Just a few days before the premiere of "Boardwalk Empire" Season 4, Jeffrey Wright discussed his new character, Harlem gangster Valentin Narcisse, in an interview with HuffPost Live. In a series that contains several real-life prohibition-era crime figures, Wright revealed that his character is a "funhouse mirror distortion" of a Harlem racketeer named Casper Holstein.
"My character is an immigrant from Trinidad; Casper Holstein came up from the Virgin Islands, and ultimately became the biggest and first massive numbers-runner in Harlem, early 1920s," Wright explained.
According to Wright, Holstein got a menial job working on Wall Street as a kid, where he studied the markets and eventually "attached the daily number to the stock results ... You went to the newspaper, you had a number, you saw whether you hit or whether you lost and you collected your money. So his game attracted so much attention, he was like the Bolito king, the Harlem numbers king. He was making millions ... apparently $12,000 a day, and became ... a philanthropist on the level of Carnegie ... My guy is him, but with all the benevolence sucked out of him."
"Boardwalk Empire" Season 4 premieres Sunday, September 9 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.