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Actor GregAlan Williams Discusses Novel, Harvey Weinstein, Future

by Todd A. Smith


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A Man of Many Talents and Much Wisdom

Actor and author GregAlan Williams has done it all in Hollywood and has also made his mark on the literary arena.

The star known for his roles on “Greenleaf” and “Remember the Titans” recently visited Houston for the National Black Book Festival to promote the new audio version of his novel, “Heart of a Woman,” which tells the story of a strong African-American woman set to the backdrop of the music of Motown Records and the city of Detroit. 

In an interview with publisher Todd A. Smith, Williams talked about topics ranging from the Harvey Weinstein controversy to the current acting roles for African-American women, and of course the novel, “Heart of a Woman.”

For more information on the novel and additional work by Williams, click here.

On his book, “Heart of a Woman”…

“It’s historical fiction…sort of in the tradition of E.L. Doctorow where you have fictional characters who mix with real historical characters.  Not only characters, but historical incidents.  I’m a fan of E.L. Doctorow so in that sense historical fiction and at the same time African-American women’s fiction because the target market are certainly African-American women of a certain age.  So I would define it in those two ways as African-American women’s fiction and historical fiction.”

On the roles in Hollywood for African-American actresses…

“Let me talk about that in the context of the words of (S.) Epatha Merkerson [formerly of ‘Law and Order’ and currently of ‘Chicago Med’].  I play her husband in a recurring role (in ‘Chicago Med’).  She said to me that in television and film very often, African-American women are either noble or h**s.  And what she was saying was so often for the African-American woman is she’s mistreated but she remains noble and committed to her children.  She has no man but she perseveres with her children because she doesn’t really need what other women need because she’s a different kind of woman.  So that noble thing or she’s a straight up h**.  And she was saying that in the context of the kind of conversations she has with the writers of ‘Chicago Med.’  So they have conservations with writers about letting them be human.  Not letting them be special but letting them be human.”  

On the controversy surrounding former movie executive, Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment in the workplace…

“From a point of view of ego, I’m not even talking about morality but just ego…because for me that ain’t gonna get me none.  I’m gonna get cut off.  So how that works as a strategy I don’t even know.  That’s the creepy man and you don’t want to date the creepy man.  And you don’t want to go to dinner with the creepy man. So how that is a formula for winning, I am not sure.”

On the satisfaction of developing characters as a writer versus portraying characters developed by other writers…

“The writing is giving birth.  The acting is babysitting, nurturing, caring for because when I work as an actor I respect the writing 100 percent.  I don’t change a word.  Most of the time I don’t even suggest a change.  My job as an actor is to take the writer’s words and make them believable off the page.  As writer I’m giving birth and one of the places the two intersect is in the dialogue.  Because I love to write dialogue and I love to give characters (a) voice; each character a distinct voice.”

On the possibility of getting into screenwriting and filmmaking…

“I do want to make a western.  I want to make a western with Black actors.  And I want it to be the most hokey… it’s a man and he got four sons and they got a ranch and the people kinda rustle their cattle, and there’s bad guys.  And the boys get married to another family that has four girls and the bad guys snatch the girls.  The daddy and the boys gotta go get their women.  I’m not trying to cover any new ground.  I just want America to see Black people on horses.” 

On the movie role he wishes he could redo based on performance…

“Maybe ‘In the Line of Fire’ with Clint Eastwood (because) I was so enamored of Clint Eastwood.  I was supposed to be his partner.  I had been his partner during the (President John F.) Kennedy assassination.  And I think I would have played it a little more in his face and little less paying homage because he’s Clint Eastwood.”  

This article was published on Friday 03 November, 2017.
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