Casually dressed and not putting on airs, actor Anthony Anderson is chock-full of boisterousness that would exhaust the average person. One joke came after the other, like the automatic blinks of the eye. At times during the interview I could not tell whether he was joking or just being blatantly rude, leaving me with one eyebrow raised asking myself, “Was he being serious when he said that?”
Anderson displays his excellent skills in manipulating humor in his recent film, King’s Ransom, debuting April 22. In his first starring role, Anderson plays successful and wealthy businessman Malcolm, who stages his own kidnapping with an absurdly high ransom to con the public into believing that he was broke.
King’s Ransom is unique because Anderson was handpicked for the role.
“They approached me and basically told me that wanted to work with me. Very seldom does this happen,” said Anderson. Now, in a more influential position, Anderson was able to do more and have more say with his character in King’s Ransom.
Anderson drew inspiration for his character from the qualities that he feels they both share. These qualities, Anderson said, are found in every man, such as ego, the struggle to be the best, drive and self-serving tendencies. “[Men like] Donald Trump didn’t get [success] by being passive individuals,” said Anderson. “We all can be [jerks], we are all capable of that. I just brought all those things to life.”
Although a comedy, King’s Ransom is where Anderson is first able to give us a taste of a more dramatic side to his acting. Anderson plans to venture into more dramatic and serious roles. “Drama has always been a career path of mine, it just so happens that it is finally coming together,” Anderson said. “You’ve only been exposed to the comedic side of me.”
He said this transition from comedy to drama has been the path of many famous actors, including Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Richard Pryor and Jamie Foxx. Comedy just happened to pop up for him first.
In his acting, Anderson is looking to move toward bigger and better roles. So far he has acted in 22 films, although not all have been big hits.
“These are the scripts that I get; I just do the best with them,” he said.
Perhaps his time to shine has finally come. Before his career began taking off he faced a lot of rejection.
“We’re in the business of rejection. I get told ten no’s before I get a yes,” Anderson said. He points to dedication as the reason he has come so far. “I work at being the best I can be. … I just have to be ready when the opportunity presents itself,” he said. “I couldn’t will it any sooner than it was destined.”
Plan to see a whole other side to Anderson in the future, including his role as Antwon Mitchell on the FX cop drama The Shield. However, he does not plan to give up comedy. “That is my bread and butter,” Anderson said.
Denae M. Patterson can be reached at email@example.com.