Exclusive: Joe Morton Talks ‘Justice League,’ Playing Dick Gregory, and Scandal’s Last Season

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Exclusive: Joe Morton Talks ‘Justice League,’ Playing Dick Gregory, and Scandal’s Last Season
Posted by Wilson Morales

November 13, 2017

Coming out this week from Warner Bros. Pictures is their highly anticipated DC film Justice League, which will be directed once again by Zack Snyder.

Scheduled for a November 17, 2017 release, the film stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg

Fueled by the hero’s restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Justice League sees Bruce Wayne enlist the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awaken

ed threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

The film also stars Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, and Ciarán Hinds as the villain, Steppenwolf.

Also appearing in the film is Joe Morton, in the role of Silas Stone. Stone is the scientist father of Victor Stone aka Cyborg. Morton was first seen in a brief scene in Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

For Morton, he’s no stranger to the sci-fi/ superhero world. He famously played scientist Miles Dyson, who created the parts that formed the Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Besides being seen on the big screen, Morton still has his day job playing Papa Pope on Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal, which will end after its seventh season. Morton is also on stage in LA playing comedian/ Civil Rights activist Dick Gregory, who passed away earlier this year.

Morton recently spoke exclusively with Blackfilm.com regarding his role in Justice League, playing and remembering Dick Gregory and his run on Scandal.

How did the role of Silas Stone come for you in Batman Vs. Superman and now Justice League?

Joe Morton: It waste of those wonderful things where I get a call from my manager saying that Zack Snyder was interested in me playing Silas Stone and would I be interested in the role. I said yes and we were off and rock and rolling after that.

How much did you know about Cyborg?

Joe Morton: I didn’t have a lot. I wasn’t really a comic book kid so I went on the internet and looked things up and found out who was doing what to whom and thought all of this should be fun.

Are there any similarities of Silas from the comic book and the screen version?

Joe Morton: From what I gathered, the similarities will be there. The story is essentially the same; and that is Silas Stone puts his son together after a horrendous accident that kills his wife and almost kills his son. The resulting relationship between his son and him is not so good because Cyborg has no alias. he has nothing to cloak himself with when he’s not doing his superhero thing. From that standpoint, he’s not so terribly happy with what his father has done. In an interesting way, the character of Cyborg is sort of a study in otherness if you will. I’m very happy that this is being played by an African American actor and that the family is an African American family. It really does stand for, as most sci-fi metaphors has, what it means to be the other, which I think is exciting.

Have you watched the rest of the DC films to keep up with what’s been happening with the other characters?

Joe Morton: You know, I’m awfully busy these days. I’m dying to see Wonder Woman. I haven’t seen it yet, but at present I’m doing a television show with Scandal and I’m doing a play here in LA called Turn Me Loose, which is on the life of Dick Gregory.

How was working on the set, being in a DC film and working with Ray Fisher?

Joe Morton: It was great. Ray is a wonderful actor. Really a nice man. Zack Snyder is the best. I really enjoyed working with him. I think he is an amazing director. I just had a great time. At the time I was doing the movie, I was doing a play in New York, which is the same play I’m doing now, and the play is very real about a subject, Dick Gregory. So, it was wonderful to do that, then fly over to the UK and do something that’s completely science fiction with lots of costumes and action. I had a really wonderful time.

Is it exciting to be part of this comic book to film universe?

Joe Morton: Absolutely. It’s part of the world that we live in and it’s part of sort of what’s going on. It’s also a nice rest from the darkness of the real world that we happened to be in the United States these days and its administration. It’s a wonderful way of escaping.

When you first appeared in BvS in a lab, there was some comparisons to your character Miles Dyson in the Terminator film.

Joe Morton: Well, it’s true. The comparison is sort of real. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, I basically put the Terminator together. I built this robotic character or built the basic elements of that character, and in here, I do the same thing. I put my son together. I supposed on some level, when it comes to sci-fi hero movies, I am that scientist that you call to put people back together.

Can you talk about doing the Dick Gregory play and knowing him before he passed away?

Joe Morton: Dick Gregory was a remarkable and unique human being. He was the first black comedian to talk about politics and racism in this country. He is the reason we had people like Richard Pryor, and now have Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock. He is one of the founding fathers of that type of comedy. He was also the first black comedian to be allowed to sit and chat with a host of the Tonight Show. Usually Black performers were pushed off the stage as soon as they finished with what they were doing. He refused to go on the Tonight Show unless that was the case, which was to be allowed to sit and talk with Jack Paar. He was a man who made tons of money as a comedian and gave it all up to be totally involved with the Civil Rights Movement.

Once he realized that he needed to do something beyond people see the absurdity of racism, he felt he needed to do something to be a part of that struggle and any money that he made, he gave over to the movement. He would come home for short periods of time and then head back on the road, in terms of going to colleges instead of going to comedy clubs and talking to people. He was an advocate of what was going on in the 60s. He fasted for nearly two years without solid foods to protest the war in Vietnam. He’s the man who created the Bohemian diet because of all of the fasting that he did. He was one of the unique individuals I have ever encountered in my life. Anyone who met him felt the same way.

How much fun has been playing Papa Pope on Scandal?

Joe Morton: It’s interesting. For most of my career, I sort of deliberately played good guys because when I first started black guys were playing drug dealers and bad guys. I actually came out to LA five years ago for a very smart bad guy and this role just fell on to my lap; and it’s been an amazing time. Working for Shonda Rhimes is probably one of the best things I have ever done. She’s a remarkable woman and a remarkable writer and the cast over there is just stupendous. It’s been an enormous pleasure to play Eli/ Rowan.

Are you sad to see it come to an end?

Joe Morton: I think we are all a little bit sad to see it go but at the same time we all realized how blessed we have been to be able to do the roles on this show and what a joy it has been to be on the show. Shonda has always said from the beginning that it wasn’t going to be one of those shows like Grey’s Anatomy that goes on for 13 or 14 seasons. She wanted this show to go out on top. I think we are satisfied with that. I think we are going to have an amazing final season. The writing is already incredible. I will be sad to see it go but at the same time it is time to say goodbye to this.

For anyone oblivious to the comic book world, why should they go see Justice League?

Joe Morton: If you are, at all, interested in those sort of movies that deal with very stereotypical good guys and very stereotypical bad guys, these are the kind of movies that you go to. These characters are developed in such a way where they have all sorts of complications to them. Cyborg can not hide who he is unlike Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman. They have aliases they can hide behind. With Cyborg, he is who he is. His character has to figured out how to deal with the world as he is all the time. The metaphor for all these movies is good versus bad in a wide array of pillars. I think that’s why you go see the movie. Just go see this movie and have a good time.

With Warner Bros. announcing a solo Cyborg film slated for 2020, will you be appearing in that?

Joe Morton: As far as I understand it, yes.

Trailer

International Trailer

SDCC 2017 Sneak Peek

Trailer 2

Promo – Coming

Clip – Batman Meets Aquaman

Clip – How Many Of You Are There


Clip – Wonder Woman Rescue

Clip – We Need Superman

Clip – Batman Meets Flash

Clip – I’ve Never Done Battle

Clip – I’ll Take It From Here


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