Omari Hardwick Details Dialing Into His Ugly Flaws For 'Spell' Horror Film

From personal superstitions to what he's learned from veteran co-star Loretta Devine, the actor breaks it down.

Omari Hardwick is adding "star in a thriller film" to his career accomplishments. After six seasons of playing the fan-favorite James "Ghost" St. Patrick on Starz's hit series Power, he's reemerging onto the big screen as Marquis T. Woods in Paramount's new flick, Spell. His character, an accomplished lawyer, takes his family on a trip to his hometown of Appalachia to attend his father's funeral. After his plane crashes in the midst of a storm, Woods wakes up wounded in a Hoodoo witch's lair and tries to escape Ms. Eloise (Loretta Devine) torturous "healing" to rescue his family before they are sacrificed in a dark magic ritual.

While sitting down with the movie's director Mark Tonderai (House at the End of the Street, Hush), it didn't take much convincing for Hardwick to make a decision around being involved with the project. In fact, it was what Tonderai said about his past onscreen roles that sealed the deal.

"He really, he really lit a fire under me. He said, 'They're all great. They're all good. You've done your part. But I don't know if you've really, really shown all that's in you,'" Hardwick shared with correspondent Jazzie Belle in a sit-down interview with VIBE. "He said, 'Yeah, you've shown so many different colors as an ex-football player, but there's just this layer to you that when I look at your eyes. I see a guy that can really go to a very, very broken, broken vulnerable place, and we haven't seen it.' And I want to take it upon myself to be the director to get that out of you.' And when he said that, that's what did it for me."

In the challenging development of his character, Hardwick admitted he had to dig deep into the unpretty parts of himself to authentically deliver his role and gave the same advice to a younger family member looking to start his career as an actor. "I said, 'I need you to go back into it, and quietly do it...You'll keep that coolness going, but you'll find that swagger, even more, when you get really, really cozy with the stuff you don't like about you.'

"That's what had to happen in this movie. I got right with stuff that I was not really cool with over the years...When I got the role, we didn't know COVID would be here. But now that we're here, I'm glad that I thought, 'Okay, Omari, you got to go real broken. You got to go real ugly.' And so that process was not very easy for me, because unlike [my] 20-year-old cousin, I'm so far from that. I've tried to get away from everything ugly about me, but I had to go so deep back into it."

Watch the full video interview above and see a couple of written highlights below. Spell is now available on premium video-on-demand platforms and screening in select theaters.

On what made him gravitate toward this movie genre:

Definitely the bucket list check-off of trying to get to the point in my career where I can say I've done damn near every genre, if not every genre, so this definitely was a check for that. I didn't want to get down with just horror. I knew that feeling of what every comedian made us laugh about, and saying, "When we look at the scary movie the black people gone in five minutes!" I knew what that felt like and I didn't necessarily (laughs) want to become that in the world. I think at this point in my career, you know, I don't think I would have gotten the script where I'd be taken off the board that quick if it was just horror. But when you add the psychological thriller to the horror, then I think it's the right sort of combination of two for me to say yes to....for me to say yes to.

On lessons learned while working with Loretta Devine:

I would say the constant attention to detail. I think the elder statesman and the elder stateswomen of our industry...they tend to be so detailed-oriented because they had to be. And they didn't have access to as many things as we do. So I looked at her in a way of, "Am I in method? Yeah, I'm in method." She was constantly studying, and it kind of makes you go like, "I guess I should study."

The [one] scene is like, I don't know, like six hours of just her leaning over and telling me about voodoo and hoodoo and what it all means. And yet, in between takes she's like grabbing her script. So there were times I would just stare at her like, "Wow, it's the detail." But Snoop Dogg once said he wants to be the weakest in a room. And he said, "I'm real strong." So to know you're real strong, but yet you want to be the weakest in the room, that's what it felt like being around Loretta. Like man, I thought I worked hard.

On whether he ever believed in any superstitions:

Being an athlete, for me, it's like, I believe in, once you win, you can't change much of what you were wearing when you won. There are definitely moments where I never washed my socks for a long time because we were winning. I believe in that stuff, man. And that's swampy. You talking football, basketball, I mean, baseball, I played in those, all three of those sports I played, all in high school. So there were moments where definitely you could see teammates stopping by my locker and doing a double-take like, "Damn, O." There's definitely that. (laughs)

Interview's music bed provided by Gus.

