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Saturday 24 February 2018

Wright: My characters outshine me

Jeffrey Wright isn't worried about whether he is a household name
Jeffrey Wright isn't worried about whether he is a household name

Jeffrey Wright has insisted he doesn't care that he isn't a household name after more than 35 movies.

The 47-year-old - who appears in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - said he wants his screen alter-egos to be bigger than him, and has also relished taking it easy with his career in recent years so he could be with his children.

He said: "I don't mind that I am not necessarily a household name because I think my characters have outshined me. That was by design. And I'm not wanting for appreciation.

"But for the past 10 years or so I kind of pumped the breaks on acting and have been intentionally doing smaller roles that didn't take me away from home for three months because I wanted to be with my son and daughter."

Asked what struggles he faces as an African-American man in Hollywood, he replied: "I don't really consider myself a black man in Hollywood. I live in Brooklyn ... and on purpose.

"At the most base level, what an actor represents to the film industry is an investment. Depending on the risk profile, an investor needs 1,000 reasons to commit and one reason not to. That means you've got to do more work on your own and that the machine is not going to necessarily do the blocking for you. The machine rarely accepted my code. That can be frustrating, but you just have to be aware."

Jeffrey plays Beetee in Catching Fire, and said joining the franchise in the second film meant it was a little easier for him.

"I didn't have to do the hard work of winning over this intensely passionate fan base. I got a chance to come in and surf their success," he explained.

"But that is a little concerning too because you want to come into a situation and add to the recipe. You don't want to be the guy who puts too much salt in this really wonderful dish."

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