Wilson Jermaine Heredia & Jesse L. Martin
November 12, 2005
Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Angel Dumott Schunard; Jesse L. Martin as Thomas B. Collins
(photo by Demmie Todd)
WARNING! ...spoilers ahead...
MD = Michael Dequina; Q = Other press
WJH = Wilson Jermaine Heredia; JLM = Jesse L. Martin
Q: Are you glad that your voice is now there for posterity on film?
JLM: Well, I'm glad that it's my voice and not somebody else's!
Q: How would you compare the experience of doing the show live versus doing it on film?
JLM: Obviously you don't have that incredible audience that we had every night, but the truth of the matter is we had a little cheering section in the Larson family. We were able to turn to them and be like, "Did you like it?" Of course, they loved it. And we had our crew who, I guess uncharacteristically, were very, very into the movie and story. When we started the movie, it was dead silent because they were all pretty much wrapped in the story. [turns to WJH] Am I wrong?
WJH: No, you're right. Absolutely right.
Q: It was dead silent?
JLM: Oh God, yeah.
Q: And they started becoming involved...?
JLM: You'd see them tear up and get really excited about musical numbers. I remember when you were doing "Today 4 U," they were just blown away that he could run around all over that room, stand with those heels on.
JLM: They couldn't believe it. They were like, "Wow!" And you know, we [the cast] were used to him doing it, and we were like, "Wow, Wilson, you da man!" [laughs] Or whatever.
WJH: They were my cheering section.
Q: Was it harder for you to do it in short snippets and not having that audience feedback?
JLM: No, it wasn't because we were so excited to be there, I can't even tell you. I mean, we went to work when we weren't working. And if you know a lot of actors, you know that people don't do that.
WJH: Yeah, they stay at their own places.
JLM: No, we would go to work. I remember I think I went to work every day, and I certainly didn't work every day. But I wanted to see what was going on.
Q: Were you on hiatus from Law & Order or were you working on both at the same time?
JLM: No, I didn't do both. I got out of work on Law & Order a little early. I got shot. Thank God I got shot. [laughs]
Q: Were you kind of surprised, though, that Chris went with the original cast?
WJH: Of course. We were thrilled on top of that. That was the first question that we had when we knew that it was going to be turned into a film. We thought, "I hope that we get hired for this." But I didn't cross my fingers; I just waited until I got the call.
JLM: I was absolutely sure that we weren't going to be involved.
JLM: Well, because it is ten years later, and for whatever reasons people were sort of saying that we were too old to play the parts.
Q: And you were hearing names like Usher and Justin Timberlake...
JLM: Yeah. Of course. And, you know, they sell millions and millions of albums, so it only made sense that Hollywood would put those people in the film as opposed to us. And statistically, when there is a Broadway cast and they make a film, they don't go.
WJH: Very rarely. Statistically it doesn't happen.
Q: What made you think Chris was going to live up to his word and put you all in there?
WJH: We were never really promised anything, but when we had initial meetings with him, it seemed like he was really considering it. I know with me, my meeting with him, he wanted to know whether I was still up to it and whether I would want to be in that position again, to be that character again. He's like, "Are you ready for the heels? Are you ready for the makeup? You ready for this?" And I'm like, "You know what? Hire me, and I'll let you know."
Jesse L. Martin and Wilson Jermaine Heredia at the press junket
(photo by Michael Dequina)