Aldis Hodge talks about "Underground" and "Hidden Figures"

"Everybody thought ('Underground') couldn't get crazier or more dangerous, but it does."

Kam Williams | 3/15/2017, 11:54 a.m.
"Everybody thought ('Underground') couldn't get crazier or more dangerous, but it does."
Aldis Hodge as "Noah" on the WGN America slave drama "Underground."

Aldis Hodge is perhaps best known for his role as Alec Hardison on the TNT series Leverage which nabbed a People's Choice Award in 2013, in addition to his role as MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton. Furthermore, he starred in the Amazon pilot The After and enjoyed a recurring role on the AMC Revolutionary War drama Turn: Washington's Spies.

Aldis appeared opposite Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page in the eco-terrorism thriller “The East.” And he appeared in A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest installment of the “Die Hard” franchise.

Aldis started his career at 3 as a model for print ads and commercials. He made the transition to the small screen when he and his brother Edwin were cast on Sesame Street. Later, they joined the Tony-winning revival of Showboat on Broadway.

During that period, he parlayed his success on stage into a movie career, debuting in Die Hard with a Vengeance, before making Bed of Roses, The Stone House, Edmond, The Ladykillers and Big Momma’s House. Aldis' television roles include the critically-acclaimed series Friday Night Lights, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Girlfriends, American Dreams, City of Angels, Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ER, Cold Case, Charmed and Boston Public.

Born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, but raised in New York and New Jersey, Aldis is an avid scriptwriter, designer and painter in addition to acting. Here, he talks about playing Levi Jackson in the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures and about reprising the role of Noah on the television series Underground about the Underground Railroad which just started its second season on the WGN America network.

Kam Williams: Hi Aldis, I'm honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.

Aldis Hodge: I appreciate your time as well, Kam.

KW: Congratulations on the second season of Underground. What first interested you in doing the series?

AH: I enjoyed the way the story was written. I was intrigued by the narrative showing people rising up and fighting for their freedom.

KW: What can we expect to see new this season.

AH: I'll put it like this, brother. Everybody thought it couldn't get crazier or more dangerous, but it does. Last year, everyone was focused on this idea of freedom and just getting off the plantation without contemplating the harsh reality of what that really meant. At the end of the season, we were pretty much split up. Now, you get a pretty introspective view of each character. We're all dealing with the consequences of what transpired last season in our own way. My character, Noah, was learning what it meant to try to be a leader. This season, he's learning more about who he is as a man. Right now, the strength of his love for Rosalee [played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell] is more important to him than freedom, whereas last year was purely about survival.

KW: What's it like acting opposite Jurnee?

AH: She's awesome! That's my road dog right there. Our characters go through so much together this season that we have to depend on each other emotionally as actors. We didn't share a lot of scenes together because our story focuses on Noah and Rosalee's trying to get back to each other. We see that their love transcends their situation. There's still a very powerful connection between them, and we had to develop that. So, we had to take a different approach, and Jurnee was there 100% of the way. She is an absolute beast!