Martin Lawrence’s Rebound

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Better known for “You So Crazy,� “Runteldat,� “Def Comedy Jam,� “Big Momma's House,� “Bad Boys 1 & 2,� and “Nothing To Lose,� Martin Lawrence has now tamed down his outrageousness to make “Rebound,� a PG-rated film designed with tykes in mind. Perhaps taking a page out of Eddie Murphy's playbook, Martin appears to be going after the next generation with a squeaky clean flick…

Martin Lawrence may be best known mostly for the brash brand of humor we've witnessed in his stand-up routines (You So Crazy, Runteldat and Def Comedy Jam), on his TV show (Martin), and in his hit movies (Big Momma's House, Bad Boys 1 & 2 and Nothing to Lose), but he's now tamed down his outrageousness to make Rebound, a PG-rated film designed with tykes in mind. Perhaps taking a page out of Eddie Murphy's playbook, Martin appears to be going after the next generation with a squeaky clean flick which can be fun for the whole family.

BSN: Is there any truth to the rumor that you were inspired to venture into the family flick genre by Eddie Murphy, who found franchises in Dr. Dolittle, The Nutty Professor and Shrek? Plus he's done some other kid-oriented adventures like The Haunted House and Daddy Day Care.
ML: "He suggested it in a way. He said, 'Hey man, I think you and kids together would be a funny concept.' Then Rebound came along and I was able to do that."

BSN: How often do you talk to Eddie or other comedians about what you might do next?
ML: "Like I said, it was just us having a conversation, him saying, 'You should do a movie with kids, and it'd be a lot of fun. But there's nothing to elaborate on other than that."

BSN: How much did you tweak the script after you decided to do the movie?
ML: "Well, because I produced it, I was able to have input from casting to scenes to story points I didn't think worked. Things like that. Or suggesting maybe we ought to try some things I did think would work."

BSN: Do you enjoy that part of the process?
ML: "It's always fun to be able to have a voice, because it helps me to stay in tune with the project and the people that I'm working with. There's nothing worse than being on a project and not being able to have a voice. I don't like that."

BSN: So, you didn't consult him for career advice.
ML: "Nah, it's just that friends talk. We happened to talk, and I thought it was a smart idea. Then Rebound came across my desk. I thought it was very funny and an opportunity, so that's why I did it."

BSN: How hard was it working with a cast containing so many children?
ML: "They were cool. A lot of them were professional. They knew they were there to work. And that's what they did. They came there to work, so it wasn't hard at all."

BSN: Were you at all concerned about the possibility of being upstaged by cute kids?
ML: "I don't even worry about that. My days of being upstaged I never have to worry about. I just let them do what they do, be kids, and have fun. I just sat back and enjoyed it."

BSN: Do you think you'll work with kids again?
ML: "I think I will. What impressed me about this group of kids is how professional they were and how much fun they were able to have. That kind of energy gives you energy, and reminds you of when you were young."

BSN: What do you see as the message of Rebound?
ML: "The message of the story is that it's not about winning at all costs. It's about teamwork and building character, and especially about building your own character?�

BSN: Did you ever have a coach that helped build your character?
ML: "Honestly? My boxing coach. He was always encouraging and trying to keep us focused on the gym, so we wouldn't be out on the streets doing things we weren't supposed to be doing."

BSN: What did boxing do for you?
ML: "It kept me out of the streets, by giving me something to do. And it gave me a father figure in the coach who was there for me. It just reiterated what my mother was trying to teach me about focusing and getting my life together."

BSN: And who inspired you to become an actor and comedian?
ML: God inspired me, because I was blessed with the knowledge that I wanted to do this. And my mother supported it. She said, 'Whatever it is you want to do. If you believe acting or comedy is what you really want to do, I can only tell you it's not easy, it's very hard, but I'll support you.' Her supporting me enabled me to move forward."

BSN: Speaking of boxing, what do you think of Mike Tyson's going out the way he did, in such a humiliating fashion?
ML: "I just wish Mike Tyson nothing but the best. He deserves to be able to walk away and find some happiness in his life, so things aren't so confusing. God bless him.

BSN: What does fatherhood mean to you?
ML: "It means a great deal to me. I love it. To me, there ain't nothing better, because your kids keep it real with you. When you think things are bad, you look at them and they show you how things could be all right. And it's all worth it."

BSN: How important is the spiritual dimension of your life to you?
ML: "It IS my life, my reason for being."

BSN:  You have Big Momma's House 2 coming up. Does that sequel pick up where the original left off?
ML: "It's a whole different scenario. I wind up becoming a nanny in a home because the father's under investigation, and we gotta catch him. I don't want to give too much away, because we're right in the middle of filming, and I'm still putting the pieces together."

BSN: The producer of the Dukes of Hazzard recently said that he’s doing a movie version of The Jeffersons, and that he wanted you to play George, and Queen Latifah to play Wheezie. Is that gonna happen?
BSN: "Tell him to call me."


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