Marlon Wayans on His Journey to Becoming a Leading Man — and the Possibility of a White Chicks Sequel

"I can do it all," the comedian and actor tells PEOPLE in this week's issue

marlon wayans
Marlon Wayans. Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty

Marlon Wayans has come a long way since he first launched his career more than three decades ago with the 1988 film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

"When I think 30 years, it's like, wow," the actor and comedian, 48, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "I just started feeling 30 years old this year!"

As he continued to shoot to fame in his twenties with his WB sitcom The Wayan Bros. and roles in comedic films like Scary Movie, Wayans says he just "wanted to be 30" so he could finally "be a leading man."

"I’ve been cursed with a baby face," he says. "Now, at 48, I feel I’m finally ready to do that. It's hard for me to reflect on 30 years because I'm so busy trying to get to that next level. But I’m looking forward to the next 30 years of work."

Next up, Wayans stars as a husband suspected of cheating in director Sofia Coppola's new film On the Rocks, available for streaming on Apple TV+. As to what has drawn him to more serious roles as of late, Wayans says it's getting to "showcase that I can do it all."

"If you look at my filmography, I’ve played a junkie, I’ve played a white woman, I’ve played a little person, I’ve played a romantic lead and I've played seven different people in one movie," he says. "Now it’s about honing it in and really picking and choosing the type of projects and filmmakers that I really want to work with."

on the rocks
Marlon Wayans and Rashida Jones in On the Rocks. Apple TV+

Next year, Wayans will also light up the big screen in the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect with his role as the legendary singer's first husband, Ted White.

"I feel like I did my best work," he says. "I left everything on the set. It was a beautiful, emotional, fun, sweet journey."

While Wayans "can't wait" for audiences to check out the film, there's one person he wishes could be there to see it: his late mother, Elvira, who died earlier this year at the age of 81.

"My mom was a huge Aretha fan," he says. "She made sure I knew the queen from a young age. I wish she would have held on a little longer so I could see her dance when the songs come on. But she'd definitely be proud. She was happy I was doing the movie."

As he gears up for a busy year of new projects, Wayans has been focused on using the time in quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic to rest and spend time with his kids — daughter Amai, 20, and son Shawn, 18, whom he shares with ex Angelica Zachary.

"I’ll drive by their house and cook for them — barbecue steaks, lamb chops, roast chicken," he says. "They're like, 'Dad you can cook?!' I’ve blown their mind with the fact I can cook. I blew my own mind. I am a catch!"

RELATED VIDEO: Marlon Wayans On Whether His Kids Had Input On 'Marlon': 'They Tried!'

Wayans has also been using his time to "write and create" new projects. Even though 16 years have passed since his film White Chicks came out, fans are still hoping that one of those projects is a sequel.

"People always say, 'Could you do a White Chicks 2 now?' I think definitely," he says. "A good joke is when you can make the people you’re parodying laugh. Who loves White Chicks the most? White chicks. In this environment, in this climate, we all need something to laugh at about ourselves."

white chicks
Marlon Wayans and his brother Shawn in White Chicks. Everett

For all the details on Marlon Wayans' life and new roles, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

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