‘We just write from the soul’ – Marlon Wayans is not haunted by the haters
As the latest comedy from the Wayans dynasty, A Haunted House, hits our screens, director Marlon Wayans tells Tara Brady the secret of their success and why audiences, but not critics, love them
“Well the starting point is always: how would this work out if it happened to me? As it happens I’m black. So that’s how the comedy works out. It gets runs through that computer and it comes out this way. We just write from the soul. We don’t really unpack it. This is funny and I want to bring this to an audience.”
The Scary Movie films have a largely unheralded position in the history of high-end independent cinema. The first films were distributed by Bob Weinstein’s Dimension Films, the genre-friendly cousin to Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax. The supposedly low-brow antics of Marlon and his friends were vital to balancing the Weinsteins’ books in the last years of their business partnership with Disney. It could be argued that you have the Wayans boys to thank for film such as In the Bedroom, Frida and Gangs of New York.
Yet, as is often the case when Bob and Harvey are involved, the marriage did not end happily. After the second film, the Wayans were removed from their own franchise. The Scary Movie films continued without them.
“Oh, it’s such a long drawn-out story,” Marlon says. “Bob and Harvey had opinions about comedy and we had different opinions. So there was a disagreement. We wished them well with their franchise and we set out to create a new one.”
Meanwhile cheap (well, cheaper) imitations such as Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans aped the Wayans formula. Some fools even mistook these pictures for Wayans product.
“It’s pretty simple,” Marlon sighs. “If we aren’t in the movie the chances are it ain’t from us. Look at Scary Movie 5. People just didn’t respond to it. It took people two movies to figure out this is rubbish. This just ain’t the Wayans.”
If it doesn’t say Wayans on the label, it isn’t Wayans in the jar. For good or ill, A Haunted House is the real thing. Accept no substitutes.
A Haunted House is out now