By John K. Adams
Wayne Péré is one of those actors you’ve seen in memorable character roles, in countless movies and television shows. You might not know his name but you surely know his face. “Oh! That guy. He’s great,” you might say when he appears in yet another of your favorite shows. Last year you saw him in the acclaimed The Big Short and Trumbo, among other releases.
You can now get to know him better. Péré currently appears in a trifecta of Civil War-era dramas. He plays sympathetic slave owner, Benjamin Murray, in the remake of the iconic Roots mini-series. He plays a recurring character (Rev. Wilowset) in Underground about the ante-bellum Underground Railroad for escaped slaves making their way to the north. And he also appears, opposite Matthew McConaughey, as Confederate Col. Robert Lowery in the feature, Free State of Jones.
Free State of Jones is based on the true event of a small group of southern farmers who seceded from the Confederacy and how their rebellion was crushed.
“People are uncomfortable shining a light on these dark times of history, but I think it’s imperative,” states Péré. “One of the challenges for an actor in this type of historical drama is to bring truth to a character, who may hold views diametrically opposed to views of your own,” Péré continues. “In the end you are still drawing from your own emotional well. How do you get there?”
At this point Péré quotes actress Meryl Streep: “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what’s apparently different, and finding myself in there.”
Péré also quotes actor Robert Duvall who paraphrases the great acting coach Sanford Meisner: ”When you create a character, it’s like making a chair. Except instead of making it out of wood, you make it out of yourself. That’s the actor’s craft, using yourself to create a character.”
Be sure to schedule time to watch Péré bring truth to the screen in Roots, Underground and Free State of Jones.
To learn more about Péré visit his page on IMDB.com search: Wayne Péré.
This interview originally appeared in the Tolucan Times on April 7th, 2016.