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Wendell Pierce to play Clarence Thomas for HBO

The Wire

Having secured Kerry Washington as Anita Hill, the attorney thrown under the bus during Clarence Thomas’s nomination hearings, HBO has found its Supreme Court justice. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wendell Pierce will play Clarence Thomas in Confirmation, which will chronicle the high-profile 1991 Senate judiciary hearings. Pierce currently has a supporting role in CBS’ remake of The Odd Couple, and played civil rights leader Rev. Hosea Williams in Selma. Pierce is probably best known for his previous work with HBO, however, including struggling New Orleans trombonist Antoine Batiste on Treme and smooth-talking, hard-drinking Baltimore detective “Bunk” Moreland on The Wire.

Thomas’ Senate nomination hearings for the Supreme Court became highly controversial when Anita Hill stepped forward to testify to the character of Thomas, her former supervisor. What followed was a feel-bad rainbow of testimony and questioning as Hill cited numerous incidents which she did not label as sexual harassment, but certainly would qualify today. Additional witnesses who could support and corroborate Hill’s testimony were not invited to testify, or were dismissed. Meanwhile, Thomas responded by accusing liberal politicians of pillorying a conservative black man who was up for a Supreme Court nomination.


The hearings painted Hill as a calculating manipulator, Thomas as a seedy liar, and the Senate judiciary committee as a bitterly partisan panel of crusty white dudes who were ready to evaporate the dignity of anybody involved in order to secure the political outcome they wanted. They also brought the question “Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?” into the lexicon. Saturday Night Live may have encapsulated the whole sorry affair best with this opening sketch:

Production on Confirmation, to be directed by Dope’s Rick Famuyiwa, begins this summer.

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