The American TV series The Wire, which methodically dissected America’s war with drugs, was an eye-opener for many. Shaun Ley interviews Wendell Pierce, whose role as Detective Bunk Moreland brought him international attention. Now he’s on stage in London as the protagonist in Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman. But it was Hurricane Katrina that defined him, when he rolled up his own sleeves when his childhood home was smashed. After his city’s darkest hour, when help failed to come, did Wendell Pierce fall out of love with America?
Wendell Pierce is an American actor best known for his role as Bunk Moreland in the television series The Wire. Since the series ended in 2008, he has made around 40 film and television appearances, including Treme, Selma and the legal drama Suits, in which he played Robert Zane, the father of Rachel Zane, played by Meghan Markle. His theatre credits range from The Cherry Orchard to Death of a Salesman.
Born in 1963, the youngest of three sons, Wendell grew up in the Pontchartrain Park area of New Orleans, which was the first middle-class African-American suburban-style development in the city. He graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York and his career got off to a flying start with a small part opposite Tom Hanks in a film called The Money Pit. He hasn’t been out of work since.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Wendell’s childhood home in New Orleans and he was instrumental in rebuilding his parents’ house in Pontchartrain Park. He also built 40 new homes and staged a production of Waiting for Godot on an empty street corner in one of the most devastated districts of the city.
He is currently reprising his role as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman on stage in London.
DISC ONE: Jim Henson - Bein' Green (Featuring Kermit The Frog)
DISC TWO: Wynton Marsalis - Green Chimneys
DISC THREE: Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove (Part 1)
DISC FOUR: Mahalia Jackson - Take My Hand, Precious Lord
DISC FIVE: Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now
DISC SIX: Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up on Me
DISC SEVEN: Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring (Doppio Movimento), performed by New York Philharmonic
DISC EIGHT: John Coltrane - A Love Supreme Part I: Acknowledgement
BOOK CHOICE: The Omni-americans: Black Experience And American Culture by Albert Murray.
LUXURY ITEM: A multi-burner barbecue grill
CASTAWAY'S CHOICE: Take My Hand, Precious Lord by Mahalia Jackson
Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale
[8 mins. 8 secs.] In the first segment, actor Wendell Pierce (“The Wire”) and filmmaker Tim Rouhana discuss their new feature film, “One Last Thing”. The film is about a lonely Florida dentist (Pierce) who is confronted by a figure from the past bringing news that sends him on an eventful journey of discovery. “One Last Thing” also stars Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) and Jurnee Smollett-Bell in supporting roles. Pre-order the film on iTunes!
[39 mins. 50 secs.] Then I’m joined by filmmaker Arya Ghamanian who is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds & awareness about his project, “The Candy Store”. The film tells the tale of a miraculous friendship between a young Iranian artist (Ghavamian) & the proprietor of the last all-night candy store in NYC. The film is being produced by FIlmwax friend —and upcoming guest— Ari Gold.
The music on this episode is by the musical artist Harper Nilson with tracks from his album “The Years”.
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