Marcus T. Paulk
Honors Tuskegee Airmen With A Great Performance!
By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist
|Marcus T. Paulk (Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)|
It took a minute to track down the actor who played one of my favorite roles in “Red Tails,” the much talked about George Lucas film about the heroic Tuskegee fighter pilots who were the first Black Afrikans to fly combat missions for the U.S. Army Air Corps in WWII. With all of the promotional stops various cast members are making, it was worth the wait to finally have a moment to chat with Marcus T. Paulk who turned in an outstanding performance as David “Deke” Watkins. Paulk is a native Angelino and has been acting since early childhood. He may best be known from his six seasons as singer/actress Brandy’s little brother Myles Mitchell on “Moesha” and the smash hit movie “Roll Bounce” with rapper/actor Bow Wow as well as a string of TV appearances on shows like “Grace Under Fire,” “Ma
Because George Lucas put up his own money to get this movie made after twenty years of studio decision makers saying no, was their any unsaid pressure on the cast when making this film? Paulk responds, “We all knew that we had a huge responsibility. But it actually kind of put a fire under us, made us go harder and I think the outcome kind of shows that in the film. We had a great time making it and we came together as a team and everybody was excited. But I don’t think we tried to think so much about all of those small things that were negative or some what like obstacles because when we got to the set and things and we were studying for this film, we didn’t think too much about that stuff. It wasn’t so much that Hollywood really didn’t want to make it. To me George is Hollywood so somebody wanted to make it and it got done.”
When Paulk first got a copy of the script, what impression did he have of deke and how did he approach playing him? He ponders, “It kind of got changed around a little bit. Actually, I thought it was necessary in a film like that. In the military and anywhere you go there are people who are very religious and there are always believers around so it was important that, that role was in the film. When it came to me going out for it, I was like, it’s cool. It’s something that I can embody and something I can relate to. So I was excited about it.” They had a boot camp to get the actors acclimated to a real military feel of 1944. What was Paulk’s experience with that? He really lights up on this one, “Aw man, boot camp was so intense. We were doing a large amount of marching, we stayed in a bunker, it was freezing cold, we did a nine mile hike through the mud and we had water training. I learned how to make a floating device out of my pants which was pretty cool. It was a great experience, kind of like a beautiful nightmare.”
The actors actually sat down to talk with the real Tuskegee pilots. How humbling was it to converse with the guys who actually did this stuff? Paulk expresses, “It was definitely an honor. To be able to be that close and talking with American heroes and also going to be portraying them is something that you can only dream of because it’s like putting us in the new position to be the new rock stars. Because in 1944, the 1940’s, they were the Black men who stood out at that time. There was nobody really doing what they were doing and they were smart, educated Black men. And then meeting them face to face to see that they are 80 years old but they are so full of life, watching them talk about the stories and how they happened. And they get into maybe a little oh that’s not how it happened, it was like this and we were watching them go back and forth and it was really fun for us guys to watch and soak that up so we could portray these great men.”
© 2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication TM
(You DID Hear It From Me)!