The D.C Sniper film “Blue Caprice” opens in theaters today and actor Isaiah Washington reminds audiences why he is one of the finest actors of his generation. Based on the real life Beltway Sniper killings of 2002, Washington plays John Allen Muhammad, a mysterious drifter who takes troubled teenager John Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond) under his wing, forging a dysfunctional and ultimately dangerous co-dependent father-son type relationship.
Helmed by director Alexandre Moors, “Blue Caprice” is a chilling and meditative study on this country’s obsession with guns and violence, and how the American Dream deferred can slowly curdle into bitterness and retribution. By not sensationalizing the bloody violence from Malvo and Muhammad’s shooting spree, “Blue Caprice” focuses on the “why” rather than the “what” of their crimes.
The Urban Daily attended a private screening and Q&A with Washington and Moors. Washington sounds off on his return to the big screen and his relationship with director Spike Lee:
His reason for getting into acting….
“I’ve had some extraordinary acting opportunities starting with ‘Love Jones’ – a movie that no one believed in. Having a producer wanting to cut my hair because he didn’t think a professor from Northwestern University could look like me. I said ‘Well, dude send me home because the director (Theodore Witcher) believed my character, Savon, looks this way. So all I can do is fight for the imagery of African-American men on screen.
My interest in acting started out in being an activist. I got tired of Black men dying within the first 10 minutes of a film, and I became an actor to change that. By the time I got to “Living Single” playing a doctor with locs… all my work was about empowerment.
On his return to the big screen….
I came into this project with a devil may care attitude. I wasn’t thinking about making a comeback, Hollywood or any of that. I knew that we had a 50/50 chance with “Blue Caprice” and if I failed I would literally be run out of the country like ‘You have got to go! You are what they say you are. You are crazy.” The other 50 percent was that this could be a piece of art, something that doesn’t glorify violence and actually make you think, like the early days of Spike Lee. Like, ‘Why did Mookie throw the garbage can through the window?’ And then the omen was, on the train coming here, I met Spike.
Being back in Hollywood’s good graces and Spike Lee…
He said ‘Yeah we gotta get together soon’ and I think ‘Yeah because you saw Deadline making some noise.’ I’ve been around all these years and Nikki Finke and Wall Street Journal says I’m hot. Michael K. Williams isn’t available to do your Kickstarter movie so I’m gonna slide you in that role.
I mean I used to be ‘Uncle’ until I f*cked up on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and then it was like you can’t call him Uncle Isaiah no more. But I love my people even when my people don’t love me, because we’re family. Going all the way back to the continent, I love y’all. This project was about love-unrequited, toxic, however you want to look at it.”
“Blue Caprice” opens in NY and L.A. and will be available on iTunes September 17th
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