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December 2007
An Interview with Katt Williams

An Interview with Katt Williams

By Wilson Morales

December 10, 2007

With ‘Norbit’ and ‘American Hustle: The Movie’, Katt Williams is certain cementing his status as the next comedian to watch out for. If you ever watch any of his stand up roles, you know he’s really funny and keeps it real when making jokes. In a departure from what you normally see him in, Williams plays a talent manager to Charlie Murphy in ‘The Perfect Holiday’, which also stars Queen Latifah, Morris Chestnut, Gabrielle Union, and Terrance Howard. In speaking with blackfilm.com, Williams talks working on this film and playing a role opposite from what his fans would see in.

This role is a departure from what we normally see you in. Talk to me about the character you play and what attracted you to the part.

Katt Williams: First of all, thank you for the kind words. That’s the juggle. The people that like me want to see me be me but that is not what acting is all the time. Sometimes you have to bring something else. As a novice, young fresh actor, I don’t have that many films under my belt. It’s important to me that I do what the job entails, and that I deliver. If the part was written for that particular part that I was playing and he was supposed to be the funniest dude around, then that’s what is what I would have been, but that was not that character. As an actor, I believe you should play the character.

What attracted you to the film?

KW: All of the aforementioned. I’m still in charge of the roles I take and what I say yes to. I say yes to what I like. If he’s playing a pimp, okay. If he’s playing a race car driver, I like race cars. This was another character and I knew who the character was in my head. So I was able to focus in on that and deliver that I thought what it was supposed to be. The director was able to get me into with that. That was the lesson of the whole movie, that it was a learning experience all the way through. Everybody thought me something and I was there to learn.

What came first for you, being a comedian or being an actor?

KW: It is today what it has always been. I am a comedian. There is no other way to go.

Were you able to adlib any of your scenes?

KW: Absolutely. Charlie Murphy was the star and I understood that. When I’m in the company that I was in, I play my position. If I’m a power forward, then that’s what I play. I’m not trying to be the center or set picks. I will deliver the play the way that it should be deliver. I’m not the coach. Lance Rivera is the coach and Queen Latifah is watching this product. I get to be T.O (Terrell Owens). Just throw me the ball.

What did you learn from Lance as a director?

KW: I had got to the point where I only operated on funny. I had to have that. Part of the joy of acting is surrendering to the role. It was difficult for me to work on this because there is a part of me that is Kobe Bryant, and all I’m trying to be is Dwayne Wade but it’s difficult. As a comedian, I am taught to kill, kill, kill, and go, go, go. There is never enough laughs. If I get 100 laughs, I was trying to get 200 laughs. Lance is not Martin Scorcese, but I didn’t need him to be. I needed him to be a director who can show me how to deliver what it was I was supposed to be delivering. I was thankful he was able to do that for me.

Do you have a Christmas moment you can remember?

KW: I don’t think there’s a Christmas moment I could forget. You have to have a tragedy for you to have a bad Christmas memory. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor or if you are black or white. The Christmas memories are necessary about toys. There are about who was there, what the discussion was, and what was going down. What you end up remembering was who acted crazy. Those are the things that make memories. I don’t have bad holiday memories at all.

What was one of the fun parts of shooting this film?

KW: We were in a place I wasn’t familiar with and I was with people I wasn’t familiar with and I was in a role I wasn’t familiar with and I was still on tour at the same time, so I was still Katt Williams. I was struggling trying to be Katt Williams and someone else at the same time, especially when the Katt Williams fans are expecting a certain thing from me. That is not what the role called for.

What sort of roles do you look for?

KW: I am awe of the fact that they pay me to play pretend. Once part of what I do for a living is to play pretend, then this is fun. I’ve had too many jobs that suck, that as an actor, this is beautiful. I get the scripts and I get to go through them and pick what I’d like to do. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work. You are not in charge of that. But you do have to celebrate that if you have the opportunity as an actor to get with an A-list crew with an A-list cast and an A-list script, and you get a chance to do a job with no hurdles, nothing bad, and it’s a holiday movie where you can go and see it, then I’m on top of the world.

Who did you grow up watching?

KW: It started out with the usual cats like Richard (Pryor), Eddie (Murphy), and Martin (Lawrence), and that’s because I was watching the dudes that I was funny, and there’s Bruce Bruce, and Earthquake, and others, and I’m just liked comedy. Then comedy got serious and I wanted to be good at it.

Why should anyone see ‘The Perfect Holday’?

KW: Well, you don’t have to. It depends on what you like in movies. If you want to see a good movie or be satisfied that you are paying $10 worth during the holiday season, then this is it. If that’s not your thing, and if you don’t like that, then you’ll go see something else. If you to come to this movie wanting to feel good, then you wil feel it.

THE PERFECT HOLDAY opens on December 12, 2007


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