Hi reddit, Jeffrey Wright here.

I'm talking with you today in preparation for the LAST season of Boardwalk Empire, and to raise money for two organizations near and dear to my heart: Tribeca Film Institute and Taia Peace Foundation. If you'd like to support these organizations along with me, I'm offering you and a guest the chance to join me on the set of Boardwalk Empire: http://www.omaze.com/experiences/join-jeffrey-wright-on-the-set-of-boardwalk-empire

Proof: https://twitter.com/jfreewright/status/476772356661477376

UPDATE: I really appreciate everyone's questions, this was a lot of fun. Thank you again for your support of Tribeca Film Institute and Taia Peace Foundation.

Comments: 103 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

alsghd040824 karma

How awesome is Jennifer Lawrence really?

jeffreywright33 karma

She’s really awesome. I have to say, as awesome as you might imagine. The brilliant, vibrant, upbeat and original personality. Working with her is a choice between focusing and laughing yourself into hysterics.

yellowfin3516 karma

I think you did a great job in Casino Royale! Will you as Felix Lighter return in the next bond movie?

jeffreywright16 karma

Well, one never knows! The Bond world is a world of secrets. So that remains to be seen. I love being a part of the series, and it would be wonderful to have Felix back in the mix again.

valentinnarcisse15 karma

How do you keep your mustache so twirly?

jeffreywright13 karma

I would like to say that the ends of my mustache twirl simply as a result of the sinister nature of Narcisse’s mind. That they just kind of curl on the end with the diabolical electricity that he generates. But if I’m to be more forthcoming, I would just have to chock it up to mustache wax.

I’d also like to say: tread gently my friend. It's a tricky and dangerous journey for the Valentin Narcisse's of the world.

klamon9 karma

Who were your role models growing up?

jeffreywright16 karma

My role models were pretty close to home. My mom, of course, my grandfather, who was a waterman on the Chesapeake Bay and also a farmer, a pitcher in a negro league and master storyteller and spinner of tall tales. He was just a fantastic character and a leader within his community. And then I was inspired by people that were involved in the Civil Rights Movement that I was born into, like Angela Davis, Shirley Chisholm, political folks. I guess it depended on the time of the day, and time of the week.

AmberHeartsDisney9 karma

Can you ask Woody Harrelson about Rampart??


jeffreywright14 karma


AmberHeartsDisney8 karma

What roll would you love to be cast for that you haven't already?

jeffreywright9 karma

That’s an interesting question. You know, I’ve had the opportunity to play some pretty diverse, interesting roles. I’m not really chomping at the bit to play anything other than what I’m in the midst of doing. With that said, there’s a film that were in the midst of pulling together that I think is pretty exciting. It’s the story of a fellow named Carlton Pearson, who was one of the biggest evangelical ministers in America a few years ago, who went through a fascinating experience that led to him being tried for heresy. That could be next on the horizon for me and I’m extremely curious to explore his story and his journey.

RadomirPutnik4 karma

Jeffrey, I first noticed you, and was amazed by your performance in Shaft. Can you give any insight into your character's accent? It was almost musical.

jeffreywright12 karma

Wow, well thank you for that! That’s interesting because that tends to be how I view language and intonation and accents, in that I tend to read them as musical, and I particularly love and have been attuned to the music of dialects, although I don't always understand the reasons why. I’m fascinated by the way that cultures express their music through the way they speak, whether they’re Jamaican, Irish, etc. there’s just these lovely tones or notes that are specific to these cultures.

