Written by Oscar nominated Josh Olsen (“A History of Violence”), the series follows the lives of players who ruled the numbers games before it was taken over by the mafia.
Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions and Tate’s TateMen Entertainment partnered with Audio HQ on the audio-drama, which features the talents of Tika Sumpter and Cory Hardrict (“American Sniper”). EUR/Electronic Urban Report caught up with the Chicago native to discuss his work on the podcast, as well as the highly anticipated Tupac biopic, “All Eyez On Me,” opening the June.
The married father tells us that one of the freedoms that recording a podcast has that film and television lack is, “you can work the kinks out without a camera watching you.”
“If you gotta scream or you gotta move, if you gotta make funny gestures, you can just kinda play. It was like you’re playing all day, until you found the voice — without a camera on you. I did feel really comfortable in the booth doing something different and this was really a different experience for me which I really enjoyed. So yeah, I would say that it was more free-flowing than acting on the camera,” he says.
Hardrict came on board the project after being approached by his longtime friend Larron Tate, Larenz’s brother.
“Me and Larron go way back from playing basketball together and he always was trying to find something that we could collaborate on and then when this came up I was like, it’s perfect! He let me read it, I loved it. I painted the visuals of the city in that era, in the 40’s, and I was blessed to come on board. The energy was electric. This is my first time doing anything like this so it was something that I was really excited about jumping into.”
He describes his recording sessions as “awesome” because “you’re in a booth and you look around and you see Mr. Laurence Fishburne, you see Larenz, Tracee Ellis Ross. It was a surreal experience working with these guys.”
Hardrict voices the role of Casper Dixon on “Bronzeville” — a “real, honest guy” that resonates with his own persona in many ways.
“He’s just real, he’s honest. He enjoyed himself but at the same time, he was a guy trying to always do the right thing, and have Larenz’s character make smart choices and do the right thing at the same time. Sometimes you don’t do the right thing and there’s consequences to that but at the same time, he kinda knew the outcome before he got to it. He knew what he was getting into at all times. He was just like, “Whatever happens is gonna happen, but I’m gonna live in the moment of this.”
Continuing, “It’s relatable to me as well because, me being from the south side of Chicago, I understand the language of the character. I know the history of the city in that era.”
Hardrict agrees that podcasts are another “great” medium for undiscovered creators and established talent to get their work out there, but he admits that the way technology is shifting and shaping how viewers receive content is making him “reevaluate how I look at putting stuff out there, because I’m just now getting into producing as well.”
“I’m for any medium as long as it’s great content and great product. It doesn’t matter if it’s a feature film, or a webseries, audio series — it’s all content, it’s just gotta be great. I’m more about the quality of it and hopefully I’ll be doing more things outside the traditional way of filmmaking.”
In addition to “Bronzeville,” Hardrict has a role in “All Eyez on Me,” the Tupac biopic which drops June 16. He also has a project for Sony coming out later this year called “November Criminals,” and on August 11, his Netflix feature “Naked” drops starring Marlon Wayans. Additionally, he will appear opposite Forest Whitaker in another Tupac related drama feature titled “LAbyrinth,” starring Johnny Depp.
“This year is gonna be a pretty good year,” he says. “I’m just really grateful.”
When he got the call about taking on a role in “All Eyez On Me, Hardrict calls his acceptance a “no brainer” because “I gotta be a part of history.”
“I know this is going to be one of the biggest movies. I was even more blown away when I got down to Atlanta to see the production value. It felt real magnetic,” he says. “So I can’t wait for the world to see this movie. The lead actor, who plays Tupac, he’s amazing. Everyone was amazing. It’s getting some good tracking reviews so, I can’t wait til this summer. It’s going to be a great summer for that movie. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Bronzeville is available free of charge on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Radio One/Interactive One and SoundCloud.