My character had been in the chair for seven years. He had gone through his anger, depression, drug and alcohol abuse. He had gone through everything, now he was up, he was happy, he was filled with his dream.
You know the first time I sat in the chair I felt anything but up, it was very emotional for me. I had a chair in my hotel room, a chair at rehearsal, and I was trying to spend as much time as I could in the chair.
I don't remember not dancing. When I realized I was alive and these were my parents, and I could walk and talk, I could dance.
I never wanted to be a star, I just wanted to get work.
I grew up in the '50s, a tough time for African Americans. I had friends whose fathers would openly say, 'Just bite your tongu;, don't cause any problems.' My father was not like that. Even in the toughest times racially, if somebody disrespected his family, they were in trouble.
Once I got to be about twenty-five, I got interested in the music of the time. I started smokin' dope, I started drinking, I started slowing down and trying to find myself. I didn't want to work in nightclubs.
I read the script, and I knew it was a good part. It was written for a white actor. That's what I'm up against - I have to try to make roles happen for me that aren't written black.
They told me that the hotels had maybe two rooms set up for people with disabilities, but if they got there too late, and didn't get one of these rooms, they couldn't take a shower. The room wasn't hooked up for them, or maybe the sink was too high.
As parents, we're human beings, too, but sometimes we're not as understanding as we'd like to be.
I like to do an interview when the other person isn't expecting it. I find it's more spontaneous.
I think everybody at some point - especially if they've been working their whole lives - should take time out and think about what they've done.
I'm going to tap until I can't: I'll be so old, all I can do is walk out from the wings to stage center. But I'll be there.
I can remember feeling very angry, and saying no! I can do it myself! From that point of view it was very emotional for me to get myself to the point to sit in the chair and be 'up'.
I wanted to make a movie, because the whole life of the movies appealed to me. You work hard for three or four months, then you don't work at all for a couple of months.
It turned out to be exactly that, but more challenging emotionally. I looked at it in a more physical way, having to act in a chair and move around. But it really was more emotionally challenging.
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