The hilarious Lamorne Morris has been making us laugh for years on the small screen, and can currently be seen co-starring alongside Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams in new Warner Bros. comedy Game Night.
In this exclusive interview with EBONY, the New Girl star breaks down his relationship with on-screen wife, Kylie Bunbury, learning a thing or two from the great Jeffrey Wright and why this role almost hit a little too close to home.
Tell me a little bit about Kevin & Michelle!
On the surface, they’re a cookie-cutter, happy couple. They’re what you think of when you think of a perfect couple. They have their group of friends they meet up with every week, and they have a good time. Then, you realize that underneath the surface, they’re just like everyone else, you know? They have some jealousy issues, some trust issues, some secrets, and I think most couples go through that. I think it’s interesting how it plays out and when it plays out. Like, “We’re trying to solve a murder, and you want to bring this sh*t up now?” [Laughs].
The truth never comes out when you need it to, it always comes out during inopportune times.
What appealed to you about playing Kevin while you were reading the script?
He was me! I been through this before, let me tell you! I dated a girl once, and I’m not going to tell you who it was…
Was she of note?
She wasn’t, but the other guy was! She stepped out on me with a star, and that had my head spinnin’ in all kinds of circles. I don’t want to incriminate anyone by saying too much more, but when I read the script, I said, “Who ya’ll been talking to? You been talking to my ex?” [Laughs].
How was your chemistry with Kylie Bunbury off-set, and do you think it translated well within the film?
We had mutual friends, we auditioned together and we’ve always known of one another. I always heard good things about her, and she was perfect, she’s great. You never know how a new scene partner is going to be, but it was easy. Outside of filming, we played board games a lot, we got dinners and drinks together as a cast, and you begin to build that chemistry.
When I’m performing, I like to make up a bunch of random sh*t and see what sticks, and she took it like a champ. The chemistry definitely plays well on camera. We also just like and have respect for each other. I like her boyfriend, she likes my girlfriend, and we all became a big happy family on set.
As a comic, improv is probably nothing for you. How did Kylie fare?
Kylie rolled with it! She likes to say she’s not a comedic individual, but comedy is truth. If you’re playing the scene honestly, the writing will make for a funny moment, and she delivered brilliantly. She helped me too, because here I am, bouncing sh*t off the wall, and there she is too kind of help direct and shift the moment.
How was it working with this ensemble cast, including Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams?
It was nuts! It was a lesson for me, I was taking notes! Even when Jeffrey Wright stepped in, I almost fell out. He’s an example of how you can play the “straight” guy, the non-over-the-top funny guy, and still get people to laugh. Jesse Plemons, his character doesn’t tell one joke, but you’re laughing every time he’s on camera.
I just stole from people, to be honest, you know? Everything Jeffery Wright was doing, I was clocking him. I was really trying to be a sponge absorbing everything everyone did.
What was it like working with the two directors, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, on this film?
There were times you’d see one of them say, “Try the line like this,” and the other look over and respond, “Really? I think what we have is hilarious,” but if there was any kind of major disagreement, they sure didn’t let us see it.
Overall, though, I was used to that atmosphere because on the set of New Girl, you have a director and the writer giving notes and suggestions. One is more about performance and the other is usually about trying a different joke, so it was nothing new for me.
You mentioned New Girl. I know you’re most known for television roles, but you also have an ever-growing film resume. Do you have a preference between film and television?
TV becomes easier because you get to spend time with that character. It’s going to go on for a while, and the more you know something, the easier it becomes, the less nerves you have about it and the better it is for improv because you have that camaraderie between cast regulars. In film, it’s harder because you got to get in and get out. Sometimes, it’s even fake chemistry because you don’t know this person. Not saying you can’t “act” chemistry, but it’s better to have it authentically.
It’s hard to give a preference! I like spending time with the same people, so TV is great, but movies are cool because they’re almost like a mini-vacation. It’s cool to see other parts of the country or the world and get paid for it! [Laughs].
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.