In the comedy film Big Momma’s: Like Father, Like Son, FBI Agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence) is back undercover as alter-ego Big Momma, but this time he is joined by his teenage stepson Trent (Brandon T. Jackson). After Trent witnesses a murder, he does a little undercover work of his own, as the hefty Charmaine, as the two go to an all-girls performing arts school to find the killer before he finds them.
During the film’s recent press day, actor/comedian Martin Lawrence talked about returning to the character of Big Momma for the third time, dreading the make-up process to become the larger-than-life matriarch, the possibility of Big Momma teaming up with Tyler Perry’s Madea, and how he’d definitely put on the fat suit again, if the audience demanded it. He also talked about the status of Bad Boys 3 and his desire to re-team with co-star Will Smith, along with returning to the character of Sheneneh, opposite Jamie Foxx as Wanda, for The Skank Robbers. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
“they’re writing the script, as we speak. We’re just waiting for it to come together. I think Jerry Bruckheimer is meeting with some of my people. Will came down to see me, when I was filming Death at a Funeral, and I was like, “What do you think? Do you think we can do it again?” And, he said, “Oh, most definitely! We’ve gotta do it again.” So, I think it’s going to happen, as long as we get Michael Bay back on board, which I hear he’s interested in doing it again. If we can get the whole team back together, then we have the best of both worlds.”
Here’s the full interview. More on Bad Boys 3 and other future projects below.
Question: After all these years of playing Big Momma, what have you learned about women that you didn’t know before?
MARTIN LAWRENCE: There’s a lot of maintenance. It’s not as easy to get into all that stuff. Women love to impress and be their best, so it’s work, but it’s all worth it when it comes together.
When you first played Big Momma, did you ever imagine that this would be a character that you could play in different situations?
LAWRENCE: I was hoping. You can put Big Momma in many different situations and, as long as it’s humorous, funny and it makes sense, you can have a lot of fun with her.
LAWRENCE: Coach (director John Whitesell) made it look real. I had to sit real still. Obviously, Big Momma didn’t have to move. I just had to pose, so they kept me real cool with the fans and everything.
How long did it take you to put that make-up on? Did you dread having to do it?
LAWRENCE: I can’t say that I look forward to getting into it, but it’s my job. It’s what I do. When it used to take three hours, that used to just drive me crazy. But, we have a good make-up guy, who got it down to an hour and a half. So, every morning, I was able to just calm myself and go through the process. But, when it took three hours, I just wanted to lose it.
Have you ever thought about getting together with Tyler Perry and doing a film with Big Momma and Madea?
LAWRENCE: That would be nice. We’ve had dinner before together, but we didn’t talk about it. I think Tyler did tell me one time that he would love to make an appearance in Big Momma. They would have to team up on other people together. We wouldn’t have them fight.
Big Momma gives great advice. Did you have somebody like that, in your own life?
LAWRENCE: My mother and my grandmother. My mother wasn’t as big as Big Momma, or my grandmother, but the advice and the heart and the warmth that Big Momma has, comes from my mother and my grandmother.
Do you agree with Big Momma’s speech about women and their size?
LAWRENCE: I don’t really judge. To each his own. You like what you like. If you want someone who’s big-boned and you like that, ain’t nothing wrong with having a little extra meat on their. If you like them thin-boned, then that’s okay too.
LAWRENCE: Well, I met him at a party and he was saying how big a fan he was. I just thought he was very nice, when I met him. He’s real down-to-earth. I said, “Don’t worry, one day, we’ll get a chance to work together.” And then, this came up and when (director) John [Whitesell] mentioned his name to me, I was like, “Wow, yeah, this is a possibility. Let’s make it happen.”
Did you give Brandon T. Jackson any advice about doing the costume, and did he listen?
