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July 2008
An Interview with Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister

An Interview with Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister
By Wilson Morales

July 9, 2008

At 6’5 ft, there are that many film roles you can give for a person that tall, since the average height for men in the business is probably between 5’9 and 6’2; but for Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, he’s been able to establish a film career that has lasted over twenty years thus far.

From playing the role of a bodyguard in numerous film to being the Federated Territories President in the science fiction epic ‘The Fifth Element’ (1997), to the cult comedy ‘Friday’ (1995) and its sequel, ‘Next Friday’ (2000) with Ice Cube, as well as working with Mike Myers in ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’ (2002), Lister has parlayed his skills, comedic and dramatic into something that’s worth watching. He even dabbled in the world of wrestling years ago as Zeus and going opposite Hulk Hogan at one point.

In what is sure to be his biggest exposure, Lister has a small but pivotal role in ‘The Dark Knight’, which is the sequel to ‘Batman Begins’ and stars Christian Bale as Batman and Heath Ledger as The Joker.

In speaking exclusively with blackfilm.com, Lister talks about his role, his film career, and his upcoming role in ‘Madagascar: Back 2 Africa’.

What role do you play in the film?

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: I play a tattooed prisoner who represents hope when there is none. I haven’t seen the film yet, but from I heard from those who have seen it, I did a pretty good job in preventing death and destruction. I was at the ‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’ premiere when some journalists who had seen the film told me that folks were clapping at my scene.

How did you go about to be in this film?

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: I audition for it. When I got the part, they wanted to keep my role a secret as much as possible.

Had you seen the first film, ‘Batman Begins’?

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: Yes. I’m a big fan of Gary Oldman, so with him in the film, I wanted to see it. Chris Nolan is an amazing director.

What did you learn from Chris in this film?

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: Just that he is a very good director, and he’s very humble, and easy to work with. A very awesome person. Just like Luc Besson, Chris is also easy to talk to.

Are you a fan of the Batman franchise?

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: Oh man! I think everyone is a fan. I grew up watching it. Everyone wants to be a superhero. It’s one of the biggest franchises in the world.

Do you have a favorite superhero?

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: I’m a big comic book person. I love Captain America. I like John Henry. I’m hoping to play one of the superhero characters that’s coming from Marvel. I’m hoping someone will see me in ‘The Dark Knight’ and like my work and give me a chance to do something different. At this point of my career, I’m looking t do something different. In ‘One Night with The King’, I played a prophet, in ‘The Fifth Element’, I played the President, and with this film, I’m someone who gives hope back to mankind. I don’t make these things easier for The Joker. I sacrifice myself for the good of the world.

For the all the films you have done in over twenty years, this film will probably give you the biggest exposure on screen.

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: Yes, it probably will. I was also in ‘Austin Powers 3’ with Mike Myers and ‘The Fifth Element’ with Bruce Willis, but this film will give the exposure the way I really want to be seen. This is a dream from God. I asked God to give me something big and he came through with this work.

I made a career playing bad guys battling Hulk Hogan and playing opposite Ice Cube in big franchise projects that made a lot of money, but this character in ‘The Dark Knight’ is something different. In ‘One Night With The King’, I got a chance to work Omar Sharif, Peter O’ Toole, and my good friend Luke Goss, who’s in ‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’. Those are the type of the films I like doing.

What else do you have coming up?

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister: I’m in ‘Madasgascar 2. I’m Testy the Lion. The franchise moves to Africa and Bernie Mac is also in the film. I loved working for Dreamworks on that film. I want the kids to love that film. I have plenty of other films coming out this year. After 26 years, I’ve done about 144 films, but it doesn’t get any bigger than ‘The Dark Knight’.





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