Tyler James Williams Says ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ Producer Told Him He’d ‘Probably Never Work Again’
Tyler James Williams, who landed the lead role in “Everybody Hates Chris” at age 12 in 2005, revealed in a new interview that a producer on the series told him he’d “probably never work again” after the series, which was based on Chris Rock’s teen years.
Williams, who won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy for playing Gregory Eddie on ABC hit “Abbott Elementary,” told GQ that an unnamed producer once said to him, “I’ll never see you as anything else and you’ll probably never work again.”
The now 30-year-old actor recalled, “I was like, ‘Holy s—t you really just looked at me and said that.'” Although he thinks the producer probably meant it as a joke, the comment still stung.
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“It was traumatic,” he said of growing up on camera. It made him think hard about taking on similar roles after the show ended in 2009. “I figured that out pretty f—ing quickly,” he said of seeing actors his own age get hopelessly typecast.
“I realized at 17 that I didn’t like the road I was on. So I decided to stop and pivot. I got with a really good acting coach and I turned down every single thing I was offered,” he said.
In 2014 he returned to star in the Netflix series “Dear White People,” and also took on roles on “The Walking Dead” and “Criminal Minds.”
An appearance on HBO’s “A Black Lady Sketch Show” with Quinta Brunson led to her writing his award-winning role on “Abbott Elementary” just for him. He was reluctant to return to a sitcom, but Brunson convinced him to sign on: “We had a two-hour conversation about what we needed to see in Gregory, and when she listed the characters that he could be like, they were already on my list.”
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