Delroy Lindo

The actor: Delroy Lindo, a constant figure in film and TV since the late ’80s, distinguished by his powerful presence and ability to disappear into roles. That’s especially true on the new Fox drama The Chicago Code (created by The Shield’s Shawn Ryan), in which he co-stars with Jennifer Beals and Australian actor Jason Clarke. As a crooked alderman who’s secretly Chicago’s most powerful man, Lindo exudes a powerful menace underneath a gracious charm, but brings a humanity to a character that could otherwise slip into caricature.

In a way, the role is old hat for Lindo, whose most famous roles have either been thugs (Bo Catlett in Get Shorty, Rodney Little in Clockers, West Indian Archie in Malcolm X) or law enforcement (Agent Hawkins in Ransom, Agent King in the short-lived NBC series Kidnapped, Detective Castlebeck in Gone In 60 Seconds). But Lindo’s career has had more variety than that dichotomy, from his Tony-nominated performance as Harold Loomis in Joe Turner’s Come And Gone to the flaky father in Crooklyn to half of a mentally handicapped couple opposite Kirstie Alley in Profoundly Normal

The Chicago Code (2011)—“Patrick Gibbons”

The A.V. Club: What attracted you to this character?

Delroy Lindo: The idea of playing a politician, simply. I had never done that before. The idea of playing a politician was really intriguing, and the idea of playing a Chicago alderman was doubly intriguing, based on what little I knew about Chicago politics. But I knew enough to know that it is very much particular to itself, so that was intriguing to me.

AVC: In the first three episodes, people talk about the mayor, but you never see the mayor, you never even get a name for the mayor. It’s an interesting way to show how this version of Chicago really runs.

DL: Yeah, exactly. I don’t know how specifically thought out it was, but I think the impression given is that the power doesn’t really sit with the mayor. I think that’s perhaps the idea—or maybe the actor playing the mayor was unavailable. I don’t know. [Laughs.]

AVC: How much of Gibbons’ characteristics were hammered out ahead of time? The flashy way he dresses is a big part of his look, but what about his constant use of breath-freshener? Was that scripted, or did that just come out?

DL: Oh! [Laughs.] It’s funny that you should mention that. That was actually me. I kind of put that in. That was my choice to do that. I did it once, and it just felt right. However, we agreed from the outset that there was a certain look that this man, my being as powerful as I was, I am, is reflected in the manner in which I dress. So the idea of expensive suits, with French cuffs, expensive shoes. The silhouette was a man who dresses very, very well. So that was a specific discussion with the costume designers. The conversation I had with Shawn initially was quite simple and direct: I was having a hard time believing, based on what I know about Chicago politics, that this black man could have amassed this kind of power and could be having the political influence over the city of Chicago that the writers were suggesting I had, that Shawn was suggesting I had. So I said “Shawn, based on what you know, and I know you’re from Chicago, how realistic is it that this man could amass this kind of power?” And he said, “No, no, no, it’s quite realistic.” So from that standpoint, it was somewhat of a leap of faith, and perhaps there is a certain amount of artistic license being taken. But clearly, Shawn wanted me for the part, and it was very much in keeping with the story he wanted to tell, in this narrative, and I was okay with it. 

Having said that, there were various instances throughout the shooting of the series in which things were written which I did not feel accurately depicted reality. To Shawn’s credit, they were addressed, and they were changed. Most of the time they were small changes, frankly. They were not major things. They were small but significant.

AVC: Anything you can elaborate on?

DL: Probably not in the specific, but what I’ll say is that a couple of times throughout the season, there were references made to the depth of Gibbons’ corruption. What I feel, what I felt, and it needs to be clearly expressed, is that I am functioning in a system that way predates me. It’s not a system that I put in place. I’m speaking about the corruption, and I’m speaking about the manner in which the city of Chicago functions. I expressed to Shawn, “Look, I think it needs to be clear that this is not something I invented. This is a system that Gibbons has entered into, and certainly has become an influential player in. But it is not a system that I invented.” One of the things that I’m aware of is that from a political standpoint, there are many instances in which black people in the city of Chicago have been victimized, frankly, have been on the receiving end of crap, in terms of how that city works. I didn’t want the impression given that this is a man who has invented the length and breadth of corruption that existed in Chicago. That is inaccurate, wholly inaccurate.

AVC: You said in the series’ press kit that when you were filming in Chicago, things rubbed off on you that affected the show. Like what?

