Trying to get real urban L.A. correct is like walking a tight rope in a pair of Louboutin's! There are so many subtle nuances to a SoCal gang member's signature look—the colors, the fit, baggy or really baggy or now a bit less baggy, the length of the shorts, the pants, the ProClub t-shirt, to the knees, the calves or the floor!!! Plaids. Solids. Jeans. Dickies. I have a source from "the streets" that I go to, but one has to be careful in recreating the actual look on an actor especially when we're shooting on location, cuz if it's too right it may be too wrong for the actor!
With "War Zone" I walked right down the middle of that tight rope due to directions from our Closer creator, director, writer and producers but also because of story points. Reggie Moses was a tough street smart gangsta, played with incredible depth and soul by the charismatic Dennis White, a musician, actor and raconteur. We hemmed and hawed in the EHMFR as Dennis had just been wrapped—not rapped!
Greg LaVoi: How important is costume to your character development?
Dennis White: It's very important because it's all about the layers of a character and the way you dress helps my body get into character. I can study my lines and the script but when I have the clothes on it transforms me.
GLV: Your character, Reggie Moses was a gang member. Do you feel what I dressed you in was real?
DW: Um, I feel like I needed a little more blue, he was a Crip, so I needed something ... I have a good friend who's an OG in the Crip gang and he was on set with me and he said I needed some Crip house shoes or something to kinda give him an edge, but I also felt like as a Crip member you don't wear that 24/7 so it coulda been a possibility when the police picked him [Reggie] up he was at his house chillin'.
GLV: Ever have a favorite costume you've worn?
DW: (laughs) Yeah, the one I had as Reggie Moses! (laughs) I've had costumes like when I did the Notorious film, I had a nice leather jacket and brimmed hat. I really liked that costume a lot.
GLV: How about wearing a costume you didn't like?
DW: Yeah, in the Notorious film, since it was a period piece, there were certain clothes I just didn't like; they were tight and conformed but it worked good on camera.
GLV: Did you have a fashion influence in your life?
DW: I was a big Michael Jackson fan, so I had the jackets, the high water pants, the penny loafers, then I transformed to being a fan of Kwame's, with the polka dots. Um, I was very trendy, but I'm a classic guy. I love Polo, Gap, that type of gear.
GLV: Do you wear a signature piece of jewelry or watch?
DW: I have a Marc Ecko designer chain with some diamonds in it that I wear all the time.
GLV: Favorite colors?
DW: Black and orange.
GLV: Boxers or Briefs?
DW: Boxerbriefs. (laughs)
GLV: What's on your night stand?
DW: My lap top, my cell phone and a picture of my son.
GLV: What do you sleep in?
DW: I have some Marc Ecko army fatigue sleep pants that I wear.
GLV: Pretend you've been nominated for an Emmy for your role of Reggie on The Closer. Who do you call to do your tux?
DW: Um, you. (laughs)
GLV: Anything you obsess over so that you can never have too many of?
DW: Shoes. Sneakers, hard bottoms. I have several variations of black dress shoes and several black tennis shoes. I have a plethora of shoes depending on the mood I'm in. I think shoes make the man.
GLV: Describe your personal style.
DW: Urban. Bohemian. Eclectic. I'm a real Frank Sinatra-Bing Crosby-Harry Connick Jr. fan so I like clean classic style.
GLV: Can't live without?
DW: My family. My radio. My tie collection (vintage and new).
GLV: What did you want to be when you grew up?
DW: A star. It was 50/50 I wanted to be a professional baseball player or a singer. Sports was cool but my singing evolved into acting. I'm doing what I love!
GLV: What are you now?
DW: I am an actor.
GLV: What was your first car?
DW: Oh my god (sighs), I had a 1976 Mercedes benz 320D, but it was the worst car. It was a big gray car, looked beautiful on the outside, but I had to wait for it to start and it was loud and horrific. Looked good when it was parked though.
GLV: What do you drive now?
DW: I drive a sky blue Cadillac Deville.
GLV: Perfect happiness?
DW: On an island with the woman I love, my family, all of us happy.
GLV: Perfect Hell?
DW: Being unemployed.
GLV: Past or Present?
GLV: Good or Evil?
DW: Good all the time.
GLV: Heaven or Hell?
Dennis White. A gentle gentleman, classic dresser, thoughtful and happy. What more can we ask for?