Mike Epps is already something of a comedy icon — just ask him — but he's somehow never had a starring role in his own film. That ends now with "Meet the Blacks," a comedy that spoofs "The Purge" as well as racial and socioeconomic tensions. But Epps isn't too worried about any potential litigation from those "Purge" folks.
Did you check with the people behind "The Purge" to make sure this is OK?
It's just a spoof, you know? We're not using anything from "The Purge." It's just a spoof, so I don't think we're going to have any issues with the filmmakers of "the Purge" being upset.
How was it getting Mike Tyson to play along?
You know, Mike Tyson is a team player. One thing about Mike Tyson: He loves film, he loves to be funny. It was cool. Mike is a friend of mine, so I think that had a lot to do with it as well. His name was Clown in the movie, so he loved it. He kept flipping his [wig] back like he was a woman and all kinds of s—. It is a new look for him.
In general, how do you go about securing those cameos you have in the film?
Generally, I think as a comedian, as an actor, when we come together and you get a chance to work with all of these different types of comedians, then you really get to see the work. You get to see how colorful it is, and I think that gets people excited. When you tell Charlie Murphy that you've got Mike Tyson in the movie with all these comedians, he gets excited about that. And the script was good — and it's funny. Nobody's in there taking anything too seriously. So it's really easy work.
You've got jobs coming up playing Richard Pryor in a Pryor movie and starring in the “Uncle Buck” TV show. Is it daunting taking on real-life people and such established characters?
You know, when I get approached with these things I just do me. There's such a new generation out there that are just so lost in the sauce when it comes to culture and who our icons were, you just have to entertain them. One thing about it is, I'm Mike Epps, I'm an icon, I'm a legend myself, so I'm always bringing me to the table. So when I bring me to the table, it's like, guess what? People are coming to see me portray something.