AceShowbiz - Actor Michael K. Williams channelled his own "pain and trauma" to play Montrose Freeman on "Lovecraft Country".
On the HBO show, Montrose is revealed to be a victim of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre in Oklahoma, when white rioters attacked a black business district of the city, killing 36 people, injuring hundreds and destroying countless businesses.
Now Williams tells People magazine of his character: "He's traumatized... We meet this man, and he's already a survivor of the Tulsa Massacre. He moved to the south side of Chicago, which is kind of a war-zone in itself."
"This is also happening through the Jim Crow (civil rights) era. He has issues, unresolved issues about himself that he was never allowed to explore," he says, adding he "doesn't know if he's gay or straight or bisexual."
"He was told by society, his community and by his family what black masculinity should look like, and he had to stuff anything away that didn't resemble what he was told. That's who Montrose is when we find him. He's in a lot of pain," he adds.
While he admits Montrose is "different" from his previous roles, such as Omar Little in "The Wire", exploring the character's "pain and trauma" was a deeply personal experience for Williams.
"He comes from such a broken place," reflects the actor. "I just had to find my own pain and my own trauma, which was a very painful experience for me. All the generational pain that had been passed down through my own personal experiences, I had to dig deep down in that for Montrose."
He continues, "I went home to the projects (where I grew up) in East Flatbush, Brooklyn (New York), and remembered all the violence and the anger and the missed opportunities and the potential and the innocence lost and stolen."
"All of that greatness that was in Tulsa, I saw that in my community. It was a really painful connection to make, but in my mind, that's where I went to."
The star explains the main thing that attracted him to the role was "the opportunity to play dad to that amazing Jonathan Majors (Atticus) and for us to explore what father and son bonding looks like and how we can rebuild that and treasure it."
"Black fathers have been ripped away from their sons for so many years, mine included," he states. "I hope Montrose will remind us how much little black boys need their fathers."