Michael K. Williams pushed for more intimate gay scenes for Omar on The Wire: 'We should go all in'!

Michael K. Williams, known for his portrayal of Omar Little on HBO's The Wire, advocated for more intimate scenes between Omar and his boyfriend in the show, according to his posthumous memoir Scenes From My Life. The late actor felt that the directors were "scared" to fully explore the relationship between the characters, and he urged them to embrace the reality that "gay people f---".

Williams recalled pulling his co-star aside and suggesting they kiss in their next scene. When they rehearsed the kiss, the crew was stunned, as Williams noted that men, especially men of colour, were rarely seen kissing on television at the time. The move took the director by surprise, and he praised Williams and his co-star as "brave". 

Williams starred as Omar in all five seasons of the HBO show, which ran from 2002 to 2008. In the memoir, the actor, who did not identify as gay, expressed that he was originally concerned about portraying the character.

"I think my initial fear of Omar's sexuality came from my upbringing, the community that raised me, and the stubborn stereotypes of gay characters," he explained. "Once I realized that Omar was non-effeminate, that I didn't have to talk or walk in a flamboyant way, a lot of that fear drained away. I made Omar my own. He wasn't written as a type, and I wouldn't play him as one."

Instead, Williams recalled, he tapped into what he and the character had in common. "Omar is sensitive and vulnerable and he loves with his heart on his sleeve. You can say what you want to him — it rolls right off — but don't you dare mess with his people. He loves absolutely, fearlessly, with his whole entire being," he wrote. "After clicking with that, I understood him completely."