Making his landmark in comedy films, actor/screenwriter Shawn Wayans may be best
known for his screenwriting effort in the Scary Movie franchise, Scary Movie
(2000, received a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination for playing Ray Wilkins),
Scary Movie 2 (2001, also reprised the role), Scary Movie 3 (2003), Scary Movie
4 (2006) and the forthcoming Scary Movie 5 (2008). Embarking on his acting
career in the spoof movie I’m Gonna Get You Sucka (1989), Wayans gradually came
to attention with roles in the sketch show “In Living Color” (1990-1993, first
performed as the DJ), the self-directed/written sitcom “The Wayans Bros”
(1995-1999) and the self-written White Chicks (2004, won a BET Comedy Award for
his screenwriting attempt).
Wayans, who spent over $10,000 for make-up in White Chicks (2004), once became
the center of a lawsuit by a Connecticut production company which claimed they
had the original concept of the movie. Shawn Wayans is known as a part of an
entertainer family, along with Keenan Ivory Wayans and Damon Wayans.
Childhood and Family:
The second youngest of ten siblings, Shawn Wayans was born on January 19, 1971,
in New York City to Howell Wayans (grocery store manager) and Elvira Wayans
(homemaker, social worker). Among his siblings, several of them become actors:
Dwayne Wayans (born in 1957), Keenan Ivory Wayans (also
writer/producer/director, born in 1958), Damon Wayans (also writer/producer,
born in 1960), Kim Wayans (also writer/singer, born in 1961) and Marlon Wayans
(also writer, born in 1972). Shawn, who graduated from Bayard Rustin High School
for the Humanities in 1989, later worked in the cinematic industry with his
brothers Keenan and Damon.
Shawn Wayans made his first movie appearance as a pedestrian in the spoof movie
I’m Gonna Get You Sucka (1989), directed by his brother, Keenan Ivory Wayans. It
eventually led to his involvement in the sketch show “In Living Color”
(1990-1993), in which he first performed as the show’s DJ (1990-1992, billed as
SW-1) and later became a featured performer, playing various characters
Wayans, with his siblings, also had various roles in the TV musical comedy The
Best of Robert Townsend & His Partners in Crime (1991). He then made an episodic
performance as Robo in “MacGyver” (1991) and Dominique in the sitcom “Hangin’
with Mr. Cooper” (1993), before carrying out multiple tasks in the sitcom “The
Wayans Bros” (1995-1999, director, screenwriter, producer, executive consultant
and actor). For his fine acting as Shawn Williams in the latter sitcom, Wayans
received a Kids’ Choice’s Blimp nomination.
A year later, he co-wrote and co-executive produced (with brother Marlon) a
parody of the Robin Hood tale titled Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While
Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996, also starred as Ashtray). The same year,
Wayans lent his voice for Toof in the short-lived animation series “Waynehead”
(1996). Detouring to the action thriller genre, the actor was seen as Valentine
in New Blood (1999).
Wayans’ fame was soon heightened after playing Ray Wilkins in the successful,
self-written parody project Scary Movie (2000, received a Blockbuster
Entertainment nomination for Favorite Actor in Comedy). The following years, he
resumed the success by writing the sequel Scary Movie 2 (2001, also played Ray
Wilkins) and developing the movie’s characters in Scary Movie 3 (2003) and Scary
Movie 4 (2006).
In between his Scary Movie efforts, Wayans co-wrote and starred as FBI agent
Kevin Copeland, alongside brother Marlon, in the comedy White Chicks (2004).
Receiving mixed reviews, he won a BET Comedy award for Outstanding Writing and
earned three Razzie nominations, one for Worst Actress, one for Worst Screen
Couple, and another for Worst Screenplay.
Still with his brothers, Wayans recently worked on the crime comedy Little Man
(2006), where he was credited as the co-writer (along with brother Keenan
Ivory), the producer, and an actor (costarred with Marlon, as Darryl). The three
brothers were also credited with the Nickelodeon animated show about the
misadventures of nine kids growing up in the inner city, Thugaboo: Sneaker
Madness (2006, also did voiceover and executive produced).
In 2007, Wayans is scheduled to release his self-written comedy movie The
Munsters. He will also further develop the characters for the upcoming fifth
installment of Scary Movie, Scary Movie 5 (2008).
- BET Comedy: Outstanding Writing for a Box Office Movie, White Chicks,