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Fred Williamson On 'Django,' Woody Strode, Sidney Poitier, Working w/ Spike Lee, Being 'The Hammer'

by Tambay A. Obenson
February 4, 2013 1:28 PM
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Aaah... an interview that I tried to get (for obvious reasons) but wasn't successful. But thankfully, someone who could, did get Fred Williamson to chat about everything from originating the "bad-ass slave" in The Legend of Nigger Charley, to Django Unchained (why he hasn't seen it, and doesn't plan on seeing it), to Spike Lee's reactions to it, and potentially working with him, to Woody Strode's and Sidney Poitier's on-screen presence during their day, to his own (Williamson's) film work in relation to the Civil Rights struggle, and more...

New York Magazine's Vulture posted an interview with Williamson last night, which I got around to reading this morning, and it's worth checking out.

Some of the more interesting revelations he made:

- In response to whether he'd seen Django Unchained, he said:

I don’t want to see me in the film. I know my friend Jamie Foxx gave a good performance. But I’m still alive. I’m still capable. I’m still able. I still look the way I looked in the seventies. There are no new wrinkles. I can still jump out of cars and jump out of planes and do all the things I did. I still want to be in a position where they say, “Bring me the Hammer! Don’t bring me somebody that looks like the Hammer, acts like the Hammer, talks like the Hammer; bring me the Hammer!”

Hah! And who's going to argue with him on that? Certainly not me.

He did say that he thought Spike's comments about the film were "ridiculous," adding that Spike should make a slavery movie, and cast him, Fred Williamson, in it!

Spike! We can make [The Legend of] Nigger Charley 2, or  [The Legend of] Nigger Charley 3 and 4.

Somehow I doubt that Spike will take him up on that offer.

And in talking about black actors who came before him, like Sidney Poitier and Woody Strode, Williamson had this to say:

Sidney Poitier was a great black actor, but I can’t see him being a great fighter. He didn’t have the physical presence that I bring to a role. Woody Strode was in the background. Woody Strode never carried the show. There was always someone else who was the hero. I wanted to be the hero. I wanted to be the man. I was coming out of football as “the Hammer,” with the reputation that I would kick people’s ass if they stood in my way. I was not going to change my image coming into Hollywood.

How could you not love this guy and his cockiness? He is, after all, The Hammer

By the way, he's 74 years old.

Read the rest of the interview HERE.

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  • DJP | February 4, 2013 8:27 PMReply

    Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee are legends. Fred Williamson is a working actor. Straight to VHS titles like Foxtrap and The Black Cobra 2 do not a legend make.

  • Troy | February 5, 2013 9:30 PM

    Blacks folks always wants us to choose one or he other over all others. Fred was a ball player, and the other two admitted theater nerds who grew up in the theater. How could we compare them to each other. Are you saying who is better for black people?

  • Donella | February 5, 2013 11:59 AM

    LOL! I saw Black Cobra in Italian dubbed for English. It's an experience.

  • Leonard Part 7 | February 4, 2013 8:41 PM

    Ruby Dee just plays herself in every film, and she overacts to the extreme. Hardly a legend. At least Fred mixed things up throughout his career by trying different genres, and he looked natural doing it.

  • James | February 4, 2013 8:00 PMReply

    Mr. Williamson is a neighbor and a gentleman. I got to spend a Superbowl Sunday with him and about 5 others at a local cigar bar a few years ago. He is an awesome ambassador of Blackness.

  • Jazkie Chainz | February 4, 2013 7:31 PMReply

    I'm not surprised the Uncle Tom clones arrived in this thread to bash a legend who paved the way for so many other black actors. I'm guessing they're the same folks who bashed Spike in defense of their "white savior" QT.

  • getthesenets | February 4, 2013 3:46 PMReply

    The TRUE revival of the blaxploitation era wasn't was Wayans doing "I'm Gonna GIT you Sucka!"

    and if I recall they asked Fred to star in it and he thought the film was more of mockery than a parody so he Bernie Casey replaced him...

    Folks have NO sense of history.

    I know it might baffle some of y'all to comprehend that not EVERYBODY thinks qt can't be criticized.

  • getthsenets | February 4, 2013 3:42 PMReply

    @clowns who disrespect Fred's opinion

    He is the SOLE actor from so called blaxploitation era who NEVER stopped working. When Hollywood found a new flavor of the month, instead of complaining and bitching..he went ahead and started financing and directing his OWN films.
    Read about Po' Boy before you fix your face to go afer anyone who doesn't hug qt's scrotum like you all are inclinded to.

  • ShebaBaby | February 4, 2013 2:20 PMReply

    Y'all can say what you want about The Hammer but without him, Tarantino has no career. I mean NONE!

  • getthesenets | February 4, 2013 11:06 PM


    here is the attention you clearly want

    When Mario Van Peebles did Posse, he played homage to the genre and to the trailblazers by casting Woody Strode in in a role

    When John Singleton remade/rebooted Shaft..he payed homage to the genre and to the trailblazers by casting Richard Roundtree in a role

    When Quentin admittedly reboots elements of the "Charley" movies...the people who wipe his ass for him..namely Fred Williamson names for giving his OPINIONS.

  • Carl | February 4, 2013 2:31 PM

    If you really believe that I have a bridge to sell you in a Florida swamp I'm sure you would be interested in. lol

  • Curtis | February 4, 2013 2:11 PMReply

    Damn, y'all are coming down hard of The Hammer, huh? "Irrelevant clown?" Really DJP? "Washed up"? Really Carl? Wow. Forget all the classics he's starred in that set the stage for some of the ish that came after him. If he's an "irrelevant washed up clown," then you may as well say that for every other major black actor who worked during the 1970s. SMH.

  • Carl | February 4, 2013 2:02 PMReply

    Aawww! He mad that Quentin didn't ask him to be in the movie and now he won't go see it. Poor washed up, non-acting, arrogant old fart! I'll shed a tear for him some time this evening. lol

  • DJP | February 4, 2013 1:51 PMReply

    He's an irrelevant clown with an embarrassing filmography.

  • Justin W | February 4, 2013 1:43 PMReply

    Has there been one famous figure who has come out and supported what Spike said?

  • Donella | February 5, 2013 12:01 PM

    Getthesenets, I agree that fear drives much of the silence.

  • starry118 | February 4, 2013 11:31 PM

    @Getthesenets: True, interesting, sad & shameful ...

  • Justin W | February 4, 2013 5:46 PM

    That's good to hear to see that somebody spoke up in support of Spike. All I heard was just Spike bashing left and right hahahahaha

  • getthesenets | February 4, 2013 4:29 PM

    I think Black celebs, and some bloggers, were afraid of getting blackballed so they held their tongues if they didn't like Django, objected to the action figures, or agreed with Spike Lee.

    One of the Hughes brothers, Allen, did say that not only did he agree with spike but that Spike is behind me and denzel in terms of our beef with qt and opposition to the film.

    certain that other Black celebs agreed with Spike, but I think they were afraid to publicly say.
    Like people here LOVE to repeat....about us not being a monolithic group..interesting that the dissenting voices were conspicuously silent this time around

    I mean to keep it 100, S&A did NOT run a story about the licensed action figures UNTIL Weinstein company decided to pull them.Not even about the planned protest at the Golden Globes. hardly a coincidence

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