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LITTLE MAN

The Wayans "Family"
On and off screen, the Wayans brothers surround themselves with a family-like team of trusted collaborators, starting with producers Alvarez and Lee R. Mayes.

Producer Alvarez spearheads the creative producing chores such as overseeing script development and casting alongside the Wayans brothers. "Rick is the guy who never sleeps,” explains Keenen. "He's very much a part of our creative process, so when we actually get to shoot the movie, he passes information around, because he was there in the trenches with us when we were writing.”

"Like us, Rick has a very calm way about him. When there's stress, he doesn't freak out,” Keenen continues. "He knows that if I say it's going to be okay, even if the walls are crumbling and the earth is shaking, it's going to be okay. He can reassure people and keep the train moving while I figure out how to fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed.”

Producer Mayes concentrates on the logistics of the moviemaking. "Lee Mayes and I have worked together since my second movie,” Keenen recalls. ”When most line producers come in, you as a director feel like they work for the studio. What's great about Lee is you feel like he's working with you. Yes, he has to answer to the studio. But, he's able to give you all the things that you want without going over budget or over schedule. He's just a master at what he does.”

"Lee and I have a great producing relationship,” notes Alvarez. "My focus is on the creative side of what we're doing and Lee is a great physical producer. He's really flexible and he knows his job better than anyone. We both serve unique roles in the process. After so many movies together, I couldn't imagine working without him.” Mayes is quick to return the compliment. "Rick makes my life much easier and I hopefully make his easier,” he says. "I love doing business this way.”

From its conception, the only two actors who were ever considered to play the "little man,” Calvin Sims, were brothers Marlon Wayans and Damon Wayans. "Marlon, Damon, and Jim Carrey are the only three actors who could pull off something like this,” says Keenen. "They're the only three guys with that kind of talent. Calvin is a human cartoon, but at the same time, you still have to connect to him. Honestly, Marlon is so good at playing him that he doesn't get lost in the cartoon. You still relate to him as a human being.”

"Calvin is a 2'6” and all piss and vinegar. He's hardcore. He was the tough guy in jail. But he's never had love,” explains Marlon. "He was abandoned by his parents, so he's got a chip on his shoulder. When the Edwards family takes him into their home, they think he's just a little cuddly-wuddly baby when he is really a gangster. Comedy ensues.”

The Calvin Sims character is a composite performance of Marlon Wayans' head and nine-year-old child actor Linden Porco's body. All the acting Marlon did in front of the camera took place on a green screen stage, mostly alone. "I don't use my body, I act with only my head,” explains Marlon. "When I'm supposed to be driving in a car, I'm really sitting on a box. Shrinking myself would have been a whole lot easier, but I kind of dug the challenge. It's mental acting and I'm normally used to being physical.”

"What Marlon has done here is really special,” according to Alvarez. "Acting with just his head was incredibly restrictive and he jumped into it and made it work. Technically, he hit every point and that was really difficult for a guy who's used to physically investing in a role. Here, he made his face this incredibly plastic, cartoon-y thing, and the character came alive when Marlon's head was put on (Linden's) body.”

"Though Shawn and Marlon appear in the movie together they never shot a single scene together,” further explains Keenen. "It was difficult for both of them, but it

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