Thursday, January 31, 2013
Bullet to the Head
Film Review by Kam Williams
Unlikely-Buddies Flick Features Cop and Hit Man on Revenge-Fueled Rampage
Sylvester Stallone is the only movie star to be #1 at the box-office in five straight decades, a record stretching from Rocky in the Seventies through last summer’s action hit The Expendables 2. And judging by Bullet to the Head, the gracefully-aging matinee idol need not retire to a rocking chair any time soon.
This riveting revenge thriller was directed by the legendary Walter Hill who, back in 1982, brilliantly cast Eddie Murphy in his big screen debut opposite Nick Nolte in 48 Hours. Here, his inspired pairing of Stallone and relative-newcomer Sung Kang as unlikely-buddies proves to be equally entertaining.
Based on Alexis Nolent’s graphic novel of the same name, Bullet to the Head revolves around two tough guys from opposite sides of the law who grudgingly team up to settle a score with a common adversary. Jimmy Bobo (Stallone) is a hit man operating in New Orleans whose protégé (Jon Seda) has just been gutted in a bar by a goon with a Bowie knife (Jason Momoa), while. Taylor Kwon (Kang) is a cop from Washington, DC in town to investigate the murder of his partner (Holt McCallany).
As it turns out, both slayings were ordered by Morel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) an ambitious mobster who will stop at nothing in his quest for control of the Crescent City’s crime rackets. Because so many corrupt police and politicians are already in cahoots with Morel, double-crossed Detective Kwon almost ends-up dead when he tries to enlist the assistance of the local authorities in solving his pal’s slaying.
That betrayal leads him to reluctantly forge an unholy alliance with Jimmy. Together, they proceed to embark on a bloody rampage, dispensing a brutal brand of vigilante justice to the henchmen running interference for the ruthless Morel. Besides creating major mayhem, however, the two share many moments of levity during disagreements over about what weapons and tactics to employ.
Streetwise Jimmy repeatedly relies on his instincts and brute force, shooting first and asking questions never, an approach which grates on tech-savvy Kwon dependent on his cell phone and the internet. Kwon also finds time to develop a romantic interest in Jimmy’s estranged daughter (Sarah Shahi), an attractive tattoo artist with a parlor in a seedy neighborhood.
Still, make no mistake, this action-oriented affair is all about exacting vengeance and escalating body counts, and it won’t disappoint diehard Stallone fans in that regard. Vintage Sly in his best outing since Cop Land!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, nudity, drug use, graphic violence and bloody images
Running time: 91 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers
To see a trailer for Bullet to the Head, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzcvSoCqq1w
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams
For movies opening February 8, 2013
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Identity Thief (R for profanity and sexuality) Crime comedy about an account rep’s (Jason Bateman) attempt to wrest control of his name back from the con artist (Melissa McCarthy) 2,000 miles away who stole his identity and went on a spending spree. Ensemble cast includes Amanda Peet, T.I., Jon Favreau, Morris Chestnut, John Cho and Robert Patrick.
Side Effects (R for profanity, sexuality, nudity and violence) Psychological thriller about an anxious young woman (Rooney Mara) whose life starts to unravel soon after she starts taking mood altering medication to deal with the return home of her recently-paroled husband (Channing Tatum) With Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vinessa Shaw.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Caesar Must Die (Unrated) Rehabilitation drama, set in Rome, revolving around maximum-security prison inmates’ preparation for a public performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Starring Salvatore Striano, Cosimo Rega and Giovanni Arcuri. (In Italian with subtitles)
Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder (Unrated) Reverential retrospective about painter, beat poet and liberal activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti featuring archival footage of family, friends and colleagues like Allen Ginsburg, Amiri Baraka and Dennis Hopper.
A Glimpse inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (R for nudity and profanity) Charlie Sheen stars in the title role of this romantic comedy about a heartbroken graphic designer who comes to grips about being dumped by his beautiful girlfriend (Katheryn Winnick) by crying on the shoulder of his sister (Patricia Arquette) and a couple of pals (Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman). With Dermot Mulroney, Aubrey Plaza and Marc Coppola.
