Thursday, January 27, 2022

’Power’ Producer on Kendrick Lamar Playing a Crackhead and ’Leveling Up’ the Series [EUR Exclusive]

Courtney Kemp
Courtney Kemp

*“Here’s an artist that we respect and he wants to play in our sandbox,” “Power” executive producer Courtney Kemp said of Kendrick Lamar joining the Starz during the 2018 Television Critics Association summer press tour (TCA).

Kemp told the Saturday morning session at The Beverly Hilton Hotel that the acclaimed and bestselling Lamar “showed up to win” for what is his scripted small screen debut as “a drug addict” named Laces on season five’s fifth episode on Sunday.

“I can’t tell you but I will say this, I pitched the show with an endgame in mind,” Kemp told the assembled journalists of how and when “Power” could end. The series has been renewed for a sixth season, set to air in 2019.

“For the most part we know the success of the show might have prolonged the ending but the ending has always been the same,” the EP added, without giving away any sense of how “Power” will end.

Series co-star and producer 50 Cent wasn’t there but Kemp was joined on the panel by cast members Omari Hardwick, Lela Loren, Joseph Sikora and Larenz Tate, who was upped to a series regular for Season 5 last year.

OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Barack and Michelle Show Out at Bey/Jay Concert & Janet J Spotlights Racism on Stage (VIDEO)

(L-R) Actors Larenz Tate, Joseph Sikora, Lela Loren, Omari Hardwick, and Creator/Executive Producer, Showrunner Courtney A. Kemp of ‘Power’ speak onstage during the STARZ portion of the Summer 2018 TCA Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 28, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California.
(Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America)

When asked by reporter Ny MaGee to explain how challenging it has been over the past five seasons to explore the best and worst ways to push the envelope, Ms. Kemp explained:

“I don’t think there have been any worst ways. If I’ve learned anything from working with 50 is that there’s always a way to get the audience to react. But in terms of pushing the envelope, I don’t think of it that way. I think of it in terms of fearless storytelling. I think of it in terms of not pulling punches. When we open the writers’ room every season, we do a period of time we call Blue Sky where people throw out just the biggest idea,” she said.

Adding: “And even the ideas that will break the fabric of the series, we talk about them. We might dismiss them, but we want to make sure that we’ve explored absolutely every corner of what the series can do. Part of that is my own feeling that this show should be as great a show as we can make it. We have the budget and the experience at this point to make a show that transcends race, gender, sexuality, all of those things and should lift the genre. So in doing that, we need to do things that people will discuss. We need to do things that will bring us to the next level. So I don’t think of it as pushing the envelope. I think of it as leveling up.”

L-R) Actors Joseph Sikora, Lela Loren, and Omari Hardwick of ‘Power’ speak onstage during the STARZ portion of the Summer 2018 TCA Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 28, 2018, in Beverly Hills, California.
(Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images North America)

So, does the cast keep track of what fans think of the hit crime-drama?

Do they read recaps of blogs or engage in conversation online?

According to Omari Hardwick, “I think as artists first and foremost, and then I guess specifically being called actors, I think I would speak for the cast when I say that our focus is on what we think would satisfy our longing for character development,” he tells EUR/Electronic Urban Report.

“So if Courtney and the writers’ room gives us a template to really dig our fingers in and to saturate whatever the gifts that we have or that we possess, I think I speak for Lela and Joseph and Larenz as well and all of our other incredible cast members that are not present today, when I say if we feel it would be good and we’d want to watch it, then that’s all we can really be concerned about,” Omari added.

“Obviously we gotta deal with social media and just as a new modern spectrum in life, you gotta be involved with the social media and what people are saying but not necessarily as it pertains to whether we’re doing good work or not. I think we keep that on set and on the field.”

If you missed Kendrick’s guest starring episode over the weekend, use your cable provider and log in at the website to stream it and past episodes of “Power.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.



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