HBO: So, you are back
for your third season.
HBO: What's new for the poet?
muMs: Let's see, he stopped writing because he was
punishing himself. He felt bad because he let everybody down coming
back to prison. Now he's writing again; but the thing is, the man
that he looked up to, Said -- he let him down. Poet writes a poem
that kind of disses Said -- not a little bit, actually a lot.
HBO: Can you tell me how you came to be part of the show?
muMs: I perform a lot at the spot called the Nuyorican
Poet's Cafe, and Darnell Martin, who shot the pilot, was at one of
my shows. I had been performing, and she had been coming a lot. She
came up to me after the show, and she was like, wow I really like
your work. Would you like to come down and audition? So I came, and
I originally auditioned for the another part. I didn't get that, but
I did a poem in my audition; and Tom really liked it. It was the
poem, "Kidnap the President's Wife." He really liked it, and he
said, we've got to put you in this somehow. So in the first season I
was just doing poetry, you know. I would be in the background doing
poetry; and then they started to develop my character a little and
that's how I came.
HBO: Were you an actor
before you did OZ?
muMs: Well people say that, but I hadn't done anything.
This is my first acting gig -- but I was on stage, just performing
poetry and doing little skits that I had written. I never thought it
was going to turn into acting and whatnot; but here I am.
HBO: Do you still do poetry?
muMs: Oh yes, that's my love, man. Without that I
wouldn't, you know... this is fun; but the poetry -- doing poetry
that's my thing.
HBO: A lot of time actors use a particular prop or
clothing or hairstyle to get into the role. Do you have anything
that really kind of gets you into the character that you play?
muMs:: I usually have my book. I'm reading. I like to show
that Poet reads a lot... the shirt that I'm wearing, the African
Holocaust; he thinks about his people a lot. The Poet is searching
for something. He has this talent, but he also is still doing drugs.
He's still in the bad part of society, but he doesn't really know
what to do with his talent. So I'm trying to get across... he loves
to write, loves the write.
HBO: Why do you think the show has been such a big hit
with critics and fans?
muMs: Because it gets deep into the characters. It's like
you hear about prisons; I mean everybody is talking about how
they're putting more money into the prison system than they're
putting into education. Then nobody really knows what's going on
behind the walls. So this actually gives you a glimpse, just a small
glimpse; cause it's really... it's fiction, but you get to see these
Like Beecher, you see him come in as a lawyer, and how he's
turned into this like wild character and what can happen when you
get into this little society. It's just a microcosm of the larger
society with all the smiley faces striped away.
HBO: This season you have the opportunity to work with
HBO: It seems to be
like a celebrity-director season. Last year Kathy Bates. Did you get
a chance to work with her?
muMs: Yes, Kathy Bates is great. She reached and brought
out... I mean she made me feel like an actor. Up until then, I was
really nervous and scared. But she really was like, muMs, you have
to bring out. She really reached in and grabbed the actor in me.
HBO: What was it like working with Matt Dillon?
muMs: Matt Dillon was great. Matt Dillon was running
around... he's running back and forth doing this, that, and the
other thing, really energetic. He had a nice vision, you know. We
did a lot of angles, a lot of different takes. He's cool.