Don Cheadle on How His ‘Black Monday’ Character Mo Compares to ‘House of Lies’ Marty
Showtime’s new black comedy, Black Monday, imagines the financial hijinks that could have led to the still-unexplained worst single-day stock market crash in Wall Street history on Monday, October 19, 1987.
On the high-energy Los Angeles set, Don Cheadle — who plays splashy stockbroker and trading-firm boss Maurice “Mo” Monroe — is doing a celebratory scene from Mo’s office.
“We need to focus on the important things, like how to keep champagne spray out of our brand-new tuxes,” Cheadle says before popping a bottle. Mo is living the high life (he owns a stretch Lamborghini and a robot butler) along with partner and crush Dawn (Regina Hall) and wunderkind trader Blair (Andrew Rannells), but he wants more and creates a scheme to get it.
“Mo thinks he’s a lot smarter than he is,” Cheadle says. “He is playing chess, but with a couple of checker pieces and three marbles.” The actor also played a moneyman on House of Lies, consultant Marty Kaan. “Marty took calculated risks,” he explains. “Mo is all in.”
Producers re-created the bravado of the time by building lavish sets and bringing in lots of “cocaine” (powdered B12 vitamins or cornstarch). A mishap with the drug occurs in the premiere, changing everyone’s fate. Hey, it was the ’80s.
Black Monday, Series Premiere, Sunday, January 20, 10/9c, Showtime