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November 2008
QUANTUM OF SOLACE | An Excusive Interview with Jeffrey Wright

An Excusive Interview with Jeffrey Wright
by Wilson Morales

November 10, 2008

2008 has certainly been an exciting year for Jeffrey Wright. In three of his most recent films, Wright has played characters that we are familiar with, and two of them happens to be historical figures: Gen. Colin Powell in ‘W’ and Muddy Waters in the upcoming ‘Cadillac Records’. The third character is the role of Felix Leiter, who returns in the next installment of the Bond franchise, ‘Quantum of Solace’. This is the first sequel in the history of the Bond films, and the second time that Wright has played the role.

Taking place following where ‘Casino Royale’ left off, and seeking revenge for the death of his love, secret agent James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country's water supply. Leiter works for the CIA and comes through for Bond when he needs an ally he can trust.

In speaking with Wright, he spoke about coming back to the role, working with Daniel Craig, and his upcoming projects.

Are you glad to be back in this role?

Jeffrey Wright: I was excited to be part of the first one and then to carry on the role and pick up where he left off was just a pleasure.

What changes should we expect from Felix in the sequel?

JW: Well, ‘Quantum of Solace’ goes on to develop the relationship between Leiter and Bond.There is a kinship between the two of them that we continue to discover because they are similar in many ways. They are guys who are very much alone in their world. It’s a murky environment in which they operate and there are few people that they trust. They found a trust in one another and we try to explore that further. Outside of MI6, Leiter is Bond’s only consistent ally. He’s played a critical throughout the history of the Bond films.

Was there more to the development of Leiter than we saw on-screen?

JW: Leiter is a mysterious character and he moves in the shadows and I like that. The fact that the character is unknown gives him a mysterious quality. I enjoyed coming in during fragments of the film. It’s Bond’s story and Felix is supporting.

How was working with Daniel Craig again?

JW: This is the third film that Daniel and I have worked on together and I enjoyed working with him as an actor and I enjoyed his company. We both look at acting in similar. We’re serious about it and we enjoy it and when we work together, we try to create interesting scenes. People seem to respond to the friendship between Leiter and Bond and we try to build on that.

What do you think Marc Forster is doing different than what Martin Campbell brought to the first film?

JW: Marc comes from a different type of filmmaking to some extent with films like ‘Monster’s Ball’ and ‘The Kite Runner’ but he brings his own signature to the Bond franchise in a way that’s fresh and original. There’s a stylistic quality to this film that is contemporaryand edgy and that’s a result of Marc’s vision. At the same time, he was going for realism in the acting surrounded by the high flying action adventure in the Bond films and the combination is quite stunning.

What’s next for you?

JW: I play Muddy Waters in ‘Cadillac Records’, which comes out next month. There’s an exciting cast in the film with Adrian Brody, Beyonce, Cedric the Entertainer, Gabrielle Union, Eamonn Walker and Columbus Short. I’m also doing a play with George C. Wolfe called ‘Free Man of Color’, which is about New Orleans at the time of the Louisiana Purchase. It will be at the Public Theater in New York City.

Will you come back and play Leiter in the next Bond film. In doing so, you would be the only person to play the role three times.

JW: I enjoy doing these films. They are big budget films, but there is a quality of humanity on the set that I like. There are very little egos involved and it’s a very comfortable environment to work in; and I’ve been a fan of the Bond franchise since I was a boy. As long they want me to continue as Leiter, I’m open to returning.



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