Thursday, June 30, 2016

Top Ten DVD List for 7-5-16

by Kam Williams

This Week’s DVD Releases

Only Yesterday

600 Miles

Boy and the World

Vicious: The Finale

Roald Dahl's: The BFG

Secrets of the Dead: Cleopatra's Lost Tomb

Nova: Vikings Unearthed

Peg + Cat: Out of This World

The Levenger Tapes

Code of Honor

Honorable Mention

Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe

By the Sea

I Saw the Light

The Adderall Diaries

Term Life

Search Party

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Kam's Kapsules for Movies Opening 7-8-16

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
by Kam Williams



Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (R for crude sexuality, graphic nudity, drug use and pervasive profanity) Romantic comedy revolving around slacker siblings (Zac Efron and Adam Devine) who find a couple of party animals (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza) to take to their sister's (Sugar Lyn Beard) wedding in Hawaii after advertising for dates. With Wendy Williams, Stephen Root and Chloe Bridges.

The Secret Life of Pets (PG for action and some rude humor) Animated comedy about a pampered terrier (Louis C.K.) whose life is turned upside-down when his owner (Ellie Kemper) brings home a big, sloppy mongrel (Eric Songstreet) found at the dog pound. Voice cast includes Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell and Bobby Moynihan.


At the Fork (Unrated) Agri-business documentary examining the mechanization of the processes involved in the raising and harvesting of farm animals for human consumption.

Captain Fantastic (R for profanity and brief graphic nudity) Viggo Mortensen stars in the title role of this survivalist saga as a widower raising a half-dozen kids off the grid in the forest of the Pacific Northwest until they are forced by circumstances to rejoin mainstream civilization. With George MacKay, Samantha Isler and Annalise Basso.

Fathers and Daughters (R for sexuality) Character-driven drama about a Pulitzer Prize-winning widower's (Russell Crowe) struggle with parenting issues following a mental breakdown. Ensemble cast includes Amanda Seyfried, Quvenzhane Wallis, Jane Fonda, Octavia Spencer, Diane Kruger and Bruce Greenwood.

Indian Pont (Unrated) Investigative expose' exploring whether New York's aging nuclear power plant at Indian Point is still safe.

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (Unrated) Reverential retrospective revisiting the career of one of the most successful television producers of all time, including such groundbreaking shows as All in the Family and The Jeffersons. Featuring commentary by George Clooney, Bill Moyers, John Amos and Jay Leno.

Our Little Sister (PG for mature themes and brief mild epithets) Dysfunctional family dramedy about three sisters (Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa and Kaho) living in their late grandmother's home who invite a half-sibling (Suzu Hirose) they meet at their father's funeral to move in with them. Cast includes Ryo Kase, Ryohei Suzuki and Takafumi Ikeda. (In Japanese with subtitles)

Under the Sun (Unrated) Bamboo curtain documentary chronicling a year in the life of an ordinary North Korean family from Pyongyang. (In Korean with subtitles)

Zero Days (PG-13 for profanity) Malware documentary detailing the blowback visited on the internet after the deployment of the Stuxnet virus against Iran by the U.S. and Israel in order to cripple the country's nuclear enrichment program.

The Legend of Tarzan

Film Review by Kam Williams

Alexander Skarsgard Stars as Legendary King of the Jungle

Tarzan became a sensation soon after his initial introduction to the world via pulp magazines published in 1912. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the character proved to be such an enduring cultural icon that he would become the subject of a series of best-selling novels, 200+ movies and a long line of consumer products. 
According to the lore spun by Burroughs, Tarzan, aka John Clayton, was the son of a couple of British aristocrats who perished in Africa while the boy was still an infant. The baby was subsequently raised by apes in the wild where he became so in tune with nature that he learned to speak the language of all the beasts residing there. 
Moreover, as the legendary "Lord of the Jungle," he not only exercised dominion over the animal kingdom but over cannibalistic tribes eager to rape white women and to boil missionaries in a big pot. Such insensitive portrayals of Africans as evil and uncivilized eventually became controversial in more enlightened times. And after decades of uncritical appeal, Tarzan finally witnessed a sharp decline in popularity. 
Now, for the first time this millennium, he's been brought back to the big screen. Directed by David Yates (Harry Potter 5, 6, 7 and 8), The Legend of Tarzan features a more politically-correct version of the controversial character.

