Marlon Wayans Spoofs Romance Genre in Shocking Parody of Salacious S&M Adventure
Ever since Scary Movie (2000), Marlon Wayans has carved out quite a career for himself writing and starring in a string of silly spoofs that includes Scary Movie 2 (2001), Dance Flick (2009), A Haunted House (2013), and A Haunted House 2 (2014). The latest offering
in his cottage industry of genre-bending parodies is Fifty Shades of Black, a jaw-dropping lampoon of the already outrageous Fifty Shades of Grey.
Released just a year ago, Fifty Shades of Grey was based on the best-selling erotic novel by E.L. James. That explicit adventure chronicled the sadomasochistic sexploits shared by a handsome billionaire and an impressionable, young college student .
This relatively-kinky variation on the theme remains fairly faithful to the source material’s basic plotline, so it helps immeasurably if you’ve seen the original. The major difference, however, is that the two leads are African-American, and much of the humor revolves around graphic nudity and stale racial stereotypes.
At the point of departure, we’re introduced to Hannah (Kali Hawk), a Literature major at mythical Howell University. Since her promiscuous, foul-mouthed roommate, Kateesha(Jenny Zigrino), has a crippling case of Chlamydia, Hannah finds herself recruited as a stand-in to interview filthy-rich Christian Black (Wayans).
She asks “How did you get your money and can I have some?” His answer: “Drug dealing, like most successful blacks.” And “Is you gay?” is met with “You’re only gay if you enjoy touching penises.”
After that dubious exchange, Christian tricks the naive virgin into unprotected intercourse despite the fact that she’s ovulating. That disturbing date rape scene is a little hard to laugh at, especially in light of the recent Bill Cosby revelations.
Furthermore, when Hannah ends up pregnant, she takes him home to meet her misogynistic step-father, Ron (Mike Epps). Instead of protecting his daughter’s honor, he sides with Christian’s refusal to marry her, saying “I like this N-word,” before denigrating Hannah’s mother as a slut.
In other skits, Christian waterboards Hannah (while shouting “Where’s bin Laden?”}, delivers an insulting commencement address at Howell (“Thank God, I’m not you!”) and tosses his poop-filled underwear in the face of a screaming fan during a gross homage to Magic Mike. Still, the movie’s most tasteless moments arrive on those occasions when Christian gratuitously exposes his genitalia.
A descent into depravity far more shocking than funny that’s morally-objectionable in part for all.
Fair (1 star)
Rated R for crude sexuality, graphic nudity, ethnic slurs, coarse humor, rape and pervasive profanity
Father and Warrior Protect Baby Monster in Medieval Martial Arts Mash-up
Directed by Raman Hui (Shrek the Third), Monster Hunt was released across Asia last summer where it became the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time. The version I watched was dubbed into English, which served to turn the martial arts/comedy mash-up into a decidedly campy affair.
The experience reminded me of the Japanese horror flicks from the Fifties where the corny dialogue invariably failed to fit the movement of the actors’ mouths. This one even has its characters often speaking in inappropriately-modern idioms such as “You are such a loser!” Purists might be happy to know that the movie is also being made available with subtitles, though I suspect it’s far funnier lip-synched.
Set during an ancient dynasty, the picture features an unapologetically exuberant mix of sentiment and slaps/tick that endeavors to tug at your heartstrings while simultaneously tickling your funny bone. The CGI-driven, costume fantasy unfolds in a mythical kingdom inhabited by both humans and monsters.
The plot thickens when the hamlet’s male mayor, Tianyin (Jing Boran), is miraculously impregnated by a malevolent Monster Queen. Next thing you know, just about everybody around, human and monster alike, wants half-breed baby Wooba dead, much to the chagrin of the glowing, expecting daddy.
Lucky for Tianyin, he forges a fast friendship with Hua Xiaolan (Bai Baihe), a female warrior blessed with a winning combination of maternal instincts and mad karate skills. She’s determined to save the radish-shaped bundle of joy, so what ensues is an overstimulating kitchen sink adventure throwing everything up on the screen from cartoon physics fight scenes to Bollywood-style song-and-dance numbers.
Kid-friendly fare amusing enough to entertain adults, too, provided their brains are on pause!
