DEADLINE: Aldis Hodge is on a roll. Following the Oscar-nominated One Night in Miami, there’s the upcoming superhero film Black Adam, a revival of TNT’s television series Leverage, and much more. Plus, he’s killing it as Assistant District Attorney DeCourcy Ward in Showtime’s City on a Hill. Exec produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the procedural follows Ward’s attempts to clean up police corruption in ’90s Boston, exemplified by Kevin Bacon’s thoroughly bent cop Jackie Rohr.
DEADLINE: City on a Hill has some pretty extreme racism, police brutality, corruption, a lot of stuff that we’re thinking about and talking about now more than ever—what did you think when you first read the script?
ALDIS HODGE: Well, there’s a different sort of responsibility in a way that hits me personally when it comes to dealing with projects that touch on this subject matter. My primary goal is to touch on the subject matter appropriately. And with a degree of sensitivity towards the people that are going to be primarily affected, which is the Black community, so there has to be a voice of authenticity behind that. When I first read the script, I noticed areas where I felt like I could be effective in helping to mold that narrative with certain points when it came to Black culture, and the perspective of Black community in the show. And I was just lucky enough that when I spoke to the creator, Chuck MacLean, and the director of the episode, and executive producer, Michael Cuesta, and I said, “Guys, here are some of the changes I think we should consider making, and this is why. This is how it will be taken in terms of the show overall, things that we want to consider, and how we’re perceived, we might want to look at it this way.” They really opened the door to listening to me. That, honestly, is what sold me on stepping into the show because I knew the show was written really well, Chuck MacLean does a fantastic job, he’s a great writer. But I look at a show is like, “Alright, five or six years into this, am I going to be happy going to work on a regular basis? Will I be able to have a stance to be a part of the team, have a say, be able to really contribute?” And I knew that before we even signed the deal, that was our first conversation about culture, about certain things, how they’re taken, and my relationship with my wife in the show. They really did allow me to have a voice, which is what made me feel comfortable.
Generally, when it comes to touching on subject matters like this, when it comes to projects, the door should always be open to those who are affected most deeply, most immediately, and most personally, because we are the ones with the honest perspective on how we view it, how we handle it. And I think also how we can get through it and challenge it. We’re always going to have a far greater degree of honest perspective because it’s a daily lived experience, and they respected that.
DEADLINE: Something that really strikes me about this show is I keep forgetting it’s set the ’90s, not the present day. Does it seem that way to you?
Continue reading Press: Racism And Corruption In ’90s-Era ‘City On A Hill’: “What We’re Talking About Here And Now, Is Still Happening Today”