Set in 1884, the film stars Alexander Skarsgard in the title role as well as Samuel L. Jackson as his sophisticated sidekick, Dr. George Washington Williams. The American doctor was ostensibly shoehorned into the story to offset the relatively-primitive image of the indigenous black folks. 
At the point of departure, we find Tarzan and wife Jane (Margot Robbie) living in the lap of luxury in London as Lord and Lady Greystoke. It's apparently been ages since Tarzan has even set foot on the dark continent. 
He leaps at the chance to return to the Congo, when invited by Parliament to serve as a trade emissary. What Tarzan doesn't know is that he is merely a pawn in a plot masterminded by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), a diabolical villain dealing in blood diamonds. 

Upon arriving, it doesn't take long for Tarzan to revert from a proper gent to a feral vine swinger who can summon a thundering herd of elephants with that distinctive yell. Aaaaaaaargh... Aaaaaaaaarghaaaah... Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for action, violence, sensuality and brief crude dialogue
Running time: 109 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

To see a trailer for The Legend of Tarzan, visit:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Michael Jai White

The “Vigilante Diaries” Interview

with Kam Williams

White Back Kicking Butt as Rogue CIA Agent!

A highly trained martial artist and actor, Michael Jai White has broken barriers as a Hollywood star and international box office sensation. With his dynamic personality, agile abilities and physique of a bodybuilder, Michael has earned respect for his versatile talents both on and off screen.

Born November 10, 1967 in Brooklyn, New York, it was watching the film Five Fingers of Death that initiated Michael’s interest in the martial arts. At the tender age 7, he started taking weekly Japanese Jujitsu classes to stay focused while growing up on the tough streets of Brooklyn.

At 8, Michael’s family relocated to Bridgeport, Connecticut where he studied the Shotokan and Kyokushin forms of karate, earning his first black belt by 13. Upon graduating from Bridgeport’s Central High School, he went on to further his education, first attending Southern Connecticut and then UConn. While winning multiple championships as a national martial arts competitor, he became a Special Education teacher at Wilbur Cross Elementary School in Bridgeport.

Bitten by the acting bug, Michael began auditioning for commercials and acting gigs on weekends and during summer breaks while teaching. When he began landing jobs in commercials and guest-starring roles on television shows and films; he left teaching and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career full-time.

Before long, he would go on to guest star on such hit television shows as Saved by the Bell, Martin, NYPD Blue, and CSI. Proving his acting ability, he would also be cast in the lead role of legendary boxer Mike Tyson in the HBO biopic, Tyson.

Michael was subsequently cast to play the title character in the movie Spawn which came with the distinction of being the first black superhero in a major motion picture. While he cemented his Hollywood status as a bonafide action star, more diverse roles emerged that allowed him to showcase his physical prowess as well as display his on-screen charisma and comedic ability in such films as Exit Wounds, Undisputed 2, Silver Hawk, Blood & Bone, Black Dynamite and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married and Why Did I Get Married Too playing opposite Tasha Smith. The two would ignite such on-screen chemistry, they would go on to star together in the long running OWN Network series, For Better or Worse.

Michael resides in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Gillian White, and their three daughters. Here, he talks about his new movie, Vigilante Diaries, an action thriller starring Paul Sloan, and featuring Michael Madsen, Jason Mewes, Quinton Rampage Jackson and Danny Trejo.

Kam Williams: Hey Michael, thanks for another opportunity to speak with you.
Michael Jai White: My pleasure, Kam.

KW: What interested you in this crazy action film, Vigilante Diaries?
MJW: I was one of the players invited to the party, and I had fun at it. Paul Sloan, the picture's scriptwriter and lead actor, invited me to join the project, as did Christian Sesma, who directed it. And it became a really fun romp.

KW: You certainly had an impressive and diverse cast, with actors ranging from veteran actor Michael Madsen to Jason Mewes from the Kevin Smith movies to action stars like like you and Danny Trejo of Machete. How were you all assembled?
MJW: Well, it started out as a web series, and then they turned it into a full-length feature film. .

KW: Tell me a little about the guy you play, Barrington?
MJW: He's sort of a rogue CIA Agent who's pulling strings all over the place, You can't tell if he's a good guy or a bad guy. I think that's indicative of all the characters. It's kind of a dark comedy. [Chuckles] The good thing about the movie is that you just can't tell where it's going to go.

