One thing we’ve noticed on S&A is that there are certain actors who seem to be favorites of S&A readers, and Michael K Williams definitely is at the top of that list…deservedly so. I recently had the chance, and honor, of chatting with this gracious man.
As you can see from the picture above, he was most definitely dapper and courteous, calling me a “baby” which is a compliment I can live with. He talked about his role on Boadwalk Empire, working with HBO in the future, and a possible role in the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained.
–What can we look forward to in regards to the growth of Chalky’s character in this season of Boardwalk Empire? Not to spoil it but can you give us a little hint into where the writer’s are taking his storyline?
This season we’re definitely going to get a bigger insight into Chalky’s world, into his life, we meet his family. He has a wife and three children. Through that world we see his insecurities, his vulnerabilities, like a crack in the armor if you will. From the business side, he finds himself in the crosshairs of someone who’s gunning for Nucky and that’s a very bad place to be.
You know, he’s just a black man that wants to make his money and take care of his people. He doesn’t really have a beef with the political drama Nucky’s caught up in but he finds himself in the middle of it anyway. He has to redefine his relationship with Nucky and vice versa, in the process, they realize they have more in common with each other than they do in their own separate world.
Chalky’s relationship to his community is greatly questioned and you’re going to hear the word “justice” come out of his mouth a lot. He has to use his relationship with Nucky as leverage to make sure that certain things are done, as retribution to what happens in episode one.
–Do you see yourself in Chalky, do you see elements of yourself in him?
Absolutely. I put in a lot of ancestral energy to bring Chalky to life. For me my father being a black man from the South, I know I’ve had family that dealt with the Klan, probably killed by the hands of the Klan. So that blood runs in me. He’s real close to the fire that I am. The blood is still there, the pain has never left.
My character’s are very dark and there’s a residue you have to wash off of you when you leave the set.
–Off of that, your role on Community must have been quite different for you. Was it a way to decompress from playing so many dark characters and could you see yourself doing more comedy in the future?
Well the character I play on Community is called Mr. Kane, he’s a biology professor. It wasn’t a real big stretch from what I’m use to doing…with professor Kane he got his degree in prison; 25 years in prison he took the time to get his degree, so there’s a darkness there in him even in this comedy. Where I get to be funny, the writers didn’t take me too far out of my zone because I don’t have the gift of comedic timing but they put me around these veteran comics, comedic actors and the tension of them reacting to my darkness is where the comedy comes in. I was very fortunate to be given that opportunity and to be in that world. It is a chance to laugh at myself and be light-hearted. I would definitely do more comedy again.
–With quality lead roles being so scarce for black actors and actresses, especially in films, do you think more of your fellow thespians should learn to develop their own projects?
That’s right, I 100 percent agree that’s why I have FREEDOME productions which stands for Domepiece beneath the head. I have several projects in development, soon to be in bed with HBO. I’m very excited! Mark Walberg has been a huge inspiration and a template for what I want to do in the future. I think it’s healthy for any actor, white or black,to gain power in Hollywood. You have to own something.
–Your name was floated around a lot in regards to Django Unchained. At Shadow and Act, there was a lot of talk about how you could play that role. I was wondering if the part was ever offered to you and did the script ever come your way? If it were offered to you would you have considered doing the movie?
The rumors of me being considered for the lead role in Django [Unchained] is very true. I was in meetings with Quentin, QT as I call him. It came down to Jamie and I. Wow… what a person to lose to. It’s not official yet but there’s a lot of talk that there may be a role coming back ’round my way.
–Oh another role?
Yes another role in the film. It’s not official yet but there’s a chance. His people and my people have been in discussions in regards to a role that he is creating for me.
–Well Wow! That’s a testament to how talented you are.
I give all praises due to the man upstairs. I tend to not want what’s not for me. If it’s mine I’m going to get it. So apparently if this happens, this is what it was meant to be. I take it gratefully.