Take 10 With Jeffrey Wright

Jeffrey Wright, 55, Brooklyn, New York

Award-winning actor and activist

When COVID-19 hit, you jumped into action where you live in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, to help frontline workers. Tell us about it.

Two restaurant friends and I started an initiative called Brooklyn for Life, which, with the help of others, raised around $ 1.5 million to deliver more than 170,000 meals to hospitals and FDNY EMS stations. . Meals were provided by 50 mom-and-pop restaurants, some of which may have closed without the support.

2. Given that we are in the middle of a second wave, what is the plan?

Right now we mainly support One Community in Fort Greene, which provides food for families and seniors in social housing, but we are keeping an eye on the big picture in case we need to start over. .

3. How has activism informed your art?

It made me realize more of the privilege we have as actors to tell people’s stories and, in some cases, to help them tell theirs.

4. Other than HBO miniseries

Angels in America, what is the most fulfilling project you have ever done?

The staged reading of We haven’t finished yet, which I later produced as a documentary for HBO, was one of the most memorable nights of my life at the theater. This is a group of veterans who use creative writing to deal with the personal trauma of their service. I was brought in to lead the vets in a theatrical presentation of poems they had written about their experiences to help facilitate healing. I keep in touch with several of these vets today.

5. From a mental health perspective, what was the biggest thing for you to remember?

The universality of trauma and PTSD. You realize that some outcomes in society are due to wounds that individuals and groups have historically faced that go unaddressed and unresolved. If we look at our country as a whole, we can see that crossing it is a deep vein of unresolved trauma that indicates some of the [social justice] problems are bubbling up today.


6. What makes you feel most alive?

Surfing has changed my life and really, in some ways, has saved it. I entered it about 6 years ago when I was shooting Westworld to the. Similar to my philanthropic work, it has been a way for me to navigate anxiety and uncertainty during the pandemic. It’s just the most purifying, molecular-level thing I’ve ever done.

7. How do you stay in shape when you can’t access the ocean?

Cycling. It allows me to get my adrenaline pumping without putting too much pressure on old injuries.

8. How does it feel to film in the middle of a pandemic?

We’ve been in a fairly reasonably closed bubble wrap Batman this way. I am tested regularly, at least two to three times a week and everyone on the set is fully masked. And we wash our hands ad nauseam. We do what we need to do to keep registering the ball on the pitch.

9. What is your happy place?

Spending time with my children in nature. For me it is peace.

. What movies can we expect to see you in when we can safely return to theaters?

Batman, which I am currently filming in the UK. It’s going to be pretty dope like the kids say. We are having a great time. There is a dynamic script and we are doing some interesting things. Also, the new James Bond film, No time to die, The French dispatch, and a new Netflix movie called Monster. As always, there is a lot to look forward to.

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