The Wire Tap: Michael K. Williams

He’s baaa-aaack! Everyone on The Wire, even the baddest of the bad, know that Omar Little is no joke. From the vets like Avon and Wee-Bey to the new jacks like Marlo and Michael, there is a healthy fear of Omar’s wrath in the streets.   Prop Joe probably said it best before his unavoidable […]


baaa-aaack! Everyone on The Wire,

even the baddest of the bad, know that Omar Little is no joke. From the vets

like Avon and Wee-Bey to the new jacks like Marlo and Michael, there is a

healthy fear of Omar’s wrath in the streets.


Prop Joe

probably said it best before his unavoidable death, when he declared he’d be laying

low “out of respect for that man’s skill set” once Omar’s return to Baltimore

was inevitable.


Actor Michael

K. Williams brings Omar’s “Robin Hood” style to the screen in such a believable

way that even the harshest of critics praise his name. When we spoke to Michael in January 2007, he let us know that he wasn’t concerned with being stereotyped as

long as he was working. Thankfully, he’s transcending the thug and cop roles

with roles in films alongside Ed Norton and Charlize Theron.


We took some

quality time to speak with Michael about his new movies, his beginnings as a

dancer, his concern for the community and his mission to succeed with the Czar

Entertainment team.

We saw last season Omar threw his guns away, went out of the country and pretty

much retired from the game. Talk to us about the frame of mind of Omar then to

now realizing that he has to come back.

Michael K. Williams: He came back with the mindset that he’s prepared to die,

because I think he took Butchie’s death real hard. He’s prepared to die or kill

somebody again. Explain the relationship between Omar and Butchie [for those just

catching up with The Wire].

Michael: Butchie’s like a godfather or an uncle figure to Omar, that’s one of

the only people [that he would consider to be family] besides his grandmother,

who he takes to church. It’s a real deep respect that Omar has for Butchie. Now that Cheese has been basically brought to the dark side with

Marlo and Prop Joe is gone, what is Omar looking at? Other than being prepared

to die, is he seeing this as a death of the entire system of what he’s known?

Michael: Throughout the season you’re gonna see what he’s made of. Omar’s the

last of a dying breed, there’s no more codes and order as far as the street

life is concerned. He’s fighting to keep that alive, but it’s a whole new

generation coming up and they just don’t care about those ethics. It’s

unfortunate, but he’s like a dinosaur to those guys. There’s really no one of

his caliber walking the streets that feels the way he does about the codes – or

at least that’s how it seems. You did a lot of dancing before you ever got into acting. Do you

ever plan on getting into any musicals or any way you can use that?

Michael: Sure, I would love to do a musical. If I could bring both worlds

together, that would be the perfect setting. I would definitely get back on

stage in a situation like that. You were dancing for Crystal Waters – that means you’re a little

crazy with the house dancing too.

Michael: Yeah I’m a huge house head, I love house music. She’s a very good

friend of mine, she basically took me around the world actually. [laughs] Being that you’re a Brooklyn native, how did you get into house


Michael: I don’t know really. Growing up in in the city I remember sneaking

into The Garage, Loft and all of the big clubs back then in the ’80s – they

played house music and whatnot. My cousin knew her way around the city, she was

always one to get up on the train and go by herself. She knew things that I

didn’t know, and basically exposed me to all of that. That’s how I got into

house music, basically being with her, and then I just started dancing. Acting wise, what are you working on now and what do you have

coming up in the next year?

Michael: I got two films coming up this year, one is The Hulk 2 with Ed Norton, and I’m in the new Spike Lee joint

called Miracle At St. Anna, which is

based on the Buffalo Soldier story of the 92nd infantry. I just booked this new

picture called The Road with Charlize

Theron. I’m excited about that and eager to work with her. I’m just cranking

them out little by little. Do you feel like these new roles for you are out of the norm?

Michael: I’m definitely growing as an actor in Hollywood, I’m definitely

starting to get looked at in different lights as opposed to just being that

thug dude. But I’m still proud of the roles that I get, and tomorrow I’d still

do another thug role if I had to. If they gave me the opportunity it would be

no problem. Do you plan on going back into TV as well?

Michael: They say never say never, so I’m not gonna say I would never go back

into television, but my sights are definitely geared towards the silver screen.

Coming off of a show like The Wire,

especially off of a network like HBO, it’s hard to push all of that back into a

little box. Even though The Wire was

on a little screen, HBO is a beast where you can do pretty much whatever you

wanted to do. I would never be able to get that freedom like that again on a

regular network, but if the right project came along of course I would do

it. But right now my eyes are definitely set on the big screen. How did you link up with Czar Entertainment and what are your

goals working with them as management?

Michael: Jimmy and I grew up together in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I watched his

career as he went from Jimmy H. to Jimmy Henchmen and now just Jimmy Rosemond.

Even before I booked The Wire when I

took a break from the industry for two years because things weren’t going my

direction, I decided to work with my mother in her day care, I became her

administrative assistant. Two years after that I was ready to get back in the

business and I tracked Jimmy down and said, “J, I think you’re the man to

take me to the promised land” and he’s been working with me ever since.

This was before The Wire, we

reconnected and he took me in and started representing me, and The Wire hit and it’s been history. Are you getting into fashion or any other industries at all?

Michael: I don’t have any plans to get into fashion, but you never say never.

Right now my main thing is using my status to get a lot of speaking engagements

talking to the kids a lot, giving back to the community. I’m actually on my way

to Trenton [New Jersey] right now, with the mayor of Trenton, we’re gonna have

a forum speaking against gang violence out there. As we all know Trenton is on

fire right now, so I’m doing things like that reaching out to the community and

talking to the kids. I got a Career Day coming up in Brooklyn on the 15th,

going to the elementary school giving back to my hood, and just reconnect with

the community and see my little brothers and sisters. If you can have a legacy to leave behind for people, what do you

want them to know about you?

Michael: Mike’s just being a cool a** dude [laughs].  I’m pretty much

happy go lucky, I don’t even try to stress too much about any one thing but

anybody that knows me knows that Mike is cool. That’ll probably read on my

tombstone: Here lays MKW, a cool a** dude. [laughs]