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The Laurence Fishburne Bio

The Laurence Fishburne Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Film:

The Matrix

As brilliant as Matrix is, it's of course less than "Mystic River," "Color Purple," and, of course, "Apocalypse Now." But, Fishburne is a minor player in those films. In the Wachowski's mind-bending opener, though, he is even more central to the success of the film than Keanu, as it is his duty – in between the shots of fantasy gunplay – to explain the world's heady reality, and to try to make sense out of the miles of exposition. Laurence's blend of zen and bald macho set the tone for the whole series. 

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Mystic River (SAG-nominated performance as a police detective, with Kevin Bacon)
21 (Vegas casino security consultant)
Bobby (chef in the Golden Globe-nominated ensemble)
Searching for Bobby Fischer (chess hustler)
Higher Learning (a political science professor)
King of New York (a psycho killer)
Boyz N the Hood (a father trying to keep his son out of L.A. gangs)
Biker Boyz (professional by day, biker king by night)
Deep Cover (an undercover cop)
What's Love Got to Do With It? (Oscar-nominated performance as Ike Turner)
The Coppola Films:
Apocalypse Now (a crew member on the boat taking Martin Sheen upriver)
Rumble Fish (gang member)
Cotton Club (Bumpy Rhodes, head of the Harlem rackets)
Gardens of Stone
Armored (Part of an armored-truck heist that goes wrong)
The Matrix series (Morpheus, Zen master to Keanu Reeves's Neo)
Mission Impossible 3 (the head of the IM force)
The Color Purple
Event Horizon (spaceship captain) 
The Real Laurence Fishburne:
Akeelah and the Bee

Besides his participation in educating America on civil rights through his award-winning historical works on HBO and a share of James Earl Jones's crown in the August Wilson oeuvre (for which he won his second Tony), the professorial Fishburne is an inspiration to everyone, and certainly to African-Americans.
Acting Style:
Teacher. Acting from an early age, and successful as a stage actor, Fishburne still had to make his way – after "Pee Wee's Playhouse" that is – through the gauntlet of black roles. He was lucky that even his B-movies had a respectful (often due to him) edge to them. Though he had several such roles before "Matrix," now he is the go-to guy for a calm, strong lead, or support, who imparts wisdom to others.
Bits and Quirks:
The combination of his size with a gentle smile and that whispering delivery. The stand still and stare, often with hands in his pockets. A little bit of bow to the head to help his kind eyes make their point. The big, funky smile was most often used when he was a bad guy; now he relaxes it and everything else into a comfortable with himself bearing.
Great Scenes:
Akeelah and the Bee

> Meeting Akeelah and testing her
> Beginning the training, particularly the jump rope
> Handing over the boxes of words


> Beating up Jim Sturgess for counting cards
> The chase through the casino
> Pulling the bait and switch on Jim


> Giving soft-spoken encouragement to the young kid in his kitchen

The Matrix Series

> The training of Neo, particularly the fight in the dojo

Biker Boyz

> The stunts and the races

Apocalypse Now

> Dancing on the boat to "Satisfaction" while someone is skiing behind it