Over the years, Marlon Wayans has visited Chicago many times, both performing his stand-up act and doing press for various film and TV projects. However, like many people — even those of us who live in the city full-time — Wayans has concluded, “I love Chicago from March to October. Then after that, forget it.
“I hate the cold. Chicago’s cold is like — it’s evil! It’s like something out of ‘Harry Potter’! Who makes it that cold? I know it’s not practical, but I think everybody should move out of Chicago that time of year. I know I’d be out.”
During a chat to promote his new Netflix film, “Naked” (streaming beginning Friday), Wayans pointed to the area on his hand between his thumb and forefinger and said, “I get ashy right there when I’m in Chicago during the winter. My skin actually turns ash grey right there — and it stays there the whole time I’m in Chicago, until I leave for someplace warmer.”
When he goes outside during one of our winters, “I can’t even feel my face. I don’t wipe my nose — I just let the booger-cicles freeze, because I want to keep my hands warm in my pockets.”
But Wayans has warmed — so to speak — to many other Chicago charms. “Oh my God! The restaurants, the people are all outstanding. I’m from New York, and the closest thing to New York City and all it offers is Chicago.
“Sometimes you run into places where people come off as fake. Chicago people are never like that — at least in my experience. In Chicago when people love you, they let you know. When they don’t like you they don’t hesitate to let you know that too.”
In “Naked,” a variation on “Groundhog Day” based on a Swedish film, Wayans plays Rob, an immature guy who is about to marry Megan, played by Regina Hall. Nervous about his nuptials, Rob wakes up naked in an elevator — and then is forced to relive, over and over again, the hour before the start of his wedding ceremony, until he gets things right.
As for spending a fair amount of the movie sans any kind of wardrobe, Wayans quipped, “When you got the goods, you flaunt ’em.” Turning a bit more serious, the actor and comedian explained showcasing his “goods” actually “is a metaphor for how I live my life. I think that’s true for all of us. There’s a book called ‘Live Naked.’ It tells you to live like you’re a kid, live free and have fun, and un-strap yourself from all the clouds and insecurities of life, and just enjoy every moment and live free and be free.”
Joking about the fact that in “Naked” one really only sees Wayans exposed from the rear, the actor quipped, “If you saw me from the front, that would be a different kind of movie — that would be Netflix Red, or Netflix XXX.”
Wayans is proud of the fact he has spent the past five years “working hard. … I really enjoyed producing — making movies like ‘Haunted House,’ ‘Haunted House 2,’ having my own TV show coming up on NBC [Aug. 16] named ‘Marlon,’ plus producing a film like ‘Naked’ here on Netflix — this is maturity for me, this whole past year or so.”
The performer stressed that his recent goal is to “establish myself as more of a romantic leading man, but still a guy who can be crazy and funny — and also do some things that have some heart. That said, I don’t want to grow up TOO much. I still want to be a little naughty!”