Wright made a lasting impression in 1996 playing the New York street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the film 'Basquiat' where he appeared alongside Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman and David Bowie. From this he launched himself into several high profile movies including John Singleton's remake of 'Shaft' (which I felt had a terrible script but showed Wright to be the powerhouse actor that he is), the Muhammad Ali biopic, 'Ali' and the story of Chess Records, 'Cadillac Records' where he played blues legend Muddy Waters. His knack for playing real life characters paid off in dividends when he portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King in the 2001 TV movie, 'Boycott'. So impressive was his performance that he received the Actor Of The Year award in a miniseries or movie from the American Film Institute.
Now the good word going around is Jeffrey Wright is going to join the cast of the Emmy Award winning gangster drama 'Boardwalk Empire' in it's fourth season. This terrific show is based on the trials and tribulations of a New Jersey hoodlum (masquerading as a decent politician) called Nucky Thompson, played by the ever reliable Steve Buscemi. The action takes place in Atlantic City during the Prohibition period of the 1920's when alcohol was outlawed throuhout the USA. Wright joins the cast as Valentin Narcisse, a philanthropist, a Doctor of Divinity and the guy who runs Harlem. As a huge fan of this intelligent, engrossing and sometimes very violent show, I've got to say just hearing the news of Jeffrey Wright hooking up with the 'Boardwalk' gangsters feels like a perfect fit. Season 4 of 'Boardwalk Empire' hits our screens before the end of the year.