KW: I won't spoil the ending of the film, but let me say I was definitely shocked by one of the surprising developments involving your character.
MJW: Yeah. It's one of those movies where you find yourself saying, "Wait a minute. Where are we now?" It's an action movie that's not trying to pretend to be anything other than that.

KW: Does the movie have a message, or should people just sit back and enjoy the action?
MJW: I'd say just sit back and enjoy the action, and also the laughs, because there's a lot of funny stuff in the movie as well.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you'd like to star in?
MJW: Wow! There are probably several of them. I made my attempt to redo Hard Times [the Charles Bronson classic from 1975]. I called it Blood and Bone. And there are certain other classic films I'd love to see again, but under a different name.

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?
MJW: Well, the first movie I ever saw was Five Fingers of Death, which was really the first kung fu movie sent to the United States. It freaked me out because people were pulling out adversaries' eyeballs. I ran out of the theater, and my brothers and cousins had to come get me. So, it's amazing that I would study martial arts years later, because that certainly freaked me out at first. .

KW: What type of dietary regimen do you follow to stay in such good shape?
MJW: I basically eat fish and vegetables, pretty much the pescatarian route.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
MJW: A constant work in progress. 
KW: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
MJW: At 16, I traveled across the country by Greyhound bus.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
MJW: Fairness. I just wish there was fairness overall. And you know what? I also wish for honesty.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?
MJW: Gamera, the giant, flying mutant turtle.

KW: The Anthony Mackie question: Is there anything that you promised yourself you’d do if you became famous, that you still haven’t done yet?
MJW: Boy, these are great questions. I'm a former Special Ed teacher, and I plan to do more in the country's public schools system. I definitely intend to help with policies in the inner-city school system. That's something I haven't done yet., but I'm going to.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
MJW: Two credit cards, my driver's license and 20 bucks.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Michael, and best of luck with the film.
MJW: Thank you, Kam.

To see a trailer for Vigilante Diaries, visit:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Free State of Jones

Film Review by Kam Williams

Civil War Saga Chronicles Exploits of Confederate Soldier-Turned-Slave Revolt Leader

While the slave raids led by Nat Turner and John Brown have been well documented in the annals of American history, the relatively-successful exploits of another notorious abolitionist insurrectionist have somehow slipped through the cracks. At least until now. 
Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey) was born and raised in Jones County, Mississippi, the grandson of a slave owner, making him, at first blush, a very unlikely figure to mount a revolt. He even served as a medic in the Confederate army during the Civil War, but was disheartened to learn how the sons of large plantation owners had been exempted from the military draft. And he was further demoralized the day a fresh young recruit (Jacob Lofland) from his hometown who had just joined his unit perished in battle upon reaching the front lines. 
No longer seeing any sense in poor people fighting to preserve the privileges of the very rich, Newt impulsively went AWOL, the dead boy's body in tow. He returned to Jones where he is quickly identified as a deserter. After being abandoned by his wife (Keri Russell) and having his farm confiscated by the Confederacy, he flees for his life, finding sanctuary in a swamp deep in the woods inhabited by a handful of escaped slaves. 
There, he befriends Moses (Mahershala Ali), a runaway bothered by an iron collar that had been soldered around his neck by a sadistic slave master. Newt, a blacksmith by trade, gains the group's trust by freeing the beleaguered black man from the torturous contraption. 
He soon emerges as its very charismatic, spiritual leader, founding the Free State of Jones on a quartet of core principles promoting racial equality. Gradually, its ranks swell to over 250, with both ex-slaves and disaffected Rebels joining.

In this oasis of racial harmony, Newt proceeds to fall in love with Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a beautiful black woman who bears him a son. Thus unfolds Free State of Jones, a reverential biopic written and directed by four-time Oscar-nominee Gary Ross.

Matthew McConaughey shines from beginning to end in a star vehicle where the virtuous protagonist is never allowed to exhibit a flaw. This costume drama proves compelling enough, primarily because nobody knew such a scenario could possibly have unfolded in a Southern state like Mississippi supposedly marked by segregation and intolerance. 
An overdue history lesson about an important chapter in America's long march to freedom.

