Interviews

Co-writer and producer Rick Alvarez talks Fifty Shades of Black

Source: Open Road Films

With more than a decade working together, actor, writer & producer Marlon Wayans e director Michael Tiddes brings this outrageous comedy called Fifty Shades of Black (Open Road Films). Marlon and Michael already worked on the A Haunted House series of movies back on 2013 and 2014. On Fifty Shades Of Black, a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey, Marlon stars in the role of Mr. Black and alongside with him are Kali Hawk, Mike Epps, Andrew Bachelor, Affion Crockett, Jane Seymour, Fred Willard, Florence Henderson, and others. The screenplay is by Marlon and Rick Alvarez who worked together on the A Haunted House series and White Chicks de 2004. I had the opportunity to speak with writer and producer Rick Alvarez last week.

Fifty Shades of Black is now playing!!!!!!

Let’s check it out the interview:

Why did Marlon and you decide to parody Fifty Shades of Grey? How is the process to pick the right genre to make the parody?

We saw the movie.  Enough said!  Seriously though, the movie took itself so serious we had to go after it.  It was also such a phenomenon.  People loved it and hated it but they all talked about it.  It became a cultural touchstone and more than just a movie about a strange relationship.  The movie begged for us to make a parody.  That’s one of the key elements when we decide what to parody – we need to feel like we HAVE to make fun of it.

The cast is very diverse. When you were writing, did you have Kali Hawk, Mike Epps, Jane Seymour, Fred Willard and Florence Henderson in mind already? 

Marlon and I rarely write to a particular voice.  We create characters that we hope will come alive no matter who is in the role.  Then we start to think about who would be funny or we do casting sessions and people inspire us.  At that point we craft the characters around those actors.  We just happened to be extremely lucky that all of these incredibly funny people wanted to be a part of the movie.

Rick Alvarez

Rick Alvarez (Source: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images North America)

I understand you worked with director Mike Tides before. How was the collaboration with him? Did he encourage the actors to improve while you were filming or he sticks with the script?

I have been working with Mike Tiddes for more than a decade.  He was an assistant, then an executive, in my company.  He left to pursue a career as a director and I was lucky enough that he came back to direct the two “A Haunted House” movies and now “Fifty Shades of Black.”  Both Mike and Marlon are like family now and we have an incredible creative relationship.  I’m lucky to work with Mike and so are the actors in our movies.  Mike never wants to get in the way of funny people being funny and gives them the freedom to improvise.  We always get a take that is true to the script, then it’s time to have fun.

You have writing and producing different genres, TV programs, big budget movies and independents ones, is there any particular genre would like to work that you didn’t yet?

I love comedy!  It’s the hardest genre to do but the most fun.  I would love to do a hardcore action movie at some point.  Like “The Raid” or any John Woo film.  That would be fun.

The soundtrack plays a big part on the movie and is a really good and with very popular artists. How did you and Marlon pick the artists? The songs?

We worked with some great people who helped us put the music together.  Fortunately a lot of music artists are fans of Marlon’s and that helps a lot.  Chris Brown, for example, reached out to us through his reps and wanted to put one of his new singles in the movie and it’s the first thing you hear when the film starts.  “Sex You Back To Sleep.”  It’s perfect for the movie.

It’s a comedy and there will be a lot of laughs, what else do you want the audience take away from the movie?

We hope they have a better time watching our movie than they did “Fifty Shades Of Grey.”  If that happens we’ve done our jobs.

Have you ever thought about directing a movie?

At some point I will direct a movie.  Right now I have my hands full producing and writing projects.  When I do direct Marlon will star and Mike Tiddes will produce.  Would hate to break up the team.

What’s next for you?

Marlon and I are executive producing a comedy pilot for NBC called “Marlon” that is loosely based on his real life.  He plays an inappropriate dad in an unconventional relationship.  The script is hilarious and we hope you will see it on the NBC schedule next fall.

Did you learn anything new doing this project?

You learn a lot of new things on every movie.  On this one I learned that I’m ready to make something other than a parody because these movies are hard!  I also learned a few male stripped moves from our “Magic Mike” scene.  Hopefully they will make my wife happy.

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