Movies: At Last, Don Cheadle Is the Hero

THE CHARACTER PLAYER

There are black actors on the A-list of box-office draws (well, two: Denzel Washington and Will Smith). There are dozens more laboring in trendy CGI thrillers, doomed to bolster the old joke that "the black guy always dies first." And there are comedians, who anchor movies destined mostly for black audiences. Then there's Don Cheadle. He plays the guy, the seemingly ordinary guy, who turns out to be the most colorful bloke in the bunch. "For the most part, character roles are more interesting," Cheadle says. "And more mine." Cheadle, 40, doesn't have Washington's looks. His small, lithe body is not...

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