The newest story in the ‘Power’ universe, ‘Power Book IV: Force’, is finally here and carries forward the story of the ultra violent drug dealer Tommy Egan as he leaves New York and heads to Chicago to create more chaos.
The first ever show in the long-running line-up was ‘Power’, which was created by Courtney A Kemp and ran from 2014 until 2020 for six seasons. It famously starred ‘In Da Club’ rapper Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson — also a co-creator — as Kanan Stark, and the show’s immense popularity led to three spin-offs being created.
The newest one, out now on Starzplay, sees Joseph Sikora reprise his ‘Power’ role as Egan, and according to executive producer 50 Cent it’s the show’s graphic nature that has kept it relevant.
“The ‘Power’ franchise... it’s exciting, it’s graphic, it’s in your face sometimes,” 50 Cent said in a roundtable interview with Gulf News. “It can walk the line of what people will say was a little more edgier than they thought it was. That’s describing 50 Cent — that’s who I am, so I’m proper representation of the project at the same time. It’s not finding a new audience, it’s finding my core audience.”
The spin-off comes after ‘Power Book II: Ghost’ and ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’, all of which 50 Cent executive produced and he isn’t too shy about stating his hand in a show that so many people have loved and followed.
“There was never a cohesive marketing campaign for the show. Every season, we were using a different PR team. The only thing that was consistent with it was me talking about the show, and me being in full on support of it. So this is why when you think ‘Power’, you think 50 Cent. And it’s because it was a pet project, a passion project,” he said.
Find out more about the ‘Power Book IV: Force’ from two of the actors — Tommy Flanagan who plays Walter Flynn and Gabrielle Ryan as Gloria.
Meet the stars of ‘Power Book IV: Force’
Scottish actor Tommy Flanagan enters the ‘Power’ universe to play Walter Flynn, the head of the Irish crime family in Chicago. Flanagan has starred in various projects over the years, such as Hollywood movies ‘Face/Off’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’. However, it was his role in the crime drama ‘Sons of Anarchy’ that shot him to mainstream fame.
In the past, Flanagan has been candid about the facial scars he sustained in a knife attack over two decades ago, and how they’ve helped him sustain a stereotypical bad boy image. In an interview with Gulf News, Flanagan talks about relishing being the villain.
In your career, you’ve played roles that are rough around the edges. How do your older roles compare to your new one, Walter Flynn?
He’s just a lovely fella. He’s just a well-dressed hoodlum, a very wealthy well-dressed crazy guy. He’s a fun character to play.
Tell me a bit more about the role and how it fits into the ‘Power’ franchise.
Well, Tommy Egan comes to Chicago, which is Walter’s town and high jinks and few shenanigans go on. I’m not too happy about that because Tommy Egan isn’t exactly a subtle character. So he comes barrelling into Chicago and we kinda clash heads.
What was it like working with 50 Cent? Did you interact with him much on the show?
Most of the show was in a bubble because of COVID... 50 popped in a couple of times, but not as much as I’d have like [for] obvious reasons. But yeah, I FaceTimed with him a couple of times with Joseph. [He’s] very cool.
Do you think people enjoy the series format more in terms of seeing a storyline stretched out over a long period of time?
Seems to be that way doesn’t it? The whole streaming thing is taken over. The story we have is pretty fantastic so I’m sure people want to tune in and follow this little journey.
Yeah, the series has done well with audiences. What do you think draws people to a show like ‘Power’?
It’s the truth behind some of the storylines and it’s kind of based in some sort of reality or someone’s life. The characters are so engaging... like Tommy Egan’s character. He’s ruthless and deadly and all that stuff, but there’s something so [expletive] lovable about the guy.
You’ve played the bad guy pretty consistently over the years? What draws you to such roles?
Money! [Laughs] It’s fun for me to play those kinds of roles... I’ve kind of experienced a few things in my life... it’s very interesting to play some characters that may have came across in the past and then put them up there on the screen.
One of the shows that has been a defining moment in your career has been ‘Sons of Anarchy’. What are some of your biggest memories from that time?
Biggest memory from ‘Sons of Anarchy’ is getting up at 5am in the morning, jumping on my bike and riding to whatever location through California — see the sun rise and finish your night, and then ride by bike home in the evenings with the boys, seeing the sun going down. That’s kind of my favourite memories... the off-screen stuff was a lot of fun. I’ve still got a lot of friends from that show.
British actress Gabrielle Ryan can’t quite believe her luck. She has gone from fan of the ‘Power’ series to being one of the main characters in the spin-off.
The actress, who has made a name for herself in comedy shows such as ‘Portia’ and Netflix series ‘Bonding’, ventures into darker territory with ‘Power Book IV: Force’ as she plays Gloria, a razor-sharp former Marine who works as a cook in a bar. She meets Tommy Egan and maybe some sparks fly between them.
What drew you to the ‘Power’ universe?
I was a huge fan of ‘Power’ initially. I watched all six seasons. What 50 Cent and Connie Kemp [producer by Courtney A Kemp] created was just a cultural phenomenon. I was desperate to be on the original series. And I was always bugging my agent about getting an audition. That never happened and thank God it didn’t happen. Because now I’m on the Tommy spin-off and Tommy was always my favourite character.
What can you tell me about your role as Gloria?
So Gloria is definitely an amazing character to play. I think it would be fair to say that Gloria and Tommy become very fast friends. When we first meet Gloria, she’s running her bar in Chicago. She has dreams of owning her own restaurant. She’s Jamaican American [and] that’s been a dream of hers. She has an on-off boyfriend, Vic, and when we meet her she’s off with him. But the complicated part of the relationship is that the Flynn family, which is Vic’s family, own the bar that she works in... But yeah, Gloria was so awesome to play. She’s way cooler than I am.
How did it feel entering such a well-known franchise?
It was so exciting. I cannot tell you... the audition process was seven weeks so the anticipation was built up so heavily. And then I chemistry tested with Joseph — it was surreal being on the chemistry test... It didn’t feel pressure because I just felt like I knew the world so well. And I was such a big fan of Tommy that it was an honour to be involved in such a huge franchise.
Did you get to interact with 50 Cent and how do you feel about his vision for the show?
So 50 Cent, I tell him often — I’m like, ‘You changed my life’. I heard that he was very instrumental in the casting process, which is just so flattering to hear. We actually had a cast dinner quite early on. He came to visit us really early on on set and it happened to be my birthday. So I felt like 50 Cent was literally throwing me a birthday party. So no birthday after that is ever going to compete. He’s just such a lovely person and he’s so giving with advice... He’s so inspirational... it’s just wild that I get to call 50 Cent my boss.
You’ve done some comedy in the past. Is there a particular genre that you feel you thrive in?
What’s quite funny about the comedy stuff that I’ve done is I never thought I was funny. And then when I came to America they found me really funny... I think it’s because I didn’t really understand the American humour at first. So I was just saying it very straight, like how I would as a Brit... I love drama, I love comedy. I love being challenged and expanding as an actor.
Don’t miss it!
‘Power Book IV: Force’ is currently streaming on Starzplay.