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Chatting With Wendell B. Harris, Jr. On “Chameleon Street,” Black Cinema, Tyler Perry & More

Chatting With Wendell B. Harris, Jr. On "Chameleon Street," Black Cinema, Tyler Perry & More

We’ve written about Wendell B. Harris Jr and his under-appreciated feature film debut Chameleon Street countless times on S&A. I’ve read and watched several interviews with the man, so much that I could probably recite his struggles with that film from memory.

I actually interviewed Wendell for the very first time in 2009, via the S&A livecast (embedded below) – maybe one of the most interesting and memorable interviews I’ve done since I started doing this; this was around the time when there was some renewed interest in Chameleon Street.

And despite all of that, I still find myself engaged whenever I come across any new interviews with Wendell; and I continue (and will continue) to share them here (certainly not all of them). Another motivation… I insist on ensuring that everyone who reads S&A is aware of Mr Harris and his work :)

Earlier today, I stumbled upon the below 30-minute Skype Q&A with the writer/director/actor after a screening of Chameleon Street in Austin, TX, which took place on August 24th of this year.

He talks about, not only his film, but the state of cinema – specifically what we call “black cinema” – Tyler Perry’s reign, the future of film, and more.

Watch below (and, by the way, if you haven’t heard my hour-long conversation with Wendell, you can listen to it via the player underneath the video clip; by the way, Chameleon Street is on DVD right now):

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I saw Wendell B. Harris playing "Fers" in "The Cherry Orchard" at Juilliard in 1981. He was so magnificent that I wrote his name in a notebook — something I never do. Low and behold, in 2013, I came upon my notebook and ended up here, wondering what had become of that incredible actor!

R. Darbonne

That’s me interviewing Wendell. He was an amazing man and I’m glad I got a chance to talk to him.


tolly devlin

Thanks for posting this. Harris has long been a favorite of mine. I just wish he had the opportunity to make more films.


He epitomize laser sharp thinking/critique and staying TRUE to the game.


@ c. mason

Lol, I’m actually the one that uploaded the film to youtube, so you can thank me later.

Yeah, Wendell’s great and Chameleon Street is an amazing movie. I’ll even go so far as to call it one of my all time favorites. Wendell had so much ambition, it’s a shame that it wasn’t able to be fully realized in another film directed by him, but he’ll always have Chameleon Street, a film that is better than most filmmakers’ entire filmographies.

c. mason

looks great. just checked out the first 15 mins on youtube. Thank you for enlightening me!


I remember when that podcast aired live. He made alot of good points. I respect his ambition and creativity.

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