Fifty Shades of Black (R for crude sexuality, graphic nudity, coarse humor and pervasive profanity) Salacious spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey featuring Marlon Wayans as a kinky tycoon who seduces a naive college student (Kali Hawk) into a sordid, sadomasochistic relationship. With Jane Seymour, Mike Epps and Fred Willard.
The Finest Hours (PG-13 for intense peril) Seafaring tale of survival, set off the coast of Cape Cod in 1952, recounting the real-life ordeal of the crew of an oil tanker taking on water during one of the worst nor’easters ever to hit New England. Ensemble includes Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster and Eric Bana.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (PG for action and mild rude humor) Latest installment in the animated franchise finds Po (Jack Black) joining forces with his long-lost father (Bryan Cranston) for an adventure aimed at preventing a supernatural warrior (J.K. Simmons) from draining thousands of kung fu masters of their powers. Voice cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen and Kate Hudson.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Everybody’s Fine (Unrated) Bittersweet character study, set in Beijing, revolving around a recently-widowed retiree (Guoli Zhang) who is agonizing over his fourchildren’s (He Chen, Chen Yao, Shawn Duo and Ye Qianyun) failure to return home for the family’s annual summer reunion. (In Mandarin with subtitles)
Jane Got a Gun (R for violence and some profanity) Natalie Portman portrays the title character in this Western, set on ranch in New Mexico, about a woman who enlists the help of an ex (Joel Edgerton) in defending her family from the gang of outlaws that just ambushed her bullet-riddled husband (Noah Emmerich). With Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro and Boyd Holbrook.
Lazer Team (PG-13 for profanity, partying, sexuality, action, violence and teen smoking) Sci-fi comedy about four losers (Burnie Burns, Michael Jones, Gavin Free and Colton Dunn) called upon to save the planet during an invasion by aliens from outer space. Support cast includes Alan Ritchson, Irina Voronina and Alexandria DeBerry.
Rabin, the Last Day (Unrated) Assassination reenactment chronicling the final hours in the life of ill-fated, Israeli Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin. Co-starring Yitzhak Hizkiya, Pini Mittelman, Tomer Sisley, Ronen Keinan and Yogev Yefet.
Requiem for the American Dream (Unrated) Cautionary documentary featuring firebrand Noam Chomsky in which the MIT Professor bemoans the demise of the middle-class while reminding the masses that they’re the only hope of restoring a functioning democracy.
Bullock Plays Dirty Tricks as Media Consultant in Political Campaign Dramedy
In 2002, Gonzalo “Goni” Sanchez de Lozada, a candidate for the presidency of Bolivia, found himself floundering in the polls with just a few months to go to election day. Since the desperate multimillionaire had been raised in the United States, he was well aware of how a political consulting firm was capable of influencing the outcome of an election.
So, he retained the services of James Carville, who had successfully orchestrated Bill Clinton’s presidential bid in 1992. And soon, the flamboyant spin doctor descended upon Bolivia with a team of seasoned, media-savvy strategists.
Still, repositioning Goni would be no mean feat, given the fact that he was an unpopular ex-president who’d already been exposed as a pro-American, pro-globalization puppet controlled by powerful corporate interests. Carville and company’s only hope rested in employing smear tactics against the two favorites in the race, one, a socialist, the other, a centrist.
Ultimately, the carpetbaggers did prevail, and that incredible feat was chronicled by Our Brand Is Crisis (2005), a dispiriting documentary illustrating just how easy it is for money to corrupt the democratic process with the help of operatives parachuted in from Madison Avenue. The picture also questioned the wisdom of fixing foreign elections in this fashion, since very bloody, civil unrest subsequently arose anyway in Bolivia, which forced Goni to flee the country for asylum in the U.S. a year into his administration.
Directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), Our Brand Is Crisis 2.0 serves up a relatively-sanitized version of the aforementioned events. Names have been changed and characters have been conflated and added to make the Yankee intervention appear almost benign.
Here, courtesy of revisionist history, the socialist (Louis Arcella) and capitalist (Joaquim de Almeida) candidates both rely on assistance from American PR firms led by Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock), respectively. The entertaining adventure pits a flirtatious and crafty mercenary versus an idealistic, ex-alcoholic in search of redemption in an escalating battle of wits marked by deception and dirty tricks.
