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My interview with actor Omar Dorsey

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He is a husband and father first. Omar J. Dorsey talked with me about his two newest roles on “Eastbound and Down” and “Rake.”

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I had the chance to interview Omar J. Dorsey. Currently working on two very different shows, this hardworking actor knows how to build on each character. You may have heard of “Eastbound and Down” (Rated TVMA), the extremely inappropriate comedy starring Danny McBride, who plays a burned-out major league baseball player. On "Rake," which is about an outspoken and self-destructive criminal defense lawyer (Kinnear) who takes on the most challenging cases (IMDB).

Dorsey is a good, southern boy who has had a love of acting nearly his entire life. First and foremost, he is a loving and supportive husband of a beautiful wife and father of two active daughters. Born in the small town of Decatur, Georgia, Dorsey is working hard to build a successful career in acting with many very different roles and characters.

WILSON: What do you think of “Eastbound and Down?”

DORSEY: [It] is an insane show; one of my favorite comedies. I met McBride last year when we were both shooting in New Orleans. At the time, Danny wasn’t sure about bringing the show back.

Click here to watch episodes of "Eastbound and Down" on Amazon.com.

WILSON: Eastbound and Down” is a highly bizarre show. Has there been a time when you’ve read something the writers created from this show, or any other show, and thought, “I have to do what?”

DORSEY: I don’t ever think we are pushing the limit or that it was written poorly. I wouldn’t even go in and entertain the thought of doing it if I did.

WILSON: You are quite the talented and seasoned actor. I saw "Django Unchained." What was the best part of working together with such a talented cast?

DORSEY: When I met with Quentin [Tarantino] about “Django Unchained” and talked about the role, Quentin asked if I realized there would be backlash on the movie. I was all in. I believed in the material. With “Eastbound,” it pushes the envelope. But, this show is about how people really talk when nobody’s listening; when you’re not being politically correct, especially when it’s a group of guys around. (Laughing) My mom watched this show for the first time and said there was a lot of curing. She said it was good, but we cursed
so much.”

WILSON: You seem to be very close to your mom. Tell me about her.

DORSEY: My mom (Naomi Dorsey) is the reason I am in acting. She was a theater director. When I was a kid, I followed her to theaters. She was my first acting teacher for years – from three to fifteen years old. She then handed me off to a professional (Afemo Omilami).

On acting…

DORSEY: Professionally, I’ve been acting for a long time. My first film, though, was, “Road Trip.” I’ve been in [the game] for 14 years now.

WILSON: I see you’re quite involved in several one episodes on some of my favorite shows, like Castle, Bones, and CSI: NY. What do you like best about being cast in short roles for these shows?

DORSEY: What’s really cool is when I come in and do one episode. That’s just been over the last two or three years where I was hitting it hard with the television stuff. I did “NCIS” a few months ago. You go in [there] and you’re working with some of the best television actors there are. When we’re not working, we’re talking shop. Those are really good experiences. I’m going to be on “Rake” with Greg Kinnear. We just started and will be FOX in January or February. [It’s] prepared me for television media.

Click here to watch the official FOX trailer, "Rake."

WILSON: “The Blind Side” was an exceptionally touching movie with a huge talented cast. What was it like being on a drama compared to some of the actions and comedies you’ve worked on?

DORSEY: It was so fun filming the movie. Sandra Bullock was killing the movie. The actual real person she played was coming on set a lot. I commented on how Sandra was acting just like her. I said she was going to win an Oscar. We felt like a big old family. With everyone on the set, it just felt like a big family. When the movie came out and hit like gangbusters, it just blew my mind.

WILSON: I read that in school, you were voted, “Most Likely To Do Anything.” Why?

DORSEY: I was doing everything – acting, singing, dancing, and playing sports. I was Mr. All American; Mr. Renaissance Man.

WILSON: Tell me about your family.

DORSEY: I have a beautiful and talented wife, Conisha Dorsey, and two wonderful daughters, Olivia and Olympia. They are 14 and 9 and are my anchors.

WILSON: Do you enjoy comedy better, or drama?

DORSEY: What I enjoy most is creating these characters. Dontel (“Eastbound and Down”) is so different than Roy on “Rake.” But, I’m playing the both of them in the same year and at the same time – same person and actor. Being able to create that wild and outrageous person that Dontel Benjamin is and then creating Roy, who is focused and meticulous that syncs with his words, what he says he means. I love being able to create all these characters. When I was a kid, I used to make up all these characters. I love comedy a lot and I don’t get to do it often. Somewhere in the middle, I shifted into doing drama.

WILSON: What do you like best about playing Dontel Benjamin?

DORSEY: What I like best about playing Dontel is the fact that he is the heightened version of me. I was [once] the life of the party guy. But, this is the life of the party loudmouth, obnoxious guy at another level. He’s just a loudmouth dude. I also love the Kenny Powers character that Danny plays. Yet, to be the person who can make you feel sorry for Powers…that’s great. I love it.

WILSON: What do you like least about playing Dontel Benjamin?

DORSEY: Nothing. The thing is that this is the character that I, along with Jody Hill, created this character. When I came in and read with him, we felt like this character wasn’t quite what we wanted. I thought the character should be more mean; more of a physical bully than a verbal bully. What I do not like about [Dontel] is that he can’t take a joke, yet he jokes on everybody else. As a character, that is a blessing. You rarely get to do stuff like that.

WILSON: How do you balance work and family life?

DORSEY: I don’t know. Our weekends are fun. My kids are in school and in all these clubs – chess club, fashion club, you name it. When my dad came home from work, it was late and when he left, it was early in the morning. On my days off, I’m still taking my kids to school and picking them up. I do what I have to do to keep that relationship.

WILSON: Was this what you wanted to do as a child?

DORSEY: It’s always been acting or something involved in acting. At the end of the day, I want to be a teacher at a university, teaching film or acting.

WILSON: What’s your next big plan in acting?

DORSEY: This is the first time that I have somewhere to be. This is my job for the next six months. After this will be the summertime. I’m thinking about taking a vacation. My wife needs one. Though, I wouldn’t mind doing a play. Derrick Sanders who does The Congo Square Theater in Chicago. He’s one of the best theater directors in America. We talked about doing a show in Chicago over the summer. I’ll have to see my schedule. A lot of things changed for me after “Django” because I wanted to be like these guys and the work they put in. When actors like [Robert] De Niro and Denzel [Washington] talk about continued learning in acting, that’s very real – that’s the work.

You can follow Omar Dorsey on Twitter at https://twitter.com/omardorsey.

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