Lore (Unrated) World War II saga, set in 1945, about a 14 year-old girl (Saskia Rosendahl) who leads her younger siblings (Nele Trebs, Mika Seidel, Andre Frid and Nick Holaschke) on a perilous, 500 mile trek to grandma’s house in Hamburg after their Nazi parents (Hans-Jochen Wagner and Ursina Lardi) are arrested by Allied soldiers. With Sven Pippig, Philip Wiegratz and Kai Malina.
The Playroom (Unrated) Dysfunctional family drama, set in the Seventies, revolving around four troubled siblings (Olivia Harris, Ian Veteto, Jonathon McClendon and Alexandra Doke) who escape to their attic while their alcoholic parents (John Hawkes and Molly Parker) are entertaining guests downstairs. Cast includes Jonathan Brooks, Cody Linley and Lydia Mackay.
A Rubberband Is an Unlikely Instrument (Unrated) Down-and-out documentary about a Brooklyn family’s attempt to keep their head above water while dealing with gentrification and financial woes during the waning days of the G.W. Bush administration.
The Sorcerer and the White Snake (PG-13 for sensuality, violence, action sequences and frightening images) Martial arts fantasy based on an ancient Chinese legend about a sorcerer’s (Jet Li) fight for the soul of a physician (Raymond Lam) who has fallen in love with a 1000 year-old snake disguised as an attractive young woman (Eva Huang). With Vivian Hsu, Zhang Wen and Charlene Choi. (In Mandarin with subtitles)
Top Gun (PG for action sequences, sexuality and profanity) 3D rerelease of the 1986 Tom Cruise classic chronicling the competition among some daredevil Navy pilots to graduate at the top of their class. With Val Kilmer, Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan.
Posted by Kam at 10:07 PM
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The “Bullet to the Head” Interview
with Kam Williams
Still Sly after All These Years
Sylvester Stallone has been known worldwide as a true screen legend since creating the title role in the seminal 1976 Oscar-winning Best Picture “Rocky,” for which he also wrote the screenplay. Over the course of his long career, he has been recognized for his work as an actor, writer and director.
A cultural phenomenon, “Rocky” grew into a six-film franchise, successfully spanning four decades. He wrote, directed and starred in “Rocky II, III and IV,” and wrote and starred in “Rocky V.” Stallone brought the character’s story to a close in 2006 with the critical and box office hit “Rocky Balboa,” which he also wrote and directed. That year, to commemorate one of the most iconic scenes in motion picture history, a bronze statue of Rocky Balboa was placed at the foot of the now-famous steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum—called the “Rocky steps”—at a dedication ceremony presided over by the mayor.
Beginning with the 1982 blockbuster “First Blood,” Stallone has also embodied another indelible character: John Rambo. Following that film, for which he also wrote the screenplay, he wrote and starred in “Rambo: First Blood Part II” and “Rambo III.” In 2008, he directed, wrote and starred in “Rambo,” which continued the saga of the scarred Vietnam vet more than 25 years after his screen introduction.
Stallone more recently wrote and directed perhaps his most ambitious project to date, the action thriller “The Expendables,” in which he also led an all-star cast, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren. The film opened at number one in August 2010, making Stallone the only actor to open a film at number one in five consecutive decades. In 2012, he co-wrote and starred in “The Expendables 2,” which reunited the cast, this time under the direction of Simon West.
Upcoming, Stallone is set to star with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action thriller “The Tomb,” and then stars opposite Robert De Niro in “Grudge Match.” In addition, he wrote and is producing “Homefront,” directed by Gary Fleder and starring Jason Statham and James Franco.
Born in New York City, Stallone attended school in suburban Philadelphia, where he first started acting and also became a star football player. He then spent two years instructing at the American College of Switzerland in Geneva. Returning to the United States, he enrolled as a drama major at the University of Miami and also began to write.
