Power Book III: Raising Kanan premiered its first chapter last Sunday and left fans of the universe produced by Starz. The spin-off follows the teenage life of Right, friend and then rival of Ghost, protagonist of the original series. Of course, the story of this young man from South Jamaica, in Queens, United States, will be more than interesting and above all because of his family ties, especially with his mother, Raquel Thomas, masterfully interpreted by Patina Miller.
“Raq” as her classmates often tell her is not just any mother. It is that, in addition to raising Kanan, she is the leader of a drug trafficking organization in that city. The introduction of this character in the series is one of the many successes of the story, because thanks to it you can understand much more who will be Kanan in the future, or rather why it is so.
Miller enters this role with boldness and commitment. A character, by the way, very difficult to decipher, as it has several edges within it that even contradict each other. From the coldness and calculation with which he leads his band to the love he feels for his son. In Spoiler, we had the opportunity to chat exclusively with the American actress and she told us details about the series and in particular about Raq.
Power Book III: Rainsing Kanan, según Patina Miller
Patina Miller was born and raised in the city of Pageland, in the state of South Carolina in the 1980s. From a very young age, she had contact with music, so much so that she became part of a Church choir group. Over time, after finishing college and university, he immersed himself more and more in the theater until he starred on Broadway. His leading role in the musical work Pippin allowed him to win his first Tony Award to Best actress.
At the same time, he was also gaining experience in cinema. In fact, she participated in the Hunger Games saga as the Commander Paylor. On the other hand, on television, his roles in the series stand out Madam Secretary, where she gave life to the press coordinator Daisy Grant. Now, she faces one of the greatest challenges of her career, putting herself in the shoes of Raquel Thomas and tells us in depth what that process of composing the character was like, but also what motivated her to be part of Raising Right.
-I wanted to start by asking you about your character’s personality, Raq. How would you describe this very particular woman?
-Well, she is many things. One could say that it is cold, hard, to be feared. That is a part of it. She can be cold and tough, sometimes deadly. But she is a very strong, intelligent woman, she is passionate, you know. I’d say it’s epic, to be honest. That and so much more. She is a dreamer. And at the end of the day she is a mother, above all. A loving mother. That’s what I would say about her.
-And what were the challenges for you as an actress to interpret it?
-I think the challenges for me were to discover, not the motivation, because I knew what the motivation was. But the challenges were in uncovering the mother-child dynamic and what she does as a profession and trying to strike that balance. What are you doing? Is she a good mother or not? And, for me … I realized that she is a mother as she can, as she knows. She had Kanan when she was 15 years old. They live south of Queens, she had a difficult life, she grew up in a certain way. She raises Kanan the way she knows how. But she shows him too that, you know, she’s a boss. She has her thing. We also discovered her now 15-year-old son and she has to be attentive to what he is doing. So, you know, I had to find that balance. Among her businesses, of being a drug dealer, but also of being a loving mother. Can both coexist? They can? For her, yes. Here we are. First episode of Raising Kanan. We will see.
-In this sense, how would you describe the relationship between mother and child? This particular tie.
-This particular bond is a very close one. It is their world. They have always been them in everything. She exists to take care of him. He is an extension of her. She wants the best for him. He has dreams for him. He is your most precious possession. They are like this. Until … Well, maybe not. But now they are trying to support each other to face these complex situations that will be presented to them.
-And what was it like working with Mekai Curtis on this mother-son connection?
Well, one of the first things I thought when I got the role was about this. I remember thinking about what this relationship would be like. How strong and important it should be. Various things had to be worked in different ways. In other words, we had to work on this interpretation and I was sure that they wanted us to work on this bond, that is, that the actors had a lot of chemistry. So I was sure we should really be like this, you know, good together.
I remember when I got the part they wanted me to do a screen test with Mekai. So they flew to New York. I had 79 pages of audition material. ‘It’s just for him, it’s for his test.’ And I said, should I memorize it or not? And then I said ‘I’ll memorize it for him. I want to be with him there. I want to see how he plays it on the rehearsal stage. ‘ So I memorized it on my way there, monologues, I have to say. So we got into this very intense scene from the first episode. You sure know what I’m talking about. It was the first scene. So we dive into that. There were 50 Cent, the creators, everyone. And we were there. The cameras started recording and we just kept going. It is an actor’s dream to be able to work with someone who gives everything that you give. And he is such a good partner and we interpret and we had an incredible time in that time we were together until we later went on to the series. It has really been a pleasure and I am very excited to be working with Mekai. I am very proud of the work we did. He is fantastic.
-He is very talented. Power: Raising Kanan is a spin-off. Did you see the original series? Or did you prefer to focus on this one?
-Oh yes yes. He knew everything. How was this world. I knew how intense fandom is with this world. I knew the characters were going to be amazing. And I was very excited to have the opportunity to perform in this world. And I’m very proud of what she set out to do.
-And one of the premises of this series is ‘Be careful with those around you, because you never know’ What can you tell us about that? What will happen between the characters?
-Nothing seems what it is. You have to be ripping what you see. In this show, you must read what you see. The things you did in the past are going to come back for you, one way or another. And the secrets. All the characters have their secrets and are trying to work on them and desperately want to deal with them, including Raq and Kanan. They all have them. It’s about navigating this. How they face them together. It’s going to get very difficult, complicated.
-And what motivated you to be part of this project?
-Immediately when I saw this character. When I read the first page of the script and saw clearly how this character was going to be, his motivation as a person, as a mother. And I said ‘Oh my god’. Being a black woman at this time, being able to participate in this series as a protagonist being a black woman and having the possibility of, from my feminine perspective, raising Kanan. Being able to be involved that way. I thought, Who knows if I’m going to be able to play a role like this again? A character with so many dimensions. It has to be strong, deadly, sexy, dreamy. All of those things were supposed to be inside me and they are inside a lot of black women, but you don’t always see it on TV. So I took the opportunity. And I really feel very blessed to be able to show this woman on screen.
-You worked on Broadway, movies and on television too. Where do you feel most comfortable? Or where do you enjoy performing the most?
-Well, I would tell you that I feel very comfortable on stage. The theater is my first love. It’s where I learned everything. My technique is from the stages. Being able to stand on stage in front of the audience. The theater, you know, forces you to demonstrate all these things in that moment and that doesn’t always happen on television or on the movie set. In the theater, it is not like that. You don’t wait three months for the content to show. People are there expecting something from you at that moment. It teaches you to be respectful towards the team, which is everyone’s effort and answering your question is where I feel at home. But I have to tell you that being on a television set, being part of this show with these stars, being on Raising Kanan and in the Power universe has been something incredible. I have felt very good. All the things I needed to be able to show with this character, being surrounded by such talented people, actors and creators in front of and behind the scenes. It was very easy to do my job. So I could tell you that the theater is where I feel most comfortable, but this experience has made me feel great in a long time.
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