DL: It’s hard to articulate. Certainly one feels certain things by osmosis, just being in Chicago, walking the streets of Chicago. But to be more specific, I had a number of meetings. There was one alderman in particular that I spent quite a bit of time with, and there were two others that I had meetings with. I attended a couple of city council meetings. Right after Mayor Daley announced that he would not be seeking re-election, I was invited to attend a couple, strictly as an observer, meetings where people were just batting ideas around, how to weave responses, basically. It was a mix of politicians, clergy, business people, and community people. They were batting around the idea “How do we respond to this? How do we come up with a viable candidate?” They were very preliminary meetings, but it was very interesting to me to be a fly on the wall in all of those various meetings. Again, one hopes that by osmosis, certainly one is being educated, in those aspects of the city, and it’s very edifying, but I was hoping that by osmosis, certain things would rub off. So there’s that. 

Then in terms of having attended a couple of council meetings, I said this to another journalist as well, and one of the producers asked me, “Well, how is that? Is it boring?” I said, “No, not at all.” While there were no legislative decisions being made, what I found interesting was to observe the theater of the thing. The body language of the various aldermen, the theater of how the whole thing unfolds. In the scenes of The Chicago Code in which we were in chambers and you see me at work, it was really helpful having attended the council meetings, having a sense of what felt right, what didn’t feel right. There was one scene in particular where I drew on what I had observed at the council meetings. It was really more body language, frankly. But that was a specific instance in which I had an instinct to conduct myself a certain way in the scene, and when we were playing the scene, it just felt right instinctively, based on what I observed.


Soul Of The Game
(1996)—“Satchel Paige”

DL: One of my favorites! But let me say I’m hugely proud of that film, hugely proud. And I feel really, really… oh God. To use a hackneyed term—no, I’m not going to say “blessed,” but I was blessed. It was just a fantastic opportunity, and I was really, really thrilled to get the opportunity to play Satchel Paige. The way it happened was the way these things always happen. I got a call from my representatives saying “There’s a script, they’re interested in you for this.” At the time actually, there was word that some people from HBO were really interested in me for the part, some people thought I might be too old. I vaguely remember that. The script was sent to me, I read it, by the time it was sent to me, it was called Baseball In Black And White, and during the time we were shooting, that’s what the title was. It was wonderful. I read the script and just fell in love with it. It was beautifully written, beautifully.

There was a scene in the beginning which unfortunately we did not get to shoot which was just really, really rich. It was a scene between my character, Satchel Paige, and Josh Gibson. I said “Of course I want to do this.” I had actually been offered something else at the same time that we had been negotiating, preliminarily negotiating, but Kevin Sullivan came to New York. Kevin and I met and we talked for some while. [Laughs.] I remember being in Central Park, throwing the baseball, and I don’t play baseball, I hadn’t played baseball, but I threw as best as I could. At the end of the meeting, he said, “Yeah, I’d really like you to do this,” and I said, “I’d love to do this, but the one thing, playing Satchel Paige, I want to be sure that I’m gonna have lots of time to get with a pitcher and work on that aspect.” He assured me that it could happen, and that is what happened. Very shortly after having met Kevin, I got the official offer, and I was thrilled to do it. It was a difficult shoot because I would have loved to have had more time. But I’m really proud of it.

AVC: Satchel seems like a complicated person to portray. People have said “Oh, in the film he’s with his wife all the time, but in real life supposedly he’s a womanizer.”

DL: I don’t know about that, I’ve never heard about that. But what I could tell you that the biggest challenge for me going into that project, that I was aware of, is that Satchel Paige, based on everything that I read, and I read a lot of material about him, he was someone that used humor as a defense, as his weapon, as his coping mechanism. Humor was a great part of Satchel Paige’s life, and that was very challenging. I was afraid of that. Humor doesn’t function that way in my life personally. I think it’s a brilliant tool to have, not only to have a sense of humor, but to be able to use humor to help one navigate life, and I tend not to be that type of person. I wish I were. But having said all that, I was aware of that about Satchel Paige, and I wanted very much to portray that element. A lightness of touch, a lightness of being, a humorous way of responding to things, even when one is feeling devastated. That was the aspect of his personality that I wanted very much to nail down. 


Malcolm X
(1992)—“West Indian Archie”

AVC: Soul Of The Game came out in 1996, which was right in the middle of your hot streak kicked off by Malcolm X in 1992. What was the experience on that film? There was so much criticism of it before anything had even happened. People didn’t want the original director, even when Spike Lee came on, they didn’t like Spike Lee doing it. There were budget problems. Was it a tense situation at all?