But Stallone left college to pursue an acting career in New York City where the jobs did not come easily. During this period, he turned more and more to writing, churning out screenplays while waiting for his acting break. The opportunity came in 1974 when he was cast as one of the leads in “The Lords of Flatbush.”
With the money earned from the film, Stallone moved to Hollywood, where he landed a few small roles in television and movies. He also continued to pursue writing. Fighter Rocky Balboa was born in a script Stallone wrote in longhand. Several producers offered to buy the screenplay, but wanted to cast a name star in the title role. Despite being nearly broke, he held fast in his determination to play the part, and his perseverance was finally rewarded and the rest, as they say, is history.
Kam Williams: Hey, Mr. Stallone. I’m so honored to be speaking with you.
Sly Stallone: Thank you very much.
KW: Thanks for the opportunity.
SS: Sure, Kam.
KW: I asked my readers if they had any questions for you. I won’t be able to get to them all but I must say that I was very impressed with the uniform reverence they have for you.
SS: That’s great. Thank you.
KW: Let me start by asking what interested you in Bullet to the Head?
SS: Well, I liked the idea of a very simple story with a dark morality. There’s humor in that later on, but you start with the basic idea that you have two total opposites having to work together for a common cause who you know are going to have to take each other out at the very end, at least that was the original premise. I also really liked the idea of doing it with Walter Hill after the first director bowed out. That made the project especially enticing.
KW: Was that because of his track record with unlikely-buddy flicks like Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in 48 Hours?
SS: Yes, and also because he’s kind of gone down the same path as I did. There was a period when I was pretty much untouchable for about 8 or 9 years until I got a big break with Joe Roth when he helped produce Rocky Balboa. That was a big, big, long shot. Everybody thought it was a joke, but it worked. [Chuckles] I think there’s a lot of music left to play in a lot of these old instruments. And I felt that Walter Hill is a pro at this genre, yet he’s not getting the opportunity. So, when I saw the opportunity present itself, I decided, “If he does the movie, I’ll do it.” And it worked out that way.
KW: Documentary director Kevin Williams says: Your sticking to your guns when you wrote and then wanted to star in Rocky inspired me to do the same when many told me I couldn't make my documentary film, "Fear Of A Black Republican." As a matter of fact, I thank you for your great inspiration in my film’s credits. Do you have any idea how many filmmakers and actors you have inspired and does that experience with making Rocky still come into play for you today?
SS: Actually I don’t, Kevin, but I’m very flattered whenever I hear stories like this, or about a student who has written a graduate thesis on Rocky or Rambo. I’m always surprised to see that the films had that kind of impact. Having that sort of faith in something that only you truly understand and believe in is still prevalent today. If I just know in my gut that a film is going to work, I’ll fight to the death over it, and I convince myself. When a movie is purely a money job, the film doesn’t have the same sort of intensity, and the audience almost senses it, at least that’s the way I perceive it. So, yeah, the idea is to do something that you truly, truly believe in. I understand that a lot of other actors don’t have a choice. They have to eat so they need to work and they’ll do films that they’re not so proud of. But I’ve been fortunate enough to be given a second wind, so I try to pick projects I know will provide the audience the kind of escapism they want from me.
KW: Larry Greenberg asks: How did you develop your character, Jimmy Bobo?
SS: I decided to approach it this way. I, Sylvester Stallone, am really not much like Rocky. Rocky is a much more ethical, moral person than I am. [Chuckles] He’s really a great guy. And Rambo is a much darker person than I am, and much more reserved and withdrawn. I thought, let me try something different. What if I, Sylvester Stallone, were transported into the world of hit men? In other words, what if I were the hit man but just played myself. So, that’s the way I approached this character. I wanted to be as casual and comfortable with the character as possible. I said, if Sylvester Stallone were a hit man, this is how he would be. So, pretty much what you see up there is Sylvester Stallone as a hit man. Rather than trying to create a character that was different from me, I tried to make the character the same as me, and just add the story. I don’t know if that makes sense to you. It’s like as if you were going to play a hit man and asked me, “What do I do?” And I went, “No, no, you Kam, you just have to play yourself.” It would be your personality, but you would play a hit man. That would be an interesting choice. That’s different. That’s unusual. So, this was the first time I’ve ever said, “Let me just be myself, but pretend I’m a hit man.”
