William Douglas Street is bored with his life. Working for his father is getting to him, his wife wants more money, and he’s had enough. His solution is to re-invent himself. He becomes a chameleon, taking on whatever role suits the situation. From reporter to doctor to lawyer, he impersonates anyone he sees a need for and he can earn money being. The movie is based on the real people, William Douglas Street, Jr., and Erik Dupin.
Chameleon Street is a 1989 independent film written by, directed by and starring Wendell B. Harris, Jr.. It tells the story of a social chameleon who impersonates reporters, doctors and lawyers in order to make money. The film is a satire based on the life of Detroit con artist and high-school drop-out William Douglas Street, Jr., who successfully impersonated professional reporters, lawyers, athletes, extortionists, and surgeons, going so far as to perform more than 36 successful hysterectomies. A Sundance Film Festival press release in 2008 described it as “one of the first films to examine how mellifluously race, class, and role-playing morph into the social fabric of America.” Chameleon Street won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival.
Chameleon Street (1989)
Directed by: Wendell B. Harris Jr.
Starring: Wendell B. Harris Jr., Timothy Alvaro, Dave Barber, Marti Bowling, Alfred Bruce Bradley, Mano Breckenridge, Amina Fakir, Anthony Ennis, Anita Gordon
Screenplay by: Wendell B. Harris Jr.
Cinematography by: Daniel S. Noga
Film Editing by: Matthew Mallinson
Art Department: K.C. Bartos, Bill Siemers
Art Direction by: Timothy Alvaro
Music by: Peter S. Moore
Distributed by: Northern Arts Entertainment
Release Date: April 24, 1990