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Tracy Morgan on Filming ‘Fist Fight’ Post-Accident: I Could ‘Start Being Funny Again’

Variety logo Variety 2/14/2017 Dave McNary
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Tracy Morgan was in a reflective mood Monday at the world premiere for New Line’s comedy “Fist Fight” at the Village Theatre.

“Fist Fight” was shot in late 2015 in Atlanta — Morgan’s first movie after the near-fatal 2014 accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, caused when his limousine was struck by a Walmart truck, which resulted in him requiring extensive therapy. He was accompanied on the red carpet by his wife, Megan, and their daughter, Maven, and said both were key in helping him heal after the accident,

“I am just happy to be alive,” he admitted. “The key thing for me was to forgive that driver.  My wife told me about forgiveness before I started back — that you have to forgive everything and everybody or you can’t move forward.”

Morgan also gave a shot0-out to co-starsIce Cube, Charlie Day and Jillian Bell, and “Fist Fight” director Richie Keen for allowing him to feel comfortable on the set in his portrayal of a goofy high school sports coach. “I was able to just start being funny again,” he added.

Keen lavished praise on the cast and on New Line: “This is a prison riot movie in a school — the inmates versus the prison guards. And the studio let me do exactly what I said I was going to do. I got to live vicariously through Charlie’s character.”

The most exacting part of ‘Fist Fight,” he added, was the fight between Day and Cube. “It is, I believe, the most epic fist fight in the history of American cinema.”

Producer Shawn Levy admitted he was a bit dazed after dealing with the awards circuit in recent weeks for “Arrival” and “Stranger Things.” He had attended the BAFTA Awards in London on Sunday, then jetted back for the “Fist Fight” premiere.

“I was pretty crazy ambitious when I when I started 21 Laps, but this has been a lot,” he noted. “And I’m a little loopy right now.”

Cube said he did come away with a few bruises in the fight scenes: “You have to be willing to get in there and get rough and tough.”

He also admitted that doing “Fist Fight” took him back to his own high school days at William Howard Taft Charter High School in the San Fernando Valley.

“I was dealing with the crazy teachers, but this time I was one of them,” he recalled. “It’s always cool to get paid for high school.”

The after-party took place at the W Hotel. “Fist Fight,” co-financed by Village Roadshow, opens Feb. 17.

(Pictured above: Ice Cube, Richie Keen and Tracy Morgan)

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