InDaHouseMedia EXCLUSIVE Interview with Mamoudou Athie
By Brianna Graham
Mamoudou Athie’s personality is like a breath of fresh air. I could hear the smile in his voice as he and I spoke. I felt as though I knew him for years. It is nice to come across anyone who laughs as much as I do! He continues to break through Hollywood with his upcoming movie Patti Cake$. He plays the mysterious Basterd the Antichrist. Patti Cake$ is a Hip Hop drama filled with comedy, life lessons, and freestyles. You may recognize him from the Netflix series The Get Down, as the legendary Grandmaster Flash. Mamoudou is lighting up the big screen with his break out performance. Patti Cake$ will be released August 18, 2017
BASTERD THE ANTICHRIST’S CHARACTER WAS DARK AND MYSTERIOUS, VERY DIFF FROM YOUR PERSONALITY IN REAL LIFE. IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU PREPARE FOR THIS ROLE?
I talked to Geremy [director] and it was a lot of people who influenced me. My classmate Mickey Theis was a big influence. He is one of the most sensitive actors I worked with. He reminded me of Basterd, who is also sensitive. He is not really an antichrist, the grey eye is to keep people away, which is why he keeps himself contained like that. Mickey and I did a play together and I was not into the role at all. During the play, I turn around to look at Mickey and the look on his face said he needed a friend right now. I began thinking, “I need to do my job, I need to help my friend.”
HOW DID YOU COME ACROSS THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY IN PATTI CAKE$?
Well, it was kind of like a typical casting situation. I got an email from my agent and I was like, “Nah, I’m good [laughs]”. Long story short, the casting director reached out to me and I read the script. My best friend Yahya, who played Cadillac in The Get Down, did not think the script was for him, but it might be for me. After reading the script again, I was like I have to do this movie, it’s something really special…I have to be a part of this.
IS IT TOUGH DISGUISING YOUR ACCENT?
No, but it depends on the accent. I swear I tried to do an Italian accent and it was trash [laughs]. The English dialect came a lot easier. I grew up in Maryland, so the southern accent is a lot easier for me.
DID YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT PLAYING THIS ROLE?
Yes, because I only read the surface. It is such a strong thing to call yourself the antichrist. I was like, “Nope, nope, nope, nope [laughs].” I am so glad you decided to take that role “me too, believe that”[laughs]
WERE THERE CERTAIN MUSIC SKILLS YOU HAD TO ACQUIRE BEFORE THE MOVIE?
Yes, I had to learn how to play the guitar. Jason taught me how to play from scrap. I wish I kept it up more, because it is a wonderful skill. That is the wonderful things about acting, you learn new things. And a little bit of the MPC machine.
ARE THERE WAYS BASTERD’S PERSONALITY IS LIKE YOURS IN REAL LIFE?
[Laughs] Let’s think, it is hard to say. I think he is a loyal friend and very committed to his art. I am also kind of sensitive too, let me stop playing [laughs]. He loves music and I do as well.