Braugher likes life on these streets

September 17, 1998|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

As if his kind words for Baltimore after winning an Emmy were not enough, Andre Braugher has some more good news for local fans: He's coming back to town this season to direct an episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street."

We finally caught up with Braugher yesterday to talk about the Emmy he won Sunday, the remarks he made about Baltimore in his acceptance speech, and whether the new path of his career includes "Homicide" in any way.

On winning the Emmy as best dramatic actor in his third nomination: "Well, you know, I didn't think I was going to win. I've sat in that seat several times, and it's always been Dennis Franz or some other well-deserving actor," Braugher said in a telephone interview from his New Jersey home.

"So, I was genuinely shocked, because I handicapped my chances and said, 'Here we have a low-rated show that's safely ensconced on a Friday night. And, you know, it's been ignored consistently for six years, so what would make you think any differently?' "

On the Baltimore remarks: "We love Baltimore. You know, we lived here for four years. We came down in '94. We came to know the entire town. We have very good friends down there. Our children grew up there. You know, it's our town and we're very, very fond of it. And, so, [the Baltimore remarks were] for all those people who we know and love in Baltimore to let them know they're a wonderful, loving, intimate part of our lives."

Braugher seems to be very busy. He said he is leaving today for Atlanta to work on a film -- one of three he will be seen in this year.

The first is an independent feature film, "Thick as Thieves," with Alec Baldwin and Rebecca DeMornay. There is also a series of three short films for Showtime titled "Love Songs." The trilogy is written by Charles Fuller. Braugher will direct one episode and star in another.

The third film is for cable channel TNT, titled "Passing Glory." It's a drama set in rural Louisiana in 1965. It has a "basketball-related theme," according to Braugher, and is directed by Steve James of "Hoop Dreams." Ervin "Magic" Johnson and Quincy Jones are the producers. Braugher co-stars with Rip Torn.

Braugher said that besides acting, he's also "trying to forge a career as a director." He will direct the 14th episode of "Homicide" this year. Currently, the cast and crew are working on the sixth.

As for the possibility of returning as a guest star, "That would depend on my schedule and the script," he said, seconding comments made by executive producer Tom Fontana that it would be wrong to have his character return without a good and believable dramatic reason.

Braugher said he thinks "Homicide" will do just fine without him as it starts its seventh season next week: "The writing on the show has been superb for so many years, and that's really the foundation of the kind of work that we've done. And the writing -- under the leadership of Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana and Jim Finnerty -- that's really the thing that I think is going to sustain the show."

Pub Date: 9/17/98

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