Michael Jai White is known for playing roles in films like “Spawn” and “Black Dynamite”. His live-action film “Black Dynamite” is coming to Adult Swim and becoming an animated series thanks to Titmouse, Inc. Also currently Michael is reprising his role of Marcus in “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” on TBS. Michael Jai White took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about “Black Dynamite”, Tyler Perry and “Mortal Kombat”.
Mike Gencarelli: Can you reflect on the cult following that “Black Dynamite” has developed over the years?
Michael Jai White: My intentions were originally to open it larger. It eventually got the attention it deserved. The audience started to find it and their worth of mouth has been very valuable. It is tweeted about every few minutes since 2009. It has been a miraculous type of thing. We even won a bunch of film festivals in other countries, which has proven it is universal. I am very happy about its success and what what we are going to do to follow it up.
MG: What made you take the animation route for “Black Dynamite”?
MJW: It was an opportunity that presented itself. I was a fan of “The Boondocks” and friend of Carl Jones. He thought it will make a great animated show and I agreed. We are still open to do another live action version of the film as well. The original plan was to do three films in that blaxploitation genre, the first being “Black Dynamite”. With our second film, must like Monty Python you can use the same cast in different movies. We are planning that right now.
MG: How was it reunited with original cast like Tommy Davidson, Byron Minns, and Kym Whitley?
MJW: Most of the time we would come in separately. Whenever we come together, we have too much fun [laughs]. It was a purposeful idea that we do it separately so everyone can concentrate.
MG: Do you feel that you are able to expand the show more since it is animated?
MJW: Oh yeah absolutely! Cause you can do things like Black Dynamite goes to the moon. That would be very difficult if you were shooting in live-action. Your imagination can run wild on an animated show and that is exactly what we did.
MG: Did you get to work closely with Titmouse, Inc on the show’s style?
MJW: The animation style was in the hands of Carl Jones. He is the master and knows what he is doing. I had to humble myself to be able to understand and learn a whole new genre. Carl has worked tirelessly in order to make this show unique and he has done that.
MG: Continuing with your TV work, what do you enjoy most about reprising your role of Marcus Williams in “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse”?
MJW: Yeah, it just started its second season on Thursday July 12th. It is a more family wholesome show and then on July 15th we have “Black Dynamite”, which is definitely not [laughs]. What I enjoy most is I get to play a real human being. I enjoy my other work as well, like “Spawn” but they are bigger than life. This one is right on life. Being a husband and father, I get to play a lot of other nuances I wouldn’t ever get to play in these fantastic movies. We are dealing with actually issues, family issues. Things that are really funny and can hopefully connect with the audience.
MG: Any update on Kevin Tancharoen’s feature version of the web series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”?
MJW: Absolutely, that is currently in the works. It is going to be with Warner Brothers. If you have seen any of Kevin’s work, this guy is just super amazing. He is is tirelesly working on that script, nipping and tucking to make sure it is perfect. I have all my faith in Kevin. He is going to be one of the best directors ever. Be sure to watch for him. Once that script is done, we are planning to go into production.
MG: After “Never Back Down 2” last year, any plans to direct more for you?
MJW: Yes I do. I plan on directing a romantic comedy, one that I have had the rights to for a while. I would also like to direct more action movies down the line as well, it depends on what speaks to me and where I might have a unique voice in directing.