Anthony Anderson interview

Anthony Anderson, the black Robin Williams? Maybe...

"You were either made a ward of the court, on parole or dead at 21 if you grew up in Compton, Los Angeles"

(Anthony Anderson on his hometown.)

The small inner city of Compton, Los Angeles and Anthony Anderson, are now worlds away. Dividing them these days is Hollywood, and a lifestyle that offers Anderson's family opportunity, which in turn, gives his children a positive and promising outlook on their futures. Something Anderson no doubt wishes for all of Compton's disillusioned kids.

The last couple of years has seen Anderson performing alongside big star casts in 'Romeo Must Die', 'Urban Legends', 'Me, myself and Irene' and 'See Spot Run.' To name just a few, of the 'Hollywood belt notches' that Anderson can boast. More recently working with stage icons, Steven Segal and DMX in the new action blockbuster Exit Wounds, has certainly placed Anderson in the spotlight. But fame has by no means jaded, this big guys heart. Refusing to conveniently forget the violence and crime in which the kids in his hometown are exposed to daily. Anthony still takes time out of an incredibly hectic schedule to visit his old school, so as to inspire kids who may have stopped believing in themselves. He is the first to admit that the good stuff in life is there no matter your background. His message to these kids, you can rise above your environment to achieve; "set your heights more than what you see around you, see beyond...." Anthony passionately remarks.


Well all that 'heart' certainly makes him an irresistibly cheeky character; that by the way, is in both the literal and physical sense; which is just as well, Anthony's specialty is often dishing out raw; untamed by directors, kinda humour.

Like a locomotive picking up speed, as is, Andersons career. Right now shooting flicks with boulevard engraved actors, Whoopi Goldeberg, Eddie Murphy and Jim Carey, you might say Anthony is on a 'Hollywood roll'. Providing the actors and writers strike doesn't interfere with his big plans. Anderson is patiently awaiting the 'stand out' script, the one that will allow for a smooth transition, from comedian to a suitably earnest character that will highlight his diverse acting talents. Not unlike, Robyn Williams transition from Mork (Mork & Mindy) to conquering that remarkable role, in Dead Poets Society which gave him undeniable silver screen credibility.

Anderson rates Tom Hanks and Williams as a big inspiration over the years, "I always say I'm gonna be the black Robin Williams! When he made that change, with Dead Poets, that's where it turned around for him, when people started to see what else he had to offer."

Exit Wounds producer Dan Cracchiolo describes this film as harkening back to the "edgy, gritty, cop pictures like 'Dirty Harry' and 'Serpico,' those great 70 movies that were for our generation what westerns were to earlier generations.

Anderson's road to fame and fortune is straight from the 'real' dream machine. Training for the past 21 years, which included a scholarship to attend the school for performing arts in Los Angeles. His true calling came though, after feeling overwhelmingly inspired by his mother's performance in a local amateur play at the age of nine. (Well, he knew that if he couldn't make the Dallas Cowboys, acting was to be his destiny!)


Currently 'Down Under', to film the comedy adventure, 'Down and Under,' due to be released in Australia next year. Anthony is working and playing hard, and has fallen pray to a long list, of 'must do' Sydney clubs, including Gas, Mocca, Q-bar, Soho and too many more to mention! Mischievously defending his actions and insists he is simply stocking up on nightlife for that dusty, dry trip ahead to Alice and Coober Pedy to film 'Down and Under'. Which by the way is a far cry from the streets of Detroit, where the scene for Australia's next box office smash 'Exit Wounds' was set.

Exit wounds, sees Andersons playing an, 'everybody's buddy type', but not Segals. "I've gotten my butt kicked by the best. Jet Ly beat me up the best, but Steven Segal can still kick a good butt. It's a different kind of kicking, though," jokes Anderson of one of his more enduring Exit Wound scenes.

Throughout Exit Wounds, Anderson obviously enjoys the poetic licence to 'show off big time', in a surprise conclusion for the audience, Tom Arnold and Anderson let loose on a verbal slanging spree, which is a real crowd pleaser. According to Anderson, director Andrzej Bart Kowiak told Arnold and Anderson, "There's 29 minutes of tape left, go for it!" This could arguably be one of the films highlights, aside from Anderson's quick witted, 'Issac, from the Loveboat crack' that is, listen out for it.

Another fond memory amongst many on this set that springs to Andersons mind is DMX tearing up the town in the jaw dropping 'Ferrari Diablo' which features predominantly in the film. "DMX is crazy! We weren't attached to a picture car, so we were weaving through the streets and DMX actually floored it, off set just for a little fun..."

Asked what advice he would offer anybody wanting to short track, their own road to success? Anderson replied "Be ready for when your time comes, you will have that window of opportunity, so seize the moment and capitalise on it." 'Seize the moment?' maybe he is gonna be the black Robin Williams, or was that seize the day? Either way, Anderson, obviously a man who practices what he preaches, hence the reason he finds himself firmly entrenched in the 'dog eat dog' Hollywood game.



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