Langston Faizon Santisima was born in Santiago, Cuba on June 14, 1968, but was raised in Newark, NJ and San Diego, CA. Changing his name to Faizon Love, he started out in showbiz as a stand-up comedian at 15, before finding steady work as a colorful character actor both on TV and in film.
Among the many movies on his resume’ are Elf, Blue Crush, Friday, 3 Strikes, Money Talks, The Replacements, The Players Club, Idlewild. Torque, The Perfect Holiday and Who’s Your Caddy? On television, the burly teddy bear has appeared on such sitcoms as “That’s So Raven,” “The Wayans Bros,” and “The Parent ’Hood.” Here, Faizon talks about his new film, Couples Retreat, a battle-of-the-sexes ensemble comedy co-starring includes Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Kali Hawk, Kristin Davis and Jon Favreau.
Kam Williams: Hey, Faizon.
Faizon Love: What’s up, man?
KW: First, let me tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your work. You seem to pop up doing a hilarious cameo in every other movie I see.
FL: [Laughs] That’s funny, because this is one of the last two movies I’m doing in order to focus on writing and directing. There’s an Eddie Murphy project I may do, but I’ve already directed my first piece. [Tao of the Golden Mask]
FL: Yeah. That’s where it’s at.
KW: So, what type of pictures do you want to direct?
FL: The first one is sort of an homage to Bruce Lee, but the good guys wear black. It’s a fun popcorn movie. And I’m going to make some more Seventies-style karate movies with budgets around $5 million. Hopefully, they’ll turn over a profit.
KW: Speaking of directing, Couples Retreat was made by a first-time director, Peter Billingsley. Was that risky?
FL: Not really. Peter’s a part of the family. He’s been around the business. He had Jon [Favreau] there, and Vinnie [Vaughn] was hands-on, too. And most good directors are good actors, and Peter’s been an actor for years.
KW: Yeah, as a child, he played Ralphie in A Christmas Story.
FL: Oh man, he goes back. He was also The Dirt Bike Kid. So, he’s developed a very sensitive ear and a great eye, and he surrounded himself here with a great team.
KW: There are so many big names in this cast: Vince Vaughn… Kristin Davis… Jason Bateman…
FL: [Cuts me off] Wait, you’ve got to say, “Jason [expletive]-ing Bateman!” That’s how we say his name. Working with such a great bunch of guys made it easy to go on autopilot.
KW: But with such a talented cast, was it hard to find the space to do your thing?
FL: No, it went very naturally. It’s not about the space, it’s about the piece.
KW: Couples Retreat sounds a lot like Neil Simon’s California Suite, the way it revolves around four couples. Did you ever see that film?
FL: Yes! Exactly! A lot of people don’t know that movie.
KW: You’ve done some outrageous things on camera? Is there a line you wouldn’t cross?