Sinqua Walls previews the fallout of POWER’s latest episode
Starz’ latest hard hitting drama POWER aired episode 4 Saturday night (“Who Are You?”) with reveals that promise an even more emotional and dramatic rest of the season. One man dealing with the aftermath is Sinqua Wall’s Shawn, having gotten more than little eyeful of Naturi Naughton’s Tasha. To celebrate the continuing tension of the show, Sinqua spent some time chatting with me about why POWER was right for him, where the already-renewed-for-season-two drama goes next (“people gotta die”), and what he spends time watching when he’s not on set!
Congrats on the success so far!
Thank you! It’s a really great opportunity.
It has to be a good feeling to know that you’re not done yet. You get to have some time with the character. So many shows these days get maybe one or 2 episodes to impress, and to already know that season 2 is coming could be a sigh of relief!
Absolutely! For me, it allows me to really get more in depth with my character study. The first season, you’re discovering someone. Just trying to merge your thoughts with the writers’ thoughts; really just meeting the character. You don’t get as much time to focus on the intricacies – the back story, where they came from. Knowing season 2 is upon us, I can do a lot more work during the hiatus know to expand what we’ve seen already from Shawn and expand into Season 2 even further.
Talk a little about Shawn – what was it about him that drew you in? Was it “I have to play this guy” after reading the character? What was the process?
It was an interesting process. First off, I read the script and I loved the script. The first episode was probably one of the best scripts I had ever read. I wouldn’t even call it a pilot script since they were already given a season order! It was one of the best first draft, episodes I had ever read, even reading it, the beginning process, even if I don’t get an opportunity to play Shawn, I’m going to watch this show, because it was that good. I was already a fan of the writing and a fan of the material – it flowed so effortlessly. POWER was one of those shows that everyone was talking about in the industry. All of the agents knew about it, the casting directors knew about it. It was an industry show that had started casting; the bug was in my ear from the beginning. They have this role, you should play this role. I had multiple conversations with people who were like, they’re casting POWER; you should play this particular character. I always kind of take it, like, ok, cool, if it comes to fruition, that would be great. You can’t really put your eggs in any particular basket until they are valid; you just roll with it. I ended up having a conversation with Courtney (Kemp Agboh) about the script; reading the role of Shawn, and i remember they were like, okay, Shawn’s materials – there was a lot of subtleties of what we already se in the season. We read an additional scene that wasn’t necessarily for who Shawn was, but was to show my emotional range. So after that, I guess they knew that I was the guy. It was one those serendipitous things that flowed dry effortlessly from start to finish! I saw all that, and it all happened within a week and a half because they were trying to get somebody [laughs].
You mention it being on the industry radar, but what I’ve noticed about the show is that it seems to have universal social appeal, too. People are tweeting about it all the time! Everyone is excited about it!
It’s funny! The most surprising thing to me so far is how much fellow actors respect the show when they watch it. That speaks volumes to the work that is being done. Not just from the actor’s perspective, but from the writing perspective, the visual perspective. The directors, the DPs, the gaffers. I think everyone came together with a lot of talent. Even if you like one element of the show, you like so any of the elements. I’ve been really fortunate to hear that because people are really receptive to the work as a whole.
Talk a bit about what we’ll see this week and beyond?
I think the best way – Shawn definitely matures in [Episode 4]. We had our introduction to Shawn in a subtle way. We know that he’s a pivotal character to the storyline. Ghost, Tasha, Tommy, the whole business as a whole. He’s just been thrust into this new environment. This is a world that’s very, very new to him. I think a lot of the other characters that are involved around his circumstance – they grew up in that space; they grew up in the drug business, they grew up in the street life. Shawn, his backstory was a little different. He had the basketball experience so he was kid of protected from the dangerous things in the street life, until his injury. He had to basically find a new job, and the only job he could really go to was Ghost, his uncle, his dad’s daily business. What we see from Shawn now is just kind of learning the world that he never knew existed. I think that he’s also learning facts about people that he never knew before. He never knew Ghost and Tasha as people that were really heavily infused in the business. I think he always saw Tommy as someone that had that flicker of danger, but I do’t think he was really aware of how deep it went. Now, he is figuring out, and definitely in episode 4, it’s kind of like that graduation from middle school to high school for Shawn.
What happens now?
He honestly gets more responsibility. In the business that they’re in – you watch shows like THE WIRE, like THE SOPRANOS – responsibility is everything. That’s the difference between life and death. In that business, when you’re in the drug game, and you’re dealing major weight, as they say, part of the game is kill or be killed. That’s an occupational hazard; “he didn’t perform today so we gotta let him go” and we kill him. With that, wanting to be more a part of that world, he starts getting more responsibility. That’s the biggest thing. He’s fast tracked now because he’s going to quickly become a major player in the syndicate.
What else will we see?
For the show, or specifically for Shawn?
