Jeffrey Wright discusses new films ‘Broken City,’ ‘The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete’ and ‘Catching Fire’

Jeffrey Wright in 'Broken City'

Regency

Jeffrey Wright plays police commissioner Carl Fairbanks in the upcoming political thriller Broken City, opening in theaters on January 18.  The film, which is directed by Menace II Society‘s Allen Hughes, follows an ex-cop (Mark Walhberg) who is hired by a corrupt mayor (Russell Crowe) to photograph his cheating glam wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) then finds himself immersed in an even larger scandal involving murder.

Wright sat down for an interview with Entertainmet Weekly to discuss his role in the film and his other upcoming projects, including the Sundance indie The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Peete, and the highly anticipated Hunger Games sequel.

On prepping for his intense role in Broken City: 

It seemed to me that my character should remain both within the story and to the audience something of a mystery. To navigate these ways through the various dangers that you find in politics. In many ways, he’s very much an observer of the unraveling of the narrative, and it’s a clinical story. He’s an operator, and his arc is ascending. All these characters are trying to survive the circumstances of the movie. He’s very highly skilled at survival. He’s a guy who has a desire for power, as all of these folks do. I didn’t view him as an establishment guy. I saw him as the opposite. I saw him as more creative. He’s a guy who has not had to rely on external constructs. He’s had to empower himself through his own wiles and instincts. I saw him more of an outsider and playing in the internal power structure. I tend to see the more gangster element of power, whether traditional political desires, or less conventional. With power, there’s always a level of ruthlessness.

On working alongside Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, and Anthony Mackie  in the Sundance selected The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete: 

It’s good news to hear it’s going to Sundance. Director George Tillman Jr. and I have been trying to work together for a long time. He felt a real personal closeness to this movie. He was a really enthusiastic part of it. I read it, and it reminded me of films we used to see more of during the ‘70s, told from the perspective of kids, ordinary people, within an urban setting, films like Cooley High. These films explore the lives of places and urban settings and do it with an appreciation of the humanity of people instead of garish celebrations of violence, thuggery. It was a much more quiet and human window on ordinary lives.

On working on the new Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 

We’re still in the midst of filming. We still have some work yet to do. I have a break, and then I head back to filming in Hawaii. It’s a very full experience, both the storytelling and the filmmaking. There’s such a broad audience for the stories, and an audience that has a tremendous thirst for these characters and their narrative. It’s pretty exciting. I think as well it’s an interesting window on pretty important contemporary issues that Hunger Games writer Suzanne Collins provides for kids. It’s not brutal for the sake of glorifying brutality. It’s brutal because it’s dealing with issues of war and warriors.

Head over to EW.com to to read the full interview and watch an exclusive clip from Broken City.

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