Don Cheadle Reflects on Jim Harrison’s Poetic Zen, a Blues Icon, and More Recent Obsessions

Don Cheadle, a cast member in the Showtime series "Black Monday," poses for a portrait during the 2020 Showtime Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP / Shutterstock

Don Cheadle, the star of Quibi’s Don’t Look Deeper and Showtime’s Black Monday discusses a blues icon, Jim Harrison’s poetic Zen, and his other recent obsessions. — as told to J.R. Sullivan

Kelp noodle cacio e pepe at Plant Food + Wine
Kelp noodle cacio e pepe at Plant Food + Wine Courtesy Image

DINING
I’m a vegetarian, and I just started eating at this vegan place in Venice, California, called Plant Food + Wine. It’s really clean, simply prepared food. The gem Caesar and the raw lasagna are really good, but the kelp noodle cacio e pepe (above) is my favorite dish.

FILM
Dr. Strangelove is amazing, but I’m also a big fan of Fail Safe, which came out the same year, 1964, and is less remembered. Both movies address Cold War paranoia. But whereas Dr. Strangelove was a parody, Fail Safe was serious, and very good in its own right.

After Ikkyu and Other Poems by Jim Harrison
After Ikkyu and Other Poems by Jim Harrison Courtesy Image

BOOKS
I’ve been thumbing through After Ikkyu and Other Poems by Jim Harrison. The pieces are beautiful and short, and rooted in Zen studies. I haven’t read Harrison’s novels yet, but I like his vibe.

MUSIC
My musical interests tend to shift with whatever project I’m working on. I’m about to do a film set in Detroit in the 1950s, so I’ve been listening to a lot of John Lee Hooker, working through his entire library. The song “Boogie Chillen’” is a good place to start.

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