*This Sunday at 10 p.m., AMC will try to match the popularity and critical acclaim given their original dramas “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead” with its newest offering, set in America’s post-slavery Reconstruction era.
“Hell on Wheels” uses the building of the transcontinental railroad to reflect the era from several points of view – among them, Thomas “Doc” Durant (Colm Meaney), a greedy entrepreneur taking full advantage of the changing times; Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a Civil War veteran hell bent on avenging his wife’s death and Lily Bell (Dominique McElligott), a newly-widowed frontier woman having to survive in a man’s world.
And then there’s Elam Ferguson, a former slave out to make something of himself by working alongside other freed slaves on the ambitious railroad project. As previously reported, rapper-actor Common takes on the role of Elam, a mixed-race, defiant man who soon realizes that true freedom for the African American does not come automatically along with Emancipation – particularly since his railroad boss, Cullen, is a former confederate soldier…and one-time plantation overseer.
“My character is like, ‘Man, I’m taking this opportunity to go out here and try to change my life, and then here it goes again,” Common said during a press conference for the show. “Cullen represents that ‘here it goes again,’ like this guy is the walking boss who is not too much different than a slave master, in my eyes, you know, in certain ways.
By the end of Sunday’s pilot, Cullen and Elam find they have something in, well…common. “There’s something there that I respect about him at a certain point,” Common explains. “I see our relationship evolving in each episode as things happen, but it still is not, like, oh, we’re buddy-buddies. There’s still that tension that exists. It’s like, you know, you like someone, you have a certain affinity to them, but at the same token there’s still some walls up.”
In the audio below, Common explains why he feels the role of Elam comes with “a responsibility to be as truthful as I can to what black Americans were at that time.” [Scroll down to watch a video about Common’s character, Elam.]
- 'Empire' Costars Trai Byers and Grace Gealey Set to be Married
- More Sandra Bland Video Released to Prove She Arrived Alive At Jail
- Netflix Announces Mike Epps Special, 'Chelsea Handler Does Racism’, More at TCA Press Tour
- Paul Mooney Says Bill Cosby Got His 'N****r Wake-up Call'
- Shaq Doubles Down on Pippen: ‘I Don’t Let Bums Disrespect Me’
- Judge Tosses Orlando Scandrick’s Restraining Order Against Draya
- Second Suspect in 10 Days Dies in Custody of Houston Police
- Tom Joyner' Cruise Supports Students Featured on Hollywood Divas Season 2
- Azealia Banks Angers Australia by Calling Crowds ‘Belligerent’
- Report: Tom Brady Destroyed Cell Phone; NFL Suspension to be Upheld
- Discover More Stories on EURweb: Click Here