Shane Johnson Talks Power Book II: Ghost, His New Project With His Wife and More! (EXCLUSIVE!) Check it out here--->>
Actor and producer, Shane Johnson, grew up in a little farm town in Washington State with a population of about 5,000 people and three traffic lights. The kid from the little farm town grew up with a passion for baseball. The young second baseman had aspirations of playing professional baseball. At fourteen years old, he “tripped into” playing Snoopy in his school’s play, and even though according to Johnson he had no idea what he was doing, he was a hit with the audience and the girls. His dreams of baseball seemed to have gotten lost in all the adoration. Snoopy plus adoration equaled Johnson “coming down” with the acting bug. He was hooked!
Johnson continued to develop his craft in high school and received a full college scholarship for acting. After college, he began his career and has appeared in television and film. Although Johnson is most known for his current role as the hard-edged, Cooper Saxe on Starz’s Power Book II: Ghost, a role he originated on Starz’s Power, he has been in the industry for a while. “I have been acting for a long time. My first film was in 1996 when I was in Saving Private Ryan. It’s funny and this is most likely true for a lot of actors. I probably have had like ten different times in my career where I thought, ‘Okay this is the thing. Wait until they got a load of this.’ And then nothing happened. I don’t want to say I didn’t think Power was going to be the thing, but after a while, you learn you can’t be sure. With this show, there was no pilot episode. At a network like Starz, you don’t get a pilot, you get a season and they put the entire season out there. Power was unlike any other show on Starz at that time. They took a chance on us and we became the network’s biggest hit. I don’t think Starz was expecting it. I am not sure if any of us were really. Fans started stopping me on the street in season one telling me how much they loved the show. The audience loved it and they have supported the brand ever since. We are all grateful. I am going into my ninth season playing Cooper Saxe, which is unbelievable. It has been the biggest blessing of my career.”
“Cooper Saxe” is something else. The character has had an interesting progression (and regression at times) to say the least. He was introduced on canvas as an FBI agent. He has also worked as a U.S. Attorney and is now a defense attorney. When Cooper worked in law enforcement, he was notorious for doing the wrong things for the right reasons, at least in his mind! LOL. Johnson does a phenomenal job at taking you inside as the layers are being pulled away from the emotionally complex Cooper. We loved hearing Johnson’s take on Cooper Saxe and his journey across the Powerverse in Power and Power Book II: Ghost.
“Well, he certainly has become very complicated, hasn’t he? I think initially he was driven by justice and by personal ambition. He wanted a raise, a promotion, and to be the boss. He colored outside of the lines to get what he wanted and he could be a jerk sometimes. Then around season four or five of Power, he got so frustrated with coming up short, and he was like I can’t take any more losses. I have to get some justice no matter what it takes. He started planting evidence, got a gun to handle things himself, which was crazy, and began doing all sorts of crazy things. I think he’s kind of put himself back together a little bit, but those layers are still there. I really like the addition of his family last season, which gave the character more depth, more stake in the game. Maybe you were able to see the why behind who he is and some of the things he has done. Also, his having a love interest complicates things for him even more.”
We were very interested to learn Johnson’s inside take about working on both Power and Power Book II: Ghost. “There is the original series and the spinoff which means both shows have a similar foundation. But each show has its own unique energy. Power brought the audience in where the characters were already established and came in firing on all cylinders whereas with Power Book II: Ghost you are seeing more of the making of a character. There are some similarities between Ghost and Tariq. But to me, Tariq has more of a moral compass. The audience is also seeing this marriage between the old guard and the new guard. We have a handful of people from the original show. There is a clear dichotomy between the younger and let’s call it the legatee crowd. There is me, Mary J. Blige, Method Man, and a few others who have been around a while and there are the guys who are just getting going in their careers. The vibe and the energy are completely different but blend so well together. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of that interaction. I love working with all of them. Of course, you wondered if we could catch the same lighting as we did with Power. It was amazing. Did we catch the same lighting? No, the show caught a different one, its own lightning and it is just as amazing.”
There is one thing Johnson talked about that he has seen that he would like to see change. He would like to see Powerverse receive more attention from the mainstream; media and award circuits. It is time (past time) for them to stop, take notice and give Power, Power Book II: Ghost, Power Book III: Raising Kanan, or the upcoming series Power Book IV: Force the attention and accolades the brand has earned and deserved. Cosign.
Johnson and his wife of twenty-three years, actress Keili Lefkovitz (Pain & Gain, Malibu’s Most Wanted), will be working together on a zombie apocalypse movie in Hawaii that will hopefully be out just in time this year for Halloween. The husband and wife are super excited about the opportunity to work together!
And for fans of Power Book II: Ghost who want to know what to expect for the rest of the season; “Betrayals are going to cut deep. Consequences will have to be paid. You’re going to fall in love with people. You’re going to hate some people, probably me, and you’re going to want to come back for more.”