Michael K. Williams On ‘The Wire’: I Wanted More Gay Scenes For Omar
Actor Michael K. Williams revealed in his memoir that he pushed for more intimate scenes for his gay character on “The Wire.”
According to reports, Michael K. Williams reflected on his critically acclaimed role as Omar Little on the HBO drama series “The Wire” prior to his death in a newly published memoir. The Emmy-nominated actor portrayed gay drug dealer Omar in the crime series from 2002 to 2008. He admitted in his memoir that he was “scared” to portray a queer character in the series. However, he eventually turned the character into his own person — transforming into Omar at 35 years old.
Reportedly, Michael K. Williams pushed for “The Wire” production to highlight Omar’s gay relationships, as his character wasn’t a typical drug dealer. He recalled that “everyone was dancing around their intimacy issue” when it came to Omar and his lover Brandon (Michael Kevin Darnall). In reference to the script, the late five-time Emmy nominee shared,
“There was lots of touching hair and rubbing lips and things like that. I felt like if we were going to do this, we should go all in. I think the directors were scared, and I said to one of them, ‘You know gay people f-ck, right?’”
In the memoir, Williams reportedly informed fellow cast member Michael Kevin Darnall that it was “time to step it up with Omar and Brandon” when it came to their expression of love and affection in character. While speaking to his co-star on set, Williams said,
“I’m thinking in this scene we should kiss.”
Michael Kevin Darnall replied,
“OK, but — that’s not in the script, though.”
Williams continued, suggesting that the two should improvise the kissing scene without the approval of the director. Darnall was on board with the then-groundbreaking scene, but he told Williams to make the intimate move unplanned so it looks natural. While the pair were on set running through their lines during rehearsal, Williams reportedly went in and kissed Darnall on the lips, shocking crew and production members. Williams broke down just how groundbreaking the improvised scene was and said,
“Twenty years ago, men — especially men of color — were not kissing on television. I don’t mean it was rare; I mean it did not happen.”
According to Williams, director Clark Johnson told the men to “do that again” for another take. He recalled the director calling the actors “brave motherf-ckers” and the crew rolling cameras again for another shot of the scene. Williams added he believed the director was eager to get the shot again just in case one of the two changed their minds.
Williams died from a drug overdose of fentanyl-laced heroin in September 2021. He was 54 at the time of his death.
As previously reported, fans can check out Williams in one of two of his posthumous projects titled “Breaking,” which premieres today (August 26). The film is based on the true account of the late Brian Brown-Easley, a former Marine Corps veteran who was in deep financial trouble. Brian Brown-Easley eventually resorts to robbing a bank in an effort to draw attention to the hardships that he and other veterans face.
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