Derek Morgan plays Anthony in A Madea’s Family Funeral where marital infidelity played a major part in his tragic death. Derek continues his talk with ATM on marriage infidelity and life.
ATM: Where did you see the funniest and serious moments in A Madea Family Funeral?
DM: The journey of Madea and the family in this film is funny. Everyone is coming together for an anniversary party for Anthony and Vianne. The seriousness of the film is not the funeral. It is all the revelations that happen after. You find out about infidelity, the sacrifices Vianne made to raise the children, and the abuse from Anthony. She kept her mouth shut for the sake of the children. Vianne made huge sacrifices to make sure the children were raised properly and provided for.
No one knew these things. She makes all these revelations at the end. They did not see what she was doing. As far as they were concerned, she was Anthony’s wife. No one can see what someone decides in their heart. It is a great lesson in sacrifice. Sometimes people will sacrifice their own lives to make sure others are safe, provided for, everyone is eating, and clothed. It is sad on the other end that you have abuse going on. There is some domestic issue that goes on in every family, and sometimes no one knows about it until later on. You have to applaud a person who keeps their mouths shut until it is time to reveal it. Then it’s revealed that Vianne was had a side piece. In drama, people are talking because they can’t hold it in any longer.
ATM: In relationships when two people get together whether it is a boyfriend or girlfriend or same-sex or husband and wife – different people go through different things. It is great when you first get together everything is fine. The things you go through can change how you think. In our relationship society, you have to go back to the person who you are with. You have to downsize your new intellect or experience to continue with your partner. Infidelity comes into play when people go to find someone to match this new found knowledge of life. So, I can understand why someone would have an extramarital affair on their spouse. Or on their boyfriend or girlfriend. They do not have to downsize their new information with the “cheating person.”
DM: I am trying to understand, and I almost caught it. I was right there.
ATM: You have two people. These two people are going to go through things in life. This is just life regardless of whether this is intended or not. You have person A who goes through drug addiction. This drug addiction is going to change who they are. You have person B who gets into a car accident. This car accident is also going to change who they are. They are not going to be the same person mentally. This happens subconsciously. They have to come back to their partner and downsize the new knowledge learned from their events or experiences. I know it is about being empathetic and showing sympathy. This partner cannot match up to their intellect. Person A is a new person and has become a re-birthed person. This may not match up with the person who they were before with their spouse. This is the reason someone would commit infidelity; they are trying to match their emotional levels to someone else.
DM: Yeah. Wow, I get it now. I had a man say to me one time. “A lot of times a man will seek out a new woman at a certain age. He reaches a certain age. He is with her, and she has brought him to a certain point. He has changed. She won’t change with him, so he seeks someone whom he thinks will satisfy this new person he had become.” This person was a drug addict, and this other person was in a car accident. Because they changed based on their experience when they come back to the partner – either the partner is going to be able to change and understand this new person they are, or they are going to be looking for a new partner who can deal with this new person. They may have been together 30 or 40 years, yet they seek to change spouses.
On the other hand, there are couples that grow together patiently and with lots of love are able to find it within themselves to find that new person in the same person. This is because they were able to make adjustments in life and find a way to match up again. The woman went through something, and the man went through something. Both of them were able to step up and find a new common ground. When people divorce, they call it “growing a part” or irreconcilable differences. No, it’s because someone is stubborn. “I refuse to change because you are different.” But If I say, “I love you enough to find a way. Let me analyze you. Let me figure you out because this is a new person. What do I have to do? What is it that I have to do to find common ground with you?” They say most divorces usually happen because someone refuses to change or to grow. It is stubbornness. I get what you are saying. Right?
ATM: Yes. Or it could be the other side. They could feel as though they are not strong enough to love the other partner. They do what is common, which is cheating. But in this case, they get with someone who is lower in intellect, not higher. This person likes to have a dominance and control factor.
DM: This is the other side of it. So, Anthony in the film, all his girls show up to the funeral. They have tattoos on the lower back, just above their butts saying, “Anthony’s girl.”
ATM: I think this is called a tramp stamp.
DM: Yeah, this is what its called.
ATM: Oh, is this not used in your generation?
DM: Yes, tramp stamp. No, we did not call it tramp stamp. Tattoos were not something people did.
ATM: Right, they did not do this during the 70s.
DM: No. Not women, but men did.
ATM: It was not common.
DM: No. So, if a woman had a tattoo, then she was a tramp for real whether it was above her butt or on her arm. “Yo, your girl got tattoos, bro.” This was not the thing to have. You did not want a girl to have tattoos. Now, I find it very attractive — some of these girls have sleeves. Now, guys want a girl with a sleeve or tattoos up to her neck or chin. You see a lot of tattooed women on Pinterest who are very attractive.
ATM: Oh, you like women with tattoos?
DM: Yes I do. I was married to a woman with tattoos. She had tattoos on different spots of her body. It was crazy.
ATM: How many?
DM: Three. It was a turn on. The marriage didn’t last very long. That’s the way it is sometimes.
ATM: Well, the images of the tattoos will last you. This is forever.
DM: it’s funny, the images are seared in my mind like a hot iron.
ATM: This is a tattoo in your mind.
DM: Yes they are. I can still see tattoos. One was a heart. She had a light complexion, so the heart was deep, deep red. They say colors on our pigment do not work. But if your color is covered it will work. The heart was in a place that was always covered. It stayed bright red every time. If it is on the exposed parts of your body, the sun and our pigment cause it to fade. I had a guy tell me this recently about tattoos.
ATM: The other two?
DM: The other one was a rose. I forgot the other one. The rose and heart had the biggest impression on me. Both of them were in a place that was covered. Both of them were red. This was nice. I used to enjoy those visuals.
ATM: Are you visually reminiscing as we are talking?
DM: Yes. Am I reminiscing? Most definitely. I remember the first time I saw it. It was a big turn on for me. It was huge; you have no idea. The other one was on her ankle. I think it was someone’s name. I was reminiscing. I am good now.
ATM: Have you come back to earth?
DM: Yes, I am back.
ATM: It is interesting how this film shows the progression of tattoos. Even in early productions, you did not see women characters with tattoos. This reflected what was in society.
DM: Today, we don’t get caught up in the tattoo. All of them had tramp stamps. I came up with the smile.
ATM: Why did you think he should smile if he is dead?
DM: Because it is a comedy. A man in a casket is very serious. I felt he should smile. I felt he was happy. He died happily. I said, “How about I smile?” He said, go ahead. He likes improv. He works fast, but you have to bring it. You have to know your lines to be able to do improv and keep up with the pace of his brand of film making.