Francois Battiste starred in the 2010 Shakespeare in the Park productions of The Merchant of Venice and The Winter's Tale, presented by the Public Theater at the Delacorte Theater.
Place of birth?
You now live in?
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
As an actor, do you have a preference for stage, TV or film?
My heart craves the stage, my pocket book desires TV and film.
Your first stage performance was?
High school, "Seth," in Joe Turner's Come and Gone- August Wilson.
Career highlight to date?
Working on and being awarded an Obie for Tracey Scott Wilson's "The Good Negro," directed by Liesl Tommy.
What roles would you most like to play?
Aaron in "Titus Andronicus," Levee in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and Walter Lee Younger in "A Raisin in the Sun".
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Shakespeare: To thine own self be true. Rudyard Kipling's "IF": "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, and blaming it on you; if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowances for their doubting too..."
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Being late for a entrance on my first Broadway show: "Prelude to a Kiss" (Roundabout), I was pushed on stage by the AD just in time for the audience to catch my reaction to two men (seemingly strangers)hugging--that ended in uproarious laughter, I was more embarrassed that I hadn't received such an electric reaction (before or after) that entire run.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
This is more in the realm of disheartening: Putting time and effort into auditions when jobs have already been offered; (essentially using your time, talent, and effort in vain)...or when jobs are given strictly for popularity (in other words economic) reasons...
Briefly tell us how you become involved with Shakespeare in the Park
This summer: Grateful to have been offered these roles. I did two summers of Illinois Shakespeare Festival when I was in under grad.
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
Who are your favorite actors/actresses?
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Lemmon, Jeffrey Wright, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
Jesus: "Can you believe the shit that's been done in your name!?" Shakespeare: "From whence cometh thy genius?".
Favorite after-show haunts?
Depending where you are, how you're feeling, who you’re with: Malachy’s (72nd Columbus), West Bank Cafe, Angus, Chinatown Brassiere...
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favorite authors?
Last: "The Shack"-WM. Paul Young. Favorites: Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, Walter Moseley.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favorite movies?
Last film: (it's been a while) Avatar! Favorites: "The Apartment" "Mo' Better Blues" "Boomerang" "City of God" "Waiting for Guffman" "Cooley High."
Favorite TV programs?
The Original "The Office" "Extras" "The First 48" "The Daily Show" "Hardball" "The Cosby Show" "Chopped"-the food channel.
Favorite holiday destinations?
Depending on with whom, how long and what season: Chi-town, New Orleans, Brazil or Acapulco. But Paris-if it's only my wife and I!
Do you have any hobbies?
Poetry, collecting postcards, playing sports, slapping bones, shooting pool, seeing theatre.
Do you have any superstitions?
No real superstitions other than: Do Not say 'Macbeth' in any theatres or acting studios.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
3 items I would take if stranded on a desert island: a) a helicopter, b) fuel c) a pilot.