Michael K. Williams: He's Only Playing Tough

Michael K. Williams in black tie i i

hide captionMichael K. Williams plays the charismatic hood Omar on HBO's The Wire; Williams started his entertainment career as a dancer on tour with Crystal Waters.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Michael K. Williams in black tie

Michael K. Williams plays the charismatic hood Omar on HBO's The Wire; Williams started his entertainment career as a dancer on tour with Crystal Waters.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

On HBO's The Wire, actor Michael K. Williams plays Omar Little, a stick-up guy who robs only drug dealers.

Omar has a scar running down his face. That's not a prosthetic scar; it's real. Williams tells Terry Gross the story behind his scar — and lots of other stories about himself and Omar.

Williams' other TV credits include Law & Order, CSI, Boston Legal and the TV movie of Lackawanna Blues; he's appeared on the big screen in Gone Baby Gone.

Williams tells Terry Gross that he initially had a hard time figuring out how to be as hard and frightening as the script calls for Omar to be.

"Anybody that really knows me ... knows that's very far from my character, so I just had a hard time finding a believable state of mind to execute the character," he says. "I just kept going to laughter."

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