The new (biracial) guy on Grey’s Anatomy? As soon as he first hit the screen I was like, “I think he’s one of us!” But I wasn’t 100% sure until I saw Jesse Williams on the Bonnie Hunt Show. He showed pictures of himself as a child with his (Black) dad. So cute! Then and now!! My friend google led me to some more info about him….
Williams is the son of an African American father and a Swedish mother, and as a teenager, he moved from urban Chicago to ‘lily-white’ suburban Massachusetts. His interest in acting was sparked, in part, when a film he was writing about this uneasy transition was chosen as a finalist in the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. “It was a big part of my life. I really rejected that move. It was a complete cultural shock.” Williams recalls, “It wasn’t good. My friends were sh***y, the people were sh***y, the parents were sh***y. A lot of parents closed the door in my face, so I was like, I don’t need to be here. I’m not going to try and change you, which, I guess I did try for a while.”- via
This is from an off-broadway play that Williams did last year. So wish I had seen it.
Jesse Williams isn’t embarrassed to admit he wasn’t fully aware of who Edward Albee was when he auditioned for him to play the scantily-clad Angel of Death in the revival of The Sandbox that the 80-year-old playwright is now directing (in tandem with The American Dream) at The Cherry Lane. “Actually, I think it helped me, not being so intimidated,” says Williams. “He was so funny, cracking jokes with me even from the beginning. And I didn’t even fully process that he had offered me the job. But it’s all been an amazing experience, getting this immediate response from the audience, and working with this cast. And honestly, I don’t even really know what I look like on stage. I said I was going to go to the gym more often, but I end up just doing push-ups in the basement of the theater and trying to keep quiet.”
Williams’ enthusiasm is understandable, since he has only been acting professionally for a couple of years. While studying filmmaking at Philadelphia’s Temple University, he did some commercial and modeling work, with the occasional acting audition — even turning down a prime soap opera role. “I am a biracial man, and I was supposed to play this tragic mulatto character lusting after a white girl, and I didn’t want to leave school to do that kind of part.” Instead, after graduation, he took a job as a public school teacher in Philadelphia, and then a high-level law firm job in New York — “I was supervising 60 attorneys, even though I’m not a lawyer” — before deciding to focus on acting.- via
Oh, Jesse Williams. I can’t wait to interview you!