The legacy of ‘Power’ continues with ‘Raising Kanan.’ HL got EXCLUSIVE scoop from star Mekai Curtis and showrunner Sascha Penn about ‘Kanan before he was Kanan.’
It’s Kanan Stark’s world now, and we’re just living in it. The second Power spinoff, Power Book 3: Raising Kanan, will follow a 15-year-old Kanan living in South Jamaica, Queens. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Mekai Curtis about taking on the role 50 Cent made famous in the original Power series.
“When we catch up with Kanan, it’s 1991. He’s 15. You’re meeting Kanan before he was Kanan,” Mekai told HollywoodLife. “Throughout the show, throughout the season, throughout the series, whatever, you’ll see how he became who we saw in the original Power. That’s why it’s called Raising Kanan. It’s about the environment, the influence, just the social climate that raised Kanan. You see a lot of the choices he had to make and why he makes them.”
Sascha also told HollywoodLife, “I think the version you’re going to get is a version that feels ultimately linked and connected to the version you got as 50 Cent. What we’re doing is we’re deconstructing Kanan as he existed as 50. We’re sort of rebuilding him in the 15-year-old version of him.”
Mekai recalled that his first meeting with 50 Cent was a “super chill” one and didn’t happen until he was very far into the casting process. “My first meeting with 50 didn’t happen until my chemistry read with Patina Miller, which was my last audition,” Mekai said. That was the first time I met 50. But yeah, it was a super chill interaction.”
Sascha noted that casting young Kanan was the “biggest casting challenge” for the Raising Kanan team. “We knew that going in because we have this character who has already been established and fully realized and realized in sort of a spectacular way by 50,” Sascha continued. “We searched across the country. Mekai, I will say, came in early and got the job early. What we didn’t do is tell the actors who were reading for the role that they were reading for Kanan because we didn’t want them to do a 50 Cent impersonation. Basically, we wanted to see who they were as an actor.”
He added, “Mekai has a lot of what 50 has, which is sort of this innate charm and sensitivity. Again, there’s a humanity to Mekai that 50 has as well. I think it’s an aspect of 50’s acting ability that he doesn’t get enough credit for, which is there is a real humanity to it and a sense of humor and a charm. I think people get this, even as relates to Kanan, get caught up in the gangster of it all. The character that 50 realized as Kanan was layered and had a ton of depth. Mekai has those same qualities.” Raising Kanan will air Sundays on STARZ.