The wait is over! Terry Wood’s popular street crime novel True to the Game is ready for the big screen.
True to The Game the movie features a star studded cast including Vivica A. Fox, Draya Michele and Columbus Short. Short plays drug lord Quadir Richards and spoke exclusively with The Knocturnal about how this role differed from his character Harrison Wright, the attorney he played on ABC’s Scandal, what it was like playing a drug dealer and working with a star studded cast. The film will be released nation wide on September 8th.
The character of Quadir Richards is depicted as one of the top drug distributors in Philly. This character is very different from many of the roles you have played in the past. How did you prepare for the part of Quadir?
Short: Playing a person from Philly, I had to make sure my dialect was locked that’s just one. Second, understanding the culture. I’m not a drug dealer but I do understand entrepreneurship. Quadir is a massive entrepreneur, not only is he a drug dealer but he owns restaurants and he is smart. He isn’t just a corner street type peddler. And I feel like he would be anti-Harrison Wright, when I say anti I mean all the same characteristics Harrison has Quadir has. Quadir could have easily been a lawyer or a mayor or even a senator.
As the story of Gena and Quadir evolved, we saw the complexity and depth of your character. What do you think it was that made Quadir so enigmatic and mysterious to his audience?
Short: Love is a beautiful thing. The thing we all want in life is to have a partner we can trust and to see a man chase a woman. That always works. To see a man courting a woman it always works. Quadir chased a woman with everything that he had but you can still court a woman with just $2 on the train and still court her the right way. So I hope that that resonates.
In True to the Game, you worked beside some pretty well-known actors such as Vivia A. Fox, Nelsan Ellis, and Andra Fuller. What was that like for you?
Short: It was like going to hang out with your friends. It was like a long play date. When we started getting the movie together I thought let’s put our heads together and let’s get the right people involved. It was awesome that Vivica immediately signed on. I knew Erica [Peeples] for a long time so I called her and she was in New York then we called Nelsan. Her and Nelsan went to Juilliard together and we had been friends for years. And then I was able to be introduced to some wonderful new actors as well.
What do you think it was that made Quadir one of the largest drug pins in Philadelphia?
Short: His personality. He is a boss and when you’re a boss you think about your words and your steps. Quadir is very smart.
To follow that question, do you believe Gena and Quadir’s relationship helped or hurt him more in the long run?
Short: I definitely think it hurt him because it made him vulnerable.
You grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, which is wildly different than the streets of Philadelphia. Did you draw anything from your own experiences to help you tap into the complexity of Quadir?
Short: There isn’t much of a difference really, maybe just the accents. You didn’t know that?
No, I kind of just assumed it was very country and there were tumbleweeds rolling by. [Laughs]
Short: [Laughs] Not at all. It is really the same and drawing off my experience from being there I understand a hustler. I understand a street mind and doing what you have to do to survive. You can’t fake what you know and hopefully that shows.
True to the Game is an example of a love story turned tragedy. In your own opinion, was there any good that came from Quadir’s death?
Short: Yes, because it’s like, what is it all worth to take that final breath and not have love. It’s a human desire, but even in the end, at his death and man is going to make sure his family gucci.