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Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son – Martin Lawrence finds being a woman needs a lot of maintenance

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Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son - Brandon T Jackson and Martin Lawrence
Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son - Charmaine (Brandon T Jackson) and Big Momma (Martin Lawrence) adjust to life at a girls’ school © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox, Photo by John P Johnson
Big Moomas: Like Father, Like Son - Martin Lawrence
Big Momma (Martin Lawrence) adjust to life at a girls’ school © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox

Big Momma is back – and this time she has a back-up! Martin Lawrence reprises his role as FBI agent Malcolm Turner in Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, whose deep-cover alter-ego, Big Momma, is put back into action when his son Trent (Brandon T Jackson) witnesses a murder. In order to solve the case and protect his son, Malcolm goes undercover as the new House Mother, Big Momma, at an all-girls arts school, with Brandon as his niece, the school’s new hefty coed, Charmaine.

Martin Lawrence spoke with us about returning to one of his most popular roles, and once again putting on a dress!

How long does it take you to put on the Big Momma make up in the morning and do you dread it?

Well, I can’t say that I look forward to getting into it, but it’s my job, it’s what I do. When it used to take three hours, that used to just drive me crazy, but we had a good make up guy named Wes, who got it down to an hour and a half, and so every morning I was able to just calm myself and go through the process, but when it took three hours I just lost it.

After all these years being in and out of Big Momma’s suit, what have you learned about women?

(he laughs) There’s a lot of maintenance, it’s not as easy to get into all that stuff. Women love to impress and be their best, so it’s all worth it.

When you first played Big Momma, did you ever imagine that this would be a character that you could play in different situations?

I was hoping, yeah, because you can put Big Momma in many different situations and as long as it’s humorous, it’s funny and it makes sense, you can have a lot of fun with it.

I’m sure you had a say about Brandon playing your son, did you have a rapport with him right away?

Big Moomas: Like Father, Like Son - Brandon T Jackson and Martin Lawrence
Charmaine (Brandon T Jackson) and Big Momma (Martin Lawrence) undercover to find a murderer before he finds them. © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox

I met him at a party and he was saying how big a fan he was of mine. And I just thought he was very nice and real down to earth, and I said, ‘Don’t worry, one day we’ll get a chance to work together.’ And then this came up and when John (Whitesell, the movie’s director) mentioned his name to me, it was like, ‘Wow, yeah, this is a possibility. Let’s make it happen.’

The title of the film is Like Father Like Son, so with Brandon coming in did you give him any advice about wearing the costume and did he listen?

Oh yeah. Brandon has a lot of energy, he likes to move around a lot and have fun and play on the set, the advice I gave him was, ‘You’re going to have to sit real still until it’s time to shoot the scenes. If not, by the time the end of the day comes you are going to want to scream and you’re going to want to tear that mask off and the prosthetic.’ I told him, ‘You just need to be real calm and keep yourself cool and collected as much as possible.’

Did you have a Big Momma in your life who gave you great advice?

Yes, my mother and my grandmother. My mother wasn’t as big as Big Momma or my grandmother, but the advice and the heart and the warmth that Big Momma has comes from my mother and my grandmother.

Have you and Will Smith talked about doing Bad Boys 3 at all?

Death at a Funeral - Martin Lawrence
Martin Lawrence as Ryan in ‘Death at a Funeral’ © Screen Gems

Yeah, actually they’re writing the script as we speak, and we’re just waiting for it to come together. I think Jerry Bruckheimer’s meeting with some people. Will came down to see me when I was filming Death at a Funeral, and I was like, ‘What do you think? You think we can do it again?’ He said, ‘Oh, most definitely, we’ve got to do it again.’

I think it’s going to happen, as long as we get Michael Bay back on board, which I hear he’s interested in doing it again. If we can get the whole team back together then we have the best of both worlds.

Where would you like to see it go? What city and the story?

I enjoyed shooting in Miami, and I wouldn’t think that we would be cops in another city or anything like that. I just want it to get better, and with somebody like Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer the sky’s the limit. They like to blow things up, so I know we’d be blowing some more things up. I just would like to see me and Will stretch our acting range and just have fun.

Can you see playing Big Momma again?

Big Moomas: Like Father, Like Son - Portia Doubleday, Martin Lawrence and Brandon T Jackson
Stuck-up high school “diva” Jasmine (Portia Doubleday) meets Big Momma (Martin Lawrence) and Charmaine (Brandon T Jackson) who make an unfavorable first impression © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox

Well, I never say never. It just depends on where we go from here, if it’s in demand and people want to see it, I love to give people what they want.

Have you and Tyler Perry ever gotten together and said, ‘Let’s put Madea in with Big Momma?’ I would love to see that.

That would be nice. Tyler and I have had dinner together but we’ve never talked about it, but actually I think Tyler did tell me one time, he said he would love to make an appearance in Big Momma. That is what he told me.

Who do you think would win if Madea and Big Momma got into a fight?

I don’t’ know. We wouldn’t have a fight; we would have to team up on other people together.