LOS ANGELES – “How you doin’, baby?” Marlon Wayans said, leaning down to kiss a doll on the lips.
The toy, a prop from Wayans’ latest movie, “A Haunted House 2,” was propped up in a chair across the table from the actor at a stuffy Beverly Hills restaurant. The doll, named Abigail, was meant to resemble a creepy figurine from 2013’s “The Conjuring”: Both shared dead green eyes, sooty peasant dress and pigtail braids.
Wayans, 41, has long been known for his outrageous comic taste. He dressed as a Caucasian female FBI agent in “White Chicks” and has been poking fun at the horror genre for years, launching the hit “Scary Movie” parody franchise in 2000. The first entry in his new spoof series, “A Haunted House,” was made for $1.7 million and last year grossed $60 million; the second installment is due out Friday.
Q: Your sense of humor is pretty out there.
MW: I’ve never progressed past the age of 15. I laugh a lot, and I don’t take things too serious. ... I think it’s good to be a kid again.
Q: You and your brothers worked on the first two films in the “Scary Movie” franchise, but the Weinstein Co. made three more movies without you. What happened?
MW: There’s nothing to really have any kind of bitterness for, because the reality is we just couldn’t make a deal. They knew it was going to be expensive to make a third one with us, so they went a different direction. We put a certain price on our jokes, and the franchise had made close to a billion dollars. We just wanted our slice of the pie, and we just couldn’t come to terms. … “Scary Movie” is like that child that you love that you put a lot of energy into, and then it went off to become a crackhead but you still love it because it’s your child.
Q: This movie had a $3 million budget. Is it hard to make a movie on the cheap?
MW: I don’t have a trailer when I do these movies – I got a honeywagon. Picture a porta-potty with a bed in it. But I like the challenge. Making movies like this is preparing me for when I go back to studio movies – I’ll be very responsible and know how to stretch the dollar.
Q: You’re often referred to as one of the most successful black filmmakers in Hollywood. How do you feel about that label?
MW: When we did “Scary Movie,” it had the biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy, and they kept saying “for a black director.” My brother Keenan was like, “No, for any director.” Listen, I’m black, and I wear that every day. I wouldn’t want to change my color. But I won’t wear the cap that comes with what their perception of black is – it has a cap and ceiling and budget and parameter. Why can’t I dream like “Avatar”? Why can’t our movies open overseas?
Q: A few years ago, Bill Condon cast you to play Richard Pryor in a film about the comedian. Now that director Lee Daniels has taken over the project, I hear your brother Damon is in the running for the part. What’s up?
MW: I know it’s either meant to be or it’s not. Damon’s a great choice. Better him than anybody else. Whoever does it, I’ll be happy for them. I’ll give them advice. I’ve been doing standup for 3ø years to prepare for that moment to actually do that movie. To develop that skill set to play Pryor – it’s not going to be easy. I’ve read eight books on Pryor. I know enough about the man. For me, it’s important that they just do the movie right. … But if I do it, I know I’ll smash it. It’ll probably be my best work because I’m so committed. But if it doesn’t happen, I still think I’m gonna smash life and smash my career and do my best work because it’s ahead of me.