Keith Powers previews SIN CITY SAINTS and FAKING IT S2b, plus what comes next for him!
If you’ve been watching the hilarious SIN CITY SAINTS on Yahoo Screen, starring Andrew Santino and Malin Akerman, you will recognize Keith Powers as LaDarius Pope, the Saints’ rookie point guard. Or maybe you’ve been watching MTV’s FAKING IT, and recognize Keith as Theo, whose secret double life was exposed towards the end of Season 2A. I was lucky enough to spend some time chatting with Keith about both shows and what comes next for the two, in addition to what’s coming next for him (hint: he’s got a big summer movie and a role in a HIGHLY anticipated TV prequel)! Check it out!
I really love that you’re doing everything – breaking out and doing comedy with SIN CITY SAINTS, some drama/dramedy with FAKING IT, drama with STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON – I wondered – do you actively look for a specific type of role, or do you gravitate towards what writing jumps off the page?
Right now, since I’m still coming up, and I”m still young and doing it, it’s really about booking it. It’s about whatever I audition for! For the most part, my agents know exactly what roles to submit me for, you know what I mean? So they kind of have more control over that, but we talk about it, and we’re picking rolls that compliment my type or who I am, outside of the acting world, and me seeing that in whatever character I’m going out for! I like to be more versatile, more balanced. I want to be able to touch every world and show range.
Let’s talk a little bit about SIN CITY SAINTS, over on Yahoo Screen. Tell me about your role in the show, what the show itself is?
SIN CITY SAINTS is about the [guy] named Jake Tullus (Andrew Santino); he buys an NBA expansion team. He’s an internet billionaire, but he doesn’t know what it takes to run a basketball team. He’s way in over his head, and wants to buy the team because he wants to, and it just happens to be in Las Vegas [laughs]. My character is a rookie superstar point guard. You get see exactly how he really acts, when you meet him in the show. My character seems like this cool, rock star, but in the show, he’s a total opposite, as far as his personality. I think that makes the show funnier because it’s not what you expected; it’s really unpredictable.
Is it difficult to get through scene with this really funny cast?
Oh my goodness [laughs]! There is so much personality sometimes, after a certain number of takes, people start getting wacky and goofy. Everybody has so much personality. Our chemistry was so on fire with the cast that sometimes a lot of us really got off topic, we’ll be talking to each other, and laughing, laughing in scenes. It was hilarious and at the same time, it was so fun. I’m so glad to have a cast like that.
Was there a lot of improv; was that encouraged?
Our writers were very free, and they always asked for input. One of our writers would ask questions of us, how we would do certain scenes. That’s what I love about out show. Me personally, I kind of stuck to the script, because I’m still getting better at improv. I was more observant, paying attention to other comedians, see their improv to make myself better. You know what I mean? There was a lot of improv-ing going on! I was sticking to the script – let me let the heavyweights do it, and add it to my arsenal. I really learned by doing it, seeing it right in front of my face. Doing a lot of improv, and that’s what made it also fun!
Have talks happened about a Season 2 on Yahoo?
All of the 8 episodes [are out there]; we’re still waiting to hear about a Season 2, but I think that with a cast like we got, you don’t just get that cast, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Season 2 for SIN CITY SAINTS, but I think it’s too early to tell. Immediately, our cast and the chemistry is so there, and it’s such a great cast, why not have another one, and tell the second half of the story! We’ll have to see.
Speaking of a second season – FAKING IT seems to have been embraced by so many fans – have you been getting a lot of feedback about the storylines that we’ve seen play out?
Yeah, I get a lot of feedback! I’ll walk around The Grove, and a lot of young kids really gravitate towards Theo. They put two and two together, they find out I’m a model and then it’s like “wait you’re Theo and a model?” [laughs]. There’s a lot of good feedback; people really love the show. Always get a lot of good feedback for FAKING IT. The fans love that show. The feedback from that is pretty great.
It’s hard – you don’t want to give anything away, but is there something you can tease about what we’ll see when the show DOES come back?
You’ll see way more drama! New characters, a bunch of new characters, and just for my character, you’ll see him change because his objective is changing. You’ll see a more emotional, in love Theo. He’s way more expressive about his love, and it might annoy you, because it’s not the more sarcastic, charismatic Theo [laughs]. I’m still him but like he has a whole different objective, so you see a whole different side of Theo, because it’s like, oh snap, a different side.
In a show like FAKING IT, with the storylines that they cover – do you have to do research in your role? Did you research what intersex is or learn about what a person like Bailey’s Lauren would go through?
I didn’t have to, but I did watch a couple videos – it’s a very touchy subject, and I love how Carter (Covington), our showrunner, added that into the show. There are kids out there really dealing with that. And they probably thing “Oh I’m not normal!” Nobody wants to be normal; I think our show is great for touching a subject for kids like that, with, I don’t want to call it a disorder! I just thought that was very cool of Carter. There are things that kids do every day – it makes you fall in love with the show more, because they got something that you can watch and relate to. That’s what I love about the show as well. There’s all different kinds of people. That’s why I think there are so many different fans, as well.
You can look at another show, and be all “yeah there’s something for everybody if you really try” but FAKING IT truly has a storyline for everyone to relate to – gender issues, sexuality, love, jobs, drama – but it doesn’t feel like anyone’s preaching to fans.
What else do you have coming up – I know STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is coming this summer. Did you grow up knowing about Dre and N.W.A.?
I knew a lot about it, because my dad was an N.W.A. fan, or he IS a big N.W.A. fan – he collected everything, he has all their pictures. That’s what I grew up on, I grew up on West Coast hip hop. I grew up on Dr Dre – that’s what I know. My earliest memories growing up is about the West Coast rap, and Dr Dre, so it exciting to do. Working on it was one of the best films in the world. It was amazing to be on that set and get to be a part of that history. Also, something else, new that’s also coming for me, I did a guest star in the pilot, the first episode for FEAR THE WALKING DEAD. It’s THE WALKING DEAD companion series; it’s actually like the prequel to WALKING DEAD. I guest star in the first episode; the role was very strong, and I think that’s going to be a very good one!
What I love about what they do with THE WALKING DEAD and what it sounds like they’re doing in the prequel – every little part is so fleshed out, you don’t want to lose anybody.
That’s what I love about shows like that. Because the fan base is so big and it’s such an amazing show. If you could get a strong guest star, and I got a guest star in the pilot. My character is supposed to be a really important character to the episode; a lot of people are going to watch that one episode, all of THE WALKING DEAD fans, because this will be the new thing. People will flock to it!