One of this week’s new additions to Netflix’s seemingly endless vacuum of original content is a comedy stacked with six helpings of Marlon Wayans in Sextuplets. That’s right, the White Chicks actor has taken on the roles of an entire set of long-lost sextuplets.
When you step back and think about it, this is quite the technical feat. The movie seamlessly pulls off Marlon Wayans in completely different roles, including a woman named Dawn and a four-foot character named Baby Pete. During an exclusive interview with Sextuplet director, Michael Tiddes, he explained the process behind it all. Here’s what he said:
[Marlon] would get to work at 2 a.m. and he’d be in makeup until 9 a.m. and then go on to work a 12 to 15 hour day. Because there were multiple characters in a scene, we would shoot that scene for a number of days. So say three characters in the scene would take three days. Your first day, where you would start with would be the motion control.
Wow, talk about some serious overtime! For Sextuplets, Marlon Wayans had to be in the makeup chair for seven hours for a few of the roles before working a full day as the character. Michael Tiddes has worked with Wayans four times prior, directing him in the Haunted House films, Fifty Shades of Black and Naked. He worked with him a lot more in their latest flick! After working a long day as one character, Wayans would come back to set the following day for the next character to do the same exact scene. This process would rinse and repeat throughout the filming of Sextuplets.
Michael Tiddes explained the process further to CinemaBlend with these words:
What motion control does is you basically compose a shot and you work it out with the actors and so you get it perfect. And once you do, you get like a record button and then you do it again with just Marlon as one of these characters and nobody else in the room. And he has to get the same timing, he has to get the same eyelines and he has to be able to say all his lines. Then you move into the rest of the day is just typical coverage using body doubles and different camera tricks to to pull it off and make it feel like there's more than just one of him in the room.
I think we can confidently say Marlon Wayans was the MVP of Sextuplets. There was a lot of work weighing on the actor. He is the lead times six. Wayans had to have just about the whole script in his back pocket, along with playing off himself in the comedy about a man who discovers he has five twins while in search of his birth mom. Tiddes continues:
It is definitely logistically crazy. It's kind of what I loved about the movie - you know, the challenge of being able to do this. At the same time, it's one of those situations where I don't think I would probably do this with any other actor because you know, our relationship and has formed over the last two decades was very important to kind of the glue that holds it all together.
The director was excited for the challenge since he’s always been apt at video editing and found it to be an interesting part of filmmaking. The movie certainly gives Eddie Murphy’s Nutty Professor a run for its money, technically speaking.
Eddie Murphy may have played seven characters in the 1996 comedy, but many of them weren’t autonomously moving around throughout the film and central to the plot of the movie. Tiddes also said he wanted to push the limits of the Nutty Professor concept with his project with Marlon Wayans.
Just as Wayans and Tiddes play tribute to Murphy’s famous multiple performances, the trailblazer will soon has his own Netflix original as well. Eddie Murphy will star in Dolemite Is My Name this fall on the platform, along with returning to his beloved character Akeem Joffer in 2020’s Coming 2 America.
Sextuplets is streaming now on Netflix.