You won't see Marlon Wayans reprising his role as Ripcord in "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" this spring — he and most of his co-stars were written out of the sequel to 2009's "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" — but you will see him in the found-footage independent comedy "A Haunted House" beginning Friday.
Actually, the reason you'll see him in "A Haunted House" is because he isn't in "Retaliation."
Wayans used the time instead to write and star in "A Haunted House," which revolves around an African-American couple and their various attempts to get rid of the demon who is haunting their house. As I learned over my sushi lunch with Wayans last month at Sunda, the 40-year-old actor and father of two tries to put a positive spin on just about everything, except for maybe his departure from the "Scary Movie" franchise.
The following is an edited version of a longer conversation.
Luis: I heard you wanted to eat here because it's a little healthier. Do you always eat healthy?
Marlon: I do. But I haven't been eating as well lately because I've been traveling and I miss my kids. I've been less disciplined. I'm on an 18-day road trip. There's going to be cheating here and there. But I also work out a lot.
Luis: It shows in your films. Has an actor shown their butt on the big screen more than you have?
Marlon: Never. I definitely have that title. I've been naked in "Norbit," the "Scary Movie" DVD, "Don't Be a Menace," "Senseless"...
Luis: "Marmaduke" …
Marlon: No, I wasn't naked in "Marmaduke." In "A Haunted House," I'm naked twice. "Requiem for a Dream" — I was naked. It's a nice (butt). Why not show it? I did the Insanity workout to prepare for this movie. For my next movie, I'm doing CrossFit. That (butt) is going to be banging.
Luis: Have you ever gotten in trouble for mooning people?
Marlon: Oh, yeah. Thank God, I got famous. I got suspended a lot, but mostly for fighting. I was going to be valedictorian in elementary school, but I got into too many fights, and they made me salutatorian. I was smart back in the day. Now I'm just an idiot.
Luis: I don't see you as a fighter.
Marlon: I grew up in the projects. You have no choice but to fight. My jokes used to get me in fights. That shows that you won a snap contest — if they want to fight. When bigger guys beat me up, I thought, "This is nothing compared to how (my brother) Shawn punches me in the chest."
Luis: Is "A Haunted House" the first film you created without any of your family members?
Marlon: It's the first time I wrote a movie without them that got produced. It had to do with the genre I picked, the budget I picked, and being that my brothers are all busy. Shawn is writing a movie, and Keenen is working on TV and movie stuff, so it wasn't an opportune time.
Luis: Some actors believe if you want to land a leading role you like, you have to write it yourself. Is that what made you want to create this movie?
Marlon: I got written out of "G.I. Joe" and was like, welp, I'm going to go back to what I do: writing and producing comedy. I think it's a blessing they wrote me out of the movie. I would have never had a chance to do this. I was able to write myself a role I wanted to play: the straight man. I got to be funny and, at the same time, be the straight man to Cedric the Entertainer, Nick Swardson and David Koechner.
(The food arrives. Wayans unapologetically uses his hands rather than a fork or chopsticks to eat the shared sushi.)
Luis: How do you think critics will receive the movie?