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for brutal battle scenes, an ethnic slur and disturbing images
Running time: 139 minutes
Distributor: STX Entertainment

To see a trailer for Free State of Jones, visit:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Top Ten DVD List for 6-28-16

This Week’s DVD Releases
by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for June 28, 2016


Eye in the Sky

Cemetery of Splendor

Vera: Set Six

Kung Fu Panda 3

The Steps

Margarita with a Straw

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Nova: Can Alzheimer's Be Stopped?

Odd Squad: The O Games

Honorable Mention

Prince Philip: The Plot to Make a King

Nature: Jungle Animal Hospital


Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Shallows

Film Review by Kam Williams

It's Surfer vs. Shark in Harrowing Tale of Survival Offshore

Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) was so shaken by her mother's (Janelle Bailey) untimely death that she's dropped out of med school. In order to feel closer to her dearly departed mom, she's decided to vacation at the same exotic Mexican retreat where she was reportedly conceived back in 1991. An avid surfer, she also plans to search for the stretch for her mom's favorite beach. 
Upon arriving, Nancy is so impatient to find that idyllic, uncharted spot, that she impulsively heads for the ocean with her surfboard, handbag and smartphone, abandoning her bushed traveling companion at the hotel. Instead, she accepts a ride to the shore from the very obliging Carlos (Oscar Jaenada), an affable local yokel who is more than happy to serve as the bikini-clad hitchhiker's chauffeur and navigator. 
He drives away right after depositing her at the secluded cove, yet Nancy has no qualms about being left alone, since she does have cell service. Next thing you know, she's blissfully paddling out to deep water where she's surrounded by a pod of playful dolphins as she starts riding the mammoth waves. 
The plot thickens soon after she spots the bobbing carcass of a humpback whale. What Nancy doesn't recognize until it's too late is that she's inadvertently entered the feeding grounds of a still-hungry shark who'd rather dine on human flesh than cetacean. 
She subsequently suffers a nasty gash from the initial attack but is somehow able to swim to a tiny, low-lying island nearby. Her medical training comes in handy as she quickly fashions a tourniquet from part of her outfit. 
Still, with high tide coming in a matter of hours, she knows that she's got to figure out how to survive once this temporary sanctuary sinks below sea level. The shore is 200 yards away, which is way to far to swim with a determined predator steadily circling as her blood drips into the water. 
A couple of potential rescuers (Jose Manuel Trujillo Salas and Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo) show up, but hope fades fast when the dopey duo simply starts swimming without noticing the damsel-in-distress. The next beachgoer (Diego Espejel) does see that Nancy's in need, but he seizes the opportunity to steal her phone and other personal effects left on the sand.

This means spunky Nancy must survive by her wits, a daunting challenge given her dire straits. Thus unfolds The Shallows, an engaging, edge-of-the-seat thriller expertly directed by Jaume Collett-Serra (Non-Stop) to ratchet up the tension. 
The movie borrows elements from Jaws (headstrong, maniacal shark), Castaway (this stranded heroine bonds with a seagull instead of a volleyball), Blue Crush (oodles of gratuitous titillation) and MacGyver (a brilliant tinkerer exhibits endless ingenuity). The good news is that it all has been sewn together quite seamlessly yielding a thoroughly enjoyable screamfest reminding us that it's still not safe to swim in the ocean.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for bloody images, intense scenes of peril and brief profanity
Running time: 87 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

To see a trailer for The Shallows, visit:

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening 7-1-16

by Kam Williams

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun


The BFG (PG for action, peril, scary images and rude humor) Steven Spielberg directed this adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's novel about the unlikely friendship forged between a little girl (Ruby Barnhill) and the only member of a hostile race of invading giants (Mark Rylance) who won't eat children. With Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader and Rafe Spall.

The Legend of Tarzan (PG-13 for action, violence, sensuality and brief crude dialogue) Alexander Skarsgard handles the title role in this adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure about a British boy born an aristocrat but raised in the Congo by apes. Ensemble includes Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Jim Broadbent and Djimon Hounsou. (In English and Bantu wuth subtitles)

The Purge: Election Year (R for profanity and disturbing, graphic violence) Third episode in the horror franchise finds a U.S. presidential candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) and her bodyguard (Frank Grillo) on the run from government operatives during The Purge because of her campaign promise to discontinue the gruesome annual ritual. Cast includes Edwin Hodge, Kyle Secor and Mykelti Williamson.


