In his 20+ years of acting, Michael K. Williams has solidified himself as one of the most versatile actors of the craft. Having been in acclaimed series such as HBO’s The Wire and Boardwalk Empire, as well as films such as Bessie, The Road, and Gone Baby Gone, Williams’ performances of complex characters have consistently captured the attention of audiences. For his latest role in HBO’s LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, Williams takes on the character of Montrose Freeman, a complicated and abusive father struggling to maintain a relationship with his son while keeping his own complicated secrets at bay.
In LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, the series follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across the 1950s Jim Crowe America in search of his missing father (Michael K. Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
When talking about his character during a roundtable interview with press, Williams remarked on how his children helped in defining how he portrayed Montrose Freeman. “I have three children, they’re not mine biologically, but I’m the only dad they’ve ever known, their father is no longer living,” explained Williams. “My middle son, Karim, and I, our relationship is not as abusive, nowhere near as abusive, obviously, but the dynamic, the competitiveness [is there].”
Unlike what we’ve seen of Montrose’s behavior towards Atticus thus far, Williams parenting style is vastly different. “I had to realize, oh, he’s the man now, and then [figure out] how do I deal with that? I have to adjust,” stated Williams. “I know that if I keep going at him with the ‘I’m the father’ that’s going to diminish our relationship. It’ll destroy it because he will buck, he won’t respond well to that.”
Though that action of backing down may seem minute, it actually proved to have a positive effect on their relationship. Williams went on to say, “It was a humbling time but I’d rather save the relationship than being right, he meant to much to me.” However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t moments in which he related to Montrose. “I’ve brought those angsts that I would feel with [my son] in my personal life, I brought those in [for the role]. Montrose, I feel ya bro” laughed Williams.
For more on the series, check out our review here. Make sure to tune into HBO each Sunday at 9/8c for new episodes of LOVECRAFT COUNTRY. *Interview questions were contributed by Elga Roberson*