"Where in the world is Larenz Tate?"
I’d be rich if I was paid money every time I heard that question. There’s no doubt that he has many loyal fans and supporters around the globe.
However, if truth be told, as of late, we have not seen a lot of him on screen – at the theater, or on TV.
Well, ahead of his debut on Showtime’s “House of Lies” this Sunday, February 17, 2013, Shadow and Act knew exactly where Larenz Tate was; and this afternoon we caught up with him and chatted very briefly about his debut on “House of Lies”, his friendship with Don Cheadle, and other current directing projects.
Shadow and Act: Congrats on your new “House of Lies” role. For our readers that do not know a lot about the show can you tell us about it?
Larenz Tate: The tagline behind “House of Lies” is funny, dirty, business. The show is a comedy satire about how big business operates. Most Americans that work in corporate America should be able to relate to this show. In the series, Don’s character is in the thick of everything. He’s the guy that is known for pushing the envelope along with his POD (his group).
Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your character, “Malcolm”?
LT: I play Don’s character’s younger brother. We are polar opposites. We have a long history of sibling rivalry. Malcolm is a guy that is about the people. He is a dude that’s fighting against Wall Street. He is an occupy Wall Street kind of guy. He is about organizing the people against the corrupt system. The thing is he’s against the same people that Don’s character works with. So that’s a problem. Don’s character looks at himself as an over achiever and my character as an under achiever. Everybody likes my character. My character does not hold down a regular job.
Shadow and Act: Don just won a Golden Globe for his performance on “House of Lies”, do you feel any pressure now that you have joined this cast?
LT: Oh, there’s no pressure at all. His win was great for this show, because it allows people to not only know that his performance is top notch, but it also allows people to view a show that is top quality. It has great writing, acting, and direction.
I’m especially thankful for this opportunity, because I always just wait for the right material to come to me. Many times people ask, “What have you been up To?” Well, I’m here and working. Just not in front of the camera as much as I’d like to be.
Shadow and Act: How did this role come about? Did you audition for it?
LT: Don and I have been friends for a long time. We have never talked about me being on the show. He had done season one and not one time did we have a conversation about me being on the show. However, he knew that I was a huge fan of the show. Well, one day I was in New York, with my brothers, on the east side of Manhattan walking, and I got a call from Don. I pick up the phone and I am like, “What’s up big bro?” And Don says “it’s time”. And I’m like it’s time for what? And then he proceeds to tell me that he wants me to come on the show, and that I would be getting a call from Showtime the next day. And I’m like Yeah! Then I ask him if I am going to play his brother? And he says yes. After our conversation he then texts me and he’s like I’m going to enjoy hating on you in the show. And I respond by saying that I will enjoy making him hate me! So our family drama has already started via text messages.
Shadow and Act: How did you prepare for the role?
LT: As an actor, you always want to find a piece of who you are in every role you take on. For this role, I wanted to find people that were like Malcolm. So, I started with my inner circle and found people.
Shadow and Act: You’ve mentioned that you and Don were personal friends before this project, however, how was it working with him professionally?
LT: Don may seem like he is a very intense person, but he is very funny. There’s always cool stuff that well pull up off of Funny or Die. There was always a very light environment on set and when working with Don. Don always eats with the whole cast and crew. Unlike some lead actors who choose to separate themselves from some people that they work with.
Shadow and Act: Where was this project shot?
LT: My scenes were shot in Los Angeles. However, some other shots were shot in Los Vegas.
Shadow and Act: What has been your most memorable behind the scenes situation with this project?
LT: It was probably seeing Nia Long on set. She has been cast, and it was a blast hanging with her. It was also amazing to see Don on set talking about “Love Jones”.
Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
LT: Sure, I can talk about it. I directed the official commercial for a Cognac brand for Ludacris. I also directed a music video for Grammy award winner Melanie Fiona. The song was called, “Wrong side of a Love Song.” It was an incredible experience. I also have a live tour that I am putting together, it’s called the “Poetry Music Lounge”.
I am a spokesperson for BLOOM (Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men). It is an initiative here in LA that focuses on at risk youth that have been involved with the probation system. These men are mainly young African-American men. With this organization I was able to get some of these men to help me behind the scenes for my latest music videos.
We thank Mr Tate for his time and ss a reminder, Larenz Tate will debut on Showtime’s “House of Lies” this Sunday, February 17, 2013.
You can find the exact time of this Sunday’s episode here: http://www.sho.com/sho/house-of-lies/home