By Ethan Harmon
The Wayans brothers are a famous, multi-talented bunch that have been in dozens of movies, bringing laughs to audiences throughout the world. From In Living Color to Scary Movie, the Wayans brothers have made themselves known as brilliant and sometimes crude comedians, poking fun at stereotypes, racial matters, men and women, and everything in between. Marlon Wayans, who has a penchant for writing, has produced and written a Paranormal Activity spoof that will be making its debut on the silver screen next month.
The inspiration for this film struck Marlon as he was viewing the Paranormal films. “I was watching Paranormal Activity 2…and I asked ‘what if this happened to black people?’ I called my producer friend Rick Alvarez and we came up with ten, twenty pages of jokes.” The actor then began writing the script and putting the pieces together, eventually producing the film as well as taking on the leading role. This movie, titled A Haunted House, does not have a big Hollywood budget, however. “[Hollywood] isn’t making as many movies as they used to. So I wanted to venture out and do something Roger Corman style, where you kind of become your own brand of movie, you get your own financing, and you begin making pictures.”
The Wayans, Marlon in particular, have a very interesting, unique style of comedy. Particularly in movies such as Don’t be a Menace, the Wayans center a lot of their humor around racial stereotypes, adding social commentary in between the laughs. Marlon notes that he feels that racial barriers are still a big part of society, and he believes that it is not only important to make people laugh, but to also have them reflect on themselves. “Humor helps us see how ignorant we can be.” Staying true to himself, the actor added humor to his idea. “We are equal opportunity offenders [laughs], but we do it with kid’s gloves.”
A Haunted House is not the only project in the mix. Marlon – along with his brother Shawn – is currently touring the country performing stand-up comedy. Because comedy is in his wheelhouse, it may seem like a no-brainer that the actor is performing these shows, but in actuality, he has only just begun doing these sets. “I’ve been doing stand-up for two and a half years now, and I started because I was supposed to play Richard Pryor in a movie.” The idea seemed foreign to his at first, for he wanted to write and act. But it was only after hearing about the role, and reflecting on his early childhood when he would sneak around and listen to Pryor albums, that stand-up became something more. “I enjoy it and I’m getting better. It’s making me smarter, more articulate.”
The Richard Pryor role made Marlon light up, smile stretching his cheeks. He became slightly melancholy when talking about it in further detail. “I would love to play the role, but it’s lying dormant right now.” Production on the film has been halted. The actor did mention another dramatic, untitled role that may be in his future. “Me and Omar Epps are working on a thriller.” He was very tight-lipped about his potential future projects, keeping details vague.
A Haunted House looks to bring a lot of laughs when it is released January 13th, promising a unique comedic experience. Marlon Wayans may have some interesting roles in the near future, but right now he is bringing the comedy to us. Whether it is his upcoming release or his stand-up show, one must go see a Marlon Wayans production.