He is best known for getting his start in Hollywood as a cast member of the Emmy Award-winning comedy series, In Living Color. Marlon then went on to create executive produce and star in The Wayans Bros on the WB.
Together with brothers, Keenen and Shawn Wayans, and producer Rick Alvarez, he formed the successful production company, Wayans Brothers Entertainment. Some of his noteworthy credits include: The Ladykillers, directed by the Coen Brothers; the record breaking Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2, Little Man, White Chicks, Norbit, Behind the Smile and Dance Flick.
Marlon’s compelling dramatic performance as a drug addict in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream proved he could do more than comedy. Most recently, Marlon was seen starring opposite Channing Tatum in the box-office smash, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Projects in development include: Super Bad James Dynomite, based on his comic book series of the same name, Pretty Ugly, The Year of Living Biblically, and an animated series for TBS entitled The Black Family.
Next, he will be seen playing the title role in Sony Pictures, Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? Marlon will also star in the upcoming Harmony Korine film Twinkle, Twinkle.
Marlon continues to publish books under the 101 Ways title including 101 Ways to Know You’re a Golddigger, 101 Ways You Know It’s Time to Get Out Of Your Mama’s House and 101 Ways to Know You’re Having a Ghetto Christmas as well as the children’s series Boo Crew which stemmed from the animated series the Wayans’ created for Nickelodeon.
Here, he talks about his latest film, A Haunted House, a spoof of the Paranormal Activity franchise.
Kam Williams: Hi Marlon, thanks for another interview. How ya’ been, bro?
MW: I’m good, Kam. Thanks for having me.
KW: Where did you find the inspiration to write this film?
MW: I was watching Paranormal Activity 1 and 2, which were very successful hits at the box-office, and I just thought to myself, “If I want to do a movie, how am I going to approach this?” Then, I had this epiphany that, “Damn, white people do a lot of stupid stuff in these movies.” Wouldn’t it be funny if a lot of paranormal activity happened to a black couple? Now, how do I keep them in the house longer than five minutes? That became the comic premise for the movie. From there, it just snowballed into a bunch of jokes. So, I got together with Rick Alvarez, my producing partner, and we decided to write it together.
KW: Are you the only Wayans in this film?
KW: That must be a first. How do you explain that? We’re used to seeing multiple Wayans in a Wayans production.
MW: Nobody loves me. [Chuckles] No, everybody wanted me to do this one by myself, and I wanted to do it by myself. So, this is sorta like my first solo album. I didn’t pull any tricks out of my hat, and just went with the natural flow of the film.
KW: How did you go about assembling the cast?
MW: Just from meetings and readings. Everybody was game to do it, and I was very happy about that.
KW: What audience are you trying to attract? The same crowd that went to see Scary Movie?
MW: Not just them. They’re older now. I really want to hit the next generation of kids, the Youtube Generation. And also women, because it’s a relationship movie with romantic elements. I think anybody who wants to laugh is the intended audience.
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
MW: No, people ask me everything.
KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?
MW: I was just watching The Campaign on video. Will Ferrell makes me laugh. So, does Zach Galifiniakis. But when Will punched the kid in the face, I was hurting. And then when he punched the dog, too, I was hurting some more. Those two scenes made me laugh hysterically.
KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
MW: My piano. Although I don’t know if playing piano is a guilty pleasure. My guiltiest pleasure would be wine.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
MW: 50 Shades of Grey. I’m almost through it.
KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What was the last song you listened to?
MW: ASAP Rocky’s album.
KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
MW: None, because I hate cooking. But I do make the candied yams every year at Thanksgiving. And they’re awesome! You could definitely get diabetes and cavities from them, but they’re delicious!
KW: What’s the recipe?
MW: If I tell it to you, I’ll have to kill you. [Laughs]
KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
MW: I have a few, because I like mixing and matching. I like All Saints. They make great leathers. I love Hugo Boss, especially the suits. I like James Perse for T-shirts, and Supra and Radii for sneakers. And God Is in the Details.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
MW: I see a funny guy who’d imperfect, but has a great heart and no vanity when it comes to what he’ll do to get a laugh. I see a guy who loves his art and loves his family, and who is willing to live and die for both.
KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
MW: To cure death.
KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
MW: Watching while my brother Shawn was lying on my mothers lap when he was sick with asthma. I’m the youngest, but he was still the baby.
KW: Dante Lee, author of “Black Business Secrets,” asks: What was the best business decision you ever made?
MW: To make this movie. I took no money up front. I did it out of love and, hopefully, it will be successful, and keep the Wayans brand growing. It’s an extension of the brand, not a departure from it.
KW: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
MW: If you could cross a lion and a monkey, that’s what I’d be, because monkeys are funny and lions are strong.
KW: The JamieFoxx question: If you only had 24 hours to live, what would you do? Would you do the bad stuff, you never got a chance to do, or would you do good stuff to make sure you make it into heaven?
MW: I’d absolutely spend it with my family, laughing.
KW: Would you mind giving me a Marlon Wayans question to ask other celebrities?
MW: Sure, What’s your definition of happiness?
KW: That’s a good one, thanks. So, what’s your definition of happiness?
MW: Making other people happy.
KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: What is your favorite charity?
MW: The Wayans family. [Laughs] And the Hudson Guild. It’s a community center that helped us out when we were kids. So, we definitely give back to it.
KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
MW: Don’t follow mine, create your own, trailblaze your own. Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re own. Being successful means that you’re working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That’s living your dream.
KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?
MW: As a guy who’s not going to change your life but who is going to change your mood. As a guy who made you smile and say, “I miss him. He was a lot of fun.”
KW: Thanks again for the time, Marlon, and best of luck with the film.
MW: Thanks, Kam.
To see a trailer for A Haunted House, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA2Z-ZVMGsc