Marlon Wayans’s résumé is pretty impressive.
In scrolling through his list of credits, one would find films such as “Scary Movie,” “Requiem For a Dream,” “White Chicks,” and “A Haunted House.” Needless to say, Wayans is a box-office pull with “A Haunted House” grossing $40 million domestically on just a $2.5 million budget, which was a part of the reason the film was green lit for a sequel.
“We never planned for a sequel really, and when they came to us with the idea, I was hesitant a bit at first,” Wayans said. “I thought, ‘What would Malcolm’s progression be?’ But then we started watching movies. We watched ‘Sinister’; we watched the ’Amityville Horror,’ and we got some ideas, and then we watched ‘The Conjuring’ and saw the doll and knew that we had potential for a sequel.”
Wayans said the response to the first film wasn’t a surprise per se because of how strongly he believed in the project.
“I toured the county with it and got a feel for what my audience wants to laugh at, and I just really believed in the project,” Wayans said. “Every time Michael Jordan threw up the final shot, he had to believe that it was going to go in … not to compare myself to him. But so much of making a film is making it, and then promoting it afterwards, and I’ve always felt like you’ve put so much work into something, so you really have to believe in it. “
“A Haunted House 2” follows Wayans’ Malcolm, who moves into a new house with his new girlfriend hoping for a fresh start following the events of the first film. However, after moving in, Malcolm once again finds himself the victim of paranormal and other worldly events and is forced to deal with them once more. Cedric the Entertainer stars, albeit in a different role than in the previous film, and Gabriel Iglesias and Jamie Pressly join the cast.
Wayans says that unlike its predecessor, this film strays away a bit from being a spoof film.
“This film is more of a horror-comedy with parody moments than it is a direct parody movie,” Wayans said. “As broad as this film is, I’d say it’s not completely a parody film. When you do a parody film, you really have to go and blow it up, and I think this one’s a bit too grounded to be a parody film.”
Known for his over the top, no boundaries comedy, it was Wayans’s goal to make “the stupidest things he can that will still make people laugh.” This attitude, he said, plays well in the writer’s room.
“When it comes to comedy, it’s really about story and character. If you can figure out those two things, and what your characters reasoning behind doing something is, the rest will come naturally,” he said. “Write as many jokes or things that you think are funny as you can and then figure out why your character would do something like that.”
Despite having an already strong script, Wayans says there was plenty of room for improvisation on set.
“I believe a movie gets made three times,” Wayans said. “Once when you write the script, once on set and once in the editing process. When you get strong comedic people involved and once they know their character’s point of view, I encourage improv. Because you’re then challenging the jokes and the material that you wrote.”
Wayans visited ASU as part of his cross-country tour promoting the film, stopping at various colleges along the way in order to sit down and talk to what he views as his key audience for his films. He recently made stops at Howard University and Emerson University.
“I like to go to colleges for these tours because it lets me connect with my audience, this young and crazy crowd,” Wayans said. “I make my movies for people this age because they don’t question anything. They just know how to laugh and have a good time, and I love that. It’s part of the reason I love Twitter so much, because it lets me connect with the fans.”
“A Haunted House 2” opens in theaters April 18.
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