“The Blacklist’s” Harry Lennix took a quick break from series shooting in New York to head to the Chicago International Film Festival for the unveiling of “H4.” That’s his all-black, contemporary version of “Henry IV,” starring Lennix himself, with a cast that also includes Keith David, Angus MacFadyen and Heavy D.
The actor tells us, “I’d actually not seen it in its entirety myself until Chicago. We were thrilled with the response. The audience really seemed to understand what we were doing and what the characters are saying. It is very important, obviously, with this kind of project that people get it. They seemed very enthusiastic about it.”
The tale of the king and his unreliable son is now re-imagined in today’s Los Angeles. “Instead of the Prince of Wales, Hal is the prince of Watts,” Lennix notes. “If you go to Inglewood or Watts, it’s a black world, a world of color. There are rules that people operate by. That’s the world we see the movie.
“My hope would be that it would become part of a curriculum of Shakespeare study and a part of the curriculum in places where students can see Shakespeare is performed by people who look like them. They will be able to see that you can do these plays and it makes sense,” he adds. “These plays put into words things a lot of us have felt and haven’t had the ability or the knowledge to express. I think it has tremendous educational potential.”
Now, he says, “We’re going to go in and do a few more tweaks on it,” and get ready for the next stage on its road to release.