A minute with: Martin Lawrence talking "Big Mommas"

LOS ANGELES Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:45am EST

Cast member Martin Lawrence gestures at the world premiere of 'Wild Hogs' at El Capitan theater in Hollywood, California, February 27, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Cast member Martin Lawrence gestures at the world premiere of 'Wild Hogs' at El Capitan theater in Hollywood, California, February 27, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Martin Lawrence has starred in big-budget action flicks like "Bad Boys" and motorcycle riding comedy "Wild Hogs," but his most famous role may be one in which he portrays a woman in his "Big Momma" movies.

Martin portrays an FBI agent who dresses as a no-nonsense female who goes by Big Momma in order to catch the crooks. He reprises that role in "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son," which debuts on Friday. Lawrence sat down to talk with Reuters about the new movie, and the role.

Q: Why reprise this character for the third time?

A: "Because I enjoy playing her. Big Momma is an endearing character, she's lovable, smart, funny, spicy, in your face attitude, she can kick some butt."

Q: Which of her traits do you like best.

A: "The humor. It's her humor, her mannerisms, the way she says things, the funny things she says."

Q: Is that improv or how much do you go off the script?

A: "Some things are on the script but a lot is improv."

Q: What's the most challenging part of playing Big Momma?

A: "Getting into the make-up. It's so tedious, there's nothing like that. To go through that process every day, it used to be three hours. Now, we got it down to an hour and a half. Glue every day, behind your ears and in your eyelashes and eyebrows. It's not normal having another face glued to your face."

Q: Now you've got your new sidekick (Brandon T. Jackson), and at least you had a partner who was sharing your pain.

A: "Well yeah, it's always good to have a partner, you know? ... I was glad we were able to get Brandon, he did a real good job. He did his thing, he delivered and it was good."

Q: Do you have a favorite scene or moment in the film that, when you look back, you're like 'oh yeah, that's it.'

A: "I enjoy the twister scene because it was funny. Faizon Love was so good in the movie. And, telling my son that he, you know, signing his papers for him to rap and him telling me that he wanted to go off to college, there's no rush to greatness. That was a favorite scene."

Q: It's interesting that you guys really incorporated so much of what young pop culture is into today, with the music and the singing and the dancing. Was that a conscious decision to bring in this young audience?

A: "I think so. I think if you ask John Whitesell, the director, I think he would say 'yeah.' And, it's something different, you know, bring that energy, that young energy."

Q: "Having lived in her skin, what do you take away from Big Momma when you're just Martin Lawrence, doing your thing?

A: "That she's funny and that's she's lovable and that she's a beautiful character to play. And how much she reminds me of my mother and my grandmother. When I look at her in the face, how she looks like that and everything. I take nothing but love from her."

Q: Did you infuse her with bits of your mother and grandmother? Are there signature things?

A: "I'm sure I did. From the voice to the attitude ... (but) I don't think there's one specific thing."

Q: Do you think you'll continue doing this franchise?

A: "I'm going to ride it until the wheels fall off. If this is the last one then thank you all for supporting it and being there and if it's not, I'll see you soon."

Q: "What do you want to see Big Momma do or tackle that she hasn't done yet. She's done a lot here"

A: "She hasn't gone overseas. She hasn't gone to Paris; she hasn't gone to Rome. It'd be fun, it'd be fun to go overseas.

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