DL: Not at all. I was aware of there being criticism by people even before we started shooting. I was aware there were issues surrounding the director. But none of that directly translated down to the set. I was not aware of that in terms of the feeling of the set. The feeling on the set was one of intentness. There was an intensity of feeling. It was nothing that was spoken about, but everybody went about doing their jobs very intently. I don’t know that that was a direct reaction to the criticism. I think it was a reaction to wanting to make sure we all did our jobs really well and that we came up with the best product we could come up with, not only in terms of the script, but also in terms of the memory of Malcolm X, and wanting to do justice to that. Because it was a wonderful script.

AVC: The stakes are so high in that situation.

DL: They were! They absolutely were. The way that that was addressed, the way I addressed it was doing what one always does, which is the best job one can do. To be as focused as possible. They were wonderful scenes. I have to say that I was frankly surprised when Malcolm X came out that my work got the attention that it got. I was genuinely taken by surprise. They were wonderful scenes to play, and I had a fantastic time. There is really good work in that film. I remember thinking, ironically, David and Jan Peoples, who were the screenwriters for Unforgiven, which I think won best film that year, they have become really good friends of mine. We all live together in the Bay Area. I had worked on a film with David sometime prior to that. We’ve maintained contact and become really good friends. But I remember when Unforgiven was nominated and Malcolm X wasn’t, I just thought that was really unfair. But perhaps, the word “unfair” in the same sentence as “The Academy Awards” is kind of an oxymoron [Laughs.] because as we see this year, there are always performances and films and work that one thinks is deserving that doesn’t get nominated. So that’s par for the course. I felt that there was wonderful work in that film that for whatever reason didn’t get the recognition.

AVC: Did you get Malcolm X based on your stage work?

DL: I think I did, in as much as I had heard that Spike was in the audience opening night of a play called Joe Turner’s Come And Gone, which was a August Wilson play that I did on Broadway. I had heard that Spike—this was back in 1988—had been in the audience opening night. That is also a piece of work that I am monumentally proud of as an actor. I’d gotten the call a few years after Joe Turner to come and audition for Do The Right Thing, but I graciously declined because I didn’t want to do the part that he wanted me to do. But thank God, he came back to me for the story of Malcolm X—and like you accurately said, that kind of got the ball rolling for me in terms of my film career. 

AVC: Was there anything about Do the Right Thing that didn’t sit well with you?

DL: No, it wasn’t the film. It absolutely wasn’t the film—it was the character. He was interested in me for one of the three guys who was kind of the unofficial chorus; Frankie Faison was one, Robin [Harris], the comedian who died, and I had been told by people that he was interested in me for one of those parts, and I declined. 


Crooklyn
(1994)—“Woody Carmichael”

AVC: Being loosely based on Spike Lee’s childhood, this was a very personal film for him, so it seems like the stakes were high here too, but in a different way than they were for Malcolm X.

DL: Well, I’m not sure quite what you’re referring to. I mean my role, when you talk about my role, let me just say this: Spike took great pains, from the very beginning of that process, to say to me, “You are not playing my father. Even though it was the father figure, or the character, this is not my dad.” So I had to be respectful and take that on. Now, having said that, I went about doing my work on that, I listened to a lot of Spike’s dad’s music, I talked to a variety of Spike’s family members, but at the same time I attempted to be respectful to what Spike was saying when he said, “It’s not my dad.” So yeah, the stakes were higher in a different way. But what’s been genuinely gratifying about Crooklyn for me is that the film has proven that it has legs. It’s endured, that film. If you remember, when the film was released, it did not do well at the box office at all. 

AVC: Yeah, it seems like it came and went. 

DL: Well, not only did it come and go, but I remember people were saying at the time, “What’s Spike doing? What is this?” I think they were looking for… I don’t know how one defines a “Spike Lee film,” but I think they were looking for a kind of fist-waving, standing-on-a-soapbox, fist-in-the-air kind of ethos. I remember saying frequently at the time, “Look, in its own way, this film is quite revolutionary. When was the last time that a movie had as its protagonist an 11-year-old African-American girl?” That is quite revolutionary in its own way, I thought. And still do. One of the things that’s been interesting about the legacy of the film is that I can’t tell you how often I’m walking down the street and somebody will come up to me and say something like, “My daughter loves that film,” “My daughter knows every scene in that film,” “My daughter went through a period where she would come home from school and put in the VHS of Crooklyn.” I mean, I hear that a lot, or people saying, “Oh my God, that was my family.” And not just African-Americans. I’ve had white people say “You know what, I’m from Brooklyn, that was my film; that’s so evocative for me of my family, of my past.” So what’s so gratifying for me about the film is that it has endured, and it has shown itself to have really strong legs.

