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Rick Famuyiwa, Nigerian American Writer Director Of "our Family Wedding" by Ndipe(m): 5:36am On Mar 12, 2010
Playing interracial marriage for slapstick laughsBy LyndaGorov Los Angeles : CA : USA | 1 day ago 1 0 Views: 450 [ Close Window ] « Prev Next » Image

Director Rick Famuyiwa
Posted by: LyndaGorov
Director does his thing.See All Images Forget social relevance. The first thing on writer-director Rick Famuyiwa’s mind is funny. Then maybe he’ll get around to making statements that matter.
When co-writing “Our Family Wedding,” for instance, Famuyiwa says he concentrated on characters the audience could relate to – but who would also make them laugh. Still, he knew that throwing black and brown together might also give the raucous romantic comedy a certain underlying gravitas.
“You make films and people take from them what they will and they come with their own personal experiences,” Famuyiwa said. “For someone, it might just be, ‘I’m going to a really funny film and I ate my popcorn and my hotdog.’ And someone else might feel a particular kinship with a particular character or situation.

“I’m of the school that I don’t necessarily try to make a statement,” he added. “But everything comes from your own personal background.”
Famuyiwa, for the record, is a first generation Nigerian-American who grew up in the Inglewood section of Los Angeles. Sometimes the name throws folks. He’s gotten, “I thought you’d be Japanese” more than once – although less so with each film. Those include the sleeper hit “The Wood” and “Brown Sugar,” both starring Taye DiggsTaye Diggs, who has a small part in “Our Family Wedding.” Famuyiwa also wrote the screenplay for 2007’s “Talk Radio,” with Don CheadleDon Cheadle.
“The first press junket for my first film was the NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists] and I walked in and everyone was like, ‘Oh, ok,’” he said, laughing. “You could tell they were ready to start grilling me on, ‘How do you know this stuff?’ Then it was, ‘Oh, he’s actually African-American.’ “
Famuyiwa started writing the script for his latest movie in the middle of the 2008 presidential elections, when there was debate whether Latinos would vote for a black president. “I can’t say the time didn’t feel right for a film like this,” he said, noting that sometimes movies with minorities in the leads take on extra significance only because there are so few of them to start.
The black experience represents half of the Los Angeles-set “Our Family Wedding,” the Latino experience the other. The movie stars America Ferrera of “Ugly Betty” fame and Lance Gross of Tyler PerryTyler Perry’s “House of Payne” as a couple of college students whose unexpected plans to wed have their fathers throwing fits and getting into fisticuffs. Carlos Mencia plays one dad, a successful garage shop owner/family man who has a city contract to tow cars. Academy Award-winner Forest WhitakerForest Whitaker plays the other, an equally successful disc jockey and ladies man.
The movie was written with Ferrera in mind. Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland,” “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” and TVs “ER” and “Blue Shield” among so many other muscular, masculine parts) was a less obvious choice. In fact the actor’s interest caught Famuyiwa off guard.
“His agent called me up and said, ‘Have you ever thought about Forest for something like this?’ he said “I was like, ‘Are you serious, he would want to do a comedy?’ I’d seen him on “Saturday Night Live and when the idea was brought to my attention, it just immediately clicked.’
That’s Whitaker on screen doing pratfalls and making funny faces. And, yes, that’s him as – how to put this delicately – the object of a Viagra-chomping goat’s affections.
“Comedy is about tension; tension is about truth,” said Famuyiwa, 36, who was a double major in cinema/television production and critical studies at the University of Southern California. “Forest can be such a master of his craft. I knew he could get to the truth of his character. Plus getting him mauled and humped by a goat just seemed a funnier image to me than if a stand-up comedian was in his place.”
That’s the broadest image in a fairly broad comedy. Famuyiwa conceded, “We dance around the line; I don’t know if we went over it.” That’s particularly true with regards to the film’s racial aspects, especially with how the grandmothers react to the intended interracial couple and how the fathers one-up name-call like grade school kids. Still, he says moviegoers have come up to him after screenings to say they’ve experienced the exact same things in their own families.
“Yes, there is broadness in aspects of the film, but when there’s an underlying truth is when you go for it,” he said.
The truth, for instance, is that in Nigerian society the goat is a big celebration piece. Then Famuyiwa found out it’s the same in Mexican celebrations and the celebrations of many other cultures. The goat was in and staying in.
“I felt I could introduce that because it came from personal experience,” he said. “I could push that joke. I can only hope people will be in on it.”
Re: Rick Famuyiwa, Nigerian American Writer Director Of "our Family Wedding" by omar22(m): 7:31am On Mar 12, 2010
I saw the woods when it came out very impress not the Nollywood crap we see
Re: Rick Famuyiwa, Nigerian American Writer Director Of "our Family Wedding" by saintkola(m): 12:02am On Sep 29, 2010
Very lame movie, So cliche
Re: Rick Famuyiwa, Nigerian American Writer Director Of "our Family Wedding" by omar22(m): 6:22am On Sep 29, 2010
Its a movie with a proper storyline,

Yeah not those one, that the actors/actresses would be looking down their nose at you
Re: Rick Famuyiwa, Nigerian American Writer Director Of "our Family Wedding" by favouredjb(f): 9:45am On Oct 02, 2010
I love the movie
Re: Rick Famuyiwa, Nigerian American Writer Director Of "our Family Wedding" by Chukslar: 9:46am On Oct 02, 2010

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