‘Power’ exclusive: Joseph Sikora on season 3, Tommy’s journey, Holly, and more

Tommy -The third season of “Power” is going to premiere on Starz Sunday night, and as a whole, you can anticipate one of the most intense, thought-provoking, and (fittingly) powerful batches of episodes yet.

In leading up to the start of the season, we were thrilled to chat with Joseph Sikora (pictured above with Omari Hardwick) who arguably has a game-changing storyline ahead. In the season 2 finale Tommy was put in life-altering position by Lobos: Either he kills Ghost and seizes control of the local business, or finds himself in a spot where he and Holly both are in danger. How he recovers from that is one of many interesting storylines still to come, and of course one of topics we discussed in our interview.

CarterMatt – before getting into specifics on the show itself, what’s this ride been like the past couple of years with the character? What have you enjoyed about taking on Tommy?

Joseph Sikora – I really like the brotherly aspect with Omari Hardwick, playing brothers, guys who came up together. Somebody who was so tight [with him] and reminded him who his true friends are. Omari fit right in and is such a great standup guy.

I never had a sister, so one of things that I’ve really enjoyed so much is the relationship between Tommy and Tasha, played by Naturi Naughton, because she’s such a kind person and I can interact with her in a very familiar way as a sister, so I really enjoyed that. I also love Tommy, his destructive nature, his all-or-nothing attitude. I think I’m a little more cautious in my life than Tommy is, so it’s always fun to play someone who’s so extreme.

Has it been interesting to see the growth of the show? Ratings were up big for season 2, and now you’re moving over to a big night in Sundays.

It’s fantastic. I’m so proud to be a part of a successful show, and be around some really great artists like Courtney Kemp and Curtis Jackson, our creators. 50 [Cent] is such a kind person and such an accessible human. It’s really a gift to be around people like Lela Loren and Omari and Naturi and Lucy Walters. It’s been such a gift for me.

In going back to the end of season 2, what was it like for you play that scene where [Tommy and Ghost’s guns come out], and play such a different dynamic than what has been such a friendship?

I think that when friendship transcends into family in our real lives, which is something that [can happen when you’ve known someone] for twenty-five years, thirty years, and you catch them in enough lies, but we know there’s potential, we actually put them before us. That’s what Tommy did when he put his hands down and wanted Ghost to kill him. There was something very dramatic about it because it was Biblical in that way. It was like ‘if you need to kill me to get back to what you need to be, then do that because that’s how much I love you. That’s how much I believe in you.’ That’s what Tommy was doing. He was putting his full self out there, and sacrificing his full self for what was best out there for Ghost. That obviously didn’t happen, but now Tommy is in a place where he has an ultimatum to kill his brother.

Where is Tommy at emotionally when it comes to the order from Lobos?

He is spread all over the place, and mainly within himself, and being in a place where he has to say ‘I have to be a boss, I have to make these connections, I have to build this thing up, I have to keep everything together, I have to be not only my #1, but also my enforcer. I have to be all of these things.’ But I think as we’ve seen through season 2, or at least a huge amount of it, for all intents and purposes, Tommy has already been doing that stuff. What does he do when he figures this out? He figures out pretty quick ‘hey, I’ve been doing this.’

… [Tommy] also has to work on making a network for himself, and reinforce lines that have already been established with other gangs, and figure out who else in New York to reach out to in order to establish connections. He may not be savvy in the way that Ghost is savvy, or slick, but Tommy is smarter than anyone has ever given him credit for, and he has time and again proven everybody wrong.

It’s interesting that you have a show entitled ‘Power,’ and power versus loyalty is something that is a central theme of the show. Do you think that this is something Tommy struggles with?

I don’t think that’s Tommy’s struggle. I think that power versus loyalty, I think that’s a big struggle for Holly. Is she going to stay loyal to her man, or is she going to seek out her own agenda? But Tommy, his loyalty to the streets that raised him, that gave him a chance and got him out of the hood, I think that he has ultimate loyalty to that. I think that only helps him gain what he thinks is power in the drug empire.

So how would you describe the state of things now with Tommy and Holly?

The relationship between Tommy and Holly is juxtaposed between the relationship with him and Ghost, what was and arguably still is the most important relationship in his life. It’s someone who’s lied to him about three major events. Pick your event: About putting Kanan away, about killing the girl, and then also the inner workings of the corporations that they built together that he kept from him this entire time.

Holly has chosen love over money, and she’s chosen loyalty over fear. I think that puts her in pretty good standing with him as they start the third season. There is a ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ aspect to it, and Tommy is also trying to re-establish a family system that he always had with the St. Patrick’s, with Ghost and Tasha and the kids, and trying to build his own.

When going through some of the scripts for this season, did you ever have that moment of great excitement that you were doing something that you haven’t had a chance to do before?

I think something that is intrinsic about the third season, and it comes as a result of season 2, is what do you do when you’re comfortable as a right-hand man, and then you’re put into a position where you’re not allowed to be comfortable anymore. I think that this inner conflict is very present with Tommy this season, and I think his journey this season is really an incredible trek and rebirth of him.

Given that this is a show where people die and nobody is ever really safe, do you ever have that fear of looking over your shoulder, where one day your character could be killed off?

We’re always told that we’re in a show where any of these things can happen. Courtney Kemp does not sacrifice truth for favoritism, and she won’t lean on lies if that diminishes the story. This is a scary, dangerous place, but truly anybody can go away at any time.

Can you say anything about the new characters, or any interesting interactions that your character has with them?

There are some new characters, and one I can mention is, Callan Mulvey, he’s great, and some of the other people I can mention, J.R. Ramirez, he does a great job again. And some of the other people who really get to step it up are some of the law enforcement guys. Andy Bean, who’s exceptional every season, has a really fun and twisted journey. Shane Johnson, who plays Cooper Saxe, I really think he’s fantastic and I never really get to interact with him other than when my character was arrested last year. He’s just a fantastic actor, as well as David Fumero, who plays Mike Sandoval. Now that it’s been established that he’s the mole within the system, he’s really a character to watch out for.

As a whole, how would you describe season 3 in comparison to the first two?

I think that Courtney has wisely expanded upon the world. Because she slow-played that first season so much that you live and learn about the characters, she established the personalities so much so that she could expand in season 2 and really extrapolate in season 3. There are twists and turns and backstory to characters that comes to light from people we thought we knew but we don’t know, and then people who have weaknesses and we didn’t know that they had them. There’s a significant amount of action and tension and a thriller aspect to season 3 that is really in full effect.

As mentioned, “Power” returns to Starz on Sunday night. We want to give a special thanks to Joseph for his time and being so open with his thoughts.

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