Michael K Williams

Michael K. Williams Says His Miles Davis Biopic Is ‘Very Much Happening’

In an interview with a U.K. radio show, the actor opened up about playing the legendary jazz musician and weighed in about Black British actors playing Black American roles

by #TeamEBONY, April 19, 2017

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Michael K Williams

Michael Kenneth Williams arrives at the HBO Golden Globes afterparty at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

After playing Omar Little on HBO’s The Wire, many thought Michael K. Williams might end up being typecast as a hardcore gangster. Instead, he’s gone on to have an eclectic career in projects like Bessie, Boardwalk Empire, and Hap and Leonard, delivering scene-stealing performances in each one.

During a recent interview in the U.K. with Mr. Exposed of London’s Radar Radio, where he’s shooting the new Hans Solo Star Wars film, Williams let it slip that he’s also got a Miles Davis biopic in the works.

“That’s very much so happening,” Williams said about the project that has been in the works since at least 2014. “That will probably be going into production in hopefully the first quarter of 2018. That’s the goal.”

During the interview, Williams also touched on the recent debate kicked off by Samuel L. Jackson about Black British actors playing roles written as Black Americans. Jackson said he wondered how Jordan Peele’s film Get Out would have been different if the lead character was played by a Black American actor, given our country’s racist history. However, the movie’s star Daniel Kaluuya said Jackson’s comments diminished the experiences Black Americans and Black Britons share. Williams called the whole discussion “complicated.”

“That’s a complicated situation. I don’t think it’s entirely, necessarily wrong,” he said, speaking of Jackson’s comments. “When we’re talking about a Hollywood portrayal of an American experience…we went through the same things, but there might have been a twist or a layer that you might not have experienced in America or vice versa.”

While trying to explain the differences, Williams shared a funny story about working with Idris Elba.

“When we were doing The Wire and everybody started to find out that Idris was this smooth-talking Brit and he had that swagger on the tongue, I remember being like, ‘I’m working on my dialect too. I sound like a Baltimore dude, I’m from Brooklyn,'” the actor joked. “I remember feeling like damn, is the only reason everybody’s making the big thing is because he’s [British]?”

Check out the entire interview below, but skip to the 31 minute mark to hear Williams talk about the upcoming Miles Davis film.

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