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Killer Laughs From Wayans

In the new Coen brothers comedy film "The Ladykillers," Marlon Wayans plays a member of an offbeat gang that aims to pull off the heist of the century.

Unfortunately, they meet their match in an elderly church-going lady.

After showing a clip in which Wayans' character, Gawain MacSam, gets slapped over and over by the old lady, played by Irma P. Hall, he tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, tongue-in-cheek, the right side of his face is still numb.

"She bragged during the making of this movie she had been trained in stage combat," Wayans says about Hall. "She said, 'Don't worry, baby, Mama took stage combat so you don't have to worry about anything.' Then she hauled off and slammed me. And I was like, 'You failed that course, didn't you?'

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"The thing about it, I wouldn't mind some of the slapping, but we did about 30 takes because she kept forgetting her lines, and we would start from scratch. If you're going to slap somebody, you have to put lotion on. She slapped me with dry hands, and it felt like somebody was slapping me with a ton of beef jerky. My mother saw the preview and got mad. She said, 'Nobody hits my babies but me.' When I got home, she slapped me for letting somebody else slap me."

It was all laughs at The Early Show studio as Wayans continued to joke about what he went through to portray his role. He plays an inside man for a gang of thieves lead by Goldthwait Higginson (Tom Hanks) in this remake of the 1955 movie with the same name. The group pretends to practice church music in the cellar of an elderly lady's house. But the landlady is no fool, and she suspects her tenants are planning something mischievous. The thieves decide to murder their host, but they seriously underestimate the church lady.

Next for Wayans is "White Chicks" a film he did with his brother. He says, "Me and my brother, Shawn, play two FBI agents who go to the Hamptons to stop the Wilton sisters. We have to play two white women."

How did he prepare for that? "I don't know if you actually can prepare for that," he answers. "I asked Tom Hanks (who played a woman on the TV series "Bosom Buddies"). He didn't tell me how actually a woman's outfit was. He didn't tell me that the shoes are real pointy at the end."

But Wayans notes, "I think we all have a little white woman trapped deep inside of all of us. Don't you think you have one trapped inside of there?" He makes fun of Harry Smith's suit, tie and shoes. To make him "look better," he lends Smith his hat and, satisfied with the transformation, Wayans says, "Bang! Pimping. Now you got to lean back. (And say,) That's The Early Show. Tune in, holla. Say, 'holla,' no e-r. It's like dolla. No e-r. We do the 'a.' But you're looking cool. You're looking suave."

Some Facts About Marlon Wayans

  • Marlon Wayans was born in New York City on July 23, 1972.
  • Marlon is the youngest of 10 Wayans children.
  • Marlon Wayans attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City.
  • In 1992, Marlon Wayans made his feature film debut in brother Damon's action comedy showcase "Mo' Money."
  • From 1990 to 1993, Wayans was a regular on "In Living Color."
  • In 1996, Marlon and Shawn Wayans teamed as co-writers and co-stars of the feature spoof "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood."
  • From 1995 to 1999, Marlon and Shawn Wayans starred in The WB's "The Wayans Bros."
  • In 2000, Wayans co-starred in the box office success "Scary Movie"; the actor also showed his dramatic range in the drama "Requiem for a Dream."
  • In 2001, Wayans co-starred in "Scary Movie 2."
  • Marlon, along with his brothers Shawn and Keenen Ivory, have signed a two-picture deal with Revolutions Studios. The first picture under this deal, "White Chicks," which Marlon co-wrote, executive produces, and stars in, will be released in the summer of 2004.
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