Michael Kenneth Williams Q&A: ‘The Night Of’
During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), Michael Kenneth Williams reveals that while filming ABC’s LGBTQ rights limited series “When We Rise,” he was given a stunning reminder of the project’s relevancy when the Pulse Night Club shooting that claimed the lives of 49 people at a gay bar in Orlando, Fl., occurred. “What are the odds that I would be doing ‘When We Rise’ when that god-awful event happened,” he recalls. “That’s just the world we live in, when it comes to people’s rights to live their own lives.” Williams plays Ken Jones, one of the leading activists in the movement, who served as a consultant on the show.
We also spoke about his role as Freddie Knight, a domineering prisoner at Rikers Island who takes a wrongfully imprisoned youth (Riz Ahmed) under his wing in HBO’s limited series “The Night Of.” “Freddie’s a very charismatic human being,” he divulges. “I didn’t play him as a street character. He could’ve been President of the United States had he gone to the right college. He had that type of mentality, in my mind.”
Williams first came to prominence playing Baltimore stick-up man Omar Little on “The Wire.” He received an Emmy nomination as Best Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actor playing opposite Queen Latifah in “Bessie” (2015), and won a SAG Ensemble prize for “Boardwalk Empire” in 2013. He can also be seen as Leonard Pine on IFC’s “Hap and Leonard.” Check out our full interview above for more about his work on “When We Rise” and “The Night Of.”