Death at a Funeral stars talk about being Jedis

    North by Northwestern had to opportunity to participate in a conference call with Chris Rock and Tracy Morgan, stars of the new film Death at a Funeral. Read our review of the movie here.

    What makes the film different from the 2007 British version?

    Chris Rock: Anything with Tracy Morgan in it is different. You take Malcom X and put Tracy in it instead of Denzel, it’s a different movie.

    What do you think are the differences between the humor, and what makes the remixing more appealing than the original?

    Tracy Morgan when he performed at Northwestern in Feb. 2007. Photo by Katie Tang / North by Northwestern.

    CR: The British are very mannered. They’re very polite with their comedy. [This movie is like] a Timbaland remix. It’s a lot more blunt and a lot more — maybe a little bit more over-the-top in places, so it’s a funkier version. It’s like Aretha Franklin singing a Beatles song.

    Tracy Morgan: Donny Hathaway singing “I’m a Jealous Guy.” That’s a John Lennon version, and then you have the Donny version.

    What was the experience of being able to have Peter Dinklage involved with both movies?

    CR: Every now and then we’re trying to do new stuff, and he goes, “We tried that. Why don’t you try this?” so we wouldn’t repeat mistakes they did in the first.

    What will you leave your audience to think about after experiencing this film?

    CR: This movie is really about accepting your family for who they are, not to judge people. This guy finds out his dad is gay, and he’s all right with it. It’s all right. That’s my dad, and I love him not matter what. So this is a big movie for the African American community. We need to get off this bashing gay people crap.

    You guys are both SNL alums. There’s some other people who’ve done some pretty big TV work, Martin Lawrence included. What’s it like to get to work with each other again, and how’s the energy similar to Saturday Night Live if it is?

    TM: For me, being a part of this movie was like my brothers. My big brothers, I was about to have a fight in the park, and my big brothers were there, so I had to win. I had to win.

    CR: It was amazing. I trust Tracy because Tracy has the Jedi training of SNL. There’s only a few, especially a few of us black men that have gone through this Jedi training and survived it. So we are brothers. We are frat brothers.

    What is your favorite scene in the movie and why?

    CR: My favorite scene in the movie, I just love Tracy and Danny on the toilet.

    TM: When I first did that scene, I did it so subdued, and they were like, wait a minute. You just got poop in your hand, you have to go crazy. You got to go ballistic, and that’s when we got it.

    Tracy, you did a stand-up show at Northwestern during the winter. I was wondering how you think the show went and what you thought about the Northwestern community.

    TM: Well, they didn’t boo me, so I think it went well, simple and plain. They laughed; they stood up out there, so I think it went well. As far as Northwestern community, I love you guys. You guys are great. You’re the future.

    CR: And you wrote Tracy a big-ass check.


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