Somehow I missed this interview!
THE ROGUE MAGAZINE – You may be familiar with Aldis Hodge from his five seasons on the TV show Leverage, or you may have caught him on the big screen in any myriad of movies like The East and most recently Straight Outta Compton, portraying MC Ren. In 2016, you can catch him in WGN’s new series Underground. Hodge gives us the skinny on both projects.
Tell us about your new show Underground.
AH: Underground, which is set in the 1850’s, tells the story of a group of enslaved people in Georgia who revolt against slavery and chase the legend of the Underground railroad to gain freedom.
The subject matter is intense in regards to the slavery aspect, but I’m sure it’s about much more…tell us more about its perspective.
AH: It’s a story that engages and questions the “human condition” i/e how we treat one another based on how we value ourselves. It also serves as a great platform to expose the true prominence of The enslaved Americans of this nation. It displays their true strength, courage, and heart as opposed to viewing them from a point of victimization as we often see with slave-narratives. They fight back with vigor. It’s an all out rebellion – we go to WAR!!!
How did you prepare for your role as MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton? The fact that your role is based on a real person, did that change your regular approach to the character?
AH: I prepared mostly by listening to their music. Since my role was based on a real person, that helped immensely because there wasn’t much I had to figure out. I could simply pick up the phone and go straight to the source.
“My number one priority was to make Ren happy. After that it was about honoring the fans with a solid performance and giving the character a sense of honesty that people don’t often see.”
How was it meeting the real Ren, did he give you much guidance? Did he approve of the direction you took with the role?