Wood Harris Tells Snoop How He Went Above The Rim For His 1st Film Audition (Video)
The latest episode of GGN features Snoop Dogg chatting with accomplished actor Wood Harris. While the thespian may be best known for his “Avon Barksdale” role in The Wire, Harris has also been in some of the most critically-acclaimed blockbusters of the last couple of years including Ant-Man, Blade Runner 2049, and Creed.
Harris manages to maintain his composure after a blunt with the D-O-Double-G (although he admits he’s “stoned”) and shares some interesting anecdotes about his most memorable roles. To start, the Chicagoan movie star reveals that the first role he ever auditioned for was “Motaw” in 1994’s Above The Rim. The Chicago native says that he was a capable player on the court, as was the film’s protagonist “Kyle Lee Watson” (Duane Martin).
“That’s the first thing I auditioned for, ever,” Harris says, adding that his brother hipped him to the audition even ahead of the hopeful having headshots or any materials. “So I went and got a picture made—a big-ass glossy picture. It’s totally wrong [as the industry standard]. I didn’t have no resumé or no bullsh*t. At that time my objective was just to learn more.” Harris says he was accepted into New York University, Yale, and other great schools simply by his audition skills. “So I had a lot of confidence. I felt like, ‘Sh*t, I’ma make it.'” After that first audition, the casting department called him the same night and told the then-23-year-old actor that they wanted him for the henchman part, but secretively. “The second call-back [involved] basketball, so it was a wrap at that [point]…I felt like who’s gonna be a better actor and basketball player than me? Nobody.” Harris describes “ultimate confidence” sealing the deal on the role that would ignite a nearly 25-year-career. “I murked ’em in there,” he brags, referring to his audition peers as “scrubs” on the courts, and athletes who lacked the chops. Director Jeff Pollack told Wood Harris in the gym that he had the role in the screenplay penned by Barry Michael Cooper (New Jack City, Sugar Hill, and Netflix’ She’s Gotta Have It).
During his mid-’90s relocation from Chi City to New York City, Wood Harris was hangin’ with a young Yasiin Bey and fellow Windy City native Common. “I felt like a Hip-Hop person; I’ve always been involved with Hip-Hop so much. Those cats are like friends of mine from back then.” He also says that in 1994, he lived just a few steps from where his Above The Rim cast-mate (and on-screen homie) Tupac Shakur was shot at Midtown’s Quad Studios that same year.
Later, Snoop and Wood discuss The Wire. Harris informs viewers that Idris Elba and himself were the first actors signed on to star in the drama series and that the cast was assembled around them. Snoop recalls when he met Elba, that he was thrown off by his English accent and wanted to know where the real Stringer Bell was. Doggy Dogg follows this up with his best British impression. The pair also discuss Paid In Full, The Breaks, and Remember The Titans.