On the Atlanta set of the comedy "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son," opening Feb. 18, "We did everything we could to make sure we were efficient and not wasteful. We didn't have bottled water. We did all the stuff we"re supposed to do," producer David Friendly told us at the film's Hollywood premiere. "We recycled our script paper. And our production designer was great about finding materials — wood, wallpaper, paper products — that were recyclable," added director John Whitesell.
In the third film in the "Big Momma" franchise, Martin Lawrence reprises his role as an FBI agent who, in the guise of Big Momma, goes undercover at a girls' school for the arts to search for an incriminating flash drive, accompanied by his stepson (Brandon T. Jackson), also in drag after having witnessed a murder. "I enjoy the character. I enjoy the franchise. It's been successful. People have come out and supported it and shown us a lot of love so why not do it again?" reasoned Lawrence about getting back into Momma's ample skin (hours in makeup notwithstanding). Jackson, less used to the transformation process, found it difficult, ditto learning to walk — or run — in women's shoes. "I broke a heel during a chase," he said.
Ana Ortiz ("Ugly Betty") plays the school headmistress, and had a blast working with Lawrence and exploring Atlanta with her daughter. "It's a very kid-friendly city. We went to the aquarium, there's a beautiful botanical garden there," she said. At home in L.A., Ortiz decked out the nursery in recycled wood and organic carpet. "We're avid recyclers, and I go to the farmers market and make my own baby food."
Jessica Lucas relished being able to sing as Jackson's singer-songwriter love interest Haley, many of whose traits mirror her own. "I appreciate her innocence and her ambition. She's going for her dream," she said. Her eco-friendly habits include recycling and water conservation. "I make sure I turn off the water when I'm washing the dishes."
"I recycle and I drive a Lexus hybrid — used, of course. I never buy new cars," said Portia Doubleday, who plays a ballerina with a mean girl streak in the movie. "She was a dream to play. It was really fun to play not being intimidated by Momma, and get out all my aggressions," laughed the actress, who had a similarly enjoyable experience shooting her role as Heather on the ABC comedy series "Mr. Sunshine." "She's crazy. She lit someone on fire. She’s very sweet on the outside so you never know when she's gonna crack."
Jasmine Burke, a diligent recycler who buys organic food and uses natural soaps and other products, said that the best part of her "drama queen" role was dancing with Big Momma. She'll be seen as a teenager confused about her sexuality in "Mississippi Damned," premiering Feb. 22 on Showtime, and a "psycho girlfriend" in the future comedy feature "Hillbilly Highway."