Interview: Larenz Tate Talks To S&A About His Upcoming Debut On 'House of Lies' w/ Don Cheadle

Interviews
by Masha Dowell
February 15, 2013 5:36 PM
21 Comments
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"Where in the world is Larenz Tate?"

I’d be rich if I was paid money every time I heard that question. There’s no doubt that he has many loyal fans and supporters around the globe.

However, if truth be told, as of late, we have not seen a lot of him on screen - at the theater, or on TV. 

Well, ahead of his debut on Showtime’s “House of Lies” this Sunday, February 17, 2013, Shadow and Act knew exactly where Larenz Tate was; and this afternoon we caught up with him and chatted very briefly about his debut on “House of Lies”, his friendship with Don Cheadle, and other current directing projects.

Shadow and Act: Congrats on your new “House of Lies” role. For our readers that do not know a lot about the show can you tell us about it?

Larenz Tate:  The tagline behind “House of Lies” is funny, dirty, business. The show is a comedy satire about how big business operates.  Most Americans that work in corporate America should be able to relate to this show.  In the series, Don’s character is in the thick of everything. He’s the guy that is known for pushing the envelope along with his POD (his group).  

Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your character, “Malcolm”?

LT:  I play Don’s character’s younger brother. We are polar opposites.  We have a long history of sibling rivalry. Malcolm is a guy that is about the people. He is a dude that’s fighting against Wall Street. He is an occupy Wall Street kind of guy. He is about organizing the people against the corrupt system. The thing is he’s against the same people that Don’s character works with. So that’s a problem. Don’s character looks at himself as an over achiever and my character as an under achiever. Everybody likes my character. My character does not hold down a regular job.

Shadow and Act: Don just won a Golden Globe for his performance on “House of Lies”, do you feel any pressure now that you have joined this cast?

LT: Oh, there’s no pressure at all. His win was great for this show, because it allows people to not only know that his performance is top notch, but it also allows people to view a show that is top quality. It has great writing, acting, and direction.  

I’m especially thankful for this opportunity, because I always just wait for the right material to come to me. Many times people ask, “What have you been up To?” Well, I’m here and working. Just not in front of the camera as much as I’d like to be.  

Shadow and Act:  How did this role come about? Did you audition for it?

LT: Don and I have been friends for a long time. We have never talked about me being on the show. He had done season one and not one time did we have a conversation about me being on the show. However, he knew that I was a huge fan of the show. Well, one day I was in New York, with my brothers, on the east side of Manhattan walking, and I got a call from Don. I pick up the phone and I am like, “What’s up big bro?” And Don says “it’s time”.  And I’m like it’s time for what?  And then he proceeds to tell me that he wants me to come on the show, and that I would be getting a call from Showtime the next day. And I’m like Yeah!  Then I ask him if I am going to play his brother? And he says yes. After our conversation he then texts me and he’s like I’m going to enjoy hating on you in the show. And I respond by saying that I will enjoy making him hate me!  So our family drama has already started via text messages.

Shadow and Act: How did you prepare for the role?

LT:  As an actor, you always want to find a piece of who you are in every role you take on. For this role, I wanted to find people that were like Malcolm. So, I started with my inner circle and found people.

Shadow and Act: You’ve mentioned that you and Don were personal friends before this project, however, how was it working with him professionally?

LT: Don may seem like he is a very intense person, but he is very funny.  There’s always cool stuff that well pull up off of Funny or Die. There was always a very light environment on set and when working with Don. Don always eats with the whole cast and crew.  Unlike some lead actors who choose to separate themselves from some people that they work with.

Shadow and Act:  Where was this project shot?

LT:  My scenes were shot in Los Angeles. However, some other shots were shot in Los Vegas.

Shadow and Act:  What has been your most memorable behind the scenes situation with this project?

LT: It was probably seeing Nia Long on set. She has been cast, and it was a blast hanging with her. It was also amazing to see Don on set talking about “Love Jones”.

Shadow and Act: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

LT: Sure, I can talk about it. I directed the official commercial for a Cognac brand for Ludacris. I also directed a music video for Grammy award winner Melanie Fiona. The song was called, “Wrong side of a Love Song.” It was an incredible experience. I also have a live tour that I am putting together, it’s called the “Poetry Music Lounge”.

I am a spokesperson for BLOOM (Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men). It is an initiative here in LA that focuses on at risk youth that have been involved with the probation system. These men are mainly young African-American men. With this organization I was able to get some of these men to help me behind the scenes for my latest music videos.

We thank Mr Tate for his time and ss a reminder, Larenz Tate will debut on Showtime’s “House of Lies” this Sunday, February 17, 2013.

