Chatting w/ Actor Mykelti Williamson

Mykelti Williamson Press Photo (2)BE MAG:  How did you get your Start into Entertainment and acting?

MW: I stated acting as a kid in the late 60’s. I started like a lot of people acting in the church. Gospel singing and stage plays were my start and it went from there. You know it was something I loved doing and its like they say one thing leads to another and to another and then my journey began. I like to always say though “Success is not a destination it’s a journey”. People tend to look forward a place that they can get to and feel like they made it, but you make it everyday really you know. no matter what you do your making it work and this is no different.  I’ve been fortanate to have done over 300 films and still out here grinding and getting it done. I’m happy man to say I’ve done films like “Waiting to Exhale” and “Forrest Gump” and “Heat”. I’m currently on a show on FX called Justifed and just came home yesterday from shooting an Episode of Chicago Fire.

BE MAG: Can you tell us about your characters on Justifed and Chicago Fire?

MW: On Justified i play a hillbilly mobster by the name of Elston Limehouse. He is the matriarch of the black holler. A holler is best describe as a place in the country like say you can go outside and holler and people who can hear you then you all would be consider living in the same holler, so thats where the term comes from. So Elston he kind of runs the holler he lives in (chuckles).  He is alot of fun to play. He just wants to be to himself and  dont want no problems but once you mess with him you get more than you bargin for. Its a good show man and I love the writer of the show Graham Yost who also did the movie “Speed” . On Chicago Fire I play deputy cheif Mike Hammond. Its a new character they introduced at the end of this season so we will see what big plans they have for it next season. NBC has Big plans for this show, so i cant reveal too much right now but stay tuned.

BE MAG: Are there any roles or characters you desire to play or haven’t tapped into yet?

MW: Yeah there are a couple of dream roles I have in mind that i would like to do. The first is the late great Theodore Perry, he is better known as “Stepin Fetchit”. He was the first black movie star. Films would test screen with him and would test through the roof.  He was a comeedic actor but a great dramatic actor as well. He was so good at his craft that alot of black actors started to bad-mouth cause they had to compete with him. Studios would want the actors to be more like him, same as with Eddie Murphy you know. He was getting all these roles and doing great movies and so directors wanted other black actors to do his style and it turned some folks against Eddie cause they said they ddint want to mimic him they wanted to do their own style of acting. The other role I would love to do is the late Donny Hathaway. He was brillant and the man was dynamic. I mean Stevie Wonder changed his style of singing after hearing Donny Hathaway record. The way he sings now is from Donny Hathaway. So who knows maybe I will get to play those one day.

BE MAG: Would you call yourself your worst critic when it comes to your work?

MW: I am but not because of it serves me, I’m critcal becuase of my desire to serve everyone else. When i say everyone i mean like the cast, directors, crew, and the public viewing the film.  Its like am I providing the best service to them thats where my pride is based. Just wanna make sure im doing my job you know.

BE MAG: Any other things you have going on outside of acting and movies?

mwilliamson1MW: In between films last year i actually started a spice company called the “Bubba Style Spice Company” and i have an online store where its sold I’ve been cooking since i was a kid. My wife and my two brothers are my partners in this venture as well. People are really in love with it and the word had gotten out. When I did a movie with Danny Glover called “Buffalo Soilder” the cast would come over to my house for dinner after filming every night instead of going out to eat at a restaraunt. We would have cornbread, greens, baked chicken and mashed potatoes, whatever we had and they would tear it up!

BE MAG: You were named the ambassador for the G.I Film Festival. Can you talk about how that came about?

MW: A friend of mine Gary Sinese from Forrest Gump (LT Dan). He has a foundation and they sponser familes of troops who are at war and so forth. So they are one of the sponsers for the film festival and Gary couldnt appear this year so he graciously asked me to step in and fill the role for him. Im really looking forward for it . I cant wait to see these films whom some were made by our troops and veterans.

BE MAG: Any words of advice you can give to people out there? 

MW: Just do you! and keep working on you! For me I tell people all the time you cant let this business change you you have to change it. You gotta be ready to go at all times. It’s that simple.

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