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At the age of 28, Kwame Patteron joined theplaying Monk. The character was part of Marlo’s Crew. The Wire is widely considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time by fans and critics and changed Patterson’s life and career forever. He’s been in films like The Outpost and Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar and in shows like The Oath, Ray Donovan, Snowfall and Lethal Weapon.
Patterson can be seen as the title character in the second season of the Peabody Award-winning series David Makes Man on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The show was created by the Academy-Award winning writer Tarell Alvin McCraney and is semi-autobiographical. The first season followed David as a child played by Akili McDowell. The second season picks up with David as an adult who is played by Patterson.
On CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast, Patterson explained how adult David has yet to deal with trauma the character experienced as a kid in the first season. That meant Patterson had many emotional scenes which sometimes took their toll on the actor.
“I had to tap into places that I didn’t necessarily want to go, but I had to go there. And then once you go there, sometimes trying to pull yourself back out of that space is not as easy as you think it is. There were times on set where we would do a scene and after the scene was over, I couldn’t stop crying,” said Patterson. “Everyone there was like take your time. No one was rushing me. It was a very nurturing set.”
Oprah Winfrey and Michael B. Jordan are two of the producers of David Makes Man. And while Jordan and Patterson’s time on The Wire didn’t overlap, they got to know each other over the years through cast reunions. And when it comes to Winfrey, Patterson clearly remembers a moment over a Zoom video call where she recognized him.
“We did a screening the other night, it’s pre recorded, but she gave me a shoutout and I was smiling from ear-to-ear. The only other time I got to meet her, because of COVID-19, was on Zoom,” said Patterson. “I don’t know if anybody was watching me, but I was definitely smiling.”
The season two finale of David Makes Man airs on Tuesday. In my interview with Patterson, we discuss the brilliance of McCraney’s writing, how Kristen Wiig convinced him to be in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar and why it’s okay that fans still call him by his character’s name from The Wire.
“I’m still Monk to 90% of people. When I was on Snowfall this season, there were people putting out stuff on Instagram like, ‘I can’t believe Monk left Franklin like that. ‘They don’t care that a character’s name is different,” said Patterson with a big smile. “There’s probably somebody right now saying, ‘Yo, I just saw Monk on David Makes Man.’ And I love it.”
You can subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.