We found him in the hotel corridor stretching his legs. Mike Colter (40) is discovering what it takes to star in his own series. He is the star of Luke Cage as he makes clear with the name of his character in the title, a guy with impenetrable skin and superhuman strength that we can see on Netflix.
Series lovers He was known as Lemond Bishop, the drug king of The good wife that appeared from time to time to question the moral of the main lawyer. But when we see him with his 1.91 height it is quickly understood that Marvel saw in that criminal in a necktie the next great hero.
Do you think your height was an obstacle to getting papers before Luke Cage?
When you’re a tall black man with a shaved head, they don’t really know if you’re fit for a starring role, a character character, or what. Luckily now there is more and more diversity and actors are being sought out of the mold. Let’s see how long it lasts …! But for the record, now you see me with thirteen extra kilos. Before, I was what I like to call “Hollywood slim”: I had a good physique and suits fit me well.
Playing criminal roles is almost a rite of passage for black actors. Have you ever turned down a role because you were fed up with the cliché?
What matters to me is that the character is well developed. On The good wifeFor example, my character did not differ from the rest of the white men that the protagonist defended. I saw him as an entrepreneur who had gyms, laundries and who also had a drug business.
One of the most surprising elements of Luke Cage is the use of the racist insult nigger, which is used a lot in urban culture and that your character hates. Is he assimilating too much into popular culture?
I’m personally not a fan of the word. Have I ever used it? Yes, and I find it very funny if Chris Rock or Eddie Murphy use it. But I think it’s becoming a very basic word: you’re not cool or hip if you don’t use it. I do not care if they tell me that it is endearing, that it is a form of affection in different circles. I believe that the n word it oppresses the entire black race. I do not see anything good, only negative connotations. We should get rid of this word.
We should get rid of this word “
You were voted the most ambitious in the class in high school. Do you take your goal for granted with Luke Cage?
I had never thought about being a superhero. Will it be a character that defines me? Sure. Obviously the idea of being a superhero didn’t bother me and as an actor you always want to expand your repertoire, but I don’t know where I’ll be in the future. Luckily now I can possibly focus on other challenges thanks to the media exposure of the series.
Weren’t you afraid of signing a contract with Marvel? It’s one thing to agree to a starring role and another to participate in Jessica Jones, then have your own series and then participate in The defenders…
And so much that it scared me! On the one hand you are launching your career and on the other you are defining it. If it doesn’t work, you don’t know the consequences. Think that I had not seen the material when I signed the contract. Luckily now I know that it is a good project. Luke Cage it’s not too distinguishable from an adult drama without superpowers, either.
How would you define the series?
It’s a hip-hop western. In the city there is an uncle whose name nobody knows, who tries not to bother him and inadvertently Luke is already facing a duel against Cottonmouth.
Perhaps with the spin-off he will have the opportunity to return. You never know”
And, going back to Lemond Bishop, did you expect to have such a big role when you were hired for the first episode?
It took me by surprise. It had to be a week’s job and when the episode aired, I remember my sister calling me to tell me that they had to reprise my character since they hadn’t killed me. And he was right because the character grew and grew. Before Lemond Bishop, moreover, I had never looked at my own work. But I was already The good wife before participating in it so I had no other choice if I wanted to continue watching the series.
And will we see you in the spin-off of The good wife?
I was unlucky that I couldn’t appear in season seven because I was too busy with Jessica Jones. We had the studio right in front of the one in The good wife in New York and I often visited them, but my hours prevented me from participating in an episode. Perhaps with the spin-off he will have the opportunity to return. You never know.
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“When you are black, tall and with a shaved head, they do not know if you are the protagonist