In this case, his music was that of the Dominican Republic and Washington Heights, New York. I tapped into his groove through a friend of mine who worked at a club that I used to frequent in Midtown, and he was Dominican and I always loved the way he would round the end of his words, he would drop and let them fade away before they quite reached the air.

johnjonah3 karma

How's your business in Africa doing these days?

jeffreywright7 karma

Yeah, thats a great question, and a welcome question. We are in the process of ramping up our activity within the coming weeks. We’ve managed to pull in a new group of investors on the commercial side which will allow us to advance exploration on the gold side of things, which should be enormously productive. That is extraordinarily good news for us and for the project and for the community that comes in seriously challenging times for gold companies around the world. Over the last 18 to 24 months, the bottom has fallen out of the gold market. There’s been enormous economic pressure which has drawn investment in the exploration out of the space, so it’s significant. We’re excited that we can continue to develop and work there because obviously the intent behind what we’re doing is commercial in nature. At the same time, the large intent is the social impact we can have through the commercial side. In the social side, we’ve had some great philanthropic success with cacao and coffee. Last year, we were able to plant 13 thousand cacao seedlings, and that also diversifies the nature of our investments. We also brought in some local consultants to train farmers and enhance practices. So one harvest to the next, farmers saw a 62% increase in cacao because they were able to boost their marketability. Farmers in the area are terribly excited to continue these practices. And this is just the first step. And we carry on.

If you'd like to support and join me on the set of Boardwalk Empire, enter here: http://www.omaze.com/experiences/join-jeffrey-wright-on-the-set-of-boardwalk-empire

jeffreywright9 karma

One final thing, we are more than a little concerned about the Ebola epidemic that’s creeped into Sierra Leone and we’re keeping an eye on it. The outbreak is happening in the very nearby area in the east of Sierra Leone, so it’s extremely concerning and speaking further to the vulnerability of the region and the need for partnership to protect their well being.

Spister3 karma

Hi there, I was wondering if you've read the whole Hunger Games series (and if so, your thoughts)? Or what best helped you get a sense of the type of person Beetee is and how to portray him? Thanks!

jeffreywright13 karma

Yes, of course I’ve read the whole of the Hunger Games series. I think it would have been foolish not to, considering all of the wonderful detail and background story that they contain. They represent the whole cosmology of these character and habits. If I was going to be able to flesh out my character, I needed to know as much as possible, so I went there to discover that. There’s a lot there, but I think that Suzanne Collins tapped into something very much within the moment that we find ourselves in. On set, we’re continually amazed at the way in which the world outside the set is reflected within the world we’re trying to recreate from her books. The books and movies are directed towards young minds, which make them all the more exciting. This moment recently in Thailand, where protesters were throwing up the Hunger Games hand sign in the streets, was just kind of mind boggling and odd in the best way, and only indicative of Suzanne’s stories and ideas, and of these movies we’re all a part of.

valentinnarcisse3 karma

What was your favourite scene to film in Boardwalk Empire?

jeffreywright10 karma

There was so much delicious stuff that the writers were feeding me. It’s really hard to choose which was tastier, but the introduction of the character was so layered and subtle that I just enjoyed jumping into the fray in the second episode. Those scenes were the first scenes, so if I have to choose between the wonder children, I’d have to choose the first one!

LunaLoveBad2 karma


jeffreywright9 karma

If I judge my favorite movie by the movie I’ve seen more than any other, it would have to be Finding Nemo. There was a period when my kids, particularly my son, were obsessed with it. But if I were choosing my favorite film, it would be Apocalypse Now.

AmberHeartsDisney2 karma

What roll would you say has been your hardest to play?

jeffreywright9 karma

I guess the hardest role is very often the next role, if you’re lucky. If I look back, I would say Belize in Angels in America. When I first undertook that role on Broadway many eons ago, it was probably the hardest simply because the stakes were pretty high. As high as they get for us lowly actors, in that it was a play about the AIDS epidemic in America, when that epidemic was very hot. There was a sense of responsibility as actors and storytellers, yes, but also as citizens, not to shortchange the moment and to do it justice, and to do justice to the intent of Tony Kushner, the playwright. To respond to what were pretty bleak days.

