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Michael K. Williams Talks "Snitch," Life After "The Wire" & Acting Advice From 2 Pac

ELEVEN YEARS AGO, Michael K. Williams, an actor whose roiling menace has infused every kind of cutthroat character, thought his role of a lifetime might be as a babysitter. “I wasn’t getting calls or auditions,” he says of the days before being cast on The Wire, HBO’s graphic portrait of Baltimore corruption, drugs and decay. “I started working at my mother’s day care in Brooklyn. I was off the grid.”

Now 46, the man better known as Omar Little—the gay, shottie-toting bandit who was the embodiment of righteous wrath—is building a notable post-Wire reel en route to his big-screen breakthrough. He’s spent three seasons on Boardwalk Empire as Albert “Chalky” White, a 1920s gangster and community leader in Atlantic City. He’s in a slew of upcoming films: the RoboCop reboot (his first franchise); Twelve Years a Slave with Brad Pitt later this year; and Snitch, out today (Feb. 22), starring Susan Sarandon. In 2011, he produced Snow on tha Bluff, a jarring depiction of an Atlanta crime spree. “We were the 10th most watched on Netflix for the year,” he says. “When Diddy hit me, I was like, Something’s going on.”

Growing up in a West Indian household in the East Flatbush, the emphasis was on academia, not trivialities. “Aspiring to be an entertainer was frowned upon. It was: Get a real job, get an education, get a trade,” says Williams. He spent the ’90s as a professional dancer, haunting auditions to earn cameos in videos for Madonna, George Michael and Shabba Ranks. Comfortable on camera, acting didn’t seem a stretch. After being slashed in the face during a bar fight on his 25th birthday, he proved irresistible to casting directors seeking hard-edged characters.

Even Tupac Shakur believed Williams looked “thugged out enough” to play his brother in Bullet. On the set, ’Pac explained method acting. “He said, ‘I come to the set in character.’ That’s something I internalized,” says Williams. “If the character is in a dark place, I don’t talk to nobody, and I don’t look people in the eye.”

Maybe that’s why the edges separating Williams and his roles often blur. He’s set to revive rap’s misunderstood wild boy Ol’ Dirty Bastard in an upcoming biopic. But for the public, it’s Omar that lives on. “My name isn’t a household name, so people see me and scream ‘Omar!’ or ‘Chalky White!’” says Williams. “It still makes me happy.” —BEN DETRICK

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Stream: Hulu's 'FYRE Fraud' Doc Examines The Festival That Scammed Thousands

In 2017, rumors of an exclusive festival taking place in the Bahamas took over social media. Organized by Billy McFarland and promoted by Ja Rule, the FYRE Festival was the new, cool kid on the festival block and quickly put other more seasoned festivals to shame.

But all that glitters isn't gold.

FYRE FRAUD, the new documentary streaming on Hulu, takes an intimate look at the scam that left thousands stranded on the island. Directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason, the dark-comedy interviews whistleblowers, victims, and the convicted con-man himself, McFarland.

In a press release, Fraust and Nason said the goal isn't to make light of those who were scammed.

"Our aim was to set the stage for a strange journey into the moral abyss of our digital age, going beyond the meme to show an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and willing to look the other way, for their own gain.

"We draw on countless cultural references, on true crime tension, and on humor - but we did not intend to create a toothless comedy about the Fyre Festival. We hope this film can pierce our collective apathy and disrupt our own millennial peers, if only for an instant - to look at these stories for what they truly are, and to halt this algorithm before it devours us whole."

FYRE FRAUD is now streaming on Hulu.

 

 

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Al Bello

Dave Chappelle Isn't Sure His R. Kelly 'Chappelle Show' Skits Were Insensitive

The Surviving R. Kelly series may be over, but the fallout from it has seemingly just begun.

Director dream hampton took to Twitter during the airing of the Lifetime documentary and spoke honestly about the several celebrity men she contacted in hopes they'd speak on camera about R. Kelly and the years of sexual allegations that have shadowed him. Among them was Dave Chappelle.

The beloved comic famously made a music video entitled "Piss On You" mocking the real-life video of R. Kelly urinating on an underage girl. During the Chappelle Show heyday, he used R.Kelly's legal woes as material for years.

TMZ caught with Chappelle in West Hollywood and asked him if he regretted not being featured in hampton's series and instead he dodged the question.

"Jesus Christ, I just had dinner," Chappelle said in between taking a drag of his cigarette. "I just ate. Strop bringing that motherf**ker up."

When pressed about whether or not he thinks his old skits were insensitive, the 45-year-old said "I don't know. I'd have to watch it again."

D.L. Hughley joined Chappelle for dinner and commented on R.Kelly and the forthcoming Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland, which outlines sexual assault allegations against the late singer.

"If you can be mad at R. Kelly, you should be mad at Michael Jackson," Hughley said.

 

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Andre 3000 Stars In New Space Thriller 'High Life'

A new space thriller is coming to theaters this year. Andre 3000 will star in the new film alongside Twilight's Robert Pattinson in High Life, and the first trailer looks pretty intense.

The feature focuses on a group of criminals who are coerced into a mission to travel towards a black hole to find an alternate energy source. They are also forced to undergo sexual experiments while in outer space. The 2-minute preview features Pattinson and Andre 3000 as they struggle to survive on the spaceship.

High Life originally premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in Sept. 2018. It received positive reviews from numerous film critics.

"High Life is as visually arresting as it is challenging, confounding, and ultimately rewarding - which is to say it's everything film fans expect from director Claire Denis," Rotten Tomatoes said of the film.

The film is written and directed by Claire Denis. High Life will hit theaters on Apr. 12. Watch the new trailer in the video above.

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