On this episode of VICE Meets, we caught up with actor Michael K. Williams for an inside scoop on his role in Hap and Leonard: Mucho Mojo, a murder mystery set in East Texas in the late 80s. Hap and Leonard: Mucho Mojo is set to debut on SundanceTV Wednesday, March 15.
Williams—who's notorious for playing underworld badasses on shows like The Wire and Boardwalk Empire and who hosts Black Market, VICELAND's series about underground economies—said he drew from his experiences with the LGBTQ community while playing Leonard Pine, a gay Vietnam veteran. Growing up in Brooklyn, Williams said he was mentored by a gay woman who "toughened him up" and introduced him to the area's larger LGBTQ community.
"This is my homage to the [LGBTQ] community, because that community has always embraced me, never judged me," Williams told VICE.
Plus, Williams said, he's psyched to have a chance to act alongside James Purefoy, a close friend of his who broke into the mainstream with his portrayal of Marc Antony in HBO's Rome.
Check out the interview below to hear more from Williams on his beginnings as an actor, his rise to fame, and what to watch for in Hap and Leonard: Mucho Mojo.