LAWRENCE: Yeah, the advice I gave him was, “Once you get into all this make-up and this costume, you’re gonna have to sit real still, until it’s time to shoot the scenes. If not, by the time the end of the day comes, you’re gonna wanna scream and tear the mask and prosthetics off.” Brandon has a lot of energy. He likes to move around a lot and have fun and play on the set. So, I told him, “You just need to be real calm and keep yourself cool and collected, as much as possible.”
Did you and Brandon get to have any fun off set, while you were filming in Atlanta?
LAWRENCE: We didn’t really hang out like that. When I’m playing Big Momma, it’s so much work that all I want to do, when I’m finished, is go back home and just relax and study my lines and get ready for the next day.
LAWRENCE: Most definitely. If we do a fourth film, Faizon would most definitely have to come back.
How involved did you get with the script?
LAWRENCE: I worked with (director) John [Whitesell]. I would read the script and, if there were things in there that I liked or disliked, I would go over it with him, and he helped me try to make some adjustments and changed things to get it to where it was something that I enjoyed. We tried to make the best film we could.
When you’re playing Big Momma, does it take over sometimes?
LAWRENCE: I just try to do what I think Big Momma would do naturally, and add the heart that she would have and the humor that I think she would have, and the action. I’m undercover and I’m supposed to be this FBI agent that’s very good at what he does, so I’ve got to stay in the character that I’m in.
Any chance you’ll play Big Momma again, in another film?
LAWRENCE: Well, I never say never. It just depends on where we go from here. If it’s in demand and the people want to see it, then I’d love to give the people what they want.
LAWRENCE: Yeah, actually they’re writing the script, as we speak. We’re just waiting for it to come together. I think Jerry Bruckheimer is meeting with some of my people. Will came down to see me, when I was filming Death at a Funeral, and I was like, “What do you think? Do you think we can do it again?” And, he said, “Oh, most definitely! We’ve gotta do it again.” So, I think it’s going to happen, as long as we get Michael Bay back on board, which I hear he’s interested in doing it again. If we can get the whole team back together, then we have the best of both worlds.
Where would you like to see that go?
LAWRENCE: I enjoy shooting in Miami. It just depends on what other storyline you have in Miami. I don’t think that we would be cops in another city, or anything like that. I just want it to get better. With somebody like Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer, the sky’s the limit. They like to blow things up, so I know we’ll be blowing some more things up. I’d just like to see us have a lot of fun, and me and Will stretch our acting range.
Do you know what you’ll be doing next?
LAWRENCE: Things are in the works. We’ve talked about Bad Boys 3. We’ve talked about me and Jamie Foxx doing a movie called The Skank Robbers, that takes the characters from Martin, Sheneneh and Wanda, and puts them together. They’re trying to work that script out. And, I’m probably going back out on a stand-up tour in April. I’m just going to have fun with it and let it ride until it’s time to come off the road.
Will you also tape that for a special?
LAWRENCE: For a concert film, yeah. Probably at the end of the tour.
LAWRENCE: I would think so ‘cause they’re fun characters to play. They’re beloved characters. Everybody that knows these characters and has seen us play these characters, wants us to play these characters. It’s a lot of fun. Sheneneh, to me, is one of the most hilarious characters that I’ve played. I love playing her.
How did that collaboration come about?
LAWRENCE: Jamie called me and was like, “Martin, man, I’ve got this idea. We’ve gotta do this!” And, I said, “Jamie, you’re asking for a big favor. I don’t even know if we know each other like that.” Then, he finally convinced me. He said, “Let’s just give it a shot. Let’s shoot it and, if the people love it, we’ll take it from there.”
Don’t you think Sheneneh is prettier than Wanda?
LAWRENCE: Yeah, she is.
People call you because they know if you’re in a film, people are going to go see it. Do you feel like you have to meet a certain standard, knowing that people will turn up to see whatever you do?
LAWRENCE: I would like to think I bring a certain quality to it. I try to always step up to the plate, be professional, be good at what I’m doing and deliver on the character. In Hollywood, what more can you ask for. You want a consummate professional.
BIG MOMMA’S: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON opens on February 18th