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Clockers (1995)—“Rodney Little”

DL: I’m very proud of that movie, too. Very proud of it. That film, similarly I think, was a very underrated film. Apparently Clockers was on TV relatively recently, and literally just last week, someone came up to me and said “Man, Clockers was on TV last night. You were great in that, great movie.” And again, as proven, it has endured. That’s great. To say something really silly, that’s part of the power of film, that it endures. Once it’s committed to film, it’s there always, unless it disappears. But with cable, and 24/7 programming, some of these films have an afterlife, and it’s great that a film like Clockers does, because likewise, at the time it was released, I felt that for whatever reason it was ignored and didn’t get the commercial attention it deserved.

I remember I was working with Ron Howard on a film called Ransom, and I remember Ron coming to me and saying “Oh man, I saw Clockers, and if the Academy gets the tape out, you’re going to get a nomination for that.” Of course it didn’t happen, but the point is, it was somebody recognizing good work in the film. But unfortunately it didn’t get the attention that perhaps it deserved. But a lot of good work is in the film, and a good, a really good, I think, adaptation, as film adaptations go. Because I read the book—twice, actually—prior to filming, I sat with Richard Price a few times, and I felt that it was not a bad adaptation. My memory’s a little hazy, and Richard may say something differently. But I had a great time. Once again, I was challenged, because I’m not that guy, at all. 

AVC: I’ve read that you said your focus wasn’t so much on Rodney being a drug dealer, but on the sway he has over these kids. 

DL: That’s exactly right. That’s what was intriguing to me, and what was worth investigating. That was kind of my way in, in terms of how I approached that character. I mean, bottom line, he’s a father figure to a lot of these kids. What’s that about? We know what that’s about. They don’t have daddies, a lot of these kids. That was what was of interest to me, and that was what I focused on. I mean given, as I said, that the film was not about Rodney. That was my sort of point of departure into the work. 

AVC: Were the Spike Lee films what opened the door for something like Ransom? 

DL: No question. More directly, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, and Clockers opened to door directly to Get Shorty, which opened the way to Ransom. So yeah, I mean, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Those three films were the springboard into introducing me to Hollywood after years of being essentially a New York theater actor, which is what I was. Which is what I am. [Laughs.]

AVC: It also seems like Clockers kind of set a pattern for a Delroy Lindo dichotomy—to generalize—as thug or law-enforcement officer.

DL: Broadly speaking, one could say thug or police officer, law enforcement, but there were interesting interludes. There was Satchel Paige, there was playing an angel in Danny Boyle’s film, A Life Less Ordinarythat was a film that did not get a lot of attention. I’m always a little disappointed when people say “You always play a thug or law enforcement.” But there were other things. I try to bring people’s attention, you know, “Did you see I played Clarence Thomas?” Arguably, one could say that was playing a thug. [Laughs.] Depending on what your adulteration is. But, you know, Supreme Court Justice. 


Get Shorty
(1995)—“Bo Catlett”

DL: I think they couldn’t work it out with Sam [Jackson]. I don’t think I’m misremembering that. Sam and John [Travolta] had had that huge success on Pulp Fiction, and I think they tried to cast Sam in that part, but they couldn’t work it out. They came to me. I guess, arguably, one could say that was my first all-out major studio venture. I didn’t think of it in those kinds of terms; I think I’m thinking of it in those kinds of terms in retrospect. For me at the time, if I’m remembering, it was another really interesting job. I was thrilled to be there—great part. I remember reading the script, and thinking, “Damn, this is really well-written.”

When I read Elmore Leonard’s book, Bo Catlett is actually written as a light-skinned black man. Thankfully, that was not a concern to the producers, and they hired me. I had a really, really good time, and the script was so well-written. Again, I used the book as source material—just a well-constructed piece of storytelling. I was really happy to be there, and very much in my element. It’s only in retrospect that I think, “Oh, that was the first major studio film that I did,” even though Spike was studio films, but they were different. 