Instead of making a pure political thriller, director Green has opted to undercut the tension with moments of levity and sexual innuendo. The upshot is that the movie works very well as formulaic Hollywood fare, so long as you don’t enter the theater anticipating an experience as sophisticated as the thought-provoking documentary which inspired it.
A lighthearted primer in how to mount a smear campaign and thereby manipulate a banana republic to vote against its own self-interest.
Very Good (3 stars)
RatedR for profanity and sexual references
In English and Spanish with subtitles
Running time: 107 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group
Blu-ray Extra: Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other.
Brit Costume Drama Revisits Feminist Fight for the Right to Vote
Nowadays, most females take access to the ballot box for granted. Nevertheless, they owe a big debt of gratitude to the mostly unsung Suffragettes who made great sacrifices for decades before securing that hard-fought right.
In the United States, women got the vote in 1919 via the 19th Amendment. The year before, England granted the franchise to females over 30 who were either landowners, college grads or married to a politician. However, a decade later, it was finally extended to all British citizens over 21 on an equal basis.
Directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane), Suffragette is a moving docudrama set in London during the critical period leading up to Parliament’s passage of the Representation of the People Act of 1918. The film serves up a substantially fictionalized version of events, as only a couple of the characters here were real-life heroines, namely, Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) and Emily Wilding Davison (1872-1913), portrayed by Meryl Streep and Natalie Press, respectively.
Streep merely makes a cameo appearance as Pankhurst, a pioneer reduced by advanced age to playing an inspirational role in the movement at that juncture. Still, that doesn’t mean the perennial Academy Award-contender won’t net her 20th Oscar nomination for delivering yet another sterling performance. The picture’s other historical figure, Davison, was a fiery activist who was periodically imprisoned for advocating arson, stone throwing and other violent tactics in her zealous pursuit of the vote.
The movie revolves around Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan), a protagonist primarily a creation of scriptwriter Abi Morgan’s (The Iron Lady) imagination. Curiously, she’s initially less a suffragette than a fed up, steam laundry employee ostensibly motivated by a general desire to improve women’s lot, especially in terms of wages, sexual harassment and safe working conditions.
In many respects, Maud’s persona is suspiciously reminiscent of Norma Rae (1979), the feisty union organizer played by Sally Field in an Oscar-winning turn. Might Morgan have deliberately crafted Maud for Mulligan with an Academy Award in mind?
Who knows, but the parallels are hard to ignore. Both characters are uneducated, underpaid factory workers . Both have their consciousness raised with the help of a colleague. And both have unsupportive husbands opposed to their sudden embrace of political activism.
A poignant reminder of just how far women have come over the past century.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for intense violence, mature themes, brief profanity and partial nudity
Running time: 107 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Inside Suffragette;Suffragette: Looking Back, Looking Forward; Making the VFX for Suffragette; feature commentary with director Sarah Gavron and screenwriter Abi Morgan.
Where to Find Great Deals on Over-the-Water Bungalows
By Burt Carey
With gently rolling salty waves rolling just below and panoramic ocean views that take your breath away, a bungalow perched over the water could be just the type of vacation you’ve been looking for.
Such a vacation doesn’t have to be only for the rich and famous. There are deals to be had in locations all across the globe. In the Maldives, for example, and also in Malaysia, Tahiti and Panama.
Timing is key to everything, of course, to catch the least expensive rates for such over-the-water resort experiences. June and July are the least expensive months to visit the Maldives and Malaysia, and March and April are best for South Pacific hot spots such as Tahiti.
Here are some resorts that could fit into your budget and set the mood for one of the most relaxing vacation experiences known to mankind.
AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort, Malaysia
Visit this gem in that June or July time frame and you’ll be looking at a bargain basement deal: $129 per night for two people, taxes included, for a Traveler Palm Villas bungalow. Even during the high season, the rates only reach $149 per night.
You’ll be swaying with the tides in a large palm-tree shaped bungalow village built in 2011 and remodeled in 2014. There are 392 over-the-water villas at AVANI Sepang, formerly known as the Golden Palm Tree Resort & Spa. The smallest villas offer 560 square feet of space, and the largest sprawl out to nearly 2,500 square feet and include up to three bedrooms. Those larger villas are at the ends of each pier and come at a premium price.
