Marlon Wayans stars with Tom Hanks in the upcoming comedy “The Ladykillers” (Touchstone Pictures). He plays Gawein, the “inside man” of a heist, taking on the job of janitor at a casino. Wayans recently sat down with The Hatchet to discuss his latest film, what he has learned from working in the entertainment industry and what it’s like to be a member of the comedic dynasty of the Wayans family.
Hatchet: What did you bring to your character in “The Ladykillers”?
Marlan Wayans: I brought the definition of why he was the way he was …You have to give the character a history and a reason for why they act the way they act. There are subtleties that I did for the character that you guys wouldn’t know from watching the movie. Its just homework that I did for the character … Like, he has a little dick. In my wallet (during filming), I had a magnum condom that you could see first and tucked away behind it was the regular sized Trojan. And that’s the one he would really use. But, being that he don’t get none, because he don’t know how to talk to women, both of those condoms are still just sitting there. And that’s because he has a “little dickman syndrome” mentality, and he is very arrogant in his ignorance.
H: What was it like working with Tom Hanks and the Coen Brothers?
MW: Well, Tom Hanks did sound a little bit like the Kentucky Fried Chicken man (laughs) … It was great watching him work and keeping that consistency. It was great working with the Coen brothers and it was good to depart from the Wayans brothers to go on a journey with the Coen brothers. It’s just a different kind of funny. When I work with Tom Hanks I feel like Kobe Bryant with Michael Jordan and you’re going, “Yo, this is what I want to do. I am watching one of the greats at work.” I am just fresh in the game and ready to play.
H: What is it like to work so closely with your siblings?
MW: Sometimes it can be challenging, but I always trust that my brothers love me and they always want the best for me. And so you have to always know that and keep that with you, and what you will find is, with that mentality, you will always go back and do your rewrites to better your material. My brothers expect the best, and so I take that challenge in with the knowledge that they love me, and that actually has helped guide me through my career. I have made a lot of detrimental career choices in my life.
H: What advice would you give to someone looking to go into the entertainment industry?
MW: I learned in this industry that you have to be great all the time. There is no excuse. Now that you are in school, be hard on yourself. There is no excuse for a “B.” Be on your grind. Do your homework – it’s important. Now, as a filmmaker, I have to go home and study movies. I have to learn movies inside out … It’s a whole process. It’s a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of energy. You don’t prepare yourself for that when you are in school … Just take advantage of school now. Enjoy the break, but be hard on yourself because it’s to prepare you for life, prepare you for this industry. This industry will eat up the weak. It definitely will. It is not for the weak.
H: What role would you like to play that you have not already?
MW: Bob Marley. That’s the one I would love, love, love to do. I always say that’s my Oscar right there. I just know how hard I would work. He is a man I respect and it’s a story that hasn’t been done. Musically, he is a wonderful performer. He affected change in this country and unified parts of the world with his music. He’s a powerful man, he’s a lion. I would love to play Bob.