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Wendell Pierce sparks new Michael J. Fox sitcom

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"I’ll answer the question that you really want to ask," he chuckles when the film is broached: "WHY? Why did you do it?"

He explains he had seen the play and admired it, then was "shocked" when he was asked to play a role in the film so far outside his norm.

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"The character explores the ripple effect of abhorrent behavior," he says. "As an actor you’re always a student of human behavior, and to study this sort of behavior is why I took the role."

Pierce, who turns 50 in December, got into acting as a youngster growing up in New Orleans. He attended a theater camp at the University of New Orleans, and liked it, then enrolled at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Then he headed to New York and Juilliard to further hone his technique (including a speaking voice that, in its full come-hither mode, could rival Barry White’s).

But Pierce has never lost touch with his home town, helping spearhead projects that include a redevelopment effort to build new homes and a chain of quality supermarkets in neighborhoods that need the nutrition as well as the jobs.

And through it all, he has forged an acting career he is proud of — especially this fall, he says, toasting himself with a sip of his beer.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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