Jeffrey Wright is opening up about his satirical film “American Fiction” on “Extra: The Podcast.” Listen here!
His performance as a frustrated writer who, as a protest, pens a stereotypically Black novel — only to see it become a massive hit — landed him a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
Now, he’s telling “Extra’s” Melvin Robert what he hopes fans take away from the movie, and how he copes with the pressure of awards when he’s making a movie.
Jeffrey said of the role, “There were a lot of overlaps for him and for me. It is the story of a guy who is creative and trying to be a free man, creatively and intellectually, and he’s facing challenges to that. At the same time, he’s facing challenges to his relationship to love and to family, particularly to his mother and that really hit home to me.”
Wright continued, “Like all families there are lunatic elements and madness and dysfunction and function and despite one another this undeniable love. They happen to be Black folks, but they are family like any family. I think families from across the spectrum will find something of themselves.”
As for what he hopes they take away, the star said, “I hope that people find a place for themselves inside this story no matter what background they come from… It is a fun ride, but there is an emotional depth to it and a universality to it, that will draw people in and give them some comfort.”
While the movie earned him an Oscar nod, the film received several other nominations, including Best Picture. As for the pressures of award season, he said, “I try not to [think about it], particularly when I’m working. If any thoughts about that stuff come in, I have a delete button in my head because it is totally distracting from the work and serves no purpose.”
He pointed out, “The Oscars are to recognize good work and also bring attention to film and good performance and the like. That we have this type of buzz is cool because it means people are liking what they see and they want to buy a ticket to your movie,” he joked, “I can tell you the alternative is not so good, when people have no interest in buying a ticket to your movie… I prefer this.”
To hear the full interview, you can also download this week’s “Extra: The Podcast” on the Audacy app and everywhere podcasts are available. New episodes will be released weekly on Wednesdays.