July 6, 2004 > White Chicks
by Susana Nuñez
The man who gave audiences "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," "Scary Movie" 1 and 2, and the hilarious "In Living Color" has not lost his touch. Comedy mastermind Keenan Ivory Wayans teamed up with producer Rick Alvarez to direct one of this year's most hilarious films. Starring Keenan's infamous brothers Marlon and Shawn Wayans, "White Chicks" is another hit to add to the family list.
"White Chicks" revolves around two FBI agents who must prove to their boss that they are worthy of their badges. Marcus and Kevin Copeland (Marlon and Shawn Wayans) have a knack for screwing up on the job and their last hope is to assume the roles of usurping socialites Brittany and Tiffany Wilson (Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek). The two undergo a head-to-toe makeover and transform into the girls, equipped with mini skirts, Louis Vuitton bags, and the perfect rich-girl attitudes to match.
When they arrive at the Hamptons, they are spotted by the Wilsons' friends, Karen, Lisa, and Tori (Busy Philipps, Jennifer Carpenter, and Jessica Cauffiel), and their disguises are put to the test. In the year since they have seen the girls, they've gotten much taller and their lips have gotten fuller. "Wait a minute...Oh my God...collagen," their friends conclude. "It's totally obvious. And knee surgery? You can do that? Cool." With that, the five are off to lush parties and, of course, shopping.
In order to make the illusion as real as possible, as opposed to the "drag" look, casting was a crucial element. The two women cast as the Wilsons had to not only look like sisters, but also be close in height and weight to the Wayans brothers. Maitland Ward recalls the offbeat casting session. "After I read for the role I had to have my face measured, the distance between my eyes and my nose and my lips and chin. Then they had to make a plastic mold to make sure it would fit with Shawn's features. It was one of the most unusual auditions I've ever been on."
Make-up artists Greg Cannom (who won an Oscar for "Mrs. Doubtfire") and Keith VanderLaan came up with the designs used in the film. VanderLaan commends the brothers for their patience in the make-up chairs, since each daily session lasted up to six hours. "We'd be working away for hours, concentrating, and they couldn't move," he says. They just had to sit here and go through it and then spend the whole day acting. When they wrapped, we had to take it all off very slowly so we wouldn't ruin their skin. It was a grueling process. We expected them to lose it at some point but they never did. Their patience was amazing." Their blind devotion to comedy also led them to lose thirty pounds each in order to have smaller body frames for their roles.
Audiences will definitely enjoy seeing the Wayans brothers as never before, two tall, bright-eyed blondes. With their high-heels, they have reached a new level of comedy, and the sight alone is worth the ticket!