Marlon Wayans & Essence Atkins Chat With BSO About New Show ‘Marlon’ and Lasting Friendships (Video) – BlackSportsOnline
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Marlon Wayans & Essence Atkins Chat With BSO About New Show ‘Marlon’ and Lasting Friendships (Video)

On Wednesday, NBC debuts its latest scripted comedy Marlon, starring Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins (Are We There Yet, Half & Half) as a newly divorced couple working together to balance careers, co-parenting and new boundaries after spending 16 years as a couple.

Jeandra LeBeauf caught up with the stars at an NBC mixer earlier this year to discuss the show’s fresh look at “gray area” co-parenting and their long lasting friendship in the business.

BSO: Congratulations on the new series, what can you tell me about it so far?

EA: The show is about a newly divorced couple, they have 2 kids, they are co-parenting and so there is nurturing and navigating. We were married 16 years and now we have to find a way to be parents and partners in raising our children and when you are dealing with personalities that are so juxtaposed like ours, you bump heads but you also have a lot of funny.

BSO: I love the perspective you are taking on the Marlon show. Most scripted comedies feature a happy-go-lucky married couple or a separated/divorced couple that hates each other and there’s no in between.

EA: Its almost the opposite, he doesn’t go away. That’s part of the story of the first season, trying to determine the boundaries since they were a couple for such a long time. I want you to have access to the children but should you be coming over so much. Things that we have to work out and sort out.

BSO: The demise of a relationship that involves children can be a tough road to navigate. Not only do you have to dissolve the adult relationship but figure out how to stand each other without traumatizing your children with unnecessary conflict. At least that’s the hope right?

MW: At the end of the day that’s always your family, and that’s what people don’t understand. Even if you start a new family that family can’t get in the way of your old family. You have to mesh the two and that takes time and it takes nurturing. 

Conflict creates comedy. We’re living in a very “gray” generation. We’re not black or white, we’re gray. The show deals with the complexities of gray, it’s not black or white. Its going to appeal to a lot of people because it’s like real life with the divorce but then again you still have love and there’s still a connection. 

Atkins, who’s known Marlon for over 20 years and worked along side him in numerous projects, calls her new role of “Ashley” the culmination of years of commitment, handwork, faith and a long standing friendship.

EA: Five years ago when I was working on Haunted House with Marlon, I had just had my son, my son was 6 weeks old when I started that movie.

Two-to- three weeks in Marlon says I’m going to do a TV show and you are going to play my wife.

Right before we shot the pilot, Marlon was on my left and he looked back at me and said, ” See I told you.”

I looked at him and my eyes filled with water. This is my 5th collaboration with him, we met in 1995. For me this is a culmination of 20 years of our relationship that we have built and a trust and I think the network saw that and believed us.


Marlon premieres on NBC on Wednesday at 9/8 p.m. CST