Cadillac Records Movie Cast: The Beginning of Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Etta James

Thursday, September 22 by Frost

From earthmovers to seat shakers, the "Cadillac Records" movie cast digs into their roles lik predators into prey. Witness the growing pains of a record label that helped define rock and roll and the blues well into the present day. Let the sun set so the shadows run deep as you walk in the shoes of legends as played by some of the best actors out there.

Adrien Brody. Playing one of the two founders of Chess Records, Brody conveys the intrigue behind what would seem to be the birth of a simple record label. With "Cadillac Records" he gets to stretch around a role that can be played with boring efficiency: that of a businessman. Instead of giving ground and letting the classification of his character overcome the role itself, he brings the man behind the career to the forefront and keeps him sprinting towards the constantly shifting finish line.

Mos Def. As a musician and an actor, there could be no better choice for the role of Chuck Berry than Mos Def. He brings a palpable sense of urgency to all his roles, as if each breath matters no matter how shallow or how deep that breath is. To tell the story of "Cadillac Records" you need actors that have walked the walk and Mos Def has worn out many pairs of shoes doing that walk in his other career as a rapper. Quiet elegance sums up his performing style as he digests the character until he's absorbed all the vital parts that need to be revealed for his role in "Cadillac Records" to succeed.

Gabrielle Union. With a voice that makes you pay attention immediately, as if school is constantly in session and there could be a pop quiz at any time, Gabrielle Union commands your eyes and ears. She exudes intelligence and passion, showing that these two qualities need not be separate. "Cadillac Records" gives her space to become, to grow, to evolve even further than her past performances have allowed her and that's well worth the viewing.

Cedric the Entertainer. When Cedric plays serious, you believe in his role and that's movie magic. As a popular comedian, he doesn't fall back on his humor as that could damage his role as Willie Dixon but he utilizes what he has learned about reading a crowd to bring Dixon to life and into the audience's home. His comedy past fades from memory as you get swept up in his acting and see him as a man driven by the blues. His character burns the blues as his life's blood and you get to watch it consume him in "Cadillac Records".

Eric Bogosian. Bringing a subtle mania to his performance as Alan Freed, Eric Bogosian lets his influence radiate out from his body as tangible power in the way he has his character carry himself. Would you expect less from the creator of the phrase "Rock 'N' Roll"? As a DJ who makes or breaks a song, Bogosian revels in his role as a sort of kingmaker. "Cadillac Records" would be weakened greatly if Alan Freed was played weakly and Bogosian ensures that no such thing will happen as he sits firmly on his own throne in his radio kingdom.

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