Funnyman Marlon Wayans is ringing in 2016 with some laughs by way of the upcoming parody, Fifty Shades of Black.
A comedic take on the pop culture phenomenon that was Fifty Shades of Grey (the book and film), this parody stars Wayans as Christian Black and Kali Hawk as Hannah, whose twisted and comedic love connection make for hilarious rendezvous.
Produced by IM Global and Baby Way Productions (the Wayans family’s production company), we had a chat with Marlon Wayans about the film and what we can expect when the film premieres on January 29.
How do you choose which movies to parody? Why parody Fifty Shades of Grey?
It chooses me, honestly. When I’m watching something, some movies just inspire me to write jokes about a script because they’re either corny to me or I think of ways to make something that’s serious funny. For Fifty Shades of Grey, I loved it and hated it at the same time and instantly thought of jokes during it. I had so many that I got the idea to make it into a comedy. The characters in it were funny to me, and I liked the sex aspect, so why not combine my favorite things: sex and comedy.
Is it hard to do comedy and parodies in an age where everyone is easily offended and there’s a focus on political correctness?
People are quick to critique and judge, it’s a natural thing. I don’t think people are trying to break you down when they express critique or offense. I take all criticism as constructive criticism. When I’m writing jokes (or writing comedy for a movie), I take into consideration the critiques from previous films. I think it makes me better with every movie. After a while you begin to understand what your audience finds humorous and what they find offensive and get better on your delivery and presentation of jokes. But to be real, I make movies and jokes for the audience first and critics last—meaning if I can make people smile and laugh, I don’t really care what the “critics” knitpick.
You said you build your parodies based on jokes. Do you have a team that helps you polish those jokes to turn them into big screen movies?
Definitely. Rick Alvarez is a writer on the film and helped me with screenplay. But I also let all the actors and comics involved bring themselves and their ideas to the movie. I encourage them to improvise and develop their own characters. I’ll provide initial concepts and direction, but my goal is to make sure each actor can bring their best ideas to the table and we all collaborate. I think you’ll be able to see the comedic chemistry between the cast.
You have producing and writing credits in the film, in addition to being the lead. Do you think everyone in film should aspire to have a stake in their films other than a starring role?
I honestly don’t think that side of the work is for everyone. There’s a skill set involved when it comes to producing, directing, and writing that’s totally different than acting. If you don’t know what you’re doing and just trying your hand at it, that’s when you end up with a bad product. For me, I grew up in the business of film; my brothers write, produce and direct, so I was taught the business. I imitated what I learned from them and it works for me. I don’t think it works for everyone. If you do want to try some of the other elements of film-making, I think the key is getting a solid team to help you out. People need to realize that some things are a process and take time to learn.
If there were to be a movie made about your life, would you want it to be a comedy or a drama and who would you want to play you?
[Laughing wildly] If on the chance a movie were to be made about me, it would definitely have to be a comedy. There’s not much pain in my life to where it’d need to be deep and dramatic. It’d have to be funny as hell. And my son would be the only one I trust to play me. My goal in this whole world of comedy is to make people laugh and be able to feel good walking away from a show or movie of mine. I live to reflect happiness and a good time.
Besides the laughs, what’s one thing you want people to take away from the film?
Oh, the jokes are the only thing I want people to take away; we worked hard on those punchlines. But just know this: fellas I gave you a lot of ass to look at and ladies, I brought the jokes and both parties get a lot of funny sex.