KW: Larry also asks: How did you go about create the father-daughter dynamic with Lisa [played by Sarah Shahi]?
SS: Having children, they tend to be very angry, if you’re not there growing up. Of course, he was never there for her growing up, and she has done everything that’s rebellious. So, I tried to think how I would approach that in my own life. I decided that he would be a little remorseful, but he’d have a little resentment because she’d ask for a favor every time he came to see her. When she decided to be a tattoo artist and to cover herself in tattoos that weren’t exactly the most flattering, I realized she was doing it out of spite and for attention, and as a way of getting back at me. So, there are all sorts of possible approaches to developing that kind of relationship.
KW: Is there a message you want people to take away from the film?
SS: That a tiger never really changes his stripes and that Jimmy Bobo is what he is, without regret. But he’s not an amoral person, since he only takes out, as he puts it, “the hard to get at stains.” That his job. He takes out the trash. In effect, he’s doing a service. He’s a people person. He removes the bad people.
KW: Marcia Evans says: I've been a fan of yours since Rocky. I was particularly blown away by your outstanding performance in Copland. My question is: Have you considered getting into the fitness industry and opening a chain of gyms?
SS: [Laughs] I thought about that for a long time, Marcia, but it’s such a competitive business. I tried a line of vitamins once, but that didn’t go over well, because I didn’t realize how hard and time-consuming it was. So, I decided to leave it to the people who are truly dedicated to that 24 hours a day.
KW: Are you still an art collector?
SS: Yes, an avid art collector. [Chuckles] In fact, every day, I’ll read a chapter of some art book. I don’t know why. It’s just a habit.
KW: Film student Jamaal Green asks who is your favorite director and how has he or she influenced your work?
SS: Hmm… It’s not a modern director. To me, the greatest director ever was Elia Kazan whom many of your readers probably never even heard of. But he did On the Waterfront with Brando, and he did East of Eden. He made some truly epic, monumental films, when no one else was really doing it. His contemporaries were making relatively lighthearted movies. I’d say he was far and away the best. Everyone today is pretty well much derivative of Kazan. So, to me, he was the real master.
KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: I am a fan of your work since childhood. Being versatile and taking control of your career in show business surely helped you succeed and achieve longevity. What advice do you have for aspiring actors who want to follow in your footsteps?
SS: In this day and age, if you’re aspiring to be an actor, and you’re putting all your eggs in one basket, you could be disappointed. I started out as an actor, but I forced myself to be a writer, even though I wasn’t very good at it and had never written. I don’t think I ever passed an English course in my life. My first 8 to 10 scripts were pretty horrendous, but I stayed at it, stayed at it, and stayed at it, until I eventually found a voice and a subject like Rocky that people were interested in. So, I recommend that you go out and try to be as versatile as possible: writer, actor, producer and especially director. Look at Ben Affleck. He’s literally had a career reversal. I tell so many young actors that if I hadn’t written, directed and acted, I’d have been long gone. I would not have made it out of the Nineties.
KW: Patricia also asks: Are you interested in writing a memoir which gives us more of look into your life than Sly Moves did?
SS: [LOL] I don’t know. It all depends on how deeply I’d have to delve into it. I’d be willing to do it, if I only had to write about what inspires and motivates me. But I couldn’t go into the personal aspects of my family, because I’m way too private. But my career, absolutely.
KW: Kate Newell asks: Would you ever consider running for public office?
