Friday, July 1, 2022

‘Lovecraft Country’ Star Michael K. Williams Had to Channel ‘My Own Trauma’ to Play Montrose

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*Michael K. Williams has revealed that he channeled his own “trauma” to play Montrose Freeman in HBO’s hit sci-fi drama “Lovecraft Country.”

“He’s traumatized,” Williams tells PEOPLE of Montrose, who is struggling with sexuality issues. He’s also a victim of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. “We meet this man, and he’s already a survivor of the Tulsa Massacre. He moved to the south side of Chicago, which is kind of a war-zone in itself. This is also happening through the Jim Crow era.”

Williams continues: “He has issues, unresolved issues about himself that he was never allowed to explore.”

When it comes to Montrose’s sexuality, Williams says, “Montrose doesn’t know if he’s gay or straight or bisexual.”

“He was never given the opportunity to explore any of that. He was told by society, his community and by his family what Black masculinity should look like, and he had to stuff anything away that didn’t resemble what he was told. That’s who Montrose is when we find him. He’s in a lot of pain,” Williams says.

READ MORE: Michael K. Williams Shares Powerful Message About What’s Really Happening Right Now


Williams also explains how the series challenges Black masculinity.

“We are so conditioned to mask our pain as Black men in America. We’re not allowed to cry, we’re not allowed to be vulnerable. We’re not allowed to be soft. I hope that Montrose will at least open up a conversation for Black men in America,” he says. “I don’t know if Montrose is straight or gay. He doesn’t know that. He was never given the chance to know. He was told so much about what a Black man is supposed to be that he just pulled away at all the soft parts of himself, but that is not human. We are who we are. It’s okay to b soft. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay for a Black man to say to another Black man ‘I love you.’ ”

The veteran actor says he had to “find my own pain and my own trauma” to play Montrose, “which was a very painful experience for me,” he admits. “All the generational pain that had been passed down through my own personal experiences, I had to dig deep down in that for Montrose.”

Williams also hopes viewers appreciate the father/son dynamic that’s explored in the series between Montrose and his son Atticus (Jonathan Majors). 

“I would hope that after watching Lovecraft, people walk away with this understanding of the beauty and necessity of a father-son relationship in the Black community. Black fathers have been ripped away from their sons for so many years, mine included. That was the main thing that attracted me to this to this role was the opportunity to play dad to that amazing Jonathan Majors and for us to explore what father and son bonding looks like and how we can rebuild that and treasure it. There’s an absence of the Black male in our community for a lot of reasons and some of it isn’t our fault but the need is there. It’s a beautiful thing to look at. I hope Montrose will remind us how much little Black boys need their fathers,” Williams shares.

You can watch the full season of “Lovecraft Country’ on HBO. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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