Laurence Fishburne 1


Larry Fishburne laughs an excitable, eccentric howl, happy to hear that in King of New York, Abel Ferrara’s fantastic guns ‘n’ drugs flick, he comes close to blowing Christopher Walken off the screen.
“Abel and Chris, these cats are on the edge man, knowaddamsayin’? They’re absolutely fucking nuts,”
Of course, it takes one to know one. At the tender age of 14, Fishburne spent a year and a half in the Philippines jungle filming Apocalypse Now, hanging out with Brando, Hopper, Coppola, Sheen, Duvall, Keitel (he played the teenage grunt who receives a taped letter from his mum).
“Yeah, when I came back I was a bit ‘eccentric’, heh-heh-heh. I was 14 years old and I was having a great time. I got into drinking, smoking reefer… Hopper was pretty crazy, yes. I thought he was incredible. I thought, ‘this is the guy I wanna be like !’’
According to his wife, he made a pretty good job of it. Like Walken, Fishburne has an agent and was working in theatre by the time he was 10, television movies and a two-year run in a soap opera by the age of 13. Another product of show business.
“It’s a drag for your real life,” he grins, “’cos you don’t have one, hahaha ! I can relate to Walken on one level but another level, I was like, ‘I’m not hanging out with you because you remain fucked up.’ There ain’t shit that motherfucker ain’t seen, know what I mean ?’”

Only 29, a tall lean man with a boxer’s profile, colourful street slang, Fishburne has accumulated a string of mainstream Hollywood parts as well as TV work in Hill Street Blues, M*A*S*H, Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Films like Red Heat, School Daze, Death Wish II, Nightmare on Elm Street II (“ I don’t die”), The Colour Purple, plus Coppola’s The Cotton Club, Gardens of Stone and Rumble Fish, where he has the opening line.
In King Of New York, Fishburne’s Jimmy Jump is the cinema’s first hip-hop gangster, “the Artful Dodger to Walken’s Fagin,” imbued with a B-boy charm and style that makes even his most ultra-violent moves irresistible.
Fishburne, with his outrageous, rolling homeboy walk and wild laugh, is the film’s big scene-stealer.
“It’s great to watch De Niro and Pacino do their stuff but I wanted to give the brothers an image they could relate to. I mean, in my neighbourhood [Bedford-Stuyvesant], motherfuckers walk like that.”
He already has parts in Martin Sheen’s Cadence and Michael Apted’s Class Action in the can, and admits: “It’s not that I ain’t still crazy. I’m still a bit off. But I’m working on it, fighting reality, fighting the fantasy thing. she’s not finished with me yet.”
His smile is the smile of someone who knows he’s here to stay.