AVC: As an actor, you never lived in L.A., or were part of that scene. But the movie-business references in that film had to ring true to some extent.

DL: Well, you know what, I know that there’s an element in Get Shorty of a little bit of an inside joke, as far as these people wanting to be producers. But again—I could be misremembering this, because it’s going back a few years now—but I think I didn’t think of it in those kinds of terms. Because you have to understand, I’m certainly not a Hollywood insider, so I don’t know that world, as you just alluded to. I certainly know about the aspects of trying to be someone that you’re not. The numbers, and the opiate that is Hollywood, and the kinds of people who want to be around Hollywood, who want to make films, who want to become actors, who want to be producers. I mean, I’m certainly very familiar with that. He took a very humorous approach to that whole thing, and it was great fun to be a part of. 


Ransom
(1996)—“Agent Lonnie Hawkins”

AVC: That was Ron Howard’s first film after Apollo 13, which was a huge hit, and Mel Gibson was huge back then. That seems like that would be more of a typical blockbuster experience.

DL: Not really. Even though, yeah, Ron’s coming off Apollo 13, and Mel’s huge—Braveheart has just been made, and it was during the making of Ransom that Mel got the Oscar for Braveheart. But I’m coming off Clockers, and I’ve had a really good and healthy working relationship with Richard Price on Clockers, and Richard is now the screenwriter on Ransom. So rather than thinking in terms of “big Hollywood blockbuster,” for me, Ransom was, and I’ve said this in the past, was a very rewarding experience. Ron is so open as a human being, and because Richard was there as a writer—it was one of the films that had the richest rehearsal process, ironically enough. It was very rich. Again, it’s going back a few years, so I can’t necessarily be specific, but I do remember focusing on certain things in the script, and feeling that the rehearsal process had really improved the script. I had access to Richard Price again. Even though this is a much more star-driven vehicle, there were a lot of wonderful actors in that film. Certainly I would not look at the film as an ensemble piece, but there were enough really good actors spread throughout that whole cast that one could go about doing one’s work as an actor and feel that one was doing some decent work.

I remember one of the things, reading in the script where at the end of the film, my character, Lonnie, the detective, shoots the Gary Sinise character. And I remember reading the script and thinking, “Oh, they’re not gonna to let me do this. I’m not the star of this movie.” And they did! [Laughs.] But I guess my point is, it was very much in keeping with wanting to focus on telling the story as effectively as possible. It was not, you know—yes, it was a Hollywood film, but on the other hand, no it wasn’t, because there were serious people trying to do their jobs well. From what I remember, it was a very relaxed set. I was very aware that even though the story was tense, and there were tensions in the narrative, Ron Howard, having the kind of personality that he has, and everything emanated down from him, it was a relaxed and well-run set, and once again a film that I had a really good time on. And Ron was very complimentary to me personally, and that meant a lot, frankly. 

AVC: How much has all of the stuff that’s come up over the past year about Gibson colored your impression of him? 

DL: I think it’s just… really unfortunate. Obviously that’s not the man that I remember. Genuinely genuine, I’m not being obsequious here. He was a nice cat. Honestly, I had a nice time with him. Obviously, I didn’t get to know Mel Gibson. But what I do remember is that my wife and I were in Los Angeles some time after we had made the film, Mel was good friends with Danny, and Danny Glover is a good friend of mine. I remember Mel coming over to the hotel to meet with my wife and I, and we just sat and talked. While we were making the film, a couple of times I went over to Mel’s hotel and we just sat and kicked it. Very relaxed. My memory of him is of being genuinely a nice guy. Whatever has transpired in the last couple of years with these outbursts… I don’t know, man, clearly it’s extremely unfortunate. I don’t know to say about that. My experience with him back in 1996 was good. 


Heist
(2001)—“Bobby Blane”
The Cider House Rules (1999)—“Arthur Rose”

DL: You know, you mentioned something at the beginning of this interview. You mentioned the “streak” I had, and you’re right. It was a little jarring, actually to hear. You’re right, and I don’t think it’s an inaccurate thing to say at all. In this business, one has been hot, and one has been less than hot, and I’m certainly no exception. But before Heist there was Cider House Rules, which I was hugely proud of, and I’d like to think that all these things—while working in Hollywood is not a meritocracy—one could say, “Does good work beget good work?” Sometimes yes and sometimes no. In my case, as far as the “streak” that you refer to, there was The Cider House Rules in the midst of all of that. Again, a piece of work that I am hugely proud of. I had quite a bit of trepidation going into that part.

