The writing had been so exemplary that I said, "I trust you guys. You're going to do a good job." So I got the script, loved the script except for the end, and I even talked to Ed about it, where it says Prop Joe bows his head, when Marlo says "close your eyes." I said, "It feels kind of Shakespearean." "Yes, you're relinquishing control to the new king." "But Prop Joe is a hustler, he's a gangster, he would look death in the eye. He wouldn't bow his head." That was the only thing I disagreed with. Other than that, I loved every minute of playing Prop. Because I thought Prop was the smartest, and so I thought he should have escaped. I thought he should have got out of town. Which he was trying to do, but his nephew [Cheese] gave him up. So that made sense. Prop would have gone, but it would have been a disservice to the character Cheese, because Cheese was a snake in the grass.
AND, OF COURSE, YOU HAD TO ENJOY HOW CHEESE GETS HIS COMEUPPANCE. Oh yeah. Most definitely [Laughs].
WAS THAT YOUR FAVORITE SCENE TO DO? You know, actually, my favorite scene was my very first scene at the basketball court. Because, when I first got the script, I'm practicing in my bathroom, and I'm watching my facial expressions and listening to the tone of my voice, and I get on set, and it's an outside shoot. I'm like, "Oh no, I practiced as though this was going to be inside with mics in a studio." My volume was low-key, and then I had to change and shout. I was horrified, but when I watched afterwards, I was like "I did a damn good job for having to do a quick change like that."
PLUS THERE'S THAT GREAT LINE. Oh, yeah, "Dress the part, be the part, motherfucker." [Laughs]
THESE ARE ALL QUESTIONS THAT WILL LIKELY COME UP AT THE PANEL. YOU MAY WANT TO PREPARE IN ADVANCE. Yeah! [Laughs]
HOW DID YOU GET THIS PART, ANYWAY? I had been traveling all over the US with theater work, and I just got tired of children's theater and musical theater, and I wanted to get into some serious dramas. And I did a couple of dramas at the Portland Repertory Theater, so when I got back to Baltimore, I said, "Just let me take a break." I knew Pat Moran was the casting agency here in Baltimore. I submitted some headshots, but I wasn't being too serious with film, because I always thought being overweight — film is not nice to the heavy-set people, so I'll stick to theater, but just in case they need a character actor. So she called me in to read for this part, and I get there and there, are all these guys in the room with suits on, they look like models. Watches, sharp shoes. And I'm in a sweatsuit. I thought I was reading for a different role, and I asked the guy next to me, "What role are you reading for?" "I'm reading for Joe Stewart." I'm like, "Aw man, why didn't I put a suit jacket on?" And evidently, I must have read pretty well because they cast me over all the over guys. Years later, I asked Ed — and I didn't even know Joe Stewart was a real person — I said, "Why did you all cast me? And who was Joe Stewart?" And he said Joe Stewart was this handsome, debonair ladies' man. He ran numbers for drug dealers. I said, "So y'all cast me because I looked just like him!" He said, "No, you read so damn good, we had to overlook all the other stuff."