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You've Never Seen Luke James In A Role Quite Like This
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You've Never Seen Luke James In A Role Quite Like This

Over the years, we've watched Luke James play countless characters we'd deem sex symbols, movie stars, and even his complicated character in Lena Waithe's The Chi. For the first time in his career, the New Orleans-born actor has taken on a role where his signature good looks take a backseat as he transforms into Edmund in Them: The Scare—a mentally deranged character in the second installment of the horror anthology series that you won't be able to take your eyes off.

Trust us, Edmund will literally make you do a double take.


xoNecole sat down with Luke James to talk about his latest series and all the complexity surrounding it—from the challenges taking on this out-of-the-box role to the show's depiction of the perplexing history of the relationship between Black Americans and police. When describing the opportunity to bring Edmund's character to life, Luke was overjoyed to show the audience yet another level of his masterful acting talents.

"It was like bathing in the sun," he said. "I was like, thank you! Another opportunity for me to be great—for me to expand my territory. I'm just elated to be a part of it and to see myself in a different light, something I didn't think I could do." He continued, "There are parts of you that says, 'Go for it because this is what you do.' But then also that's why it's a challenge because you're like, 'um, I don't know if I'm as free as I need to be to be able to do this.' Little Marvin just created such a safe space for me to be able to do this, and I'm grateful for everything I've been able to do to lead to this."

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Them: The Scare, like the first season, shines a light on the plight of Black Americans in the United States. This time, the story is taking place in the 1990s, at the height of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. While the series presents many underlying themes, one that stands out is Black people and the complicated relationship with the police. "For the audience, I think it sets the tone for the era that we're in and the amount of chaos that's in the air in Los Angeles and around the country from this heinous incident. And I say it just sets the tone of the anxiety and anxiousness that everybody is feeling in their own households."

James has been a longtime advocate against police brutality himself. He has even featured Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Colorado man who died after being forcibly detained by officers, as his Instagram avatar for the past five years. So, as you can imagine, this script was close to his heart. "Elijah was a soft-loving oddball. Different than anyone but loving and a musical genius. He was just open and wanted to be loved and seen."

Luke-JamesGetty Images

Luke continued, "His life was taken from him. I resonate with his spirit and his words...through all the struggle and the pain he still found it in him to say, 'I love you and I forgive you.' And that's who we are as people—to our own detriment sometimes. He's someone I don't want people to forget. I have yet to remove his face from my world because I have yet to let go of his voice, let go of that being [because] there's so many people we have lost in our history that so often get forgotten."

He concluded, "I think that's the importance of such artwork that moves us to think and talk about it. Yes, it's entertaining. We get to come together and be spooked together. But then we come together and we think, 'Damn, Edmund needed someone to talk to. Edmund needed help... a lot [of] things could have been different. Edmund could have been saved.'

Check out the full interview below.

Luke James Talks Ditching Sex Symbol Status For "Them: The Scare", Elijah McClain, & Morewww.youtube.com

Featured image by Getty Images

 

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