Both, either, everything you can tell me!
[laughs] For the show, you’re going to continue to see more killing [laughs]. People gotta die, so we killin em! [laughs]. You’re going to definitely see a stronger relationship grow between Ghost and Shawn; a stronger relationship between Ghost and Tasha – that is one of those ones that fans really feel interested in – they get to see kind of behind this velvet curtain of what happens and how these relationships form. Tasha and shawn’s relationship is starting to exist in that gray zone; it’s not black and white. The parallels that Angela and Ghost really exist in this gray world. What do you do when you have this true connection and relationship. It’s aways easy to say what happens when this is good or this is bad, but what happens in that space that you can’t really define? We’re going to see I think the love relationships between all the majors and pivotal characters expand by the end of the season. I think tone of the biggest things is because it’s such a rapid paced business, the drug business is very awe inspiring. It’s always changing. Whoever was number one today is not going to be number one tomorrow. Not just for Shawn – you see it for Tommy, you see it for Ghost, you see it for Tasha. Even from Angela. You see these characters start to be fast-tracked and grow exponentially in their awareness and how they kind of handle business in this drug gang, by the end of episode 8.
I can’t wait to see what happens next. It’s one of those shows where I want a new episode right now! I can’t wait a week!
What I’m thankful for is that Starz is behind it and they support it so much. They knew, they believed in this from day one. It’s like, the fact that people loved it from episode 1, which you’re introducing so many characters, this new world. There’s a lot more than the audience can really take in in the first episode. What I was thankful for, in what I’ve been watching – our numbers grow every episode. We get bigger with every episode, and that’s only going to continue because the episodes get more intense and more jaw-dropping as the season goes along!
What else do you have besides POWER going on right now?
I have a movie coming out in September. I think it’s September 26. It’s called BELIEVE ME. It’s me, Alex Russell, Miles Fisher, Max Adler, Zachary Knighton, Johanna Braddy, Nick Offerman, and Christopher McDonald. The four of us – me, Miles, Max, and Alex – we’re four college friends – one of our friends loses money for college so we get the idea to start a fake non profit organization. We travel around as Christian televangelists, preaching the word and receiving donations, until we get caught [laughs].
What a different world than the world of POWER!
It was a lot more laughing! There’s definitely a parallel between my character Tyler and Alex Russell’s character Sam. It’s that moral balance – it’s so funny because the theme of faith and what you believe in is subtly infused in our story. It’s in a way that I think isn’t oppressive. When you do things, even grandiose movies that you watch like CONSTANTINE and movies like that, they infuse those messages that ale you think, as opposed to trying to inform your decision. That’s what I love about the script – our character, mine and Alex’s, we definitely go a different direction in the balance between good and evil, for all other purposes. My character is like, we shouldn’t do this guys. But he gets suckered in, and Alex’s character is like, hey man, if we weren’t doing it, somebody else would be! We go into this whole process. It’s Ferris Bueller meets Ocean’s Eleven. It’s a good little mix. You get the comedy, there’s a lesson to be learned at the end, and we learn it the hard way, I’ll say! [laughs]
Do you watch TV? DO you have favorite shows?
Oh absolutely! I think my tastes of changed. I watch everything! I just finished watching DEXTER on Netflix. That’s one of my favorite shows. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen on TV; it probably is one of the best shows that’s ever been on TV. I thought that their use of the inner monologue for the character was so well done. I loved that we were infused in his thoughts, without breaking the third wall. We thought that we were assessing people or vetting people the way DEXTER would. To this day, ENTOURAGE is one of my favorite shows; just went back and watched that. SCANDAL, RAY DONOVAN, SHAMELESS, a lot! [laughs]
I’m the same way – it’s like, here are the two I don’t watch; I watch everything else!
[laughs] I tell people – whatever is on Showtime, and whatever is on HBO, I’m watching it! AMC, I’m watching it! There are some other favorites. Some shows I’ll watch for my friends – TEEN WOLF, I stills watch it because my friends are on it and I want to support them. Another one of my friends, she has her own show, Adelaide (Kane) REIGN, so I’ll watch that. I want to support them! The shows that I mentioned, I’ll go back and watch episodes. I ran into Jon Voight – he had no idea; obviously, he’s been in the business for years, so to have a career like that would be great. But because of his character on RAY DONOVAN, I’m literally like, yo, man, hey, you are just doing great work! He’s just like, oh I appreciate that. It’s like, I’M TALKING TO JON VOIGHT RIGHT NOW! [laughs]. It was funny – he’s the nicest guy, so to get that moment of “Oh my gosh, that’s somebody that I look up to” – you have that conversation and you realize that people are human at the end of the day. He was so gracious. He watched POWER, and he was telling me how much he loved POWER. The fact that i’m even on your radar man is amazing!
POWER airs Saturday nights on Starz and is available for catching up On Demand!