Believe it or not, it’s been 20 years since HBO released the masterpiece that is “The Wire.”
The hour-long cop drama, co-created by ex-reporter David Simon and ex-cop Ed Burns debuted on June 2, 2002. At first glance it appeared to be a cops-versus-crooks drama following Baltimore Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West) as he tried to take down drug kingpin Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris). But soon it was clear Simon and Burns were really shedding light on the failing War on Drugs and the larger flaws in the foundation of America as a whole.
In the two decades since, “The Wire” has been lauded as one of the best shows in TV history … despite being nominated for an absurd two Emmys, and winning exactly none.
Cast members like Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan and the late Michael Kenneth Williams (who played gay stick-up artist Omar Little) went on to become Hollywood heavyweights largely in part to their time on the show.
HipHollywood recently caught-up with just some of the cast in celebration of the 20th Anniversary to look back on their time shooting the iconic series
“It was really clear that this was something really special,” said Jim True Frost who played Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski. “From the fact that there were loads and loads of black artists on the show, making it totally unique on TV to have that many black actors, black storylines, and the fact that it dealt so unflinchingly with really complicated social issues.”
“It’s amazing that 20 years seems to have flown by,” said Andre Royo who played Bubbles. “Most of us when we shot the pilot we thought we just f–ked up HBO’s track record because it felt like a lot of talking heads, but it changed the narrative of how cop shows are being told.”
Simon and show executive producer Nina Kostroff Noble reflected on some memorable performances, and Williams’ brilliant portrayal of Omar Little.
“We saw it in the read,” said Simon. “I thought man wait until they get a load of our Omar? because he did it in the [audition] read and I remember all of us all watched the tape separately, and I remember both Ed Burns and five calls were coming to me separately and saying, there’s a guy on tape two with a scar, and watch him read.”
“The Omar character we never thought we’d see that on TV,” added Royo. “We knew that existed, that energy existed, but never thought we were gonna see that portrayed on TV, and once we saw that, we knew as a cast that we were taking different kind of chances.”
“It takes a little time for a cast to gel and for everyone to find their place but I think pretty early on in the process of watching dailies we kind of knew that there was some chemistry and there were some magic happening there,” said Noble.
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