Power Book 2: Shane Johnson recalls surprising story behind landing Cooper Saxe role

Power Book II: Michael Rainey Jr shares behind the scenes look

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The series is currently on hiatus mode, but the world of Power will soon be expanding with multiple spin-offs, including Raising Kanan and Force. Ahead of the franchise’s first sequel series, Book II: Ghost’s return to Starz, Shane Johnson has revealed some surprising insight about his early days as Cooper Saxe.

Shane Johnson has opened up about the surprising events surrounding his audition and subsequent casting in the role of Cooper Saxe.

One of the longest-running antagonists of the Power series, Saxe debuted in the first season as a ruthless and corrupt attorney for the FBI on the trail of an elusive drug dealer known as Ghost (played by Omari Hardwick).

Following the death of Ghost/James St Patrick, Saxe returned in the show’s first spin-off, Book II: Ghost, as the prosecution for Tasha St Patrick (Naturi Naughton).

With Tasha now in Witness Protection, Saxe is confirmed to return for Book II’s follow-up season, but it’s unsure what sort of role he’ll play as the series goes on.

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In the meantime, Johnson revealed more about his breakout turn in a recent Instagram Q&A with Tea with Tia.

The star first revealed that he initially auditioned for the role of Tommy Egan, business partner-turned rival for the series’ protagonist, Ghost (Omari Hardwick).

This iconic role eventually went to Joseph Sikora, who will reprise the character in an upcoming spin-off, Power Book IV: Force.

The actor then admitted that he was slightly embarrassed by the events leading up to his getting the part.

Johnson recalled: “Here’s the part that I’m going to admit that’s slightly embarrassing, but it’s the truth.

“I was at the unemployment office, and I’m in there listening to this lecture that you have to. It’s so demeaning.”

Although the actor began his career with a small part in Steven Spielberg’s WWII blockbuster, Saving Private Ryan, Johnson was mostly known for small, one episode appearances in shows like NCIS and CSI.

He added: “And I’m dressed like s**t. And from there, after this hour-long BS that I have to listen to for unemployment, I go out and get my Ford Taurus; my wife hated my Ford Taurus!”

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“I get in and change into my only suit that looked decent and drove to the audition for Cooper Saxe.”

Despite having to go through the arduous process of applying for unemployment benefits, Johnson was thankfully able to land the audition of a lifetime.

After struggling to find steady acting work for so long, Johnson realised he had finally found his calling when he read for Cooper Saxe.

The actor recalled: “And once I get the sides for Cooper Saxe and I saw kinda the vibe he was; it was twofold.”

“It was, they finally have a scene where I belong, which meant they obviously liked me. And I also was like, ‘this is the guy. This is who I am.’”

Once the audition had proved a success, it was only a matter of time before Shane Johnson became part of the main cast of Starz’ wildly popular crime series.

Finally, he revealed: “And a few weeks later I got the call, with my last $50 filling up my gas tank.”

Filming for Power Book II is making headway in New York, and is expected to hit screens at the start of next year.

Power Book II is available to watch on Starz and Starzplay.

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