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Insight Hollywood

Won’t Back Down’s Lance Reddick has something to say, on- and off-screen.

Oct 15, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 05 • By KELLY JANE TORRANCE
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Reddick realizes such apostasy might not be permitted: “Well,” he says slowly when asked to elaborate on his political beliefs, “you could call me pretty left. I feel like I’m a Democrat by default.” He doesn’t sound very leftist, though. There’s another long “Well,” then, “I’m conservative about some things, radical about others. One thing I think white middle-America would be shocked to find out is that, socially, most middle-class black people are very conservative.”

The political atmosphere has become much more “rabid” and “polarizing” since 9/11, he argues. And he blames the very industry of which he’s becoming a prominent part: “I hate to say it, but the way the media—even Hollywood film and television—plays out, it’s in collusion. Ever see A Face in the Crowd?”—the 1957 Elia Kazan film starring Andy Griffith as a hobo who becomes a media phenomenon—“It’s a film that was obscured in Kazan’s filmography because he named names.” But Reddick recommends it as an “incredible film” about the power the media wield: “It’s very difficult when you’ve got people believing The Other is the way they’re portrayed on TV.”

The Wire, he believes, is a positive example of that power. But chatting about The Wire, which explored Baltimore’s troubles through various levels of society, leads back to politics: “I think the war on drugs is a joke,” Reddick says. “It’s a war on poor people of color.” When I point out that the country’s first black president has intensified that war, even targeting states that have legalized medical marijuana, Reddick—who at 6'4" usually plays authority figures—is silent for a few moments. “I feel like I’m an Obama man, so I’ve got nothing to say,” he finally admits. 

So maybe the rising star whose first media gig was delivering copies of the Wall Street Journal will have more to say after Election Day. Or perhaps Hollywood, the world’s loudest media machine, will keep him quiet.

Kelly Jane Torrance, assistant managing editor of The Weekly Standard, is the Washington Examiner’s movie critic. Won’t Back Down is a production of Walden Media, a subsidiary of the parent company that owns The Weekly Standard.

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