In a recent piece from the New York Times, The Wire co-creator David Simon (The Duece) writes about his relationship with the late Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country), who starred in The Wire as Omar. In the piece, Simon describes Williams as “one of the most careful and committed actors of our age.”
Williams passed away last week due to a drug overdose. He was best known for his work on Lovecraft Country, Boardwalk Empire, and The Wire.
In the op-ed, titled “The Question Michael K. Williams Asked Before Every Season of The Wire”, Simon talks about his relationship with Williams, who was known for playing Omar in the series, and the dedication he brought to his work on The Wire.
Simon accounted for the interaction he had with Williams during the second season of The Wire. Williams was initially disappointed with the direction the second season was going, and asked, “Why are we even doing this?” Season two of The Wired shifted the perspective from Baltimore’s poorer Black neighborhoods to the predominantly white working-class of Baltimore’s port, which Williams did not agree with.
“To be honest, I misread the man from the start,” Simon wrote in the piece, “and it was my writing partner, Ed Burns, who had first spotted Mike’s read for Omar on a tape of two dozen New York auditions a year earlier. ‘There’s this one guy on there with this amazing scar all the way down his face, and his presence is just extraordinary,’ Ed insisted. ‘Take a look.'”
Simon admitted to misunderstanding where Williams was coming from where he initially assumed that Williams’ question came from “professional hunger.”
He continued, “To Mike, at that moment, we were the white custodians of a rare majority-Black drama in the majority-white world of American television, and we might well be walking away from that unique responsibility.”
“He has an astounding gift — an act of faith from a magnificent actor who could have played his hand very differently,” Simon wrote.
“Mike bent his beautiful mind to a task that even the best writers and showrunners often avoid,” Simon said. “He thought about the whole story, the whole of the work.”
Williams is currently nominated for an Emmy nomination this year for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in Lovecraft Country, which he will more likely win.