Method Man, Mary J. Blige bring friendship to TV on Starz’ ‘Power Book’

Whereas filming “Energy E book II: Ghost,” Clifford “Methodology Man” Smith generally camped out in Mary J. Blige’s devoted break space throughout their downtime to briefly heat up close to her heater on a cold New York set.

In contrast to most, Smith can randomly crash Blige’s area merely due to their decadeslong friendship. The music icons’ robust bond helped each throughout the filming of the Starz hit spinoff sequence, the place each have integral roles.

“A few of my favourite days on set is when me and Mary get to work collectively,” stated Smith. Smith and Blige gained a Grammy in 1995 for the traditional single “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Must Get By,” which served as a remix for the Wu-Tang Clan rapper’s “All I Want” from his debut solo album “Tical.”

Over time, each have hit the stage collectively a number of occasions, together with their latest efficiency in 2022 at Blige’s Energy of a Lady Pageant and Summit in Atlanta.

Blige and Smith tried to make their set expertise fulfilling and supportive — particularly earlier than filming their critical scenes.

“We leaned on one another rather a lot,” stated Blige, who portrays the character of Monet Stewart Tejada — a frontrunner of her household’s unlawful drug group on the present, which airs Fridays on Starz. Smith performs the position of the slick-talking protection lawyer Davis Maclean.

“This was an opportunity to work with my pal,” she continued. “We joke, we chuckle and simply have a great time on set as associates. It’s all the time stunning seeing Meth.”

Smith stated he and Blige mesh properly collectively professionally. Final yr, each gained NAACP Picture awards for his or her appearing roles on “Energy E book II.”

“Folks like seeing us collectively. We’re like peanut butter and jelly,” Smith stated. “We will’t be Batman and Robin, as a result of then any person’s acquired to be the sidekick. Mary ain’t no sidekick, and I positively ain’t no rattling sidekick.”

“She’s so spot on. With regards to improv, she’s on it. To have my first Grammy win along with her … epic,” he added. “However to win my first appearing award along with her was even greater, in my view.”

Blige, a nine-time Grammy winner, stated working with Smith over time has been an “superb” expertise. The singer, often called the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” stated the transition into their roles on “Energy E book” was seamless after years of specializing in enhancing their appearing craft.

“We’ve been doing this for a longtime,” stated Blige, who obtained an Oscar nomination in 2018 for her supporting position within the Netflix movie “Mudbound.” She’s starred in numerous different initiatives, together with “The Umbrella Academy,” “Physique Cam” and “Respect.”

For as soon as in Smith’s appearing profession, he’s beginning to see extra folks acknowledge him for his position in “Energy E book II” than his rap persona.

“When you take a look at the tweets perhaps two or three years in the past, they had been calling me ‘Methodology Man.’ He’s so cringe. They had been saying ‘Why is Methodology Man enjoying a lawyer?’” stated Smith, who acquired his appearing begin within the mid-’90s. He’s starred in movies like “Stomach,” “How Excessive,” “The Cobbler” and “Trainwreck.” He’s additionally appeared on some standard tv reveals comparable to “The Wire,” “Luke Cage” and “Godfather of Harlem.”

“There are some folks that also can’t peel away the layers of Methodology Man as a way to see the character. It’s so rewarding to have folks calling you ‘Davis’ on the street and other people referring you to instances — actual instances — to get a few of their favourite rappers out of jail,” he stated. “There are some followers who’re preserving me within the ‘Methodology Man’ field, so I’m going to kick my method out.”

Blige stated their earlier appearing endeavors helped put together them for “Energy.”

“We transitioned slowly, slowly, slowly into appearing, however by no means leaving music behind,” Blige stated. “We’re going the place we slot in. We slot in with this ‘Energy’ universe.”

Season 3 of “Energy E book” is nearly midway achieved: Blige’s Monet has sought revenge after the dying of her son, and is prepared to pay a hefty worth to avenge her firstborn and preserve the remainder of her youngsters — and the enterprise — in line. She works carefully with Smith’s character to resolve her son’s homicide whereas preserving the authorities off her path.

“She’s tremendous ruthless however extra so strategizing her subsequent transfer to construct an empire to get out of the sport,” Blige stated about her character. “She’s in a susceptible state. She will be able to’t assist however to cry or simply lay across the round the home. She doesn’t like being weak. She doesn’t like folks seeing her like that. So, all people is getting cursed out or killed.”

Smith applauded Blige for taking over the position as Monet. He additionally stated he’s happy with these from the hip-hop neighborhood who, like him and Blige, have made their method into TV and movie.

“I really like working along with her,” he stated of Blige. “There isn’t many that may cling with that queen. But it surely’s good to see folks such as you on display. And I don’t imply Black folks. I imply folks out of your background. There’s a motive why Larry the Cable Man was one of many greatest comedians on the earth. There have been lots of people on the market identical to him.”

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