Buddymoon (Unrated) Road comedy about a just-jilted groom-to-be (David Giuntoli) who honeymoons anyway, but with his incessantly-optimistic best man (Flula Berg). Cast includes Claire Coffee, Brian T. Finney and Jeanne Syquia.

The Innocents (PG-13 for disturbing mature themes, sexual assault, bloody images and brief suggestive content) Post-World War II saga, set in Poland in 1945, about a Red Cross intern (Lou de Laage) who discovers a convent containing a number of liberated Benedictine nuns impregnated while imprisoned in a concentration camp. With Agata Buzek, Jaonna Kulig and Anna Prochniak. (In French, Polish and Russian with subtitles)

Life, Animated (PG for mature themes and a suggestive reference) Heartwarming documentary chronicling how Disney cartoons and supportive parents helped an autistic boy overcome a host of his challenges.

Microbe & Gasoline (R for teen sexuality) Coming-of-age comedy about a couple of high school outcasts (Ange Dargent and Theophile Baquet) who embark on a summer road trip across France in an automobile they built themselves. With Diane Basnier, Audrey Tautou and Vincent Lamoureux. (In French with subtitles)

Our Kind of Traitor (R for violence, sexuality, frontal nudity, brief drug use and pervasive profanity) Adaptation of the John le Carre international thriller of the same name about a naive Britsh couple (Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris) duped into helping a powerful Russian mobster (Stellan Skarsgard) while vacationing in Morocco. With Damian Lewis, Alicia von Rittberg and Mark Stanley.

Roseanne for President! (Unrated) Prestige biopic recounting comedienne Roseanne Barr's unsuccessful run for president during the 2012 campaign. Featuring Michael Moore, Rosie O'Donnell and Sandra Bernhard.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mahershala Ali

The “Free State of Jones” Interview

with Kam Williams

A Holler from Mahershala!

Born in Oakland and raised in neighboring Hayward, California, Mahershala Ali received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications at St. Mary's College. He made his professional debut performing with the California Shakespeare Festival in Orinda, California. Soon thereafter, he earned his Master's degree in Acting from New York University's prestigious graduate program.

Mahershala is fast becoming one of the freshest and most in-demand faces in Hollywood with his extraordinarily diverse skill set and wide-ranging background in film, television, and theater. Last fall, he wrapped Brad Pitt and Adele Romanski's independently-produced feature film, Moonlight, as well as reprised his role in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, the final installment in the Hunger Games franchise, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, and Julianne Moore. As District 13's Head of Security, 'Boggs' guides and protects Katniss through the final stages of the district's rebellion against the Capitol.

On television, Mahershala was recently cast in Netflix's Luke Cage in the role of Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes. He can also be seen on the award-winning Netflix original series House of Cards, where he's reprising his fan-favorite role as lobbyist and former press secretary Remy Danton.

Mahershala's previous feature film credits include The Place Beyond the Pines opposite Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, Crossing Over starring Harrison Ford, John Sayles' Go For Sisters, and David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

On television, he appeared opposite Julia Ormond in Lifetime's The Wronged Man for which he subsequently received an NAACP Nomination for Best Actor. He also had a large recurring role on Syfy's Alphas, as well as the role of Richard Tyler, a Korean War pilot, on the critically-acclaimed drama The 4400.

On the stage, Mahershala appeared in productions of Blues for an Alabama Sky, The School for Scandal, A Lie of the Mind, A Doll's House, Monkey in the Middle, The Merchant of Venice, The New Place and Secret Injury, Secret Revenge. His additional stage credits include appearing in Washington, D.C. at the Arena Stage in the title role of The Great White Hope, and in The Long Walk and Jack and Jill.

Here, Mahershala talks about playing in Free State of Jones, a Civil War saga co-starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Keri Russell.

Kam Williams: Hi Mahershala, thanks for the interview.
Mahershala Ali: Thank you, Kam.

KW: What interested you in Free State of Jones?
MA: The story, first off. I had never heard of Newton Knight. So, the narrative as a whole was really attractive to me because it was a refreshing departure from the homogeneous depictions of the Civil War where the North wanted to abolish slavery while the South wanted to keep it intact. Here, you had an example of a Southerner who spoke out against slavery during the war and who later became an activist for civil rights and this new idea of equality for all people regardless of one's skin call, race or creed.

