Sunday night was a high point for Power fans, because we get to enjoy the return of Tommy Egan. Joseph Sikora’s character is getting his own series—entitled Power Book IV: Force (Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Starz)—and it’s about damn time. Tommy is one of the most compelling characters in the franchise and Joseph is one of those actors who’s worth tuning in every week for.
In Power Book IV: Force, Tommy decides to deal with his unfinished business in Chicago and realizes that the Windy City presents a brand new opportunity for him. The series not only gives viewers more insight into what makes the character who he is but gives him the chance to have an even more interesting future than he ever could have gotten in New York. Joseph spoke to Crime-TV.com recently about what made him want to reprise the role and if he portrays Tommy differently after everything that his antihero went through on the original Power.
“The excitement is really the situation that Tommy finds himself in at the end of Power, and then also at the end of season one of Power Book II: Ghost,” he told Crime-TV’s Brittany Frederick. “Tommy is a man without a safety net. He’s lost all of his family. His brother is dead, his fiance is dead, [LaKeisha’s son] Cash has gone back to his father, Tariq and Tasha have turned their back on Tommy and sold him out. His mother has disowned him. All of his lines of drugs are gone and dried up. The Italian mob’s after him, the Serbs are after him, he’s now made enemies with the Tejadas.
“He’s got to leave his heart and soul, his blood that made him up, those streets of southside Jamaica, Queens and the five boroughs of New York, and really be a fish out of water with no supply chain,” he continued. “He’s got a bag full of money, a couple of guns, a couple changes of clothes, and he jumped on his horse and he road West on that Mustang. I was just interested to see what Tommy does when he has nothing, because we’ve never seen him that way before.”
Yet if anyone can not only survive but succeed with the odds stacked thoroughly against them, it’s Tommy Egan. The character has had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him and he always finds a way through. And in a new city, he also has the ability to have a clean slate—to form new alliances and interact with people who don’t know his reputation from New York. But as Joseph explained, having new influences and new alliances doesn’t change who Tommy is at his core.
“You can’t change the way that you play him, because that’s what the audience is showing up to see, so Tommy has to stay the same. The situation is what changes, the environment is what changes, it’s how that character in that situation reacts in that environment to those new people,” he said. “I would say that the biggest challenge truly was just how cold Chicago was…When Tommy meets the Flynns and he’s brought back to the mansion, when they shot my coverage it was negative-20 wind chill or more. That was a huge, big challenge, but I had the luxury of art imitating life. I was born and raised in Chicago, but I haven’t lived there since I was 21 and so I had to relearn the city. As I’m relearning the city, Tommy Egan is learning the city.”
With Power Book IV: Force, Joseph expertly threads the needle between honoring what Tommy went through in the six seasons of Power and creating a fresh mythology for the character in Chicago. Joseph talked to me about the process of growing his protagonist and working with a brand-new cast that interacts with him in different ways than his original castmates.
“We had to see Tommy in these different situations, specifically with and without Ghost, [who was] beautifully played by Omari Hardwick. That was the brotherhood. The heart and soul of the show was this relationship—this bromance, as Omari always put it—between Tommy and Ghost. And Ghost really had to be a martyr for the original Power series to expand into the Power universe, and because we had the Power universe, we really had to leave the five boroughs. Somebody had to be that prodigal son, and that prodigal son was Thomas Patrick Egan, heading West to try to survive at all costs, as he always does. And now he finds himself in a new situation with a new cast of characters.
“This cast is phenomenal,” he enthused. “We have the great Tommy Flanagan playing Walter Flynn, but equally as excellent are Lili Simmons and Shane Harper, who play his kids, and they’re coupled and juxtaposed by the Sampson brothers played by Isaac Keys and Kris Lofton. Then we have Gabrielle Ryan, who plays Gloria, the beautiful and tempting woman that Tommy meets at the bar. She’s got a lot of history and a lot of secrets that come out during the season, which I’m excited for people to see. What a luxury to be with these fine actors.”
One imagines they would speak equally as highly of Joseph Sikora. With everything that happened to Tommy—and everything that happened because of him—he got to show audiences an incredible range and truly flesh out what could’ve been another gangster stereotype. He delivered the humanity and the pathos that lived under all of Tommy’s actions, from trying to kill his best friend to actually killing his girlfriend, and made him a fascinating character. He also brought an incredible energy every time he was on screen that helped make Power a hit, and now an entire universe. What’s it like for him to see that the original show has now blossomed into a world of multiple spinoffs?
“I’m in really great company with Mark Canton and Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, Courtney Kemp and Gary Lennon, the creative forces behind this juggernaut that never loses inertia. When you’re with these great creative people, they really keep you on your ‘A’ game,” he concluded. “It’s like when I worked with Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher—I always tell everybody I would work with Tom Cruise again in a heartbeat, faster than a heartbeat, because he really commands and demands you bring your ‘A’ game. I love when people are depending on you to be creative and great, and work with you as a collaborator. There’s no greater love.”
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.