Marlon Wayans jokes about the reason he’s always working. “My little one — this little spoiled brat — I take him to Nashville. I ask him where he wants to eat. He says, ‘Let’s go to Mastro’s,’” he tells us, referring to the high-end eatery. “If he ever complains, ‘Dad, why were you always on the road?’ ‘Because I had to f—ing pay for Mastro’s, you little bastard!’”
Right now, the actor and performer, 43, has “Fifty Shades of Black,” a send-up of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie. But Wayans, who co-wrote and plays the mysterious Christian Grey analog, swears it and his previous comedies, like “Scary Movie” and “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood,” are not really “spoofs” — or at least that’s not how he and his collaborators approach them.
I have to confess I don’t hate the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
I don’t hate it. I love-hate it. I think you have to love-hate the movie in order to make fun of it. You have to love and respect what’s good about it, and you have to hate what’s bad about it. You have to find out what’s funny about it, and then deliver it. So I didn’t hate it. It looked great. I thought some of the flirting was cute. I didn’t like the sex scenes. They were pretty boring.
They’re very PG-13.
They’re PG. It’s like a G. I could see “Kung Fu Panda” doing some of the stuff in that movie. I can see Fiona and Shrek doing something like that. [Laughs] “Come to the red room. I'll get the big whip. I'll use my tail!” “Fifty Shades of Green.”
How many times did you have to watch the film?
I imagine that’s like Stockholm Syndrome: eventually you come to love it all.
It becomes your favorite movie. You watch it over and over and over again, until you throw up in your mouth, slightly. When someone mentions the movie you go [gags]. You ever have cake and it’s delicious, but you get greedy and have five, six, seven slices? You start hating yourself. And then someone says, “You want some cake?” And the thought of cake makes you almost vomit in your mouth. That’s what happens with these [spoof] movies.
Do you think you’re even simply making fun of it?
It’s not making fun of it. It’s a comedic re-telling. Honestly if you’ve never seen “Fifty Shades of Grey” you would still enjoy this movie, because of the characters and the situations. You make these movies like they’re original, and you have to make the journey enjoyable whether people have seen them or not. You’re doing a comedy. At the end of the day we approached it like a comedy. Not a spoof; a comedy.
These parodies have low budgets. I imagine that makes it easier to make rather than dealing with a huge budget and more bosses demanding stuff.
We want to control the final cut as much as we can, control our destiny and not do things because you’re getting money. You’re doing it because it’s a labor of love. We like the challenge of getting them done and doing the best we can with whatever money we have. That’s the art of filmmaking. I wish I had $40 million to make a movie. I wish I had a trailer. You know how hard it is to share a bathroom with a crew? The things they eat, the smell in that bathroom? But you think, “You know what? I love it.” I’ve done comedy since I was five years old because I love it. I go on tour and do stand-up because I love it. If you do it for love you’ll never get tired of doing it.
Do you see yourself doing drama again, as you did with “Requiem for a Dream”?
I would love, but you know, there’s a line of guys to get those movies before they get to me. When I think something’s good or something’s for me, I’m fearless about going out and trying to get it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. In the meantime I do comedy. I want to make people laugh or make people cry laughing. Drama, I have that skill set, I’ve studied Shakespeare. But it’s low-hanging fruit. You do what you can do and what I feel I’m purposed to do, which is to make people laugh.