When TV executive producer Gary Lennon joined the Power universe almost 10 years ago, he had no idea the hit Starz show would turn into one of the most popular series to grace the small screen.
Now, as the showrunner for Power Book IV: Force, one of four spin-offs based on 50 Cent and Courtney Kemp‘s original drug and crime drama, Lennon tells ABC Audio he’s grateful to have contributed to the fictional show — particularly because his work is based on the real-life happenings of his tumultuous upbringing.
Delving into his “troubled childhood” as a poor orphan who lost his parents at age 13, struggled with addiction and witnessed his brother’s criminal lifestyle, Lennon, a self-proclaimed confessional writer, says he’s able to use “all of that mess and make it art.”
“I get to do that through Tommy,” he says of Force’s main character, drug kingpin Tommy Egan, played by Joseph Sikora.
Tommy, Lennon explains, reminds him of his late brother. Lennon says that through his writing he can make amends with his brother and “work out stuff I couldn’t work out in real life.”
But Force isn’t just a reflection of Lennon’s life — it draws from the other writers, as well. One scene this season featured a former gang member who served time in prison — and now writes for the show.
“I love what you have to offer this show. So please bring yourself to it,” Lennon told the writer, adding, “And he did.”
And that ability to imitate real life, Lennon says, is what matters to and resonates with viewers most.
“Audiences pick up on the truth. They see themselves in that. And then they reward us with their viewership,” he said.
The season 2 finale of Power Book IV: Force airs November 10 on Starz.
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