KW: What interested you in playing Moses?
MA: I had never seen a character in this time period who had such agency and mobility for someone living in the South. He had run away with a group of former slaves and was really living life on his own terms in the swamps. And he was determined to be pro-active in his people's emancipation. Also, seeing his evolution over the course of the narrative really inspired me. He's a disenfranchised, runaway slave with no education who learns to read and write and really becomes a leader and an active participant in the democratic process who mobilizes others. His were big shoes to fill, but they were ones that I was very excited to step into.

KW: How was it working with such an accomplished cast that included Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Brendan Gleeson?
MA: It was very inspiring and also humbling. It was a difficult shoot, being in the swamps in both the heat and the cold for four months, but everybody arrived ready to go, all-in and totally committed. It all started with Matthew and Gary [director Gary Ross] who had a wonderful energy and approach to the work every day that trickled down to the rest of the cast and crew. Everyone was aware of and inspired by the importance of the story we were telling, and that was another added layer that contributed to the focus that everyone had.

KW: And how was it being directed by a four-time Oscar-nominee in Gary Ross?
MA: Pretty phenomenal, starting with the audition process. He was very curious about my ideas in terms of fleshing out the character, and he also wanted to know my perspective as an African-American and whether I felt it reflected the African-American experience. And it was mind-blowing and empowering how Gary wanted to portray African-Americans participating in their own liberation. So, I would work with him again at the drop of a hat.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from the film?
MA: That the struggle for freedom continues. And if you're a person like Newt, it becomes your responsibility to empower those in close proximity to you.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you'd like to star in?
MA: The Great White Hope. I would love to redo that film in a way where it would be more focused on Jack Johnson.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?
MA: Terrence Stamp as General Zod in the1978 version of Superman starring Christopher Reeve.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
MA: I'm not much of cook, but I cook a mean bowl of oatmeal.

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?
MA: I remember choking on the core of an apple while being bathed in a large sink by my dad. He slapped me on the back until I coughed it up.

KW: Who loved you unconditionally during your formative years?
MA: My parents and my grandparents. My mom was extraordinarily present, but I'm so appreciative of all of them.

KW: Was there a meaningful spiritual component to your childhood?
MA: I grew up in church. My mom's a minister, and my grandmother was an ordained minister. I was always very mindful of the presence of a greater being I call God.

KW: How were you affected by the passing of Muhammad Ali?
MA: I was very affected by it. He was my first hero. I was mesmerized by his photos and his presence, even though he was retiring around the time I was becoming conscious of him. He was 100% my first hero and idol.

KW: Sherry Gillam would like to know what is the most important life lesson you've learned so far?
MA: Hold tight to the mentality of being a student, meaning hold on to curiosity and approach life as a student.

KW: What was your very first job?
MA: Working at Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was able to save up and by my first car over the course of that summer.

KW: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
MA: Commit myself to this journey of becoming an actor. It takes a lot of love and support and wonderful allies. But I don't necessarily recommend it.

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
MA: No one ever asks me what inspires me. What inspires me today is a desire to get closer to an understanding of what my artistic capacities are with the hope of organically sharing my gifts with an audience in the most heightened way I possibly can.

KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
MA: Granola. I never grew out of the cereal thing. As an adult, I could eat granola three times a day, if it didn't have so much sugar in it.

KW: Judyth Piazza asks: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
MA: They tend to believe in themselves and to be really impassioned. The people that I admire have a wonderful balance of self-belief and humility.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
MA: To really be conscious of how long the journey is, be patient, push yourself, persevere and always be working on your craft while waiting for your break. That's what I'm still working on, having done this for 20 years now.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?
MA: I guess as someone who was always looking to grow and improve in all the aspects of my life, from acting to being a good family man to embracing the spiritual tenets that I choose to practice. I always hope to be a better person tomorrow than today.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
MA: [Chuckles]I don't have a wallet. I carry my driver's license and a couple of credit cards in my phone. That and a money clip.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Mahershala, and best of luck with the film.
MA: Thanks, Kam.

To see a trailer for Free State of Jones, visit: