One of the hottest new faces in television is actor, who currently co-stars in both MTV’s FAKING IT and Yahoo Screen’s SIN CITY SAINTS. Playing both an undercover cop and a NBA star in two hilarious comedy shows has been a fantastic opportunity for Keith Powers. It has allowed him to show that he can play a romantic guy with a secret and an awkward superstar athlete.
In an exclusive interview, Keith Powers talked about playing LaDarius Pope and what he loves best about the role and what new viewers can expect when watching SIN CITY SAINTS.
Your new show SIN CITY SAINTS is pretty outrageous.
KEITH: Definitely! And it gets crazier too.
What drew you to the role of LaDarius Pope?
KEITH: What attracted me to the character was he was a NBA star, but his real attitude is he is very naive and very emotional and he’s bratty. He’s not what you would expect from that new boutique, superstar athlete. That attracted me because there are a lot of athletes out there that grew up knowing only their sport. So who they really are as a person may surprise you, and that is what I love about LaDarius: he surprises you.
It makes for some good comedy because he naiveness is such a wide-eyed innocence and that is just unusual. It is definitely not what you are expecting. Do you think he is too naive?
KEITH: Exactly. And sometimes I do think he is, but honestly there are people really out there who are like that and you would not know because what they do career-wise is like a mask. It’s like a hood up in front of them. It’s funny how many celebrities I have met and I have looked up to and when I meet them, they are nothing like what I thought and it’s like, “Whoa.” So I think LaDarius is a little bit too innocent, but it is perfect because it makes for amazing comedy.
What do you most admire about LaDarius? What do you think is the coolest thing about him?
KEITH: The fact that he is a NBA star. Who wouldn’t love to be a pro athlete making x-amount of millions of dollars in endorsements? It’s like being a rock star. So I get to play a NBA star and yet he is so innocent, so it touches all bases.
Did you have to brush up your basketball skills at all for the role?
KEITH: A little bit. As you saw, early in the season, LaDarius was injured. So it’s rare we see him playing. I actually grew up wanting to be a football player, so it’s funny that I’m portraying a basketball player. But I can go out there and look like I know what I’m doing. That’s my job.
What for you is the funnest part of working on the show? What sort of scenes do you love the most?
KEITH: One of them was when LaDarius finds out he has been catfished. Filming that scene was so fun with Tom Arnold, Malin Akerman and Andrew Santino. I think that was so fun shooting that scene. It was also so fun because I couldn’t stop laughing at Tom Arnold. We had so many takes for that one scene. It was hilarious. Also, the scene where LaDarius finds out Mrs. Wu is married in the club. Shooting that scene was fun because everybody from the show was in that scene. It was fun to be around a lot of people that day and shooting that scene. Those have been my two favorite scenes.
When you first read the script where LaDarius hooks up with Mrs. Wu (Rosalind Chou), were you like, “What?! He does what?!”
KEITH: Yeah, I was like, “Hold on!” I didn’t even know about the cougar part ’til I got to set. Then I was just laughing. I knew it was going to be crazy.
Will we get a chance to see LaDarius’ mom Bernice (Jean Louisa Kelly) meet Mrs. Wu this season?
KEITH: Yeah, you’ll see that and it’s not as bad as you would think. It’s funny. It’s hilarious.
Is there anyone on the show that you haven’t really had a chance to work with yet and would like to work with more?
KEITH: Justin Chon, who plays Byron Summers, the nerdy stats guy for the team. I’d like to do more scenes with him. We didn’t really get to have that many scenes together. So doing more scenes with him would be cool.
If you had a chance to sit down with LaDarius, what kind of advice would you offer him about life?
KEITH: That, first, it isn’t fair; two, you have to have a backbone. Also, everybody isn’t always there for your best interest. You really have to surround yourself with good people and not be easily influenced. That is what I definitely would tell LaDarius. That would keep him right.
What do you think you have learned from playing LaDarius on SIN CITY SAINTS versus your role of Theo/Anthony on FAKING IT?
KEITH: I’ve learned that LaDarius is very sensitive and innocent, and I’ve learned it is fun playing that. Even as I’m saying his lines, I’m laughing in my head. I am so much more like Theo than LaDarius. It is also fun to play him, but LaDarius is more a stretch for me.
You’ve had two choice roles where one is an undercover cop and the other is a NBA star. Those are not bad roles!
KEITH: I know. I’ve been lucky.
Will we be seeing more of you in FAKING IT as well as SIN CITY SAINTS?
KEITH: Yes. I just finished Season 2B for FAKING IT and we’ve wrapped Season 1 for SIN CITY SAINTS. So right now I’m just auditioning a ton.
What can you tease that we’ll be seeing for the rest of Season 1 for SIN CITY SAINTS?
KEITH: You’re going to see a lot of crazy stuff. You’re going to see LaDarius get into some stuff because of Jake (Andrew Santino) and his choices. You’re going to see the franchise go through a real roller-coaster as everybody is going to get into a little trouble. You’re definitely going to see the negative sides, but it is hilarious.
To see what further trouble LaDarius finds himself in and what trouble Jake gets the franchise into, be sure to check out SIN CITY SAINTS. All eight episodes are currently available for viewing on Yahoo Screen. (LINK)
SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER | Tiffany covers events such as San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon and press junkets, as well as covering events at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills. She has a great love for television and believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored. Tiffany is one of the newest members to the prestigious Television Critics Association and is happy to be able to share her passion for television shows with an even wider audience of fans and her fellow critics..