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‘The Chi’ Exclusive: Jacob Latimore & Luke James Reflect On Their Character’s Growth & Praise Curtiss Cook’s Performance As Douda

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Showtime and Paramount+’s The Chi is back and features a dynamic range of characters who have grown and evolved as people throughout the show’s six seasons.

Emmet (Jacob Latimore) and Victor (Luke James) are two shining examples of characters who we met one way and became polar opposites of the individuals we first met when they first arrived on our television screens.

Before season six’s second-half premiere, Cassius Life spoke with Latimore and James about those changes and why they appreciated them.

The Chi

Source: Cassius Life / The Chi / Jacob Latimore / Luke James

The two actors touched on Curtiss Cook’s portrayal of The Chi’s main antagonist, Douda, and what he brings to the role, as well as why the Lena Waithe-created series is so special to them.

Jacob Latimore Appreciates Emmitt’s Growth

The Chi

Source: Elizabeth Sisson/Paramount+ with Showtime / The Chi

When we first meet Emmett, he is a hustler with ambition, but also just getting by when trying to provide for his kids from different mothers.

The Chi

Source: Photo: Matt Dinerstein/SHOWTIME / The Chi

Emmett’s early view of adult life could be attributed to his relationship with his father, Darnell (Rolando Boyce), who also has a remarkable redemption arc in the series, remarrying Emmett’s mom and becoming the father figure his son has longed for.

The Chi

Source: Elizabeth Sisson/Paramount+ with Showtime / The Chi

When we first met Emmett, he was only concerned about making money and sleeping with women. Fast-forward, he is now a successful business owner, a proud dad, and has a healthy relationship with Kiesha (Burgandi Baker).

There’s a new layer of growth, a new set of challenges that our characters have to face, and we’re learning on screen…

Speaking about his character’s evolution, Latimore says, “The growth has been incredible from season one ’till now. Every year we feel like we’re approaching some new character, even though we’re coming to the same characters every year. There’s a new layer of growth, a new set of challenges that our characters have to face, and we’re learning on screen, man.”

He continues, “Some of it is us in there, but it’s a lot of it is not. The lifestyles are so different from ours, so we’re learning so much, and we’re just excited to feed the fans, be relatable, and give a voice to the voiceless man.”

Luke James Appreciates That Victor Has A Future

The Chi

Source: Elizabeth Sisson/Paramount+ with Showtime / The Chi

When Luke James arrived in season three of The Chi, we knew him as Trig, the older brother of Jake (Michael Epps). He has been away for some time and hopes to be a guiding presence in his young, impressionable brother’s life, trying to steer him clear of the dark path he took.

We later meet Victor, a man who wants to help his community not by being a gangster but through politics. He eventually becomes a city councilman with bigger political ambitions.

The Chi

Source: Photo Credit: Sandy Morris/Paramount+ with Showtime / The Chi

Speaking on his character’s evolution, James told Cassius Life that he appreciates Victor having a future.

“I mean, in a sense, it’s a dream role, right? To have a character that has a future in a sense for the creator, how the creator sees this character,” James begins. “And to be able to take that ride and for it to be so nuanced and grounded in the realities of the human experience living on the south side of Chicago, growing up, and making wild decisions that altered your life.”

And to be able to take that ride and for it to be so nuanced and grounded in the realities of the human experience living on the south side of Chicago

He continues, “But now, in a way, they’re trying to make up for that lost time and do better. I think it’s just a really awesome transition to watch and to see because I know brothers like that. I know brothers who have made wild decisions that have altered their lives, and they’ve paid and done the time, and now they’re trying to heal the place that they caused the most pain, and this is what it looks like, you know?”

Curtiss Cook’s Performance As Douda Should Put Him In The Conversation With Other Great Actors

The Chi

Source: Photo Credit: Sandy Morris/Paramount+ with Showtime / The Chi

Throughout The Chi’s six-season run, there has always been that one antagonist that seemed to make life miserable for the Southside Chicago residents.

Taking on that role primarily in the later season has been Douda, who has become the hood equivalent of Thanos with everyone uniting in agreement that deadly businessman/gangster and former mayor has to go.

James had glowing words for Cook and his performance on the show when asked about his performance as Douda.

“Curtis Cook is top tier, one of the finest actors of our generation. He is on the list up there with all of our Jeffery Wrights and those prolific entities like Michael K. Williams, who graced the screen and just moved us with their performances of these nuanced characters that are, in some ways, villains,” James said. “But in some ways, you also… Something about them resonates with you, and you understand there’s a reason for that. And when someone is able to do that with such a character that… I mean, that’s the job of a brilliant actor.”

The Chi

Source: Photo credit: Elizabeth Sisson/Showtime. / The Chi

James continues, “I mean, everybody we come across, everybody wants to know who going to kill Douda. Somebody got to take him out. So for me, that says it all right there, what he’s done to this character so much that he’s beloved and hated, and I think there’s this duality that everybody’s having a problem with, that we are having a problem with. Our characters are having a problem with understanding of making a decision on how to survive his reign.”

Jacob Latimore Believes The Chi Is Important Because It’s Relatable

The Chi

Source: Elizabeth Sisson/Paramount+ with Showtime / The Chi

As a show, The Chi’s importance can not be understated. Latimore and James revealed why they felt it resonates so much with viewers, making it one of Showtime and Paramount+’s most popular series and recently earning a seventh season.

The Chi is so important because it’s… a reflection of our community.

The Chi is so important because it is a reflection. It’s a reflection of our community, man. That’s the reason we love just coming to set every day. It is so relatable to our fans,” Latimore said.

“They come up to us and they say, ‘Man, that’s me. That’s my lifestyle. I know somebody like that.’ Or ‘I got an uncle like that,’ or ‘I got a little brother like that.’ ‘Bro, I go through that with my baby moms,’ you know? And we just happy to keep revealing all those real situations because Chicago has been getting a bad rep for so long. And we just happy to be able to step into characters and humanize them and step into these city shoes and walk in.”

Luke James Says One of The Reasons The Chi Is Important is Because It Reflects The Times

“Humanizing the black experience. That’s the importance of such a show like this, and it is not just escapism, but it’s grounded in the aspect that you get to watch it and enjoy it,” James begins.

“You enjoy your favorite show on Paramount +, but then when it’s off, you’re left with this idea of all of the different ranges of topics that kind of just hover throughout the seasons of needing a space to be seen and loved and cherished and protected. Also with that, how do you find that space.”

He continues, “How important mental health awareness is important for our community, to talk to each other. How important it is for men to hold each other accountable, to mentor each other. To just hold space for each other, just to listen, if anything. And how that can help shift the trajectory of all of us, the youth, the people that are watching us and looking at us. I think it’s important that art is supposed to reflect the times, and I think our show does that in its own way and leaves you a bit with some commentary to think about.”

The Chi is streaming right now on Paramount+ and Showtime.

‘The Chi’ Exclusive: Jacob Latimore & Luke James Reflect On Their Character’s Growth & Praise Curtiss Cook’s Performance As Douda  was originally published on cassiuslife.com