Martin Lawrence has been making people laugh for nearly two decades. From stand-up, television and film, Lawrence’s mix of physical and improvisational humor has earned him a universal following and a top spot at the box office. He’s currently starring alongside fellow comics Chris Rock and Tracey Morgan in a remake of the British dark comedy, Death At A Funeral, (opening Friday, April 16th). Later this year, he will again reprise one of his most popular characters in a third installment of the Big Momma’s House franchise.
theGrio recently spoke with the actor/comedian as he prepared for his latest film’s premiere to talk about his current projects.
THEGRIO: Martin, what was it like working with Chris Rock and Tracey Morgan?
MARTIN LAWRENCE: We tried to make each other laugh. Every comic loves to make another comic laugh. If they say they don’t, then they’re lying. But it’s all in fun. I’m at a stage in my career that I don’t vie for position. I don’t feel like I got to compete to prove myself.”
After doing Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, what made you want to do another ensemble comedy?
LAWRENCE: 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 we’ve 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 it’s because he put it together, so I’ve got to give my man the credit for that.
THEGRIO: Does it surprise you feel that some many of your peers were drawn to this film for the opportunity to work with you?
LAWRENCE: 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 I’ve been doing that my whole career, so I look forward to it. I’m very appreciative and thankful to have been a part of this film.
THEGRIO: Would you ever consider a return to series television?
LAWRENCE: I would never say never but right now I’m really enjoying doing films. I just love doing films and standup so I’d just rather concentrate on that but never say never. My production company has a new project called Love That Girl, that’s coming on TV One so make sure you check it out.
THEGRIO: What kind of projects are you looking to produce or star in next?
LAWRENCE: I’m looking for the next big thing. I’m interested in producing anything that’s good, anything that brings the money, but a lot of things that I’m reading just don’t feel worth putting my name on. I’m 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. They’re 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. I’ve got another Big Momma coming next, and after that Jaime Foxx and I are doing a movie. Sheneneh and Wanda, was not a hoax. We’ll be getting together to do that real soon.