Wendell Pierce Prepares to Play Clarence Thomas … Without the Justice's Help

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Wendell Pierce

The 'Wire' actor found numerous similarities between him and his subject when researching the role for the recently wrapped HBO drama 'Confirmation,' but failed to get direct advice from the Supreme Court Justice.

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Talking about his memoir, The Wind in the Reeds (out Sept. 8), Wendell Pierce (The Wire) says he drew on family history to play Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the recently wrapped HBO drama Confirmation (with Kerry Washington as Anita Hill).

"What was so amazing was the similarity in our families' phi­losophies. His grandfather said, 'Can't is already dead. Don't ever tell me you can't do something.' My grandfather always said, 'Can't died three days before the creation of the world. Don't ever tell me you can't do something,' " he says.

Pierce, 51, reached out to Thomas to prepare for the role but never heard back, and would "still love to meet him." Instead, one conservative the actor is likely to meet is Rush Limbaugh, who while ranting about Confirmation expressed admiration for Pierce's performance in The Wire. "So I reached out to Limbaugh's office and said I would like to meet him," he recounts. "I would go on his show. He needs to be challenged."