Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Scar and the Nose

Michael K. Williams

By Scott Adlerberg

Two of the greats departed yesterday, one old, one prematurely. When I heard in the morning that Jean-Paul Belmondo had died, I stopped for a moment to reflect on all the movies he did and the pleasure I've received watching them. Eighty-eight years old, a full life. Of course, I felt differently when I read Michael K. Williams had been found dead, at age 54, in his Brooklyn apartment. In reaction to that news, I just felt, like many, very sad.

One thing I did think of later in the day, though -- how these two had two of the greatest faces you'll ever see in films, crime films or any other type. You've got Belmondo with that famous prominent broken nose and Williams with that big scar down the middle of his forehead. In both cases, the "imperfections" only served to add character to their appearances, a sense of these people being absolutely real.

About Williams as Omar on The Wire. I remember watching the very last episode of the last season, and you just sort of knew that after all his escapes and near-death experiences, Omar was not going to make it through that last show. I was sitting there watching with my wife and both of us were saying, "Wire writers, just spare Omar. Whoever else dies, dies. But just leave us Omar at the end even if it's a little unrealistic and you're doing it just to please the audience." They took the narrative route with Omar that made the most sense dramatically and that almost had to happen to him after all those seasons, but damn, when you like a character so much that you want the writers themselves, in a show like The Wire, to just grant you a wish to please you, you know that actor made that character one you care about so so much. Michael K. Williams, I can only wonder what great roles were ahead you would have played, but what's there for us to watch, Omar and Chalky Wright and Leonard in Hap and Leonard and the Rikers Island inmate in The Night Of and the others, I will continue to watch and love.

Jean-Paul Belmondo

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