‘You are going to die. You can be terrified, or you can live’: Don Cheadle on mortality, White Noise and that cockney accent

‘All the worrying you do doesn’t change anything’ .. Don Cheadle earlier this year.

‘All the worrying you do doesn’t change anything’ .. Don Cheadle earlier this year. Photograph: Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb

The actor’s career has continued to rise since he broke through in mid-90s, but he says he still has ‘percussive recognition’. As he stars in the Don DeLillo adaptation, he reflects on his varied career

IDon Cheadle a cold fish or a cool customer? It isn’t clear at first. The 58-year-old actor, who has been celebrated (he received an Oscar nomination in 2005 for Hotel Rwanda) and mocked (for his mangled cockney accent in Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels), has asked in advance for the cameras to be off during our video call. Our body clocks are also out of whack: it’s the crack of dawn for me in the UK, evening for him in Hawaii. What’s he doing there? “Chilling.” What can he see? “It’s night. So nothing.”

By way of preliminary chit-chat, I bring up A Strange Loop, the Tony-winning Broadway hit about a queer Black theatre usher; Cheadle has co-produced the show along with RuPaul, Jennifer Hudson and Alan Cumming. He is nothing if not an LGBTQ+ ally, having hosted Saturday Night Live in a “Protect Trans Kids” T-shirt. What drew him to A Strange Loop? “It was the woman who ran my production company. I just followed her lead.” Does he think it will translate beyond the US? “No idea.”

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