It’s worth noting that Craig Robinson has read an article about “where black people can move if the election doesn’t go your way.” So, keep that in mind, that another repercussion in a long list of terrible outcomes from a Trump presidency is that we might lose Craig Robinson, too. Granted, he hasn’t said he’s leaving, but he has skimmed an article. That’s not a good sign. We can’t lose Craig Robinson.
And it would be a bad time to lose him, right when he’s flexing his acting chops – steering away (just a bit) from his comedy roots to drama: most notably, his turn on Mr. Robot and his critically acclaimed Sundance hit, Morris from America.
I don’t like to editorialize in the introduction to an interview (and, frankly, you all get enough of my opinions), but I’m going to this time: I cannot recommend Chad Hartigan’s Morris from America more than I’m doing right now. In this “summer of shit movies,” here comes this heartwarming story of a father, Curtis (Robinson), and son, Morris (Markees Christmas), living abroad in Germany. Thirteen-year-old Morris is doing his best to fit in at school while Curtis is doing his best as a single parent in a foreign country who has to travel a lot for work as a professional soccer coach. (No, Craig Robinson doesn’t really know much about soccer in real life.)
You know those blurbs you’ll see in commercials for movies, when an actor is, “like you’ve never seen him before.” Well, this is that moment for Robinson. He’s the loving father character we didn’t quite realize we needed right now. (So let’s not lose him, because he’s not taking us with him. I asked.)
This movie is very different for you.
Yeah. It was different. It spoke to me. It challenged me.
What do you mean by challenged?
Because it was like a “Can I pull this off?” kind of thing.
Were you worried?
I mean, it was a perfect kind of blend between comedy and drama. I knew it was more dramatic, more taken seriously. I’ve been used to comedy for so long, but I was up for the challenge.
You obviously know how to do comedy, but here you’re this moral center.
One time I did this dramatic short. I was playing a prisoner and it was called Memphis Calling. I was playing this prisoner. He was on his way to the electric chair and they gave him one last phone call, and he just dialed the number on his jersey. And he ended up getting this random lady and she was expecting a call from the doctor to find out what sex her baby is, right? They stay on the phone and he finds this friend in this lady, and then she gets a phone call and she’s like, “Will you hold on?,” because it was the doctor calling. They say, “Hey, time’s up, Memphis. You’ve got to go.” So he ended up hanging up the phone and looking at the phone like that was his last friend and now he has to go. He couldn’t even say goodbye to her.
And when it showed in the theater, I remember this lady just cracking up because she saw my face.
Yeah. So there was that kind of thing going on: Will they take it seriously? So that was it. But now that the reviews are in, I feel a little better. But I mean, I guess in my heart, I knew I wanted to do it right and I knew I could pull it off.