You can find the exact time of this Sunday’s episode here: http://www.sho.com/sho/house-of-lies/home

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21 Comments

  • woh | February 20, 2013 8:10 PMReply

    Larenz has not aged one bit. Love him.

  • Wise | February 17, 2013 6:17 PMReply

    Loved Larenz on "Rescue Me" and I'm excited to see the chemistry btwn him and Cheadle. But are we seriously critiquing looks now?? It's not good enough that two great actors are working, and together?? The light-bright sitcom sister is not lost on me, but damn, it's not like they're tryna sell Cheadle and Terrence Howard as brothers.

  • Kelea | February 22, 2013 10:53 PM

    Exactly!

  • urbanauteur | February 16, 2013 12:59 PMReply

    NIA LONG/LARENZ TATE Wow just think?... what if by some "strange" alignment of the stars... director-Theodore Witcher's agent GOT him a last minute replacement gig to shoot an episode of House of Lies? while there, (director TED decides to go medeval on all that great camera/crew gear, so he say's bump dis i'm shooting my pix, since all my adoring fans, what a MOFO SEQUEL!!?... so (TED) play possum on the set, while simultaneously shooting (covertly) an LOVE JONES 2 in between takes, referencing french new wave movies like- Day for Night(Francois Truffaut) & Irma Vep(Olivier Assayas) wow that would be a Hot,Hot Urban Fever Dream;-0..Ted where U at? or to quote Bernie Mack,who U with?;-)

  • urbanauteur | February 27, 2013 1:39 PM

    @TED WITCHER , Go wit da Flow..;-)

  • Theodore Witcher | February 22, 2013 4:04 PM

    Now's there's an idea...

  • Lauren | February 16, 2013 7:54 AMReply

    Gotta say, as happy as I am for their actor/solidarity, I hope Lorenz is his "step-brother" or some other rationalization for the vast disparity in their appearance or is it just another case, albeit a benign one, that we all look alike?

  • CC | February 22, 2013 11:48 PM

    And Kelea, Yaphet Kotto looks like a black Shrek. :-)

  • Kelea | February 22, 2013 10:51 PM

    Donnie doesn't look like Yaphet Kotto either!

  • Kelea | February 22, 2013 10:48 PM

    Larenz does not look like Don, but there's not a huge gap here. Obviously there's something believable about them as brothers if they have been cast as such more than once. Sometimes it's about the chemistry. Aside from that not all siblings look alike. Where I live I see families like this all the time. Shrug.

  • getthesenets | February 17, 2013 12:43 PM

    Tate played Cheadle's younger brother in Crash...

  • Lauren | February 16, 2013 10:13 PM

    @Accidental Visitor...Exactly! p.s. I would've cast Yaphet Koto as Don Cheadle's dad.

  • AccidentalVisitor | February 16, 2013 9:08 PM

    Happens all the time. For example it is common when you seen an African American family on TV in which the daughter is very light skinned with long staright hair and the son is dark skinned with hair more typical of African ancestry. With the two of them having the same parents it makes you think the mother had an affair to produce one or the other.

    Larenz actually looks more like the dad of "House of Lies" than the Don does now that I think about it.

  • turner | February 16, 2013 12:40 PM

    @Jess...like the Huxstables?! Lol! I've been black my whole life living in new York and aint never seen a family like that! I think what Lauren's getting at is that more thought seems to go into casting for white family members.

  • Jess | February 16, 2013 11:01 AM

    Or, Tate's character could look like the mom. C'mon, plenty of families, especially black families, have siblings (with same parents) who physically are polar opposites. e.g., tall, slim and brown, or short, round and lighter skinned.

  • Masha Dowell | February 16, 2013 12:59 AMReply

    Yikes --- I need to correct that typo!!!!

  • jason | February 15, 2013 11:43 PMReply

    F.Y.I Don won the GOLDEN GLOBE, not the Emmy for this show..He was nominated for the emmy, but lost...he also won the NAACP Image award this year too.

  • ALM | February 15, 2013 10:26 PMReply

    Just like Nia, we don't see nearly enough of Larenz. How wonderful is it that Don Cheadle is a true, loyal friend who actually looks out for other actors? If more African American actors in Hollywood were like this, we wouldn't be having many of the conversations that we have on this website.

  • ALM | February 16, 2013 10:02 PM

    @Accidental: There aren't many, but there are some who have the opportunity. There have recently been multiple discussions surrounding the hiring that Will Smith's production company does.

  • AccidentalVisitor | February 16, 2013 9:09 PM

    How many African American factors get in a position in which they can have their own show and get enough clout to recommend their friends as hires?

  • Monique A. Williams | February 15, 2013 6:50 PMReply

    So excited! Nia Long has been a great addition, I know Larenz Tate will bring it!

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