HOLLYWOOD — It’s not often a pair of black-comedian-disguised-in-latex-makeup films premiere in one summer, but between “Big Momma’s House” and “The Klumps” that’s happening this year. First to hit was Fox’s “Momma,” which launched May 31 at the Cinerama Dome with a party at the House of Blues.
It was at HoB that “Momma” producer David Friendly described his film as “the hardest movie to make that became the easiest.”
The hard part came when Friendly learned Martin Lawrence had a coma-inducing heat stroke attack two months before production started. The producer said hearing the news was “a moment frozen in time. Your first reaction is your heart goes out to him. Then the next thought is: ‘Oh my God, what happened to my movie?’ ”
Production was pushed back from November to January, but then the 57-day shoot came in on time and on budget. Director Raja Gosnell said one key to speeding along a film so dependent on elaborate prosthetics is “having a very good photo double so in wide and over-the-shoulder shots you don’t need your star sitting there.”
At the party, Lawrence was sitting there while Morris Day and the Time played at a decibel level not heard since the Gulf War’s opening bombardment, while Fox execs Bill Mechanic, Tom Rothman and Hutch Parker mingled with guests Will Smith, Magic Johnson, Carl Lewis, Laila Ali, Jermaine Jackson, Jim Berkus, Richard Green and Billy Rose.