Don Cheadle’s “House of Lies” has already been picked up for its second season, and costar Glynn Turman is quick to applaud Showtime for its support of the series that has Cheadle as a slick, smart, ruthless and debauched management consultant for greedy Wall Street giants.
“They’re so behind it, pumping and putting it out there,” he notes. This being Black History Month, Turman looks at “House of Lies” through the lens of race. In his opinion, “It’s not being treated like a ‘black show.’ If there is a show with a black lead, it’s not usually given the push that other shows are given. But with this show, the wheels that make things a success are really spinning.”
Turman has a permanent place in black cinema history, thanks to his role in the classic 1975 “Cooley High.” He’s observed changes in film and TV with regard to African Americans since then, and he’s observed slips backward. The day of the African American network comedy, for example, has pretty much gone away.
The bitingly satirical “House of Lies” — which is, in case you didn’t know, a very wild Showtime show full of sex, drugs and profanity — is in a category unto itself.
Turman, who plays Cheadle’s retired shrink dad, feels the show, “does a wonderful job in presenting Don and his family, me included, as human beings. The issues we see him struggling with have less to do with him being black than him being human. That’s one of the things that’s so refreshing about it. The color issue is so secondary to his relationships with his coworkers, his boss. His coworker is a beautiful young blond white girl,” he notes, referring to Kristen Bell. “His ex-wife (Dawn Olivieri) is a white woman….They’re not ignoring his color. When issues come up, they tackle the issues.”
Cheadle’s wily character is also not above playing the race card, if it’s to his advantage. As Turman notes, “This is a guy who says, ‘This can work for me. I can use this.’ I think that’s so timely.” Its occupation with Wall Street “hits right on the sore spot of the country. I think everybody’s still in shock after seeing it,” Turman adds with a laugh. “People are saying, ‘Can they do that?’”