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Reel Artsy Detroit - Interview with Redaric Williams

This is a vintage Reel Artsy interview. I spoke with Redaric Williams back in 2014, around the time Beyond The Lights came out (I remember him telling me how much he loved the movie and that he auditioned for the role of the rapper). I had wanted to start up a Reel Artsy Detroit section back then but things got delayed. I was still figuring out how to expand Reel Artsy in new ways. Taking a page from Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes, I figured that instead of waiting to get the concept perfect I could simply do the thing. So this is me doing it. Starting now with this entry for Reel Artsy Detroit

Redaric Williams has been on my radar for a while, and I'd like to see his career blossom. I think he has the potential to become a breakout actor in the film industry. Perhaps, with indie films or even a major studio film, or both. 

Williams graciously answered my questions about his creative journey and the state of black cinema. He seems like a genuinely nice guy passionate about growing in his craft as an actor. So, think of this interview, this new section, as a bit of a slow-churned release for Reel Artsy Detroit where I'll spotlight creative folks with Detroit roots. 

So... without further ado, here is my interview with Redaric Williams (Young & The Restless, FOX's Lucifer). 

1. On Reel Artsy, we spotlight the "quirky, awkward, and offbeat," so when I found a video confessional where you share a bit of your nerdy side, and you mention your affinity for black and white films, I was like cool. My first question is: What kind of black and white films are your favorites? And have you seen any lately?

Haha, yeah they are surprisingly easy to get into after watching for just a couple of minutes, I don't really have a specific type as a favorite kind, just as long as there is an interesting plot. One that I actually re-watched recently is "On The Waterfront" with Marlon Brando who is definitely one of my favorite actors.

2. Would you be interested in playing a character more on the nerdy, awkward side?

Definitely. I just went to the movies to watch Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal, he did an amazing job portraying an "awkward" character.
I was thinking that it would be a bit of a challenge in a fun way to take on a role like that.


3. You've spent a good amount of time getting into the head of your character Tyler on The Young & The Restless. In general, what does authenticity mean to you in regards to preparing for a role? And what's your process like for delving into a character?

To me the authenticity is always there if you don't force anything. I actually found it a challenging adjustment to work on a soap due the fact that by nature I tend to be more of a subtle film type of actor, yet soaps demand performances that are a bit over the top, and larger like stage theater which I have done so I kind of fell back on that initially. As far as getting into the characters head I found it quite easy due to the fact that when preparing for any role I not only map out all of my characters objectives, but I also look for the similarities between myself and the character. With Tyler on Y&R I say it was easier in that manner because there were a lot of core similarities. For instance his father was imprisoned at an early age as was mine. His sister is an attorney, my twin sister is an attorney. We are cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways.

4. Growing up which filmmakers inspired you the most? Was there a specific character that stuck with you?Perhaps, a scene you liked to act out in the mirror (as a kid).

I always liked Spike Lee's films, a specific character that stuck with me by no surprise is Bleek Gilliam because it was played by Denzel Washington who is definitely one of my favorite actors.

5. What's next for you? Would you like to carve out a solid niche in television or venture more into the film industry?

Whats next for me is simply more work, I strive for the opportunities to work more, to continue to get better at my craft. If I had things solely my way I'm pretty sure that I would venture more into the film industry, but there is a realistic path that must be followed if you are seeking longevity within this industry.


6. I'm a fellow Michigan native, do you think you'd ever produce and/or star in a film or web series project that showcases your home town / home state?

It's funny I actually just met with a director who is also a fellow Michigander and he is filming a project in Detroit, however my quick chat and handshake wasn't enough to secure a role in the film.

7. There's a shift happening among black filmmakers, a home-grown DIY type vibe. I've labeled it as "Subtle Core" where we're seeing a burst of films with fresh perspectives hitting the scene (i.e. Ava DuVernay's Middle of Nowhere, Dee Rees' Pariah). What would you like to see happen in black cinema? And how do see yourself within its context?

When it comes to black cinema I personally would like to see more films that give young black children a reason to look at themselves with their chins up. I am working on several scripts and would like to call myself a filmmaker of such films eventually.

8. The entertainment industry is full of highs and lows, ups and downs. What drives you, keeps you going on those days when you don't get the part, or a film project gets indefinitely put on the back-burner?

Friends. When weathering the storm of the highs and lows of this type of work my port in the storm that gives me the charge to move forward again is spending time with genuine friends.

9. What music would be currently playing on the soundtrack of your life?Also, what kind of music do you listen to when you're in an introspective mood?

The soundtrack of my life would be Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five ''The Message'' and also the entire album "ATLiens" by Outkast. When I'm in an introspective mood, which is often, I listen to conscious rap from artists like Nas, Big Krit, and Lupe Fiasco.


10. Outside of acting what sparks your creativity?

I gain creative ideas most everywhere I go, mostly from the observation of people, those that I know and those that I do not.

11. In one interview, you talked about your faith, and how it's important to you. What core values have you promised to stick to, no matter how much fame comes your way?

My faith is unwavering, it always has been and always will be, in this life and in the next. As far as core values, I'd say that I always will truly know who I am on a core level regardless of any type of fame, it does not and will not effect me because I understand it, I know what it is. People can lose themselves if they fail to understand that fame is nothing mystical, and that simply put it is only "popularity" (people just know who you are). When I was growing up I understood the facade that is popularity because I went to many different schools and I always had an objective perspective. I saw how some kids where fooled into thinking that they were somehow different from others just because others knew who they were. I ended up standing on both sides of that fence because I was a student athlete at every school that I went to so it didn't take long for people to know who I was, but I never let any level of popularity fool me, just as I could never let any level of fame fool me. From a business standpoint it is necessary to build your brand, nothing more, nothing less.

12. Any aspirations of getting behind the camera? Directing, writing?

Most Definitely, I hope to only be behind the camera one day. I will definitely try my hand at directing sooner than later and I have already been writing for years.

13. Where can all the new Redaric Williams fans go online to follow you? (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

I'm on every social media outlet, FB, IG, twitter, even Google+ all under the username Redaric Williams

14. Anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, whenever I get a chance to I ask that people look into my favorite charity, it can be found at www.charitywater.org they are fighting an amazing battle and need any and all people involved. They are the only charity that I know of that has separate accounts for operational cost and the funding of the cause. Meaning that 100% of any donation will go solely to clean water projects for those around the world who need them. Along with malnutrition the lack of clean drinking water is a root cause of illness and death for children worldwide.

[Photos via Google.]

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