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September 2004
Resident Evil: Apocalype: An Interview with Mike Epps

Resident Evil: Apocalype: An Interview with Mike Epps

By Wilson Morales

How did you get involved with this film?

Mike Epps: One day my agent just called me and asked, "Have you ever played the game, Resident Evil?" and I was like, "Yeah". He then said, "Well, they are doing a part 2 of the movie. Do you think you would want to be in it?" and I was like, "Yeah". Obviously one of the producers knew me from a past film and liked me and was talking about me and must have brought up my name or something. I know don't how it came about but it was something like that.

Did you see the first film?

ME: Nah, I didn't see the first film.

How did you not see that?

ME: Because I was just sleeping, man. You would be surprised of films that people just don't see. You know what I mean? I'm always working and I'm a film buff but I'm an old school film buff. I watch old school film so that I can learn so much that I just sort of miss all the new stuff.

You said that you have played the game, but how good are you?

ME: I ain't that good. My little nephews are quick on their feet with the game.

When you found out you would be in the film, did you believe your fans would expect you to die because you are black?

ME: You would be surprise, Wilson, but I was doing comedy just before I started shooting this film, and I would go on stage and I would tell the audience I was doing the movie, and they would be shocked and say "Wow!" I would they say, "You know what will happen to me in the movie?" and then they would say, "You die!" and the whole crowd would say it.

Lately, black folks are not the first to die in these sorts of films?

ME: Black folks are starting to get some love. We're popular.

Do you Hollywood is starting to take notice after all these years.

ME: Of course. They hear all the complaints. They know our gripes and disagreements in the film business. It gets to the studio offices as to how we feel about things. Every now and then you get a nice Jewish kid who likes black people and they would come in, and it would be a stream of them, and have black friends and really feel the black struggle on the acting tip and it's a reason why all of us are not dying in the movie.

Did you get to ad lib any of you scenes?

ME: I was ad-libbing some of that stuff. What so wild about this film is that the director didn't know what to do with me. If you watch the movie, my character doesn't really have a purpose in the film. I'm just a guy that was in the city before it became Armageddon or whatever it was and I was just me.

For a sci-fi first that had no comedy in the first film, why do you the producers needed a comic relief for this film?

ME: I think in life, the sense of humor and comedy always exists. I think in the end of time, something's going to be funny about it. Everybody that's living in this earth is living in a situation. It's not narrow-minded to the point where everybody is serious and nobody has a personality. I think people die telling jokes.

This is your first film that is totally catered towards a black audience. How do you feel about that?

ME: That's what was so strange to me. But you know what, Wilson, I did it because it was a challenge. I had never done anything like this before.

Do you think your career is going in the right step?

ME: I'm a survivor of life. I try to give the glory to God and appreciate what's happening to me. Just the fact that I'm in the game is great. . I'm just blessed to be working. I got a plan, but I'm humble and I try to be humble.

What are you doing in Ireland?

ME: I'm shooting "The Honeymooners" with Cedric the Entertainer.

Why in Ireland?

ME: Paramount chose this to save on the budget. One of the producers is from Ireland, but it's cool because it keeps you focus. There are no distractions and it's bland. I'm as focus as I have ever been on a film.

Did you watch enough episodes to get Ed Norton's mannerisms?

ME: I can remember when I was a baby and my mother was there watching the show. I went and bought 100 episodes and watched them. I respect it so much that the sitcom itself and Ed Norton; I'm not playing Ed Norton but my version of it, cause I'm a black man.

What do we expect to see from you that is similar to Ed Norton?

ME: I chose some of the characteristics just to give the die hard fans and to show my homage to him by using some of his traits by doing what he was doing and at the time being myself.

Will you be wearing the hat that he always used to wear?

ME: There are some scenes where I'm wearing a hat and there are some where I'm not, but at the whole time, I'm trying to do the whole Ed Norton thing.

Who's playing the wives?

ME: Gabriel Union and Regina Hall. Two nice actresses that work hard and everybody knows them in both the black and white world.

How's working with Cedric?

ME: He's a great man. We laugh and joke all day. He keeps me laughing.

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