Martin Lawrence has been making people laugh for nearly two decades. From stand-up, television and film, Lawrences mix of physical and improvisational humor has earned him a universal following and a top spot at the box office. Hes currently starring alongside fellow comics Chris Rock and Tracey Morgan in a remake of the British dark comedy, Death at a Funeral, (which opened Friday, April 16). Later this year, he will again reprise one of his most popular characters in a third installment of the Big Mommas House franchise.
Writer Gil Robertson recently spoke with the actor/comedian as he prepared for his movie premiere to talk about his current projects.
Robertson: Martin, what was it like working with Chris Rock and Tracey Morgan?
Lawrence: We tried to make each other laugh. Every comic loves to make another comic laugh. If they say they dont, then theyre lying. But its all in fun. Im at a stage in my career that I dont vie for position. I dont feel like I got to compete to prove myself.
After doing Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, what made you want to do another ensemble comedy?
Well, my man Chris Rock gave me a call personally and sent me the British version, which I thought was very funny. When he told me that I would be playing his brother, I knew that I wanted to be on board. Me and Chris, we see each other probably every year and weve always talked about working together. He came on the Martin show; I went on his show on HBO. We just finally got a chance to really do a movie together and its because he put it together, so Ive got to give my man the credit for that."
Does it surprise you feel that some many of your peers were drawn to this film for the opportunity to work with you?
It makes me feel good. For your peers to respect what you do and believe in what you can bring to a project makes me feel good. It puts pressure on me to deliver, but Ive been doing that my whole career, so I look forward to it. Im very appreciative and thankful to have been a part of this film.
Would you ever consider a return to series television?
I would never say never but right now Im really enjoying doing films. I just love doing films and stand-up so Id just rather concentrate on that but never say never. My production company has a new project called Love That Girl, thats coming on TV One so make sure you check it out.
What kind of projects are you looking to produce or star in next?
Im looking for the next big thing. Im interested in producing anything thats good, anything that brings the money, but a lot of things that Im reading just dont feel worth putting my name on. Im not going to produce something just for the sake of producing. I meet so many producers in this game and all that and so many people are just faking the funk. Theyre not even delivering. They just want the title so they can walk around Hollywood to get into parties. I want to produce really good movies that that I believe in and have the potential to be successful. Ive got another Big Momma coming next, and after that Jaime Foxx and I are doing a movie. Sheneneh and Wanda was not a hoax. Well be getting together to do that real soon.
Gil Robertson IV