Don Cheadle Takes Us Back to the 1980s in SHOWTIME’s ‘Black Monday’
By BERNICE FOX
Special to Circling the News
Palisades resident Don Cheadle’s new Showtime series, “Black Monday,” brings us big hair, big shoulder pads and a big fail in the stock market.
History lesson for those too young to remember: Monday, October 19, 1987 is known as Black Monday, a day when financial markets around the world collapsed. Percentage-wise, the plunge was worse than the drop that started the Great Depression. The difference is recovery was pretty quick.
Cheadle’s series is a fictional dark comedy that revels in the excess that led up to Black Monday. He plays a trader who’ll do almost anything to continue his winning streak–a streak that allows him to be chauffeured in an orange Lamborghini limousine.
That wasn’t exactly what Cheadle’s real life was like during the same time period. He recently had graduated California Institute of the Arts and was living with roommates in North Hollywood.
“I was running around Hollywood, trying to get work with a lot of my friends who were doing the same thing. And people say, ‘Were you aware of the stock market crash?’ I was like, ‘Vaguely.’ We were, like, aware that somebody had to get a job because we had rent. There were four of us living together, and one of the four of us had to get work.”
Cheadle’s resume started to fill out with supporting roles here and there: “L.A. Law,” “Hill Street Blues,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and the movie, “Colors.” When he finally got a weekly role, it was on “The Golden Girls” spin-off “The Golden Palace.” But the show only lasted one season.
Cheadle’s career started to take off in the mid-1990s with “Picket Fences,” “Boogie Nights,” “The Rat Pack” and “The Family Man.” By 2004, Don Cheadle could be called a star with “Crash” and “Hotel Rwanda.”
And when did he know he’d made it in life? Circling the News asked Cheadle if it was in 2000 when he bought his home in Santa Monica Canyon, which is part of Pacific Palisades. His answer may surprise you.
“No, that meant I had better make it!”
He says, “I freighted myself with a mortgage that I did not have before and kids that I had to put through school.”
Cheadle smiles and adds “I just wrote the last check for my last kid for college. Wow. It’s amazing!”
But he sums up his move with “that did nothing to calm me down. That just put pressure on me.”
Talking about his 2000 move, Cheadle teases a story about rebuilding the home a few years later which just added to the pressure.
When CTN asked for details he said “it’s so long. But I will just basically say if you’re going to build an entire house and get to second-floor framing, be sure that your contractor has pulled permits to build the house.”
The pressure should be off by now because Cheadle’s career remains in high gear. His new Marvel movie, “Avengers: Endgame” will be released April 26.
And his 10-episode comedy, “Black Monday,” about the wildness leading up to 1987’s stock market crash, airs Sundays on Showtime. With Seth Rogen behind the scenes as one of the producers, it also stars Regina Hall and Andrew Rannells and runs through March 24.