This week’s guest is Chris Chalk.
Right now he’s starring in Season 2 of HBO detective series Perry Mason, in which he plays former police officer-turned private investigator Paul Drake.
During the podcast, Chalk—who has also starred in 12 Years a Slave, When They See Us and television shows Gotham, Homeland and The Newsroom among other things—digs into the show’s 1930s representation of racism, misogyny and that brutal society.
He also reveals he will play James Baldwin in the new second season of Ryan Murphy’s FX show Feud. This time the anthology series will center around Truman Capote, with Tom Hollander as Capote and with the title Feud: Capote’s Women. Chalk also has the film All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt which screened at Sundance earlier this year, and he just wrote and directed his first feature, Our Deadly Vows, co-starring with his wife K.D. Chalk.
He discusses his philosophy for life, advice he would give his younger self, his ideal dinner companion and his desert island film and TV picks. And he recalls his upbringing with a single mom, whom he cites as his strongest influence and support.
Chalk spent his early teens working the night shift at a burger joint with three hours of sleep before school. Despite that schedule, he considered studying math in college (“I like logic”) before realizing drama was an option.
Then came tuition from Phillip Seymour Hoffman and in 2010, his first big break: starring in the Broadway production of Fences alongside Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. And the latter brought something to the set that changed Chalk’s perspective on acting. To find out more, click above to listen to Chris Chalk.
And to hear more episodes of 20 Questions on Deadline, listen and subscribe on Spotify and Apple podcasts.