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Jeffrey Wright As Alexander Pushkin? He Wants To Do It! Plus He Talks Beetee In 'Hunger Games'

by Courtney
October 20, 2012 10:35 AM
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Jeffrey Wright

Somebody make this happen ASAP

Jeffrey Wright is one of those actors who I rarely see give interviews. He seems like an intensely private man who lets his work speak for itself; and I think I speak for most folks when I say that we love his work, and wish he was given even more opportinuties - especially in lead roles.

So it was thrilling to watch the below interview which he gave recently, specifically to talk The Hunger Games (he was cast as Beetee, manipulator of electricity, in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), and hear him express his strong interest in playing Russian poet and author Alexander Pushkin, who some may not know has African roots; his great-grandfather, Abram Gannibal, was a black African man, taken captive in his childhood, shipped to Russia in the early 1700s, where he was presented as a gift to Peter the Great. Peter the Great then made him his godson, and 3 generations later, after some inter-racial coupling, Alexanger Pushkin was born.

His was quite an interesting, involved life, dying at 37 years old - born into the Russian nobility in the late 1700s, published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and went on to be considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet, and the founder of modern Russian literature... who, by the way, happens to have African ancestry.

As Wright notes in the interview below, Pushkin was also known to be quite the "wild man," a "rebel," and really a full-bodied character that would make for good character study on screen.

I could only find 1 film on the life of Pushkin - a 2006 Russian film, titled Pushkin: The Last Duel. However, Pushkin was played by a white Russian actor - Sergey Bezrukov.

I'd love to see this become a reality. I wouldn't hold my breath though.

But watch the full interview below, and learn a bit more about Beetee as well:

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  • Donella | October 21, 2012 3:15 PMReply

    If he can do a decent Russian accent...

  • Wanett | October 20, 2012 9:25 PMReply

    I don't really think there is anything that he can't do! This sounds particularly interesting as I've spent the last two days digging in archives and noting how prominently blacks featured during times people act we only existed as slaves.

  • Ava | October 20, 2012 5:41 PMReply

    Great script, great direction-- Jeffrey Wright would definitely do a great job playing such a cerebral and amazingly complex figure such as Alexander Pushkin. From illustrations that I've seen of Pushkin, Gary Dourdan resembles Pushkin more closely (especially in profile) but I don't know whether he has the acting chops that Wright obviously has.
    Would love to see a producing collaboration between an American director/producer and a Russian production company-- or even a multi-national production (e.g. American/Franco-Russian).

  • FactChecker | October 20, 2012 2:14 PMReply

    Maybe he and Ava DuVernay should collaborate on this one. I'm sure lots of indie producers, like Brad Pitt, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, and even Oprah would be interested in financially backing this.

  • misha | October 20, 2012 12:31 PMReply

    Oh, what an inspired idea...which means Hollywood won't touch it.

  • reece | October 20, 2012 11:41 AMReply

    This is would be an amazing film to see!

  • D Mayo Johnson | October 20, 2012 11:39 AMReply

    I would have loved to see Jeffrey Wright plan "Alex Cross" alongside his real life wife, Carmen Ejogo. They were wonderful in the movie as Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King. He bears the intelligence and intensity I see in the character when I read the James Patterson novels. Also he has the ability to transform himself in all roles.

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