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Power Book II: Ghost Is Ending—But Woody McClain Is Just Getting Started


McClain has action-hero aspirations.

The M88 actor who breathed life into Cane Tejada and Bobby Brown is ready to unleash his many talents on the music, film, and publishing worlds

UpRising: Power Book II: Ghost is coming to an end. How does it feel to say goodbye after four seasons of playing Lorenzo “Cane” Tejada Jr.?

Woody McClain: It's bittersweet. For four years, you grow and love your castmates, people you're talking to almost every day—especially my [on-screen] siblings, LaToya [Tonodeo] and Lovell [Adams-Gray]. My time on Power helped me appreciate the crew behind the scenes, the people who don't get a lot of shine that put the pieces together for it to be successful. Everybody's always like, “What does Kane got on? What Monet got on.” Frank [L. Fleming], our wardrobe guy, created that entire look for these characters. I wish there was an award I could create and give it to them.

Shout out to our producers, to our creator Courtney Kemp, and 50 Cent, Mark Canton, Dorothy Canton. I love those guys. They will forever be a piece of me. So it's bittersweet for it to end, but it's the right time. They ended it perfectly.

With the end of that chapter, it’s the perfect time to dive into another passion of yours: music production. How would you describe your musical sound? 

Right now, I'm crafting my sound and learning what I think is sonically pleasing. I would describe [my sound] as things you would never see together—and it's fire. It feels good. Like, “I don't know how he put this with that, but it's beautiful.” I want to [connect] my acting side to the music side. Maybe [me and] SZA produce a record together, but we [also] have a short film where it's just straight acting [and] the music is the backdrop, the score. I wanna do that with different artists, and we can see that artist in a different light. Maybe I do a song with Doja Cat—she’s so amazing—and a short film in a hospital. We've never seen Doja Cat like that, but it'll be amazing because Doja Cat is such an artist. She's one of my favorites right now.

Speaking of SZA, you made a cameo in her “Snooze” video. How did that come about?

I went to SZA’s concert in New York and I was able to meet her backstage. She's so, so amazing. So beautiful. Soon as she saw me, she was like, “You're so hard to find! You gotta do my ‘Snooze’ video.” That was a very fun opportunity. Great company to be in.

Around the same time, you signed a publishing deal for a comic book series called The Brotherhood, which centers a fictional spy organization that protects Black Americans. What inspired you to create that?

I went to the theater to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and as I'm watching it, I’m seeing how Quentin Tarantino was able to reimagine that story [of actress Shannon Tate’s murder] and tell it from a different perspective. I didn't know that was possible. My brain started going. That's where The Brotherhood was born. In Kingsman, I loved the tailor shop. Being in Atlanta, all the OGs are like, “Pull up to the cigar lounge.” I'm like, this feels like it would be The Brotherhood's headquarters. That's where the story started crafting.

Did you grow up collecting comic books? 

My aunt would send me Archie comics every summer; I ended up with over a hundred. After a while, I stopped reading them and was just collecting them for the covers. 

When you were developing The Brotherhood, did you find that there were a lot of other Black creators and Black storylines and perspectives in that space?

I didn't know how many of us were actually in that comic book space; I’m still learning. I see a lot of Black creators on TikTok talking about their comics. I read this comic Killadelphia by Rodney Barnes. Learning about different authors is great. 

Could you ever envision it expanding beyond the pages of a comic book? 

It's possible. I wouldn't want to force the issue. Whatever naturally happens—an anime series, dolls, action figures. But it would be dope to see it as a feature film. I'm such a huge fan of Ocean's Eleven and ensemble casts. That's why The New Edition Story will always be so close to me; it was a great ensemble cast. We went through the trenches together. With The Brotherhood, I really want my lead, Alton, to find brothers as young, cool, and fly as him, that stand for saving humanity. I want to bring that to the big screen one day as a feature film. I would love that.

It all starts with a dream. Do you have a wish-list acting role you’d like to take on next? 

An action role. I've always been an action fan, growing up watching Wesley Snipes killing it as Blade [and in] Demolition Man. I gotta do it. Everything I've been doing is pushing me towards action: I’m in the gym every morning, treating my body better, drinking more water, no sugar, no alcohol. I've always been a fan of helping others. I would love to portray that on the big screen.

Catch Woody McClain in the final season of Power Book II: Ghost, now streaming on Starz.


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