[deleted]2 karma


jeffreywright11 karma

Oh, wow. I would have to go with the 1000 grasshopper sized bears. The grasshopper bears seem easily squishable. I have pretty large feet that I think would come in handy.

burritofountain2 karma

Thanks for bringing life to your character in Mockingjay, and so brilliantly! What is/was your favourite part of working on Mockingjay?

jeffreywright4 karma

My favorite part of working on Mockingjay, that’s kind of an easy question. My favorite part was working with all of the other actors and Francis Lawrence, our director. And being on set with the crew; the atmosphere and the feeling that was created is a combo of hard work and good focus.

shivan212 karma

Do you think the message in Hunger Games is actual for nowadays' world?

jeffreywright6 karma

I think so, and it seems to me that I’m not alone in that, because the popularity of the stories would suggest that. I think the stories are relevant, not only in a way that’s relevant to our time, but I think there’s a kind of universal humanity that touches people that is timeless. Katniss, who is the focal point of this story, is a classically mythic figure, who undertakes these extraordinary adventures and who faces these phenomenal challenges, only to really make her way back home and back to the things that are granular and that are most dear to her and most intimate for her. We all understand that and we all get how meaningful that is.

NinaBambina1 karma

Hi, Jeffrey! I've been a huge fan of yours since I first saw you in Angels in America. Thank you for doing this AMA.

I want to ask you about the Taia Peace Foundation and your work with them. What was your first trip to Sierra Leone like, and what would you like people to know most about its people and culture?

jeffreywright5 karma

I saw a documentary called Cry Freetown that followed the rebel invasion of January 6, 1999 into Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, which showed on CNN one Sunday evening and I was intensely moved by what I saw. It was shown from the perspective of young boys who were either victims or fighting there and I was sucked in. I had traveled to Africa a few years before, but the war didn’t come directly onto my radar until I saw that film. I started to read about everything that was happening there and it turns out, a year later, I was working on the film Ali in Mozambique and I was introduced to a gentlemen who was head of security for the film who had gone to Sierra Leone to set up a security operation there and he stayed throughout the war. He was curious that I knew a bit about what was happening in the country and I was curious about him and he invited me to go with him and see with my own eyes the condition of the country. That first trip was just to bear witness, but subsequently I became more deeply involved and Tai Peace Foundation became a hybrid of commercial and philanthropic investment that could contribute meaningfully to the efforts to rebuild the country, and to the efforts for long term job creation and long term sustainable social impact in a place that had been neglected for many years. That had enormous underutilized potential. It’s a beautiful country and it’s faced significant challenges, but it has the most hardworking people, verdant fertile land, some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. It’s a country that we believe will thrive through the right types of partnerships. Through capable strategic partners and investors who will come in and listen to the local needs, and who, not through charity or patronage, but through a genuine desire to develop the place, will come in the long term. With all of those elements, and in the ideal, it could really soar. There’s been enormous progress since the end of the war and it’s been kind of breathtaking to witness. I’m excited about seeing its future successes as well.

If you'd like to support as well, go to: http://www.omaze.com/experiences/join-jeffrey-wright-on-the-set-of-boardwalk-empire

twirlymustache1 karma

Also is the fifth season gonna break our hearts (more than the fourth already did)?

jeffreywright4 karma

Well, only if we do our jobs as well as you expect that we should! And I think as well it will break all of our hearts in some way because it will be the last season of what has been I think some stunning TV. Would love to have you be part of it all by joining me on set as we film the last season: http://www.omaze.com/experiences/join-jeffrey-wright-on-the-set-of-boardwalk-empire.

nouvellediscotheque1 karma

Hey I just met a girl named Valerie on Tinder who said she's a pro actor in Atlanta who will be in both Mockingjay 1 and 2. Is it true or is she bullshitting me?

jeffreywright8 karma

Well, since you’ve only met her online, I think there’s probably any number of questions regarding whether or not she is who she says she is. I would say the chances that she is real are 50/50. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Why don’t you ask her who’s the best at forgetting their lines on set, and if it’s me, she might be onto something...