June 2001
An Interview with Don Cheadle

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

An Interview with Don Cheadle

Don Cheadle first caught out attention playing "Mouse" in "Devil in a Blue Dress." Itís a role he should have been nominated for, but thatís another story. Since then, he has been blessed with lots of good parts including last yearís role as a cop in the widely acclaimed film "Traffic." Now heís back playing yet another cop in "Swordfish". He shares with blackfilm.com his thoughts on the film.

WM: Did you have to do any special research to play a cop because you also played one in "Traffic"?

DC: Yes, I had to do so that Iím not out of the realm of reality. This was a little unique because there are people who do this, but theyíre not easy to find as a DEA agent.

WM: Since you played a cop before, did you have any reservations taking this role?

DC: No, I think they are two totally different people and the movies are completely different. I thought it would be alright. There are not enough roles out there for me to be stereotyped. So, Iím not even worried about that.

WM: Do you find yourself being offered the same roles?

DC: No, thereís not a lot, period. Thereís not a lot of well written fully realized materials to jump to so itís really a challenge to find those things that you want to do that are interesting, and that are different. When you get down to it, itís a numbers game. Thereís about 2 or 3 scripts a year that you really want to do and hopefully youíll get a chance to do them if theyíre not done by someone else.

WM: What made you decide to take this role?

DC: Dominic Sena, the director, called me in and said "Iíve got this part that I want you to do" and he sent me the script that wasnít the right script and he sent me another script and still it wasnít the right script and finally on the strength on his pitch, I said Iíll do it.

WM: Did you make any specific script suggestions?

DC: Along the way, none that I can recall specifically. Just total things and how I wanted the character to be portrayed. Iím always trying to make changes everyday as we go along. The script is constantly in flux.

WM: How do you compare Sena and Soderburgh?

DC: They couldnít be more different. Stephen is really reserve and quiet and sometimes not even sure if heís awake. Dominic is up and energized and sort of anxious. They are the antithesis of one another.

WM: Are you trying to develop some projects for yourself?

DC: Iím writing one now. Something that Universal / Imagine Pictures actually bought. I donít know when Iíll be done but Iím still writing the script.

WM: Do you ever want to direct?

DC: Yeah, that question has been brought up a couple of times, but the timing hasnít been right. Directing is basically a year out of your life. Itís been hard trying to find that year to be able to commit to that. Eventually it is what I want to do. Iíve directed a lot of theatre and directed a small film but never major.

WM: Whatís coming up?

DC: Iím doing a play at the Public Theatre (in NYC) with Jeffrey Wright. George Wolfe is directing it. Itís called Top Dog /Underdog with only Jeffrey and myself. Itís a SuzanĖLori Parks play and it opens on July 26, 2001. Previews begin on July 10th.