This resort has improved dramatically since its opening in 2011, and now offers all-inclusive packages that include three meals per day at any of its five restaurants, drinks from two different bars, and room service.
The AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort is on the Malacca Strait, 10 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Air Asia flies there from virtually any airport in the region.
The low-price deal has to come with a catch, and here it is: No swimming is allowed in the lagoon below the villas. The resort does feature plenty of activities, including an infinity swimming pool, clubhouse, gym and fitness center, sailing, speed sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, biking, golf, beach activities and more.
Reethi Beach Resort, Maldives
With nothing but the Indian Ocean and white sandy beaches to enjoy, the Reethi Beach Resort features 30 over-the-water villas in addition to 114 of its traditional resort rooms.
And it’s a relative bargain at $268 per night for two people during the June/July time frame. Rates increase to about $406 per night during the high season. Vacation plans include a bed and breakfast special as well as all-inclusive packages that include adult beverages.
Each of the water villas are connected by one wall with another villa, but privacy is still quite possible. Each of those has a king-sized bed and occupies 657 square feet. Room service is not offered. Guests have access to five bars and five restaurants.
The island villas cost just $202 per night during the low season, and can be had for as low as $218 per night during the high season.
There’s no shortage of water and beach sports, including a dive center for those who have SCUBA on their minds.
Reethi Beach Resort sits on a tiny island in Baa Atoll, about 124 kilometers from Malé International Airport in the Maldives.
Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge, Panama
The Punta Caracol Acqua Lodge isn’t luxurious and it isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s remote, and meant to be that way. Leave the cell phone and all of your worries behind, enjoying low-season specials for around $360 per night.
Billed as an “eco resort,” Punta Caracol features nine over-the-water suites. Each suite features a terrace and is two stories, with a king-sized bed situated in an upper loft. Guests enjoy breakfast and dinner (included in their room rate), so the price remains one of the best in the Western Hemisphere for an overwater stay.
Snorkeling equipment, beach towels and a hammock come as standard room amenities. Kayaking is also an option.
The Punta Caracol Acqua-Lodge is on the southwest coast of Isla Colón, near Bocas del Toro, just off the Caribbean coast of Panama. After flying into Panama City, you’ll need to take an additional one-hour flight to the Bocas del Toro Airport. Hotel staff will meet guests at the airport and provide transportation to Punta Caracol.
InterContinental Tahiti Resort
Yep, you saw Tahiti in the subheading and immediately reached for your wallet, right? But by zipping to the South Pacific in March or April, two people can stay in one of the InterContinental Resort’s over-the-water bungalows for just $409 per night.
While the 200 guest rooms at this resort get the lion’s share of family vacationers, the resort’s 32 overwater villas tend to draw couples with romantic intentions. Most are either 500 or 544 square feet in size, with one bungalow that’s 1,023 square feet. All have terraces and offer views of the nearby island of Moorea. This is the largest and one of the oldest resorts in Tahiti.
If it’s a five-star resort experience you’re looking for, this is the place to find it.
The InterContinental Tahiti Resort is on the west coast of the main island of Tahiti, about 10 minutes south of the airport.
Manning vs. Newton: Super Bowl 50’s QBs Side By Side
By Burt Carey
They both stand 6’5” and love to throw the football. And there’s where the comparisons begin and end for the starting quarterbacks in Super Bowl 50.
Peyton Manning, at age 39, is the Denver Broncos storied grand old man signal caller, a veteran of 18 seasons and holder of a passer rating that has slipped nearly 60 points in the last decade.
The 26-year-old upstart Cam Newton carried the Heisman Trophy with him when he left Auburn in 2010 for the electric atmosphere of Charlotte, N.C., and its Carolina Panthers.
When the Broncos arrive in Santa Clara next week, it will be in preparation of their eighth Super Bowl, and Manning will be looking for his second championship ring. He won his first – and the Super Bowl MVP trophy – by leading the Indianapolis Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI. He’s been to the big dance twice more since then, and may be looking at the final shot of his career.
It will be Carolina’s second Super Bowl appearance in its 21-year history. The Panthers lost to the New England Patriots 32-29 a dozen years ago, when Newton was attending Westlake High School in Atlanta.
The NFL’s marquee golden anniversary championship game couldn’t have asked for a better storyline to draw the interest of football fans and single-day Super Bowl fans throughout the world. It’s the sly old fox versus the crowd-seducing lightning bolt, the traditional drop-back passer against a new breed of quarterback who’s just as adept with his arm as he is his legs.
Recovering from major neck surgery and written off by the Indianapolis Colts in 2011, Manning was simply sensational in his return to football in 2012 and 2013, amassing passer ratings of 105.8 and 115.1, respectively. He threw for 55 touchdowns in 2013, and then followed it up with 4,727 yards of passing and a 101.5 passer rating the next season.
Ironically, this is the year Manning put it all together and led the Broncos to the Super Bowl again, despite a career-low passer rating of just 67.9. Injuries limited him to just 10 games this season, but he still threw for more than 2,200 yards.
Newton’s stats tell of a young quarterback on the rise. His 99.4 passer rating is a career high that goes along with another career high: 35 touchdowns through the air. What makes the Panthers star such a challenge for opposing teams’ defenses is that he can run the ball too. He rushed for 636 yards this season and amassed 10 touchdowns, second only to his rookie season (2011) of 14.
With their season statistics compared side-by-side on paper, it would appear the Newton and the Panthers have a huge advantage over Manning and the Broncos. But Newton will be facing the NFL’s top-rated defense, and Manning is protected by a stingy front line that’s allowed only 1.5 sacks per game. So while the world watches two premier quarterbacks, one nearing the end of his career, the other just getting started, Super Bowl 50 is as likely to be won in the trenches as it is through aerial attack.
Super Bowl 50 will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, home of the San Francisco 49ers, on Feb. 7, with kickoff at 6:30 p.m. It will be televised worldwide by CBS.
Home sales and prices in the U.S. recovered in December following November sales that had analysts concerned about a possible slowing economy.
The National Association of Realtors reported a 14.7 percent jump in existing home sales in
December, putting the country on pace to see 5.46 million homes sold in 2015. Just a month earlier, the NAR had reported a serious decline in November sales that had reduced the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales to land around the 4.76 million mark.
A nationwide snapshot of home values indicate that the market has nearly recovered to numbers similar to July 2006 levels, before the housing bubble burst and led to a years-long recession.
Metropolitan areas such as Denver, San Francisco, Dallas and Portland, Ore., reported sales that either matched or exceeded previous all-time highs. Charlotte, N.C., is close behind.
Housing sales ticked up in part because buyers in December rushed to take advantage of low mortgage rates before the Federal Reserve raised the prime rate one-quarter of a percent, its first such increase in a decade. Sales surged also because of unseasonably warm weather.
“We knew a significant number of closings were delayed by new regulations that came into effect in October,” said Stephen Phillips, president of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Chicago. “Overall, 2015 was a very good year and we’re positioned for a strong spring market.”
In November realtors had blamed increased closing times on new regulations that were designed to assist home buyers better understand home loan options and provide them better opportunities to look for loans that best match their financial status.
Sales of existing homes jumped 6.5 percent in 2015 over 2014 numbers, with 5.26 million homes sold, according to the NAR. That’s the strongest sales performance since 2006. While more Americans were able to find work this past year and mortgage rates remained low, the overall number of houses on the market remains low, down some 3.8 percent from 2014 levels. The .
“The dearth of inventory has really taken its toll on the market,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin, a brokerage firm. “Homebuyers this year are motivated but not desperate, and they refuse to overpay. Without more listings what we’ll see are higher prices and lower sales volumes ?- a lousy way to start a new year for homebuyers.”
Fortunately, mortgage rates have remained at historically low levels. Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.81 percent last week, which was down slightly from the 3.92 percent a week earlier.
The 24th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2016, from 1-3 p.m., at Community College of Philadelphia, 17th and Spring Garden streets, Philadelphia, Pa. The event is free and open to the public.
The African American Children’s Book Fair is one of the oldest and largest single-day events for African-American children’s books in the country, with an average yearly attendance of more than 3,500. It features nationally known bestselling authors/illustrators, many of whom have won the prestigious American Library Association Coretta Scott King Award. These authors/illustrators have produced some of the best books of our generation.
