Written by | Ray Cornelius
Comedian Marlon Wayans is determined to make his first name as great as his last. The 43-year-old actor whose starred in and produced such blockbuster hits as “White Chicks” and “A Haunted House” is back with a brand new comedy featuring Kali Hawk and Mike Epps titled “Fifty Shades of Black.”
It’s a hilariously funny take on the hugely popular erotic romance novel turned movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” where a young literature student’s life changes after meeting a handsome and wealthy billionaire with an appetite for erotic pleasure. Wayans admits he wanted to produce a comedic version of the E.L. James story but from an African-American perspective.
“I was thinking that I was going to write my first parody book and do something different. Then I heard the movie was coming out. So off the book, Rick [Alvarez] and I started writing the movie and instantly the title hit me and I thought what if Christian Grey was Black? I was thinking about the Black experience and how we would feel in this situation. What if this guy was rich and Black and if the girl was Black? How would she feel about these things. You ain’t gonna do all of these things to a sistah. It’s going come to a point when a sistah goes, ‘Uh huh, enough of this shit!'” said Wayans during a recent Atlanta press conference.
“Fifty Shades of Black” costs Wayans about five million dollars to make (Fifty Shades of Grey cost $75 million) and was shot over 20 days. He also enlisted a few acting veterans like Fred Willard and Jane Seymour as well as some of today’s hottest talent like Affion Crockett and internet personality King Bach. For Wayans, casting these other comedians added more flavor to the story and left room for great improvisation.
“We had a great casting director in Lisa Beach but ultimately God cast the movie and you get who you’re suppose to get. You always have in the back of your mind, ‘I want this person and that person and that person’ and none of that ever pans out. The key is to have some really funny things written and some great characters written. You also find people that are funny and have good minds and are willing to improvise and try new stuff and be game to play,” explained Wayans.
He also admits that he’s greedy with his joke telling and likes to pack as many in his films as possible. “If we don’t have up to a thousand pages of just jokes and funny scenes, then I’m not messing with it. I’m not going to go there with like three jokes. For me, I’m greedy and I like to pack a script with a lot of jokes. I’m also from the hood and I want people to laugh as much as they possibly can and get their money’s worth. When you go to a movie and get three jokes, I don’t think that’s enough,” explained Wayans. When asked about the funniest part of the movie, he immediately recalls the “Magic Mike” scene where he had to perform a well choreographed dance routine.
“The Magic Mike scene! First of all, it was one of the hardest scenes in the film. I had to do dance choreography and I also worked out. We filmed that on the last three days of shooting and I literally worked out six days a week sometimes two times a day. Look, if you’re gonna be damn near ass naked and it’s for the ladies, I’ve got to try and be my best. Plus, Channing [Tatum] is a friend and I can’t have him showing me up like that. So I just worked real hard and did the choreography and all of the things I had to do because that scene was mostly about stamina,” said Marlon.
Check out a clip of that “Magic Mike” scene below and tell us what you think!
Catch Marlon Wayans in “Fifty Shades of Black” when it opens in theaters nationwide this Friday, January 29.
Photo Credits: RayCornelius.com