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‘Chappelle’s Show’ Removed From Netflix At Dave Chappelle’s Request

Chappelle’s Show is no longer streaming on Netflix, at the request of Dave Chappelle. The comedian reached out to the company to ask them to remove the series, for which he received no residuals, and they quickly complied.

On Tuesday (Nov. 24), Chappelle’s posted an Instagram video from a recent stand-up show, called Unforgiven, where he further explained his reasoning for not wanting the Viacom/CBS-owned show to stream on Netflix. “[ViacomCBS] didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract,” he explained of the sketch comedy show. “But is that right? I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal ‘cause I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn’t think so either.

“That’s why I like working for Netflix,” he continued. “I like working for Netflix because when all those bad things happened to me, that company didn’t even exist. And when I found out they were streaming Chappelle’s Show, I was furious. How could they not– how could they not know? So you know what I did? I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better.”

Episodes of Chapelle's Show had been streaming on Netflix for about a month. While the showw has been wiped from the streaming outlet, episodes remain on Comedy Central, CBS All Access, and HBO Max.

Watch Chappelle’s full clip below.

 

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50 Cent, Joy Bryant, Nicholas Pinnock Talk New Season Of ABC's 'For Life'

Months after its debut, ABC's For Life has returned for a new season. Based on the true story of Isaac Wright Jr., a former-inmate-turned-lawyer, the drama series' protagonist, Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock), fights for his freedom and safety in and out of the courtroom while fighting for that of his fellow inmates. As Wallace inches closer to finding substantial evidence to exonerate himself, he reconnects with his ex-wife Marie (Joy Bryant) and pregnant teenage daughter Jasmine (Tyla Harris).

"When I met with Issac, I almost couldn't believe what he was saying to me. He went to jail, became a prison rep, came back created a case law through other people's cases, and worked his way out of jail?" said Curtis "50" Cent" Jackson in a recent interview with VIBE correspondent Jazzie Belle. "You know more people that saw things not going well [in prison] and said I'll take a bad situation before I take the worst situation and cop-out because they know the system will just wash them up and that will be the end of it."

The first season of For Life essentially covers the first 9 years of Wright's experience while in jail. This season, topics like Black Lives Matter and social justice are addressed and Wallace finally reenters society. "There are 5 different Aarons I'm playing," shared British actor Nicholas Pinnock. "One is Aaron who is the prison rep. One is Aaron who is the father and husband to Marie and Jas(mine). One is Aaron with the prison warden and his relationship with her. Another one is Aaron just as an ordinary prisoner. And then you have Aaron the lawyer...and then in Season 2, we have a sixth layer. There's Aaron on the outside."

An unspoken source of strength lies in Marie who has supported and served as a "ride or die" figure in the first season. When asked about addressing those who don't agree with her prior decision to move on to Wallace's friend, Bryant pointed out her character's humanness. "Marie had to make some hard choices when Aaron was sent away. They may not be things that people agree with. 'Oh, she's with his best friend' or whatever, but she was left holding the bag, literally," she pointed out. "Things aren't always so black and white. People have to make decisions based on where they are and what they feel they need to do at the time and everyone can have whatever opinion they want."

Watch VIBE's full interview with Bryant, Pinnock, and Jackson, who also co-executive produces the show. New episodes of For Life premieres Wednesdays at 10 pm ET on ABC.

Interview's music bed provided by Gus.

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‘Black Panther’ Sequel Will Reportedly Begin Filming In Atlanta Next Year

Filming on the highly anticipated sequel to Black Panther is set to begin next summer. Marvel Studios will start shooting the Ryan Coogler-directed sequel in July 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“The series are the priority, “ a source told THR of Marvel’s film strategy going into next year. “Ramping them up takes a lot of focus. The movie machinery is well established.”

The shoot will last at least six months. Princess Shuri, the character played by Letitia Wright, who plays King T’Challa's sister Princess Shuri, could take on an expanded role given the death of Chadwick Boseman.

Narcos: Mexico actor Tenoch Huerta will reportedly join the cast, while Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett and Windsor Duke are also expected to return for the second installment of the Marvel film.

In September, Black Panther’s executive producer Victoria Alonso denied rumors that Boseman would appear in the film via CGI technology. “There's only one Chadwick, and he's not with us,” Alonso said. “Our king, unfortunately, has died in real life, not just in fiction, and we are taking a little time to see how we return to the story and what we do to honor this chapter of what has happened to us that was so unexpected, so painful, so terrible, in reality.”

Boseman, 43, passed away from colon cancer in August.

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