SS: No, I talked to Arnold [Schwarzenegger] about running for office, and he said he loved it. But he is also much more of a people person. You have to have an almost boundless reservoir of energy and interest to enter politics because quite often it’s thankless and fruitless and you can’t accomplish much. But he loved it. I don’t have that. I’m much more of an introvert.
KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: How much of an offer they couldn't refuse did you make to assemble the cast of matinee idols, not once, but twice, for The Expendables?
SS: [LOL] This was an idea I got thinking about how there’s strength in numbers. I would always see these Rock & Roll revivals comprised of 25 different bands that had once been very famous, but weren’t anymore. However, the name value was still there. I said to myself, “Why don’t I do this with actors?” Every one of these guys had had phenomenal careers but had fallen on hard times, including myself. I thought that together this might generate the same sort of interest that fans have when they go to see a Rock & Roll revival. Instead, they’d be going to see a revival of action stars. I didn’t know if it was going to work, but I thought of it as an experiment. And since I had known them for years, I could call on favors, and all of them could trust me that I wasn’t going to embarrass them. And that’s how I was able to make it happen, Harriet.
KW: Thanks for a great interview, Mr. Stallone, and best of luck with the film.
SS: Thank you, Kam. I appreciate it. Bye.
To see a trailer for Bullet to the Head, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzcvSoCqq1w
Posted by Kam at 5:56 PM
Monday, January 28, 2013
Jesse Jackson, Sr.
The “Rainbow PUSH Wall St. Project” Interview
with Kam Williams
Reverend Jackson on Annual Economic Summit
Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH
Coalition, is one of America’s
foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past forty
years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for
empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social
On August 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Reverend Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. He is known for bringing people together on common ground across lines of race, culture, class, gender and belief.
Born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Jesse Jackson graduated from the public schools in Greenville and then enrolled in the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. He later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University and graduated in 1964. He began his theological studies at Chicago Theological Seminary but deferred his studies when he began working full-time in the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kam Williams: Hi, Reverend Jackson, thanks for the interview.
Reverend Jesse Jackson: Thank you, Kam.
KW: What plans do you have for this year’s economic summit?
JJ: First, to gather people to discuss the new economic agenda. We just got through the political agenda with the inauguration of President Obama. Now, we have to deal with the economic agenda. No access to capital, needing more access to technology, etcetera. We want to call the banks to invest in America. In 2009 we had 600 black dealerships, today we have 200. We have lost TV and radio stations. We must re-strategize.
KW: Given that we now have an African-American president and black billionaires, is this a post-racial society?
JJ: We don’t have a lot of black billionaires, actually. We are not in a post racial society. We are a multi-racial society and substantially racist. We still need to access jobs and contracts-–all those level playing fields are very much needed.
KW: What would you say is the #1 economic issue African-Americans are facing today?
JJ: Access to a jobs. Next, the recovery of houses lost when the banks targeted our homes and businesses that move our future forward.
KW: Do you see Wall Street as being at odds with Main Street, or can the 1% be a part of the solution for the woes of the 99%?
JJ: The %1 have received their needs through greed and lack of regulations--too few have too much and more have none. It’s too unequal and unbalanced. The middle class is sinking. A dormant few are at the bottom.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Reverend Jackson, and best of luck with the Economic Summit.
REV. JESSE L. JACKSON TO HONOR GOVERNOR DAVID PATERSON, BERRY GORDY & WILLIE E. GARY AT THE WALL STREET PROJECT ECONOMIC SUMMIT
Wednesday, January 30 — Friday, February 1, 2013
Special Guests U.S. Pres. William Jefferson Clinton, Jamie Foxx, Dionne Warwick and others; Special Performances by Multi-Grammy®-Winning Gospel Recording Artists Mary Mary & cast of the upcoming Broadway show “Motown: The Musical”
WHAT: The Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project will host the 16th Annual Wall Street Economic Summit. This year’s summit, “Wall Street to Main Street” focuses on access to capital, career development and labor.