With a reported double-digit illiteracy rate in the region, the success of the African American Children’s Book Fair is due to the fact that we offer the best and the brightest from the multicultural literary community and feature books that enlighten, enrich and empower the children in our community.
Parents, caregivers and educators from the tristate area are very supportive of the African American Children’s Book Fair because they understand that children who read outside of their normal school course work make more responsible decisions about their lifestyles.
The fun-filled afternoon will be packed with activities that promote the power and JOY OF READING. Authors and illustrators will make presentations and sign their books. The Literary Row will distribute book-related promotional materials free of charge. Our Educator’s Book Giveaway will also distribute brand new books to teachers for use in their classrooms and to librarians. In addition there will be a wide selection of affordable literature available to purchase.
The African American Children’s Book Fair is a part of the African American Children’s Book Project’s initiative to promote and preserve multicultural children’s literature. The organization is leading a campaign titled PRESERVE A LEGACY, BUY A BOOK. Its goal is to put books back into homes. You can’t tell a child to read at home if there are no books in the home.
The event is sponsored by: PECO, NBC10-TELEMUNDO62, WELLS FARGO, ALWAYS BEST CARE SENIOR SERVICES, HEALTH PARTNERS FOUNDATION, HEALTH PARTNERS PLANS, MARIAN B. TASCO, THE LITERARY MEDIA AND PUBLISHING CONSULTANTS, COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF PHILADELPHIA, COMCAST, COUNCILMAN KENYATTA JOHNSON, COUNCILWOMAN JANNIE L. BLACKWELL, TIERNEY and THE AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN’S BOOK PROJECT (partial list of sponsors at press time)
Marlon Wayans is a true multi-hyphenate: an actor/producer, comedian, writer
and film director. His films have grossed more than $750 million in domestic box
office, an average of nearly $50 million per outing. As a stand-up comedian,
Marlon sells out theaters and clubs alike, nationwide.
On the feature film front, he recently starred in and produced A Haunted House
which grossed over $18 million on a $2 million budget. On the television front,
he’ll soon be shooting a pilot for NBC slated to debut next fall.
Marlon’s additional big screen credits include White Chicks; Scary Movie; Scary
Movie 2; Mo’ Money; Above the Rim; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While
Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; The Sixth Man; Senseless; Dungeons &
Dragons; Requiem for a Dream, The Ladykillers; Behind the Smile; Little Man;
Norbit; Dance Flick; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Marmaduke; and The Heat.
On TV, Marlon has appeared on In Living Color; Children’s Hospital; Second
Generation Wayans; and The Wayans Bros which was the highest rated comedy
on The WB network. Here, he talks about his latest offering, Fifty Shades of
Kam Williams: Hey Marlon, thanks for the time.
Marlon Wayans: How’re you doin’, Kam?
KW: Where did the inspiration come from to do a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey?
MW: Initially, I just wanted to learn something from the novel, because women loved it so much. I was thinking of writing my first parody book, until I saw the movie. Then it kinda just hit me. I decided to scrap the book and do a spoof because the film gave me such great archetypes to work with in characters that I knew would be enjoyable to take to extremes. Playing a really bad lover was a lot of fun.
KW: So, your approach to Christian was to flip the script.
MW: Yeah, he goes to extremes. He’s a stalker, and it gets uncomfortable. And he’s also an extremely bad lover. I thought, what if he’s a great package with all these tools that excite women until they get him into bed where he’s just awful.
KW: How was it working opposite Kali Hawk, who plays your primary love interest, Hannah?
MW: Kali was great and a lotta fun! She was perfect for Hannah because, in the movie Hannah’s a virgin and, in real life, Kali’s a prude. So, that kinda worked hand-in-hand.
KW: What message do you think people will take away?
MW: I think women were a little upset with Fifty Shades of Grey because the female lead was so submissive. Fifty Shades of Black is different in terms of that.
Movies are always fun when there’s an objective and you meet a lot of obstacles along the way. And in this film, the hardest person to dominate is a black woman. She refuses to play that stuff white girls will play. You get a couple of spanks in and she’s like, “Oh, hell no!” Hannah flips that from the original.
KW: What was the most surprising thing you learned about your ancestry when your brother Keenan had your lineage traced by Skip Gates on the PBS-TV series Finding Your Roots the other night.
