Hill Harper is probably one of the most diverse actors that you’ve ever seen and you probably didn’t even know it.
How many people can say that they appeared on the hit 90s television show, Married With Children, had a recurring role on CSI and HBO’s the Sopranos. went to law school with current U.S. President Barack Obama, been on screen with Denzel Washington and Ray Allen in He Got Game and has three earned Ivy League degrees?
Yup, that’s Hill Harper!
By the way, he has three earned Ivy League degrees, yet decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. He did it his way!
Harper spoke reverently about film director, Spike Lee who gave Harper the chance to play in He Got Game after he had wrapped up his role in another Lee film, Get On The Bus.
“It was an honor for him to ask me to be in another film right after that,” he told me. “That usually means that the director likes what you did and what you brought to the table. It’s a role that I look back on and am so proud of.”
Playing in He Got Game, Harper got to see Ray Allen early in his career and was impressed even then. “His work ethic,” Harper said with a smile. “He had a work ethic. He was shooting and playing every day. He wanted to do well as far as the acting was concerned, wanted to do well as far as the basketball was concerned, he just had a work ethic. People always talk about my work ethic, people that I know who are successful and have longevity, they have work ethics and it comes down to that and he obviously had that. When he was acting, he wanted to be the best that he could be. When he was playing ball, he wanted to be the very best that he could be.”
Early in Harper’s career, he also played the Role of Breezy T in the film, In In Too Deep. Directed by Michael Rymer, In Too Deep, a crime thriller is a film that goes into the the life of rookie police officer, Jeff Cole works his way up the ladder as an undercover officer. The role of Cole is played by actor, Omar Epps. Officer Cole goes undercover into a large drug empire run by a man who calls him self God. The role of God is played by actor and recording artist, LL Cool J. Acting as J. Reid, Officer Cole works his way up the ranks and soon becomes close friends on the business and personal side with God. Cole’s superior officer fears that he has gone too far in and may not be able to go back to his real self. In addition to Epps and LL Cool J, the all star cast included Stanley Tucci, Pam Grier, Nia Long, Nas, Jermaine Dupri, Guillermo Diaz, Richard Brooks and Hill Harper.
“I wore blonde hair in the film,” recounted Harper. “I don’t get to play the bad guy very often. But he really wasn’t a bad guy, he was trying to feed his family. He was a go between. It was a fun film.”
An accomplished actor and humanitarian, Harper’s career has spanned 23 years. He looks back on the early years often. “I look at my career now and wish I had more opportunities to play characters like that,” he said.
Unfortunately, I’ll be honest, they’re not writing characters like that. If you look at films that are character based and character inspired, where are they?”
Hear the interview in its entirety here: