An Un-Common Role for Wanted's Common

Actor Common in Universal's 'Wanted'

Hip-hop-star-turned-actor Common may not have a lot of lines in the feature film adaptation of Wanted, but he says that as soon as he read the script he new the project could turn into something special.

“It kind of made my imagination go places, the way it was written, so I loved that,” he says. “And then you add Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy, and I’m like there.”

Common plays the Gunsmith, who handles all the weapons for the Fraternity of Assassins and helps train Wesley in their use. The character did not appear in the original comic book series and had few lines and little backstory in the script, so the actor says director Timur Bekmambetov left it up to him to figure out the details of the character.

“He’s a master of weaponry,” Common says of his role in the film, which opens June 27. “But he’s a serene warrior — like a samurai. He really wanted to see Wes get on well as an assassin.”

It also was a welcome acting challenge to convey the character without using spoken words. “I knew my character didn’t have a lot of lines, but I figured whatever I do have I’m going to go in and do my best and have a presence,” he says. “I knew it was an opportunity to be around some great actors, to learn and to be part of something that could be special.”

Common says he read the graphic novel the film is based on after he had read the script and was impressed. “I thought the artwork was fresh and the story was cool. I thought the lead character, Wesley, looked like Eminem to me,” he says. “It made me think about how much hip-hop has had an effect upon all type of genres in the world.”

The atmosphere on the film’s Prague set was warm and welcoming and he formed a good relationship with the rest of the cast that was helpful for him as a new actor. “Morgan would come over and give me advice, Angelina would just be on the set just talking about life and everything, and James would be talking about this technique. Sometimes, we’d just go hang out, have fun,” he says. “We got to form a good family and it made me more comfortable to come to the set.”

Working with the film’s weaponry was another interesting challenge, especially considering that the guns used on set were real, not props. “It definitely gets you into that mood,” he says. “It’s not a toy.”

Best known for his recording career, Common says he became interested in acting as a way to grow as an artist. After just one lesson, he was hooked, and has appeared in such recent films as Smokin’ Aces, American Gangster, and Street Kings.

Common says Pulp Fiction is his favorite film, with Die Hard coming in second in the action category. And while his current role in Terminator 4, playing a resistance fighter named Barnes who fights alongside John Connor in the future, is a dream come true for him, Common hopes that he has the chance to do more than just action films.

“I would love to do a romantic comedy,” he says. “I can’t wait to do a love story, have a love scene.”

One role Common has been attached to, that of Green Lantern John Stewart in George Miller’s long-delayed adaptation of DC Comics’ Justice League, remains up in the air. “I really don’t know what’s going on with the Justice League movie,” he says. “If they do do a Justice League movie, I would love to be a part of it, but I really can’t speak to it because I don’t know what’s happening.”

Related Content:

  • Talking with 'Wanted' Director Timur Bekmambetov

  • From Page to Screen: Artist J.G. Jones Talks 'Wanted'

  • Twitter activity