VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Mike Epps Talks New Film ‘Love Jacked,’ Working With Marla Gibbs
Comedian Mike Epps was hooked by a father-daughter plot for his new film Love Jacked the moment he read the script. “It was so relatable, and it was written well, and it was something I’ve seen before so many times,” Epps told uInterview exclusively.
Alfons Adetuyi’s romantic comedy film also stars 22 Jump Street’s Amber Stevens-West, Labyrinth’s Shamier Anderson, Greenleaf’s Keith David, Straight Outta Compton’s Demetrius Grosse, She’s Gotta Have It’ Lyriq Bent, The Jeffersons Marla Gibbs, Black Jesus’s Angela Gibbs, and The L Word’s Nicole Lyn.
Love Jacked follows a 28-year-old Maya (Stevens-West) with artistic ambitions and her father Ed (David), who wants her to run the family store. Seeking more independence and escaping her overbearing father, Maya travels to Africa for inspiration and returns with a fiancé.
Epps also revealed that he had a chance to do a little of his famous ad-libbing in the film. “This film was really driven by the dialogue, I didn’t get to do a lot, I had a couple nuances that got to slide in but this is one of the films where the comedy was written on the piece of paper already,” he said.
Epps is best known for his role as Day-Day Jones in Next Friday and the sequel. He has also appeared in The Hangover, Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Jumping The Broom. Epps career took off after joining HBO’s Def Comedy Jam tour in 1995, he then went on to star in movies from 1999 to now. In 2010, Epps also executive produced Napoleon: Life of an Outlaw, which is a documentary about the life of a former member of Tupac Shakur’s Outlawz.
Epps was thrilled to work on Love Jacked with veteran actress Gibbs.
“We had a great cast, Ms. Marla Gibbs from The Jeffersons was on the set,” Epps said. “I mean she was amazing, I was shocked to see how intuitive she was at her age, you know, she was so receptive and responsive at her age. She was funny and had all these great stories and just when I thought I had something over her, she knew exactly what I was doing or saying. I was like man this lady is too in tune, it was great working with someone that I grew up watching like that.”
Gibbs, 87, has had a career in the entertainment industry for over a span of five decades. She is most known for her role as George Jefferson’s maid, Florence Johnson, in the CBS sitcom, The Jeffersons which ran from 1975 to 1985. Throughout her role on The Jeffersons, Gibbs received five nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Full interview transcript below:
Q: Who is your character in “Love Jacked?”
A: I go by the name Uncle Rufus and Uncle Rufus is the uncle of the young lady Maya that’s played by Amber Stevens, and this film is about a young woman who goes to Africa for school and in the search for love she runs into a guy that is not a real African. There’s a lot of things about him that are really really fraud. She has a really really special relationship with her father who’s very very strict, who wants the best for her and we see the dynamic between the both of them, with the daughter and the father, you know, what a real father and daughter relationship is. That’s why I wanted to be part of this film; it’s so relatable and it was written well and it was something that I’ve seen before many many times.
Q: What was it like working this film?
A: Oh, it was cool, man, working on this film. I always say, “You’re just as good as the material and the director on the film.” And we had good material, we had a good director on the film. It made it really really nice and fun for us – Alfonse Adetuyi. And we had a great cast, Ms. Marla Gibbs from The Jeffersons was on the set. She was amazing. I was shocked to see how intuitive she was at her age. Like wow, she was so receptive and responsive at her age, and she was funny and she had all these great stories. Just when I thought I had gotten something on her, she knew exactly what I was doing or saying, like man this lady was so intuned. It was great working with someone I grew up watching like that.
Q: Did you get to do much ad-libbing?
A: Yeah I did get to do a little ad-libbing. This film was really driven by the dialogue, so I didn’t get to do a lot. I had a couple little nuances that I was able to slide in there, but this was one of those films where the comedy was already written on a piece of paper, I didn’t have to adlib.
Q: What was it like working with Shamier Anderson?
A: I think he did a great job. I actually thought he was African when I met him and then I heard him on the phone on the side of the trailer and I’m like “this dude ain’t from Africa.” But he pulled me, he tricked me before I got in the film so shoutout to Shamier, he did a great job, I mean excellent job.