Mekhi Phifer: Hottest Hooldum Ever

After watching The Corner, Homicide and beginning The Wire, I had gotten used to a particular presentation of the drug dealer. Not necessarily ugly, I saw them as usually being weathered and intense in their gaze or presence (unless, like DeAndre in The Corner, they are younger and not completely accustomed to the lifestyle). This changes a bit from series to series, and there are certainly some very good-looking actors who portray dealers in the shows. But in the film adaptation of Clockers, despite Mekhi Phifer’s talent as an actor, it was hard for me to get past the fact that it was Mekhi Phifer I was watching.

Understandably, films need people with strong, handsome features to bring in audiences. I know that in 1995, Phifer was not a big name by any means (he only had one other major credit to his name and it was for a TV film). Still, his youth and attractiveness was, for me, a somewhat distracting factor in watching his portrayal of Strike. Of course, it serves as a visual reinforcement of the lack of maturity and street savvy he has in the film as opposed to the novel, but all same it caused me to take him a little less seriously in the role had they chosen a harder-looking actor. At the same token, it probably would’ve been disastrous if there had been a bigger name cast; that would be completely distracting.

4 responses to “Mekhi Phifer: Hottest Hooldum Ever