William Catlett: Baltimore’s Newest Detective
By Aris Pangan
William Catlett has an eclectic resume that ranges from a NCAA basketball career to the acting he does today. Now, at the end of a wild year, he is starring as Baltimore’s newest detective in Charm City Kings, alongside big names with writer Barry Jenkins and producers Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. He spoke with us about his acting journey and the heart of his character, Detective Rivers.
What drew you to the role of Detective Rivers?
What drew me to the role of Detective Rivers was the opportunity to get it right. What is getting it right? Mentorship. So often the importance of mentorship is forgotten. When I read the script, Rivers’ driving force was mentorship and it stuck out like a sore thumb. Not only for Mouse, but to every young person that will watch this film. I also saw an opportunity for Rivers to be a beacon of light to our beloved law enforcement in regards to leading with heart of mentorship.
How are you similar to the character?
Rivers and I walk the same path, which is the best version of ourself. I’ve had so many great mentors in my life and now I am lucky to add Rivers to my elite group.
How are you different?
The only difference is I am not a police officer in real life.
What was the most challenging part about playing this role?
The most challenging part was doing one takes. If you’re an actor you understand what I mean by one takes when working with kids. A majority of the time, I will show up to set and I have about 15 minutes to get my scene to the point that I feel great about it because the star of our film is set to pumpkin in 10 minutes. Pumpkin means the max hours a kid under 18 years of age can work. However, the beauty of filmmaking is to surrender to the moment no matter how much time you have.
Do you have a favorite memory from on or off set? Describe it to us.
Oh shit! I almost forgot about this. Okay, I did my own stunt driving for the first time onset and the stunt coordinator said, “I know this sounds stupid, but make sure you guys put the car in park. You would be surprised how many people forget to do that when they’re thinking about all their actions and their lines.” I’m like what a dumb ass, who does that? Well, I was that dumb ass and almost ran some folks over. I’ll never forget to put the car in park again. LOL.
What lesson do you want audience members to take away from Charm City Kings?
Don’t give up on your dreams and make sure you invest in yours and others. There’s that word again, hiding beneath the concrete. MENTORSHIP!
You’ve spoken about how your basketball career led to your acting career. Did you learn anything playing basketball that translates to your acting career today?
Of course. It’s all about willpower. It’s chemistry. It’s art. It’s the ups and down. The learning lesson between and outside of the lines. It all works together my friend.
If you were told you were going to a desert island and had 10 minutes to pack, what do you bring with you?
I’ll grab my bible and toothbrush. I’ll figure the rest out.
Share with us a moment during your childhood which altered who you are and what course you were on.
It will be too long to explain the many moments that alter my course. The point is not what was said that altered the course, but the action one takes to make the adjustment. You just have to be willing to make the adjustments.
In what ways has acting helped you with real life obstacles?
If you see acting… then it’s not real life. You’re accessing the same space in time when you’re performing so, is there really a separation? Art inmates life.
To your fans out there, what would you tell them right now?
Whatever you want in life it must become a desire, that is written on the table of your heart. Nothing will be withheld from you when that happens. It’s the written word and it shall be done.
Talent WILLIAM CATLETT @willcatlett
Photography FRANZ MAHR @franzmars
Creative Direction ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC @alekandsteph
Styling BIANCA AIRES @bianca.ires
Grooming RONDI LUZ @rondiluz
Interview by ARIS PANGAN @arijpangan
Production @BELLOmediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la x @alexbonnetwrites