'Twists and turns': 20-year-old actor 'grateful to be on the journey' in 'Power Book III: Raising Kanan' - Albuquerque Journal

‘Twists and turns’: 20-year-old actor ‘grateful to be on the journey’ in ‘Power Book III: Raising Kanan’

Kanan Stark, played by Mekai Curtis, center, in a scene from “Power Book III: Raising Kanan.” (Cara Howe/Starz)

Mekai Curtis wants to set the record straight when it comes to his role on “Power Book III: Raising Kanan.”

“Yes, I’m the same actor in all the episodes,” he says with a laugh.

Curtis is responding to questions from fans about how different Curtis looks from the first episode to the second.

“We filmed the pilot episode eight months prior,” he says. “COVID shut us down, and we all thought it was going to be two weeks. It was eight months. I managed to lose some weight and gain some muscle.”

“Power Book III: Raising Kanan,” is set in South Jamaica, Queens, in 1991.

The series is a prequel to the original “Power” franchise.

It revolves around the coming of age of Kanan Stark; Ghost and Tommy’s mentor, partner and adversary.

The series catches up with Stark, the 15-year-old only child of Raquel “Raq” Thomas, a cocaine distributor with an emerging network of dealers across the city.

Much like the original “Power,” “Raising Kanan” explores themes of identity, violence and legacy, but it is also a deep dive into the very pathology of family; the unique, complicated and fraught dynamic between parent and child, mother and father, brother and sister.

Curtis says family often feels like the only refuge from all the divisiveness and discord and yet, at the same time, it is discovered that it is those closest to us who betray us and our values most.

The first season of “Raising Kanan” is an exploration of these betrayals, the secrets and lies that accompany them and the ways in which they fester, metastasize and ultimately erupt. It is airing on Starz and on the Starz app.

The overarching theme of the first season is, “You reap what you sow.”

In other words, actions have consequences; betrayals are always uncovered; secrets are inevitably revealed; chickens come home to roost.

Every character in “Raising Kanan” is hiding something – from the world, from one another, from themselves. And as our story unfolds, they each will have to grapple with the unintended and destructive consequences of the information they’ve hidden and withheld.

And while the ways in which these betrayals, secrets and lies reveal themselves will vary, one truth will remain constant: In “Raising Kanan,” as in the “Power” universe, no one can be trusted, and nothing is ever as it seems.

“There are so many twists and turns,” he says of the series. “I’ve been a fan of the show and am grateful to be on the journey.”

When Curtis auditioned for the show, he didn’t realize it was going to be for the role of Kanan Stark.

After he was cast for the role, he got nervous.

Mekai Curtis stars as Kanan Stark in the series “Power Book III: Raising Kanan.” (Courtesy of Starz)

“I know where the character ends up,” he says. “Kanan is at a point in his life as a teenager where the decisions he makes will put him on a certain path. It’s been interesting to visit his journey.”

Another aspect Curtis enjoys about the series is being able to transport back to the 1990s, before the 20-year-old actor was born.

“I know the era because of the music,” he says. “Being able to be put into that time is fun for me, from the music to the fashion. I’m all about it. Sometimes I wish I would have grown up then. It’s fun to be able to get placed in that time.”

Curtis says he feels blessed to be part of a show because he is such a big fan.

“It’s amazing to me still,” he says of the opportunity.


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