Rotten Tomatoes spoke via email with Cheadle about his favorite films, his interest in Traitor, his thoughts on Darfur and more. Traitor is released on DVD December 19.
Today, I’ll say City of God though that could change tomorrow. It is so special in its storytelling, a perfectly executed, beautifully shot, wasting nothing, brilliant acting, etc. What’s not to like?
It makes me pee with laughter. Peter Falk and Alan Arkin are a perfect combination and play off each other so well in this ridiculous movie. I watch it at least once a year.
Another film that I saw at an impressionable time in my life that served for me as a beautiful testament to the power of love in the face of absolute injustice and oppression.
Another perfect film showcasing the brilliance of the one and only, never to be seen again talents of Peter Sellers. What a beast. Kubrick actually wanted him to play another character. I can only imagine what he would have done with that. I’m sure he would have crushed it.
It’s a great meditation on how we treat and mistreat ‘the other.’ A magical, thought provoking film that I saw at a time in my life when I was questioning a lot of things about the nature of humanity and how we react when we come up against the unknown and unknowable.
Don Cheadle: I don’t know that I would use the word “important.” I leave that up to the viewer. It caught my interest because it dealt with a complex issue in a way that wasn’t as black and white as other offerings in the genre.
The world is a much more complicated place than it used to be, and film audiences have grown more interested in morally ambiguous heroes. Is that a good thing?
DC: I think it’s good that people are more open to characters that are complicated, in a certain kind of film experience that is. I think people still want clear good guys and bad guys in the tent pole blockbusters but are more amenable to the grey areas. Most of us live there anyway.
You’ve helped to raise the issue of genocide in Darfur. Although there’s been an increase in attention on the region, the violence continues. What needs to be done there?
DC: A lot needs to be done and hopefully with this new administration, more will be. We need to engage in a very robust and committed negotiation process that brings everybody to the table while also protecting the innocent as well as seeking justice. We need to be in support of the ICC [International Criminal Court] and get behind the indictments that the court has requested.
We fondly remember your guest starring role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” as Will’s friend, Ice Tray. What role would you name as your funniest performance? What is your favorite early role?
DC: My funniest performance…? That is a question for you. I don’t really like watching my own films too much. I had a very good time working on Rebound [The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault].