Interviewing Michael K. Williams Was A Highlight of My Life
For a while now, whenever asks me what my favorite interview is with LCB I've had the same answer. Michael K. Williams.
All celebrity interviews are kind of tricky because there is only so much you can do to prep for them. I've written all the interview prep for every interview in LCB history and it's just impossible! You can watch previous interviews and catch their cadence and vibe, maybe doing your best to accommodate for that. But once you get into the actual interview, everything can change. That is what happened to me in this interview. I did my research on him as a person and structured the interview to be lighthearted and focused on him as an actor.
When we started getting into it, I realized that this was going to be a very different type of conversation. About 1/4th the way through, it shifted to being a very cerebral talk because Michael K. Williams was just that kind of guy. I'd say that 90% of the actors we interview are schmoozers that like to entertain and there is nothing wrong with that. But MKW didn't really do that. He answered my questions honestly, specifically the one above. Being told that the leader of the free world thinks Omar is the best character on TV? That just has to be awesome, right?
I'd imagine that most actors asked that same question would give the same boilerplate "Yea it was really cool and a big honor and I gave 110%" like an athlete winning an award. MKW told me straight up that it was nerve-wracking. He already had the weight of his community and his contemporaries on his shoulders, but now also the president of the United States. Every scene he shot after that had that thought in the back of his mind! You know what, that doesn't sound awesome. It sounds scary as shit! It caused him to become absorbed into the character of Omar and he started struggling with addiction in the process. Hearing him talk about his addiction issues in that way is painful in retrospect, but it was both honest and important. I'm so grateful that he was open enough to talk about it with me because addiction is a disease that comes with an unfair stigma of shame that only feeds into the cycle. By putting himself out there both in this tiny interview and in other, much larger, spots, he has helped people feel seen. More "normal", whatever that means. Less ashamed and more willing to look for help.
It's hard to find many people with bravery like that, especially at William's level of fame.
He was an amazing actor and even better man that is going to be sorely missed.
You can listen to his full interview below: