Bill Nunn may seem like a new face in Hollywood, but he isn’t really. Not long ago, in fact, moviegoers couldn’t stop talking about him. It’s just that the 38-year-old actor, who now sports a bushy mustache and a paunchy midriff as Bradley in Regarding Henry, hardly resembles the memorable character he played in 1989 — Radio Raheem, the angry rebel whose boom box incited a riot in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. ”I dyed my hair, shaved, and was a few pounds lighter,” Nunn says about his transformation into that much younger character.
Since then Nunn has appeared in Mo’ Better Blues and New Jack City, but the roles have failed to erase the indelible impression left by Raheem. His performance in Henry, though — as the easygoing physical therapist who gets Harrison Ford back on his feet — just may do the trick. ”I’m happy to play somebody more my real age,” he says. ”Everybody still does think I’m this young kid.”
Though Nunn, who lives in Atlanta, Ga., with his wife and two daughters, didn’t alter his appearance much for Henry, he did do research at the Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, N.Y. ”They helped me with the technical things,” says Nunn, ”like what you would do the first day you meet your patient and how you stand a person up from a wheelchair.” The advice came in handy. ”When I had to lift Harrison up, there is a certain way I had to give him support,” says Nunn. ”Every woman in America would love to be holding his butt, but I didn’t particularly get a kick out of it.”