AVC: Yeah, playing an incestuous father can’t be easy.

DL: First of all, I think it was a really good film, and I think that there is a lot of good work in the film. With regard to my own personal involvement in the film, I felt proud that I was able to do it in a way that, creatively, was gratifying. I’m not sure how to say it other than that. With Cider House Rules, and this is connected to Heist, what I decided was that this was a man who genuinely loved his daughter, and that at a certain point, it crossed over into this other place. That was my point of departure for Mr. Rose. Now, what was gratifying was that something was transmitted to the audience that resulted in audiences not castigating me for playing that part. But rather, I would like to think that people were responding to a good, decent piece of acting work. That is an important distinction to make, because I believe that that led, directly or indirectly, to being offered a film like Heist. I’d like to believe people are saying “This guy is a good actor, and we want him in our film.”

So now to go to a film like Heist, yeah, there was a certain kind of intensity. And there was that wonderful language, man, that Mamet language—enigmatic on some level, and wonderful for an actor to get his hands on and try to make sense of. Coming from the theater and making a decision, accurately or inaccurately, that with material like Heist, much of the existence of these people was off the line, existed in what was not being said. David might have another opinion about that, but that was what I felt. Sometimes it was tricky, because I found myself trying to fill in the gaps, you know, the instances in which the character was not speaking, but clearly had a very full and rich internal life. That is a part that, if I had it to do again and there had been the time… I had an instinct to do something with that part that I never really explored, and it had to do with being a boxer. The character was a former boxer, and I had this instinct to explore being punchy, really punchy, and how that would inform my internal process and therefore my external articulation, how I verbalized things. I never really got to explore that, but if I had it to do over again, I might.

AVC: Are there any other roles where wish you could go back and adjust it a bit?

DL: Well, there are always instances in which you think, “Ehh, if I had it to do again…” All film actors do that. When you’re working in front of the camera, there are always things that occur to you after the director has said “Cut.” I could probably, if I sat down and thought about it, come up with instances where I wished I had made this particular choice or that particular choice. However, with Bobby, that was always something I thought about, that was so fundamental. Now, I don’t know if it would have worked, but it was something with that particular character that made me wonder, “Huh, I wonder what would have happened if I had followed my instinct and really explored that.” 

Actually, there was one other part, going all the way back to Crooklyn. I remember when we were rehearsing Crooklyn, I was terrified of those kids. I had never worked with kids before; I was not a parent. I am a parent now, but I was not at the time. And frankly, I wish I had been brave enough as an actor to examine the very real fear that I was experiencing as a person in that rehearsal hall with those kids, because I think that that might have introduced some other dimensions to the character of Woody. But I was scared. I wanted very much for those kids to like me. I was scared, and I never really explored it.

AVC: That’s curious. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that it would be intimidating like that.

DL: Years later, I said that to Spike, and Spike said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Your work looked fine to me.” [Laughs.] That is an element that I wished I would have been brave and courageous enough to explore. As it was, I focused very much on the piano-playing. They were very gracious and got me a piano, because I didn’t play keyboard, and I spent a lot of time with a piano teacher. I wanted the concert footage to be real, so I spent a lot of time in rehearsal, but I just wish I had been able to explore my fear.


The Simpsons
(2002)—“Gabriel”
Up (2009)—“Beta”

AVC: When you did The Simpsons, was that your first voiceover work?

DL: No, but when I did The Simpsons, that got me instant cred with my nieces and nephews in Philly. That is when I became aware of the power of The Simpsons. They were like “Oh wow, Uncle Delroy did The Simpsons, oh wow, man.” I was not on that Simpsons phenomenon. I had never really watched it, and it was not on my radar, so to say. After I did that voiceover, I was very aware of the power of The Simpsons, because in certain quarters, I got instant credibility. So there you go. [Laughs.]

AVC: You must have gotten some of that too when you did Up.

DL: Absolutely, yeah, absolutely, very similar. They did a screening of the film in Oakland, and I live in the Bay Area. I was off working somewhere, and my son and my wife went to the screening. I believe it was at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. One of the producers said something like “Unfortunately, Delroy is not able to be here this evening,” and my wife said my son shot up in his seat and said “That’s my dad!” [Laughs.] That’s why you do these things, man. Wonderful, wonderful, beautiful moment.