Omari Hardwick On ‘Being Mary Jane’
JET: Your character, Andre, isn’t the most honorable guy — he’s cheating on his wife with Gabrielle Union’s character. What attracted you to the role?
Omari Hardwick: Fans want to know whether I’m celebrating infidelity by portraying the role. However, equally there is also a lot of talk about why men think they can get away with the old adage, “men will be men.” We all have been closely or directly related to a man who has lived that adage, “I was just being a boy.” And we’ve likely been affected by it in very negative ways. Women have the ability to hurt men and break our hearts, but societally men have been given this pass. I have gone through it, not as a married man, but I’ve hurt women and had my heart hurt. So the reality of it, the truth of it, the sadness of it, attracted me to it. We’ve all been connected to someone like Andre.
JET: Do you think fans will grow to love or hate your character?
OH: As actors, we’re taught that if you’re playing a bad character you try to be as empathetic as possible and make people see they went down this road, and it may be a bad one, due to other issues. I brought that to it. My goal was not make this person a bad guy, someone just misunderstood by his wife and the person he’s juggling his heart with. That way, as the season progresses viewers can say, “Ok, I’m starting to understand this cat’s journey and why he’s doing the things he’s doing.”
OH: It may seem like a similar show, but that’s really just the love part of it. The entirety of the story takes it to another place. In both shows you’re dealing with strong alpha females who are attractive and are able to do in life what our grandmothers couldn’t, in terms of the male world. But Scandal is a based on one real-life figure in the world of politics, and BMJ is about a collective experience of women. It’s the story of all women who can pay for trips and tell a man what she wants in bed. BMJ is about all of the character’s life: her family, friends and dating life.
JET: You talk about the alpha female— a woman who is strong and successful. What will fans take away from the story about her?
OH: How lonely they are. A lot of the alpha women of life tap into the male side so well that it often times leaves men not knowing what card to play because the woman is playing a hand that we’re not used to seeing. Out in the corporate world you have to kill dragons, there is no way you can come home without being different from those other women who didn’t have to slay those dragons. So you’re coming home and you’re lonely because even though there’s a man to call, every man can’t keep that woman because he’s stuck trying to figure out what card to play. I think we forget that a strong woman is equally as weak and needs to be held.
JET: You have a new series coming out on Starz this June called Power. What makes a relationship powerful?
Hardwick: Both people being equally yoked. Both being in a relationship with God. And in my opinion, not running away from your match. Like a lot of people think an alpha male would go for an equally strong woman, but they run away from that and say I can’t deal with too much power in the household. Real power is when you actually embrace that thing that’s really scary: someone who matches you
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