WHO: Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Founder and President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition and The Wall Street Project
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 – Friday, February 1, 2013
((Agenda can be sent upon request))
WHERE: The Roosevelt Hotel, 45 East 45th Street, New York, NY 10017 @ Madison Ave.
Highlights of the three-day summit will include:
• Wall Street Project Small Business Institute (SBI)
• Wall Street Project Career Symposium
• Raising Our Voices On Advertising in The MarketPlace
• The Business of Sports
• The State of Emerging Managers
• Parity in Public Procurement Opportunities
• The Business of Hip-Hop
• Labor Breakfast: Assault on Labor Unions
Access to Capital Luncheon, Thurs., Jan. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET
•Honorees: NY Governor David Paterson, Attorney Willie Gary
•Speakers: Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter
•Keynote Speaker: U.S. President William Clinton
•Performer: Multi-Grammy® award winning artists Mary Mary
•Sponsors: WE tv& General Motors
Gala Fundraising Reception, Thurs., Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET
•Honoree: the legendary Berry Gordy
•Performance: Broadway production “MOTOWN: the Musical”
•Presenter: Singer and actress Dionne Warwick
•Presenter: Jamie Foxx
•Sponsor: NV Magazine
Civil Rights & Economic Justice Minister’s Luncheon, Fri., Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Honorees:Rev. Joseph Carter, New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, NJ; Dr. Freddie D. Haynes, III, Sr. Pastor, Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX& Rev. AndrewWilkes, Affiliate minister, The Greater Allen Cathedral of NY and Editor of Urban Faith.
Keynote speaker: U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, (D) NY
The Wall Street Project challenges corporate America to end the multi-billion dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers; while working to ensure equal opportunity for diverse employees, entrepreneurs and consumers.The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity.
WSP Sponsors Include: Allstate, Ariel Investments LLC, Bank of America, Blaylock Robert Van, LLC, CitiBank, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase & Co., NYSE Euronext, SEIU,The Boeing Company & Wells Fargo
The 2013 honorary co-chairs:Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Chrmn & CEO, National Newspaper Publishers Association; John Graves, Pres. & CEO, PR Networks, Inc.; Mellody Hobson, Pres., Ariel Investments LLC, Louis James, Pres., & COO, Motor City Logistics; Byron Lewis, Founder & Chrmn, Uniworld Group; Former NY Governor David A. Paterson; R. Donahue Peebles, Chrmn & CEO, The Peebles Corp; James Reynolds, Jr., Co-Founder, Chrmn & CEO, Loop Capital Markets LLC; John W. Rogers, Jr. Chrmn & CEO, Ariel Investments LLC;NY SenatorCharles Schumer (D);Maceo K. Sloan Chrmn, CEO & CIO, NCM Capital& California Congresswoman Maxine Waters(D).
To register, visit: www.wallstreetproject2013.org
or call (646) 569-5889.
or call (646) 569-5889.
Posted by Kam at 7:10 PM
The “34th Annual UNCF: An Evening of Stars” Interview
with Kam Williams
A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Accomplished actor Anthony Anderson has appeared in over 20 films, and his stellar work on NBC's "Law & Order" earned him three of his eight NAACP Image Award nominations. Prior to launching his acting career, Anthony grew up in Los Angeles and attended the High School for the Performing Arts, where he earned first place in the NAACP's ACTSO Awards with his performance of a classic monologue from "The Great White Hope." That performance, along with his dedication to his craft, earned him an arts scholarship to Howard University.
He first gained national attention as one of Jim Carrey's sons in "Me, Myself, & Irene." Over the years, Anthony has displayed his range of talent in everything from "Transformers" to Martin Scorsese's Best Oscar Oscar-winning feature film, "The Departed."
