BET’s The Game has officially come to an end. The very last episode ever will air on August 5th and fans of the show will have to say goodbye to the characters we’ve grown to love over the past 9 years. The dark comedy created by Mara Brok Akil and directed by her husband, Salim Akil tackled love, divorce, heartbreak, success, feminism, friendship and of course all things football! I spoke to Hosea Chanchez who plays quarterback Malik Wright and Lauren London who plays struggling actress Kiera Whitaker about one of the most sensitive subjects that ever played out during their 9 seasons, substance abuse. Hosea opened up about his personal encounter with substance abuse and how Lauren London taught him how to close the chapter on his character and his time on The Game.
Have you had any personal experience with substance abuse and if so, how did it help you relate to Mailk?
“My father suffers from substance abuse to this day, and has for about 20 plus years of his life. And that’s a story that was really sensitive to me because being a kid to someone that has substance abuse issues, in the back of your mind being addicted to anything was always a fear of mine. Until growing up and learning that my place in life isn’t my father’s place. So, that’s something that’s really present in my life with my father and with his experiences. So, I played that entire scenario with Malik on the outside. So, I was never fully in character, I never understood it and I never was fully aware of it because I was afraid of it.”
Did portraying a character suffering from substance abuse bring you and your father closer together?
“That didn’t bring us closer together. Forgiveness brought us closer together. And me, not only forgiving him, but forgiving myself for the thoughts I had of him my entire life. And that’s where real freedom in life is. And that’s why I don’t have any fears any more. Now, I’ve released myself from that by knowing what my presence and my destiny is and claiming what’s real in my life and what’s not I don’t even acknowledge. So, through forgiving him and forgiving myself for my thoughts of him all those years growing up is what brought us closer together. Forgiveness.”
Malik explains how Lauren London’s words of wisdom helped him find closure with the show coming to an end.
“I think because Lauren is used to doing film, there’s a beginning, middle and end. And your (Lauren’s) attitude for business in the beginning of coming to the show and in the end of coming to the show, really taught me how just letting go and embracing the time you have and just being able to move forward in your career. Cause this isn’t the end of your career. This is a moment in time. Move forward and let go and not hold on to ‘Oh God am I ever going to work again? Oh, I been on this show for 10 years. Oh, are people going to see me past Malik?’ And those things that can come up.”
Nicely said. Fans of The Game will miss all of the characters and we thank BET for bringing the show back to life after it had been prematurely cancelled by the CW network. And of course we thank Mara Brok Akil for creating a show that so many of us related to.
The Final Episode of BET’s The Game airs, Wednesday, August 5th at 10pm on BET.
Watch our interview below: