Film

Carl Weathers: Fight for your rights

Carl Weathers was such a knock-out in the Rocky films that even Muhammad Ali was a fan. Now the gloves are off with his latest role as State's Attorney Mark Jeffries in Chicago Justice

Are crime dramas popular because you see cases getting resolved and justice being done, which doesn’t always happen neatly in real life?

That’s maybe a good analysis of why these shows work. We like to have conclusions, we all more or less would like to have things settled, something final, something definitive, and very often in life things are not that black and white with a nice neat ending. We present these stories where the ending may not be the one you agree with so you as an audience member you say, that’s bullshhh and throw your shoe at the television. That’s entertainment as well.

Chicago Justice is the fourth instalment of Dick Wolf’s Chicago franchise. How does Justice fit in?

In any infrastructure of city government where you have various departments it seems to make a lot of sense. The police department serves the public, the fire department serves the public, hospitals serve the public and what we do on Chicago Justice is serve the public, by prosecuting criminals and hopefully getting it right most of the time to keep the innocent people from going to jail. It really integrates these governmental agencies and these various branches that represent people in Chicago in an extremely inventive and probably very accurate way.

And these departments never operate independently in real life.

It gives us a great opportunity not only to entertain you but to show audiences how these entities actually work and represent the people of a city. It’s good for drama also I think because when we do crossovers it’s very interesting to see people from one show go to another and have a role there that makes a lot of sense.

chicago-justice
The cast of Chicago Justice

Is the courtroom just another kind of stage?

Yeah that’s a very good anaology. Attorneys have to be very good actors. At they are guiding the jury and the judge to the conclusion that they’re looking to have them arrive to, they have to be very adept at delivering the information. They are very good actors.

With the #BlackLivesMatter movement, a lot of people in Chicago – and other cities in America – do not seem to getting an awful lot of justice at the moment.

No, it doesn’t happen. If everyone got justice our entire world would be a different place. It happens at times because people are unfair, it happens at times because people are unlucky. And when you put these two together – unlucky and unfair – these people do not get justice.

State’s Attorney Mark Jeffries is an elected official. Has this given you an insight into the concerns politicians have to have?

To a degree it does but we all find ourselves involved in politics as human beings. There are politics in families, politics among friends. The more you have some experience in the world, these roles become a little easier to play, but you also understand the intricacies of how a person of this stature and in this position has to walk through the world.

A tagline for the show is: “Always fight, never settle” – is that a good lesson for life?

Well, that depends. I don’t know in some cases it’s a smart move. Let’s face it, if you’re involved romantically, fighting and never settling, that’s kind of foolish. That would end a lot of romances and maybe have many never begin. With your children, if you’re always fighting and you never settle, how foolish is that? I think sometimes fighting is really important because it’s about the principle, other times it might be about your safety or the safety of those around you.

Does it feel like over 40 years since you first fought the Italian Stallion?

It was a great time in life, I’m so grateful that I was the right guy at the right time to play such a memorable character and be involved in a movie that’s iconic.

Even Muhammad Ali was a fan…

Ali! First of all Ali was an immensely amazing personality. I think he enjoyed life, and to see a character on screen like Apollo Creed portrayed and brought to life for him was an absolute joy, because he knew I’d stolen a lot of his characteristics for the great Apollo Creed.

Apollo Creed was tragically killed in the ring by Ivan Drago, a doping Russian athlete. Russian athletes are still doping, it’s as if they’ve never seen Rocky IV!

Haha. Well, people don’t necessarily watch movies and take cues for how to live their lives. We could all learn a thing or two if we watched and took heed, but generally we don’t.

Chicago Justice airs on Thursdays at 9pm on the Universal Channel

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Civil War director Alex Garland on ChatGPT, 28 Years Later and why Britain is like a 'pet cat'
Civil War, Alex Garland
Film

Civil War director Alex Garland on ChatGPT, 28 Years Later and why Britain is like a 'pet cat'

From The Iron Claw to Opponent: How wrestling films began grappling with real issues
Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson and Zac Efron as the tragic Van Erich wrestling family in The Iron Claw
Film

From The Iron Claw to Opponent: How wrestling films began grappling with real issues

Gillian Anderson, Billie Piper and Rufus Sewell on recreating Prince Andrew's car-crash interview in Scoop
Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew and Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis
Film

Gillian Anderson, Billie Piper and Rufus Sewell on recreating Prince Andrew's car-crash interview in Scoop

Io Capitano director Matteo Garrone on why a refugee's journey is so much more than small boats
Film

Io Capitano director Matteo Garrone on why a refugee's journey is so much more than small boats

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know