No, Martin Lawrence isn't going G-rated. Sure, he's voiced a bear in the recent "Open Season", and he's done "family oriented" films like "Rebound," but, he tells Word, he's still one of the "Bad Boys" at heart.
"I'll always like adult humor more, that's my favorite," he laughs. "I do like mixing it up, you know what I mean? If I give you two children films then come back and give you an adult film. I just love not being pegged into one specific thing.”
Soon, Lawrence will produce an uncensored stand-up comedy series for Starz Entertainment channel called “1st Amendment Stand-Up,” billed as “a showcase for some of the freshest young comedians,”
Lawrence admits he's doing the G-rated and animated films to get rid of some of his "Bad Boys" image. He was arrested in 1997 in Hollywood when a guy said Lawrence punched him, and at Burbank Airport in 1996 for carrying a loaded gun.
In "Open Season," his first animated feature, he voices Boog, a bear coddled by a good-natured park ranger voiced by "Will and Grace's" Debra Messing. He also befriends a deer voiced by Ashton Kutcher. During the four years of voicing the character, he didn't meet any of his co-stars. "It was hard for a comedian," says Lawrence. "I didn't have nothing to work off of. I didn't even meet Ashton until a couple of weeks ago. I didn't meet Debra until just outside in the hall."
He depended on his co-directors telling him what to do. "The directors, Jill [Culton] and Roger [Allers], would constantly feed us everything we needed to get back on track and get out energy where needed. When I look at the movie and me and Ashton's chemistry without having ever been in the room together I'm amazed at what they have done."
There was little room for Lawrence’s trademark ad-libbing, and he didn't need much studying to voice a bear. "It was appealing that they could make him loveable, energetic and fun. That was interesting, seeing that come along."
He doesn't see himself following Eddie Murphy's PG-rated resume. His next film, "Wild Hogs," is about older men who fall in love with riding motorcycles. "That's going to be PG-13 probably," he says. “It's a good movie, a fun movie. My new partners there, John [Travolta], Tim [Allen] and William H. Macy, are my riding buddies. We rode all over New Mexico. We had so much fun doing that. Hell, I should've paid them to do that movie."
"We were a team. They all bring something different to their characters and who they are as people. Tim loves to joke all the time, but the man is one of the most genuine guys that I've met and and am friends with. John is one of the nicest people I've ever met in the business, by far. William H. Macy is a class act. Very professional and he's so talented as an actor that it's just a minute before he gets his Oscar."
A novice at riding a motorcycle, Lawrence says, "I'm a little better now. We got to ride everywhere, and then had to do scenes where we were crossing each other. parking the bikes and things like that. So I got to learn a lot."
He’d love to do another "Bad Boys" film, but nothing is in the works, and it depends on the action director and producer team (Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay) behind the first two blockbusters.
He’d love to do more stand-up, but feels his comedy film was so much of a success, it's tough to out-do. "I'm always thinking about standup, but you can't follow 'Runteldat' with just anything. If I have something to say and it's funny and the subject matter is interesting, then I'm right there."
He's also considering a third part to his drag-role "Big Momma." "Let's just say we need to have a happy, happy thought when we talk about three because that's a lot of work. I mean, to get into that fat suit and wear that fat lady day in and day out with someone strapping glue on your face and behind your ear that’s the hardest thing to do."
And, he'd like to be a villain or try a different kind of genre. "Michael Bay asked me about doing a horror movie. I told him that I was interested if I could see the script and know what the role was about. I would love to play a villain."
So far, he says, "Open Season" is his best work. "I love it. I have to say that this is one of the best films that I've done."
That is, until his next "more mature" movie.