'Power': Shane Johnson Recalls When Cooper Saxe Was Almost Killed off the Show
Starz’s Power Universe has dominated television since the original series first debuted in 2014. The show chronicled the life of James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), who was trying to hide his double life as one of the biggest drug kingpins in New York City while presenting himself as an upstanding businessman.
Over the course of the series and into the first spinoff, Power Book II: Ghost, actor Shane Johnson has starred as Cooper Saxe, a U.S. attorney for the FBI, who can’t seem to outsmart Ghost, his son, Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr) or anyone in their organization.
In fact, Saxe was almost killed off the original Power series years ago.
Shane Johnson originally tried out for the role of Tommy Egan in ‘Power’
Though we’ll always recognize Johnson for his role as Saxe, aka Uncle Nancy in the Power Universe, he originally tried out to portray Tommy Egan. Considering how squeamish Saxe is compared to Tommy, we have no idea how this would have worked.
“So I came into Power, and I auditioned for Tommy,” he told Tea with Tia. “So I went in for Tommy, and met with Vicky Thomas. And I knew at the time that this isn’t my casting. But I’m an actor! So I’m going to be Tommy. I grew up on a farm, but I’m being streetwise Tommy.” Needless to say, Johnson was never called back to read again for Tommy.
However, after actor Joseph Sikora was cast in the role of Tommy, Johnson was called for the role of Saxe and the rest is history.
Shane Johnson says Cooper Saxe was almost killed in ‘Power’ Season 3
Johnson has played Saxe on Power, and now he’s starring in Power Book II: Ghost, which makes him one of the longest-running characters in the Power Universe. Though he originally thought he could handle Tommy, Johnson felt like he saw himself when he auditioned to portray Saxe.
“And once I get the sides for Cooper Saxe and I saw kinda the vibe he was; it was twofold,” Johnson told Tea with Tia. “It was, they finally have a scene where I belong, which meant they obviously liked me. And I also was like, ‘this is the guy. This is who I am.” And a few weeks later I got the call, with my last $50 filling up my gas tank.”
Though Saxe has been rocking since the beginning of Power trying everything in his arsenal to take down James St. Patrick and Tommy Egan, he was nearly killed off in the original series Johnson explained on Instagram live that Saxe nearly didn’t make it out of the third season alive.
Cooper Saxe could appear in multiple ‘Power’ spinoffs
Now, after failing to convict Tasha St. Patrick (Naturi Naughton) in the first season of Power Book II: Ghost, Saxe has teamed up with defense attorney Davis Maclean (Clifford “Method Man” Smith), moving his career in a new direction. “What would be cool is if I bounced into some of the other spin-offs. Like if I manage to bounce into Tommy’s show,” Johnson told Tea with Tia. “That’s actually a legitimate situation, which very well could happen. I think Saxe stirs the pot.”
Saxe has been the comedic relief for much of Power, so in the second season of Power Book II: Ghost, Johnson is hoping that his character will be able to snag a major win. “Here’s what I want for Saxe; I want Saxe to win. Just to win,” he said. “I’ve taken so many L’s. I’ve been on this show for seven seasons. I’ve been on this show for eight years. Can you tell me a single triumph?”
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