He was preparing to play an oversize ''Big Momma''

By Liane Bonin
Updated August 27, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Lisa Rose/Globe

Before Martin Lawrence collapsed from heat stroke last Sunday, his life seemed to be on the upswing. He was in the midst of a career comeback brought on by his costarring role in the Eddie Murphy vehicle ”Life.” In addition to the cop comedy ”Blue Streak,” opening Sep. 17, he was considering a variety of juicy features, including tentative plans for one long-awaited sequel. ”I would love to do a ‘Bad Boys II,”’ he told EW Online two weeks before his collapse. ”Jerry Bruckheimer’s excited, and they’re working on a script. It’s the movie, man.”

But before the 34-year-old actor could return to ”Bad Boys” territory, he was set to begin work on ”Big Momma’s House” this October. Though it was reported that Lawrence’s collapse while jogging was the unfortunate result of efforts to slim down for an upcoming movie role, his account of his ”Big Momma” role doesn’t make it sound as though that part will offer opportunities to show off his abs. ”I play an FBI agent who has to go undercover as Big Momma,” he said. ”I have to wear all these prosthetic pieces, and she’s gonna be big. She’s gonna have a couple of Nutter Butters on her, I’ll tell you that.”

Lawrence, who admits that his action roles in both ”Bad Boys” and ”Blue Streak” were ”a little taxing” physically, generally makes it a priority to get into shape before getting in front of the cameras: ”For ‘Blue Streak’ I did a lot of jogging, working out, you know, weight training. I always try to look at least half decent because I never know who’s going to be watching.”

So far, his representatives say that there have been no decisions about delaying ”Big Momma” or another upcoming project, ”See Spot Run.” Despite improvements in his condition, though, Lawrence is still on a ventilator. So it seems as if his doctors will have a say in any future work plans.

Big Momma's House

  • Movie
  • 107 minutes
  • Raja Gosnell