Author Topic: Wendell Pierce could've been a man of a 'Certain Age' but chose HBO's 'Treme'  (Read 1381 times)

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Wendell Pierce could've been a man of a 'Certain Age' but chose HBO's 'Treme'
Published: Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 3:26 AM
 Dave Walker, The Times-Picayune

A few days before hosting the Golden Globe Awards telecast, Ricky Gervais was on stage at the Television Critics Association January TV Tour promoting the upcoming (February 19) debut of his new animated series for HBO.

The show is built from the audio generated by Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington in a series of brilliant podcasts, and Gervais said he gave HBO the first option to air the series once a production company proposed to make it.

“I just want to be on HBO for the rest of my life because I just met Bunk,” he said, referring to the character New Orleanian Wendell Pierce played in “The Wire.”

Gervais met Pierce because Pierce was at the Tour to promote the drama “Treme,” due to debut April 11.

The meeting was almost not to be.

It was revealed at the “Treme” Q&A session that Ray Romano wrote Andre Braugher’s character in the cable drama “Men of a Certain Age” with Pierce in mind for the role.

At the same time, David Simon (“The Wire,” “Generation Kill”) and Eric Overmyer (“The Wire,” “Homicide: Life on the Street” were writing a role for Pierce in their New Orleans-set drama.

“It was a great honor to have two roles written specifically with you in mind, and I was very happy that Ray wrote the role in his show for me,” said Pierce of “Men,” which got its second-season pickup from TNT during the TV Tour. “And I met with them and knew about the show. I worked five years (on “The Wire”) with David. And I'm from New Orleans, and we lost everything. And to have a moment in time to work with such a great creator of material, to say something about the city that I love, and its darkest hours and darkest days, it was clear the decision I had to make.

“And Mr. Romano was very understanding of that and appreciative of it. And I just told him that this was more than just a job for me. It's one of the most cathartic moments in my life, art imitating life, life imitating art, and I just hope -- I hope years from now that when some young kid asks, you know, ‘In New Orleans' darkest hours, what did you do?’ I will be able to hand him about six seasons of a television show …”

Simon interrupted.

“Of Ray Romano's show,” he said. “And say, ‘I almost had this one.’”

“It was a very easy choice for me,” Pierce said.

“It's a very good karmic circle because Eric and I got a lot of work out of Andre Braugher,” Simon said, of their time writing for Braugher on “Homicide.” “I know I wouldn't have a career in TV if it wasn't for that man hanging onto that show. So I understand he's great in (“Men”) and everything comes around.”