In a recent podcast episode of Netflix’s Strong Black Lead, Leon revealed that the iconic line from the 1998 miniseries The Temptations—“Ain’t nobody coming to see you, Otis”–wasn’t initially in the script.
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“We were in rehearsals and I was David Ruffin the entire time. And I found out later my costars didn’t particularly care for me,” he joked to host Tracy Clayton. “But I stayed in that role the entire time so I was always thinking of things and telling the director and producers and stuff and things that I had researched and the way things were.”
“…I just said that line in rehearsal and [director] Allan Arkush came and whispered in my ear, and said, ‘You know, he [Charles Malik Whitfield, who played Otis Williams] doesn’t really like it when you say that,'” he continued. “And I turned to him and said, ‘He’s not supposed to…Did you see the reaction on his face when I said it? Isn’t that what you want?'”
“I just improvise a line and next thing I know, it’s like, that line follows me around the world,” he added.
You can watch a clip from the taping of the podcast below.
A couple of things: @justleon says that “Above The Rim” is the best movie made for ballers, period. ALSO – did y’all know THEE “Otis” line wasn’t scripted?! ????This convo is such a joy!
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) March 4, 2020
Strong Black Lead can be heard on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.
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