Michael K. Williams portrays one of the most notorious U.S. drug dealers, “Freeway” Ricky Ross, in new film Kill the Messenger.
The film is based on a true story derived from the 2001 novel, Kill the Messenger, which follows a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist, Gary Webb, who ultimately exposes the CIA for helping import cocaine into California during the 1980s.
In 2004, Webb was found shot to death, and to this day, many people speculate that there was foul play involved in his death.
Kill the Messenger features Freeway Ricky Ross as a wealthy, powerful drug dealer who’s in jail awaiting trial on trafficking charges.
“I prepared [for Kill the Messenger] by meeting [“Freeway”] Ricky Ross. I got to meet him. I consider him a friend now,” Williams said in an interview with theGrio.com.
Since arriving on the music scene in 2001, rapper Rick Ross has been celebrated by his fans for his music and lyrics, often times referencing the luxurious lifestyle of “Freeway” Ricky Ross from his days as a drug kingpen.
In fact in 2010, the reformed drug dealer filed a $10 million lawsuit again the rapper for using his name. The lawsuit went to federal court but was later dismissed.
Williams said that the rapper Rick Ross’ persona is nothing like the real Ricky Ross.
“The persona that the rapper has created couldn’t be further from the real Rick Ross,” he said. “The real Rick Ross was a young man in the streets of L.A. that had dreams of becoming a tennis player. He excelled in tennis and was allowed to go through the L.A. school system completely illiterate. When it came time to talk about college scholarships for him, they found out that he was illiterate, and it all went away.”
“The system literally failed him,” Williams added. “That’s what intrigued me about taking this role and portraying him. Not to glorify the fact that he was a drug dealer, because I don’t think that’s something he’s proud of.”
Kill the Messenger hits theaters nationwide October 10.
Follow theGrio.com’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.