Because there were no posts on Prison Break this weekend (sorry about that) I thought I’d make it up somehow by bringing some extra Wentworth photos and interview where he talks more about himself, growing up … telling us he’s just an ordinary guy which makes us love him even more. Ah, Went.
How did you get the scar on your upper lip?
I can't remember a specific incident. I must have fallen on my face as a kid running up and down die streets of Brooklyn. I'm going to have to ask Mom about that one.
What is the significance of the black cord pendant necklace you wear?
It's a simple solid-silver piece at the end of that cord necklace. I found it at a flea market. It doesn't do anything, it doesn't hold anything. It just is, which I thought was a statement in and of itself. It spoke to me.
How do you pass the time when they're applying Michael's full-body tattoo?
I listen to my iPod. I watch old movies on a little TV/DVD set, like "His Girl Friday" or the original "The Hills Have Eyes." The-makeup team and I work our way through various TV series. The last was Family Guy. I made it through all six seasons of Oz in three months.
When asked about your race, what do you tell people?
I say I'm of mixed race, and if they ask for specifics, I rattle off the details: My mother is Russian, French, Syrian, Lebanese and Dutch; my father is African-American, Jamaican, English, German and part Cherokee.
How difficult was it dealing with racism growing up and now trying to find roles in Hollywood?
I'll find myself standing in the company of someone who will make an offhand comment about someone else who is clearly "this" or "that," knowing that they haven't realized that I may also be "this" or "that." They feel free to make that sort of comment in front of me, and then I'm faced with the choice of "Do I stop the party and start lecturing, or do I keep quiet and internalize this insult to someone who looks like they could be my family?" It's a difficult choice, and I'd like to say that I always do the right thing, but the fact is it can be exhausting trying to educate someone. Confronting people can be difficult. As for how race has played into my experience in the business, it's really difficult to say. Obviously I'm not in the room when they're talking about my audition tape, so I don't know what goes into that process. I will say I've been fairly pleased by the reaction to my casting in Prison Break, which is basically no reaction at all. I'm playing a white character. There are those who would argue that actors of a certain background should not play certain parts, and those who would argue that those limitations should be challenged. I'm not interested in weighing in on that. I just want to work.
Any interest in comedy?
Absolutely. Romantic comedy, dark comedy, maybe even slapstick.
What's on your iPod?
A lot of classical—Tchaikovsky is a favor—and some old-school Ella Fitzgerald, Simon and Garfunkel, '80s-era Michael Jackson, Radiohead, Angie Stone. I like Eminem. Grunge. When I was in high school in the '80s, when I could have been listening to Poison and that kind of thing, my parents had very strict rules, and I wasn't allowed to listen to music that had lyrics while I was doing my homework. So it was classical music or nothing. I think I missed out on a lot of stuff that my peers were into.
Stay tuned for Part II.