BY KARIN GRENNAN
Actor Harold Perrineau Jr. will discuss his varied roles ranging from drag queens to hardened criminals from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at California Lutheran University.
Perrineau will speak before students and community members in the Preus-Brandt Forum as part of the free “Conversations With …” series. Actor and director Markus Flanagan, who teaches at CLU, will moderate an informal one-hour discussion on the craft of acting. A question-and-answer session with the audience will follow.
A native of Brooklyn, Perrineau studied music and theater at the Shenandoah Conservatory, but began his career as a dancer with the Alvin Ailey company. He gradually shifted to acting and performed on stage in a number of shows including “Dreamgirls,” “Avenue X” and the off-Broadway revival of “Godspell.”
While he was working on the stage, Perrineau also began appearing on TV shows including “The Cosby Show,” “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd” and “Law & Order.” He played a paraplegic prisoner in the acclaimed HBO series “Oz,” Michael Dawson in the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series “Lost,” and ruthless power player Damon Pope in “Sons of Anarchy.”
Perrineau moved on to the big screen in the late ’80s and had his first memorable role in the 1995 drama “”Smoke.” He received an Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Supporting Male for his role as a young man searching for his long-absent father played by Forest Whitaker. The following year he played one of the more distinctive Mercutios in history in “Romeo+Juliet,” at one point donning a glitter miniskirt and platform heels.
He starred as the drag queen best friend of a woman played by Penelope Cruz in the 2000 comedy “Woman on Top” and as Link in the final two installments of “The Matrix” trilogy. He also appeared in the 2007 horror film “28 Weeks Later” and last year’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” He will be in the upcoming films “The Best Man Holiday” and “Ten” with Sam Worthington and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The “Conversations With …” talks provide theater arts students and other aspiring actors with advice from professionals. They take the approach laid out in Flanagan’s book, “One Less Bitter Actor: The Actor’s Survival Guide,” which explains how to make it in the business of acting while staying sane and focused.