, the thing is, it prompted me to do stand-up, and it got me on stage. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the movie, but if it does, I’ll be prepared and ready. And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be thankful for the experience part because I just love stand-up so much now, I’m just working on developing it and getting better.
AC: I remember the arc of his career, and the way he started out like everyone else and then, one day, said, no more, and went his own way.
MW: And you know where that happened? Up here (meaning San Francisco). He found his own voice. He found his perspective. He found his truth. He found that his best jokes and the future of comedy was in telling the truth of his past. Wow, did I say that? I got chills.
You know what that was? That was hearing your introduction. My daughter, she’s a brilliant writer, and like her it takes a lot of wit, and it takes a lot of insight to experience something that is fun and to have your own spin on it, like even with an intro, that was beautifully written. I don’t hear dialogue, I see words. And the way that you set that up, that made me laugh.
AC: Thank you! I’ll take that. Getting to the film, when did you know that you would be tormenting Malcolm again for our amusement, and for yours?
MW: Actually, I didn’t want to do a sequel right off. I’m not saying that my movies are great. I’m not saying that they are world-changing events, but if I’m going to do a sequel to something, I want to make sure that it’s at least my best foot forward. And I don’t want to cheat the audience. I want to make sure that I bring something that is at least funny, as good, if not better. I don’t want to just whore it out and make money off it because it’s successful. I’d rather take my time and do something on a par and in tone with what I originally did. Everybody was like you gotta do it, but I was like, if I come up with something good, and it’s natural, then we’ll do it. So we watched a couple of movies and hoped we’d get inspired.
And then we saw THE CONJURING. Once we found the doll, it all just came rushing at me, and oh my god, from there we found through other movies like POSESSION and INSIDIOUS and SINISTER, we found the journey of a father dealing the possession of his children and things, and for that for Malcolm was a good thing. And it was a great thing to have a new family, because it gave us a new perspective.
AC: Can you even watch horror movies anymore without think of ways to spoof them?
MW: I can’t watch anything anymore. You should have seen me watching 12 YEARS A SLAVE. I was saying “You know what’s funny about this?” (laughs).
MW: I swear. I have a sick mind. I have the sickest mind ever (laughs).
AC: But you know, there’s something about comedy. Sometimes you just need to laugh, especially after something so intense and so horrifying.
MW: I filled up a pad full of jokes. I’m sick. I’m sick (laughs).
AC: Will we be seeing A HAUNTED SLAVE?
MW: You may, you may. You never know with me.
AC: I’m scared, and yet I so want to see that film.
AC: And if you could get Chiwetel Ejiofor…
MW: I don’t think he’d do it, but if I could find a funny British actor. (laughs) I can’t even pronounce his name. I’d just call him Chewy. He says it with such gravitas (stentorian) “I am Chiwetel…Ejiofor…Chewy”.
AC: I have to ask. You’ve talked about THE CONJURING, and Abigail the doll, you do things with this doll in the movie, is it an instinctive thing, on the page does it just say “gets busy with Abigail” or do you plan this out?
MW: It just kinda happens. You can’t write that! It would look crazy writing that. You just kind of do it. You’re on the bed, and it just kind of happens and you just gotta go with it and there’s no shame in the moment. I go there! (laughs)
AC: (laughs) You go there and you take us with you.
MW: You know what it is? I’m still just a seven-year-old little boy,
AC: But you have to be.
MW: Yeah. I’m a puppy. I’m a puppy that humps blankets. I have no shame. My kids’ dog, he has this little blanket, and he’ll take it in the corner and just hump it. You look at him, and he doesn’t stop, he just looks at you and he finishes humping.
AC: Did you get to keep Abigail?
MW: No, I wanted to! Rick (Overton) has it. He’s taking his turn.
AC: And may I just say, best rooster to the face scene ever.
AC: There are many ways I could have phrased that.
MW: You know, it’s a crazy movie. You’d just go crazy trying to explain it. You just gotta see it. Hopefully, there’s an audience for it. Hopefully, people just want to laugh and not think. I just want to make people laugh, and I go to all sorts of weird places to accomplish that.
AC: Laughter is a gift and we need to cherish that. And if Abigail gets hurt, so be it.
AC: Marlon Wayans, thanks for talking with me.
MW: Thank you! Good seeing you again.
Click here to listen to my previous interview with Mr. Wayans for A HAUNTED HOUSE (12:32).