MW: It was interesting to learn I was Asian. I had no idea. i was wondering why I liked sushi so much. [Laughs]
KW: I found it fascinating how strong your ancestors’ bonds were even during slavery, with an escaped slave being willing to risk his freedom to rescue relatives.
MW: Yeah, they went back to go get somebody. He thought, “Hey, what’s freedom without my family?” For him to go back was awesome.
KW: I see that sort of loyalty as a trademark of the Wayans family to this day. I can’t tell you how many actors and actresses have told me over the years that somebody with the last name Wayans gave them their big break. Just think of all the people who got their start on In Living Color: J-Lo, Jamie Foxx and Jim Carrey, to name a few. And so many others since.
MW: It’s funny you should say that. Generosity kinda runs in our family. My dad is a very generous guy, and my my mom’s always giving advice. So, Keenen was ultimately a wonderful teacher. He taught me and Shawn and Damon to be the same way. Those jewels are of no value ’til you pass them down. Sound advice is one of hte best things you can share with someone. We want to see other people succeed, and I guess that’s something we all inherited. It’s just part of our matrix.
KW: The first time I interviewed you, I brought my son along who was only in the 4th grade at the time. And I’ll always appreciate how you and Shawn took a little time out to talk to him and to take pictures with him. And it made for a cherished childhood memory he’ll never forget. Thanks!
MW: Aww, great!
KW: Will you be boycotting the Oscars?
MW: Look, if I get the memo and everybody’s doing it, sure. I’m happy that they’ve immediately started making some changes. I was really touched by the swift reaction. But the bottom line is that everybody has a little bit to do with it. It’s not entirely the Oscars’ fault. The Oscars represent Hollywood, and Hollywood needs greater diversity. We need more African-American filmmakers, and we need the larger budgets to make big box-office spectacles like The Revenant. And we need the audience to support a smaller-budgeted art film that’s about us, if we put one out. So, it’s kinda everybody collectively, from the studios to the distributors, especially the overseas distributors who tend to look at blacks a little differently. I do comedy. Comedy has no color. and that’s what I’m constantly trying to convince them. I don’t make black movies. I’m a black man that makes comedy. comedy is colorless. Also, we as filmmakers have to develop young directors and cinematographers who’ll make the kind of films that are needed. Then, if we have an onslaught of these pictures coming out, it’ll be undeniable. Of course, we’d get the accolades we’re looking for. But you can’t expect it, if you’re only releasing 4 or 5 movies a year. That’s not enough. So, we have to over-produce, Hollywood has to help us with that, and then the audience has to come support it. We all have to put our money where our mouths are and support each other. At the end of the day, what I look for is a communicative approach to resolving problems. I don’t think you need segregation and separatism. I think you have to come together at the table, communicate, and make things work. You have to build bridges, not burn ’em. Right now, I believe that, collectively, we’re all at that impasse where we all need to come to the table, and all take some responsibility for making sure this never happens again.
KW: Speaking of colorblind casting, I just saw your nephew, Damon, Jr.’s upcoming film, How to Be Single, where he plays one of Dakota Johnson’s love interests, but with no mention of his color. Have you seen it?
MW: No, not yet.
KW: Well, it’s a tremendous film. How do you feel about going up against your nephew?
MW: It’s not a direct competition, since it’ll be released a couple weeks after Fifty Shade of Black. I’d be rooting for my nephew regardless. I don’t believe in competition. Everybody has their own audience, and I wish everyone luck. in the film industry, one success is good for us all.
KW: What’s your target audience with Fifty Shade of Black ?
MW: I don’t know. It’s everybody who loved Fifty Shade of Grey, everybody who hated Fifty Shade of Grey, and everybody who never saw Fifty Shade of Grey. [Chuckles] My audience is people who like to laugh, and I’m hoping to get a good female crowd in there, because I think this movie really plays to them as much as it does to guys. So, I’d say it’s a perfect date movie.
KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?
MW: Look, Groundhog’s Day is a flawless movie. Of course, I would love to find a way to do that. But that’s such a classic, and there are some things you just don’t want to touch.
KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
MW: Right now? My credit cards, my ID, and probably an old condom that’s been in there since the 6th grade. [Laughs]
KW: Thanks for all, Marlon, and best of luck with the film.