By Darlene Donloe
Power can be an aphrodisiac. The people at Starz, Executive Producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and show creator Courtney Kemp Agboh (The Good Wife) are banking on just that.
Power will premiere at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz. The show is an original crime drama set in two different worlds - the glamorous New York club scene and the brutal drug trade.
The show centers around James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) who has it all: a beautiful wife, a Manhattan penthouse, and the hottest, up-and-coming new nightclub in New York. His club, Truth, caters to the elite: the famous and infamous boldface names that run the city that never sleeps. As its success grows, so does Ghost’s plans to build an empire.
However, Truth is really a front for Ghost’s criminal underworld; a lucrative drug network, serving only the wealthy and powerful.
As Ghost is seduced by the prospect of a legitimate life, everything precious to him becomes unknowingly threatened.
Power stars Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, Lela Loren, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, La La Anthony, Enrique Murciano, Greg Serano, Kathrine Narducci, Andy Bean, Luis Antonio Ramos, Sinqua Walls, Lucy Walters, Adam Huss, and Joseph Sikora.
Naughton plays Tasha St. Patrick, the crafty, loving, fierce, and drop-dead gorgeous wife of Ghost. She has been at his side for years, throughout his rise in the drug game. She’s his partner in raising three children and an empire while providing the home life and stability he wants. And in return, she enjoys the lavish lifestyle she seeks and the illusion of normal domesticity. But as Ghost pursues the club, Tasha begins to realize that her fantasy life may be in jeopardy, and she asserts control over her own family and future.
Loren plays Angela, a woman whose career and advancement are her priorities. She is living the life she believes she should want. She grew up with Ghost in a rough neighborhood, and she managed to escape using her intellect, ambition, and determination, but she never truly left her childhood behind. Just as she’s assigned the biggest task of her career and on the cusp of achieving everything she’s worked for, Angela has a chance encounter with Ghost – or as she knows him, “Jamie” – her past love.
I recently caught up with Naughton (Mad Men) and Loren (Gang Related) to talk about their roles in the series.
DD: This isn’t a pretty story. Describe the movie in your own words?
NN: It’s something innovative, provocative, something that pushes the envelope, creating a diverse cast. It’s a compelling story with great stories.
LL: It’s brash, sophisticated and sexy. It explores the reality of choice and identity and truth and the shifting sands of what we think is power.
DD: Talk to me about how you became involved with this show.
NN: My journey was basic. I was just a normal actress seeking it out. My agent sent me a great script. I love this script. I will never forget how nervous I was. My phone rang in the audition. I never do that. I forget my lines in the scene. But it was one of the best auditions. It allowed me to be vulnerable. It made me right for Tasha.
LL: I came to the show through regular way. It was interesting. I went through two rounds of testing.
DD: What do you like about the show?
LL: I like the complexity of the characters. It’s unclear if Angela is a hero or a villain. She plays dirty for the right reason and dirty for the wrong reason. I like her unraveling. She is completely put together. She becomes progressively messier. As an actress that is fun. There are a lot of choices she makes that are morally ambiguous.
NN: What I like about the show is there are so many elements. It shoots in New York, the coolest, artsy city in the nation. Plus, we have an amazing team. The writer, producer, 50 Cent, our cast members. Omari (Hardwick) is my husband – on the show, not in real life. We’ve got a great story. It will show people how challenging it is to live a double life. The two worlds at play are the most exciting parts to me. The life we want to have and the life we do have. That’s provocative.
DD: Where will you be when the show premieres?
LL: At my neighbors. If this was my friend’s show I’d be really enthusiastic. It’s nerve wrecking when it’s you.
NN: I’ll be with my closest friends. I’ll have them come over to my house and we’ll watch together.
DD: Do you have a problem watching yourself?
NN: I like to watch myself. I’m my own worst critic. I like to watch myself before other people watch me. I like any opportunity to watch the work I did. I’m a perfectionist and crazy person. I’m into myself. I’m able to see what I need to work on. I go through my process.
LL: I’ll only do it to learn and grow.
DD: You are two female actresses who are working. Is it luck? If so, how are you so lucky? Is there a secret to this?
LL: It’s luck getting roles. You audition so many times and don’t get it. We’re not in control. The exciting thing is that I feel like there are more roles for women. They are getting better.
NN: I agree. In short, I would say the climate is getting better. Don’t know if there is a secret. I’ve been favored and blessed. A lot of roles I thought I was going to get. Like Lil Kim. I wasn’t thinking I was going to get the part. One secret is that it has to be written for you. God has a plan for me. You have to have perseverance and patience. I try to look at it as a spiritual aspect. Sometimes I stress myself out.
LL: I never thought I was going to make a living as an actress. I fell in love with and didn’t want to, but it dragged me kicking and screaming. I’ve seen a lot of people do what they want to do, but were unhappy. I could handle poverty better than I could handle being dead on the inside.
DD: Naturi, did you think you’d be an actress?
NN: I kind of had this dream since I was five or six that I would be a singer and an actress. I expected that I was going to be a star. I expected, well, I hoped I would be doing something that could change the way someone feels. I wanted, through singing and acting, to change the emotions of people, change their perspective. I really did. I genuinely thought that. I listened to Whitney (Houston) and Aretha (Franklin). I watched people who did interviews very well. I watched Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got To Do With It. I was always planning to be here. It didn’t work out perfectly, but I genuinely believed this was something I was supposed to be doing. I feel blessed.