His additional feature films include "Scary Movie 3," "Barbershop," "Kangaroo Jack," "Exit Wounds," "Cradle 2 the Grave," "Two Can Play That Game" and "Malibu's Most Wanted." He starred opposite Eddie Griffin and Michael Imperioli in "My Baby's Daddy," alongside Frankie Muniz in "Agent Cody Banks 2" and enjoyed a cameo in "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle."
Anthony brought his talent and humor to the small screen in his own sitcom, "All about the Andersons," which was loosely based on his life. He appeared in the police-drama television series, "The Shield," opposite Michael Chiklis and Glenn Close, and starred in the New Orleans-based drama "K-Ville."
Anthony is currently starring on three TV series, “Guys with Kids,” “Treme” and “Golf in America,” and lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Alvina, and their two children. Here he talks about hosting the United Negro College Fund’s 34th Annual “An Evening of Stars.”
Kam Williams: How ya’ been, Anthony? It’s great to have another opportunity to speak with you.
Anthony Anderson: Hey, Kam. I’m alright.
KW: I wanted to say congratulations on your eighth NAACP Image Award nomination, this time for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy TV Series for “Guys with Kids.” You got my vote again, as a member of the nominating committee.
AA: Thank you. Maybe one day I’ll win one.
KW: What interested you in hosting the UNCFs’ Evening of Stars?
AA: You know what, they reached out to me to host, and I couldn’t turn them down. I’d grown up watching the show with my parents every year back when it was hosted by Lou Rawls. We didn’t have much money at all, but my folks always found a way to give a little. And now, here I am 30 years later with a $25,000 United Negro College Fund scholarship in my name. That’s something that interested me as well.
KW: Will that scholarship specifically go to a student at your alma mater, Howard University?
AA: No, I didn’t want them to think I was biased, even though I am. I haven’t figured out whether we’re going to give it all to a single student, or break it and give it to five different students.
KW: What did attending Howard University meant to you?
AA: It meant everything. This is the sort of creative energy you could find on campus when I was a student there: Paula Jai Parker, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Wendy Davis, Carl Anthony Payne, Sean P. Diddy Combs, Ananda Lewis, Laz Alonso, Lance Gross, the music of the group Shai, and the list goes on and on. We were all there at the same time. For all of us to then go off in our respective fields independently of one another and become successes can’t even be quantified.
KW: What are the major challenges facing the Historically Black Colleges and Universities today? Is there any truth to the rumor that they are having a hard time finding black male students?
AA: I would assume so, and I say that because only about 5% of African-Americans who graduate from high school are college ready. And only 28%
of that 5% eventually graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree. You asked specifically about African-American males. When I was in college, the ratio was 7 females for every male on campus. So, that’s been the case for a long time, but I don’t know what the reason is for that drastic difference.
KW: You’re currently starring on the series “Guys with Kids” and “Treme,” as well as hosting “Golf in America.” How do you manage to juggle all that?
AA: They all shoot in different locations but at different times, fortunately. So, I’ve been able to work everything out.
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
AA: No. Why do you have one in mind?
AA: Let me think… Nobody’s ever asked me, “If you could have a superpower, which would you choose?” I’d like to have the ability to make money whenever I need it. [Laughs] What I’d really like is to be able to fly because I love freedom, and being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it.
KW: The Michael Ealy question: If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be? AA: Hmm, that’s a good one! Dr. Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln.
KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
AA: Another good one! Happiness is a state of mind. Most people automatically assume that we’re happy because we’re famous and some of us are rich. But material things don’t make you happy. And the more success you achieve only amplifies who you are as a person. If you’re miserable, you’re just going to be miserable and rich and famous. I know people like that. I have friends who are that way.
KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
AA: Late night Taco Bell.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
AA: 50 Shades of Grey.
KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What was the last song you listened to?
AA: “My Life Would Suck without You” by Kelly Clarkson.
KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
AA: That’s hard for me to say, because I’m a chef. I’m going to have to say Oxtail Stew. Cooking is one of my passions. I’m a judge on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” and I’m competing on “Chopped” next month.
KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
AA: Woody Wilson. He’s my personal tailor.
KW: Dante Lee, author of "Black Business Secrets,” asks: What was the best business decision you ever made?
AA: To buy my first home.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
AA: It’s interesting that you should ask that question because I’ve been staring at myself in this dressing room mirror as we have this conversation with one another. Here’s the things that have been running through my mind: both success and failure, because I couldn’t appreciate the success that I’m enjoying now without the failures that I experienced before them.
KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
AA: To end world hunger.
KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
AA: Being fed by my grandmother as an infant.
KW: The Jamie Foxx question: If you only had 24 hours to live, what would you do? Would you do the bad stuff, you never got a chance to do, or would you do good stuff to make sure you make it into heaven?
AA: Wow! [Whispers] I’ve done a lot of bad, Kam, and I’ve enjoyed doing those bad things. [Resumes normal voice] But I’m also a spiritual person and I believe I’m going to heaven anyway, because I’ve asked for forgiveness for my sins. So, if I only had 24 hours to live, I’d just spend it with my loved ones doing nothing yet everything.
KW: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
AA: A lion.
KW: The Pastor Alex Kendrick question: When do you feel the most content?
AA: Hmm… On my couch in my family room.
KW: The Toure question: Who is the person who led you to become the person you are today?
AA: It started with Mrs. Kpodo, my fourth grade teacher.
KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
AA: A passion for what it is they do.
KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
AA: Never let anyone else determine your self-worth.
KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?
AA: Hmm… As someone who cared, as someone who loved, and as someone who believed in others.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Anthony, and best of luck with all your endeavors.
AA: Thank you Kam, I appreciate that. Alright brother, have a good one.
The 34th Annual UNCF: An Evening of Stars premiered on BET-TV on January 27th. Check local listings for future re-airings of the program.
Posted by Kam at 2:30 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2013
One Night Stand: Creating a Play in a Day
Film Review by Kam Williams
Theater Documentary Chronicles Captivating Musicals Staged in 24 Hours
Anyone who grew up watching The Little Rascals remembers that some of the best episodes were where the kids attempted to put on a show, like the time they did Romeo & Juliet, and Buckwheat had to serve as a last-minute stand-in for Darla as Juliet, much to Alfalfa’s consternation. Well, if you can appreciate that sort of impromptu entertainment, then you are likely to enjoy One Night Stand: Creating a Play in a Day.
Co-directed by Trish Dalton and Elisabeth Sperling, the movie chronicles a Herculean, coordinated effort to write, cast, compose, rehearse and perform four musicals in less than a day. And it’s all for a good cause, too, The Exchange, a charity which supports innovative theater artists.
The movie stars a number of recognizable stage and screen actors, most notably, Richard Kind, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Cheyenne Jackson, Tracie Toms and SNL alumna Rachel Dratch. And it also prominently features the playwrights and composers operating under pressure to produce scripts and scores, respectively, with little time to revise.
They began working at 8 PM and by 8 AM they handed over a quartet of freshly-minted musicals to the directors and cast members. What ensues is a sort of opening night bedlam, but greatly amplified, since they only have a few hours to memorize lines, lyrics and melodies.
Initially, I was admittedly a little put off by the assorted backstage banter and hysteria, especially since I was more than a little cynical about the ambitious endeavor’s prospects. Yet, all was forgiven when the pieces of the puzzle ultimately came together by show time. I couldn’t believe how polished and professional the final product was.
Rome might not have been built in a day, but One Night Stand proves that a captivating, Broadway-quality musical can be mounted in 24 hours. Who knew?
Very Good (3 stars)
Running time: 74 minutes
Distributor: Fathom Events
Studio: Incubation Films
To see a trailer for One Night Stand, visit:
Special One-Night Event Nationwide:
One Night Stand will be in theaters on Jan 30, 2013 at 7:30pm local time
Posted by Kam at 10:05 AM