Luke Cage Season 2 review

When you had Rosario Dawson, did you just have to get the song “Night Nurse?”

Absolutely. She immediately got the joke. That was the thing. I wanted to use it season one but we didn’t have the opportunity. The fact that we got to use it here, I think to such good effect, I’m really hoping people are all of a sudden going to discovery Gregory Isaacs and really get deeper into the music.

You got so much of the music you wanted in season one, was it harder to find songs you wanted for season two?

Not really. My love of music is endless so any opportunity that we have to add more music, everybody knows I’m for.

Were artists lining up to play in the club?

It was somewhat easier from the standpoint of being able to show them, when we say we’re going to shoot you differently than you’ve ever been shot, we can show them those long tracking shots. We can show them that incredible Sharon Jones performance. We can show them Jidenna’s not only performance but the fact that his downloads went up by 4000% the second he appeared on the show. Appearing on the show from a musical standpoint I think is a good thing and I think what we have this season will be even better for some people. Fingers crossed.

Was this the last role that Reg E. Cathey shot?

I think he shot an episode of Elementary but in terms of last series dramatic role, yes. I miss Reg. He was such a great guy. He really was. He elevated every scene he was in. The second we signed Reg E. Cathey, I knew it was Reg E. Cathey that was going to play his father, off the top of my head I wrote that first Soul Brother Number One sequence because I could hear his voice in my head. That table read we did for episode one of season two, everyone there will tell you it was the best table read any of us have ever been a part of. Reg was at the center of that, not only because his speech galvanized the crew and the cast, but also just his reactions. That was how we knew the humor was working because when he would laugh at certain jokes, Reg was so great to be around. I really miss him and it’s really unfortunate he didn’t get a chance to see this season because I know he would’ve been so proud of it.

You mentioned Ryan Coogler before and you got to work on the screenplay to Creed II. Rocky IV had a different tone from Rocky and from Creed. Can you keep the Creed tone while bringing back the Drago characters?

Oh, absolutely because the thing is it’s about the legacies of sons haunted by their fathers. Even though Drago is alive, his son is haunted by him because Drago is a broken man who’s trying to rebuild himself through the son. Apollo Creed isn’t broken but because Apollo died, Adonis Creed is still haunted by his father’s death and how it defined him, what it is it means now to be a champion. He’s aspiring to be a champion but also at the same time trying to figure out who it is he is. Particularly with Bianca, particularly also because he’s got Rocky who at this point becomes the new Mickey. He really is the trainer who was a champion and lost it, kind of got something back and of course is still, in his own way trying to deal with the absence of Adrian. It’s one of those things that thematically, haunted me. The first Creed is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I cried like a baby when they got to that scene when he’s like, “Why are you doing this, kid?” and he’s like, “I just want to prove that I wasn’t a mistake.” I’m sitting there, oh my God, I was verklempt, man. A lot of black men that have issues with their fathers, when they saw that scene, it became out Brian’s Song. It became our Remember the Titans. It became one of those movies that it is acceptable for ‘macho’ men to cry during. So the opportunity to work on Creed II was definitely something that I fought for, something that I couldn’t pass up. Later on, when I got to work with Stallone on the draft, that was a dream come true.

Does Drago have remorse for the fight with Apollo?

That I can’t get into. I can’t get into any plot specifics because it wouldn’t be prudent and appropriate. What I can say is that I really think that Steven Caple, Jr. is going to be a great addition to the Rocky director pantheon. From what I’ve been hearing he’s really kicking ass in terms of filming. When I was working on the screenplay with Sly, he’s still really passionate about Rocky and about the character. Michael B. Jordan and Tessa are just really great people and just fun to be around. They’re very passionate and very smart. I have really high hopes. Come on, to be able to be a part of a second season of Luke Cage and, fingers crossed, hopefully still be a part of Creed II in the final [edit]. I say hopefully. As a screenwriter you have a lot less control over the final product than you do as a showrunner but just to even be involved in any capacity with that was a blast. Just from a creative standpoint, I’m so gassed, happy, caught up, I don’t know what adjectives you want to use. It’s a great time.

Did you work on a M.A.S.K. movie as well?

I was a part of a Hasbro writers room. I would love to get into specifics but I don’t want Akiva Goldsman putting out a hit on me.

The Akiva Goldsman room connected with Transformers?

Yes. That room itself was a blast. I didn’t know half the time whether to take notes for story or to get autographs.

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