The tragic loss of actor Michael K. Williams, famous for his roles in The Wire, Boardwalk Empire and Lovecraft Country, has led to an outpouring of tributes across the world of arts and entertainment. When They See Us and Selma director Ava DuVernay wrote a heartfelt tribute to the late actor on Instagram, commenting: “You moved many. You moved me. What you doubted in life, be certain of now, dear brother. Be certain. You were a flash of love – now gone. But never forgotten. Promise”.
A cherished actor in the entertainment world, Michael K. Williams also flourished on the silver screen of film, albeit in minor roles, featuring in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, video game adaptation Assassin’s Creed and the Oscar-winner 12 Years a Slave. In 2011, the actor even had the chance to visit the iconic Criterion closet to pick out his favourite films whilst on a press tour of Todd Solondz’s Life During Wartime, entering into the cinephiles paradise wearing a wide grin.
“So I’m in the closet right now, it’s a goldmine in here,” he announces as he rubs his hands together in delight before picking out the first of his Criterion favourites. The Italian crime film Gomorrah, directed by Matteo Garrone, is the first film he picks out, a forgotten film of the mid-2000s that excellently explores the Corbusian architecture that has become a stronghold for the Mafia in Naples.
The Fugitive Kind is Michael K. Williams’ second choice, noting Marlon Brando’s steamy appearance as a memorable part of the film, commenting, “Boy was he soft on the eyes right there, that’s the dude!”. Flicking through the collection, he then picks out Charles Laughton’s iconic The Night of the Hunter, starring Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters, a film Williams calls, quite simply, a “classic”.
One of the most memorable films of the 1990s, Dazed and Confused is Michael K. Williams’ fourth choice, Richard Linklater’s liberating experience of the frivolous joys of teenage life. Starring Matthew McConaughey and Milla Jovovich, Dazed and Confused is a classic coming of age film that bathes in the joys of 1970s subculture, “This is a staple in your video library, you gotta have this, this is a must-have,” superfan Michael K. Williams commented.
Check out the full list of Michael K. Williams’ five favourite Criterion films below.
Michael K. Williams’ five favourite films:
- Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone, 2008)
- The Fugitive Kind (Sidney Lumet, 1960)
- The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
- Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993)
- Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
Holding up Charlie Chaplin’s revolutionary classic, Modern Times, the actor comments, “And last but not least”, before performing a short impression of Chaplin’s iconic mime before chuckling out the door. Such a moment so simply illustrates the grace, humility and positivity of Michael K. Williams as an actor, a father and a human.
Rest in peace.