This man’s name is Chi McBride. Pronounced “Shy”.
He’s everywhere. All at once. The man didn’t start acting until he was thirty years old, but right now, he’s an overnight success. While he’s been in several movies over the last ten years, he’s been hitting the TV screen with amazing regularity lately.
So often, in fact, if I was an actor, I would want this man’s agent. Sure, his “Boston Public” got cancelled, but it wasn’t his fault. He shows up guest starring in other TV shows I watch. This last Sunday, it was “Boston Legal” playing the role of a large determined high school principal who didn’t like FOX TV. Last night on “House” he was playing the role of a large determined hospital benefactor who didn’t like House (Played by my newest favorite Brit actor without-a-Brit-accent, Hugh Laurie.) Chi will be guesting next week on “House” as well, where I suppose he’ll end up finally confronting the quirky doctor House and then promptly die of dengue fever he contracted from his pet iguana… or some such…
When watching “I, Robot” on DVD this last week, he’s there too, playing the large determined boss of Will Smith.
And yesterday it was announced that Chi will be starring in a new dramatic crime series for FOX Television where he plays a … yep… large determined man… chasing serial killers.
Now, I have nothing against Mr. McBride. As a matter of fact, I think he’s played the roles I’ve seen surprisingly well. The problem I have is that, when the part calls for a large black man in early middle age, it’s filled with this guy’s face. And, to make matters worse, it’s all pretty much the same role with different speaking parts. Hey, acting’s a job, I get it. But let me flip the color bar around and give you another example – A (formerly) roundish, (formerly) “safe” white man some years back playing “determined” roles on TV could have easily been filled by, say, Michael Chiklis.
Chiklis led up the TV show “Commish” before every one of the episodes looked the same and the show was yanked.
But then Chiklis changed himself.
He got slimmer.
And the next big part he got was grittier.
Chiklis got the meaty part of Detective Vic Mackey in “The Shield”– and if you haven’t seen him on that series, buy or rent the DVD set soon. Chiklis slimmed down and made his career with the role of Vic Mackey. Chiklis is playing the role of Ben Grimm/The Thing in “Fantastic Four” coming this summer, a role not meant for a large safe “determined” man… but we’ll see how that plays out, because it could still go that way. I’m convinced that Chiklis would NOT have gotten the role of Ben Grimm/The Thing without having played the not so safe role of Detective Mackey in “The Shield”.
So, here’s the thing. Chi McBride is currently plays roles of a large, determined (but safe) black man, and he’s getting his “Commish” role ( “Commish” was headed up by Chiklis), playing an as yet to be seen detective part. It’s a TV series for the FOX network, so I’m figuring it might be on the air for maybe 5 episodes before FOX yanks it. Three episodes if it’s actually any good. (ha!) Then, after that, McBride could then perhaps slim down and get mean, and get a role that would actually allow him to kick some ass, because you know… I like this guy.