Showtime’s Black Monday follows Wall Street’s worst stock market crash on October 19, 1987, and the events leading up to it. It left the world shook, but there was no one in specific to point fingers at for the devastating loss. Black Monday takes on that responsibility to find that person in this comedy series.
Maurice “Mo” Monroe (Don Cheadle) is the founder of the Jammer Group, a small Wall Street trading firm. Cheadle’s character is quite intense and “out there.” He has the determination and raging passion to take his firm, and its employees, to new heights.
Finding a connection with their characters is an actor’s job, but the depths they go to attain that character is riveting. During his interview with The Hollywood Reporter‘s Comedy Actor Roundtable, Cheadle described the process of entering the lives of these characters.
“You are bringing yourself to these roles,” said the veteran actor. “We don’t completely shut off and then, we’re not there. We’re there and you’re exercising and you’re accessing different parts of your personality, different parts of your pain, different parts of your joy and trying to find where you and this character meet.”
In order to access an emotional performance, actors will usually tap into an unpleasant memory. Sometimes it can be a similar situation that hits too close to home.
“Sometimes you’re reaching for things that are out there beyond you that you’re trying to scaffold to,” said Cheadle. “Other times you’re, like, ‘That’s a little too close. Can we not?'”
Having an open conversation with the writers is Cheadle’s formula for success.
“You’re always in a conversation [with the writers],” Cheadle told the roundtable. “When you’re in that conversation, you’re trying to get to the best iteration of what that thing is. You are bringing yourself to these moments, and that’s when it sings.”
Black Monday has been renewed for a second season.