In our Q&A series Last Call, we get to the bottom of everything with some of our favorite celebs – from the last time they were starstruck to the last song they listened to. This week, “Power Book II: Ghost” star Woody McClain takes our call.
Woody McClain knows how to be in the right place at the right time. From life-changing encounters with Kevin Hart to a groundbreaking biopic role that helped put him on the map, the actor, dancer, and creator has earned opportunities that some can only dream of. McClain admits POPSUGAR that his career so far has been an absolutely “crazy journey” — “a lightning-in-a-bottle situation.”
McClain was just making his way into the entertainment industry in 2017. After moving to Los Angeles for his stint as a backup dancer about two years earlier, he gained popularity for posting comedy skits on social media, including viral clips that featured Hart’s standup routines performed. . In fact, they went so viral that he teamed up with the comedian’s Laugh Out Loud Network. But the 33-year-old McClain’s real big break came playing R&B icon Bobby Brown in BET’s “The New Edition Story.” “It all started with that. Without it, I’d probably still be dancing right now,” he shares, referring to his early days backing up stars like Chris Brown and Ginuwine.
“He was like, ‘Don’t back down from that — embrace it. Until you embrace it, you can’t move on.'”
Initially, McClain’s acknowledgment was so tied to his portrayal of Brown. Thankfully, some wise words from a famous friend helped him embrace that aspect of an impactful actor.
“I remember I was at Jamie Foxx’s house, and I was just in the corner. Everyone kept saying, ‘Bobby. Bobby.’ I hear that a million and a billion times. But I remember Jamie coming up to me,” McClain recalls. “He was like, ‘I noticed every time someone says that, you kind of dim your lights. You can not do that. You have to understand, my first role I played Wanda in ‘In Living Color’. So people are in the club and they say, ‘Hey, yo, you that B. You that B, right?’ … You have to understand that you played one of the coolest cats to ever do it in the R&B game. You played one of the coolest bad guys ever.'”
McClain continues, “He was like, ‘Don’t shy away from that – embrace it. Until you embrace it, you can’t go on… You’re getting more stuff. There’s more stuff coming. You’re going to be great.'”
Since then, McClain says he was able to accept that part of his journey, just as Foxx instructed. “Jamie is such a great guy, man. Prayers for Jamie too,” he added after Foxx’s recent hospitalization.
“Someone like me who came from doing my own content online has to become a producer and produce content that I want to see, because that’s where I’m from.”
Foxx’s advice to McClain apparently worked, as the latter’s latest on-screen win is the polar opposite of his first major acting role. He currently stars as the ruthless Cane Tejada in Starz’s “Power Book II: Ghost” alongside such icons as Mary J. Blige and Method Man. According to McClain — who took a year off from acting after appearing again as Brown in 2018’s “The Bobby Brown Story” — he came about after praying with a neighbor of his, director Erica Watson (who has also directed episodes of “Power Book II”).
“She sits me down and puts all these crystals on me, and she says, ‘Okay, speak what you want in the universe,'” McClain tells me. “So I’m like, ‘I really want to be on a show. I really want to be in New York’… Two days later I get a call from Starz that I got the part for ‘Power,’ and it was a surreal experience. I give all of that to my neighbor. She really brought the universe to that situation.”
Thanks to that fortuitous opportunity, McClain has cemented his place in the Power Universe, along with his tight-knit cast, all of whom he says have a “strong bond”. In between his three seasons on the hit show, McClain was also tapped for a minor role in Netflix’s “The Harder They Fall.” But appearing on the big and small screens isn’t the only thing on his career bucket list. Then, he says, he wants to start producing.
“I have to produce my own movies,” McClain reveals. “Someone like me that came from doing my own content online, I have to become a producer and produce some content that I want to see because that’s where I come from. The Eddie Murphys, the Adam Sandlers, those guys made stuff for their generation. That’s why they were so great back then. So now I feel like I’m in a position where I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve grown as a student, and I know I’m ready to start producing movies and hiring my friends That’s the goal now.”
Read on to learn more about McClain’s Last Call interview, including which celebrity once left him speechless.
What’s the last thing you did with your “Power Book II: Ghost” costars off-set?
We ate together Njera Perkins Courtney [A. Kemp]. She came to town and we all ate with her. That was amazing. Before dinner we went to the concert of the New Edition. yes we are outside
Who’s the last “Power Book II: Ghost” costar you texted?
Mine [TV] pop, Berto [Colon]. Called me right before we got on the line.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
I remember this was when I was a dancer. I was with Pharrell [Williams]birthday party, and I was at the bar getting orange juice. I was waiting for my juice, and then someone walks next to me, and I look around, it’s Rihanna. I would say, “I love your work,” but nothing came out. So I just stared and she said, “Who is this man?” And then she walked away. I was like “Dang.” That was starstruck.
What is the last album you listened to?
I always have Bryson Tiller’s old album “Trapsoul” on repeat. Can you please drop new music? Can we blow this out? We need another album.
What was the last TV show you binge-watched?
What was the last trip you made?
Snowboarding in Aspen. That was my first time. I only fell 15 times, but I was a beast.
What’s the last thing you did for self-care?
What are those things called when you sit in a chair and they hurt your feet?
Yes, pedicure. I always get those two mixed up.
What was the last gift you received?
A hat with a fox on it. My little sister gave me this. It’s called The Farm. But my dog bit my hat. This hat is broken. Sister, I’m so sorry. But yeah, it’s a cool hat.
What is the last piece of advice you received that changed your life?
I remember being at Sundance and Kenya Barris, asking him for advice on how to improve everything I do. He said, “Read.” And he just walked away, and I looked at him like, “That’s not a mic drop. Come back here.” That is what I thought. But when I started to pick up and read books, there is so much good information in these books. I learned so much about acting, my personal healing, about finance. Everything I want to learn is in a book. And that has been one of the best [pieces of] advice I received.
#Woody #McClain #Reveals #Jamie #Foxxs #Advice #Changed #Career #Great #Guy