When Power aired on STARZ on June 7, 2014, fans were sent into a frenzy. A new cast of characters was quickly introduced, gripping millions of fans for years to come. As the opening credits rolled and Joe’s sultry vocals rang out, “They say this is a big rich town.. I just come from the poorest part,” you just knew you were in for a ride.
Everyone knows by now that the character James “Ghost” St. Patrick was portrayed by Omari Hardwick. But what if you saw a different name while the 50-Cent and Joe collaboration and the mesmerizing visuals played? According to the show’s creator, Courtney A. Kemp, that almost happened.
Courtney A. Kemp sat down with The Crew Has It podcast, where she revealed that Real Husband of Hollywood star Boris Kodjoe was almost given the role of Ghost. But she made it clear that from the start, she always “knew who [she] wanted.” “I wanted Omari Hardwick,” Kemp stated. “That’s who I wanted from the beginning.” However, she said the studio had other visions of using an actor with more of a draw. But she always felt Omari Hardwick had everything she envisioned for the character.
Although she instantly loved Omari Hardwick as James “Ghost” St. Patrick, Courtney A. Kemp had to praise Boris Kodjoe for “killing” his audition. “No one ever believes me, but Boris was amazing,” she stressed. She highlights that he’s able to speak multiple languages and admits that he is “physically imposing.” However, Kemp concluded that his portrayal of Ghost wouldn’t “feel real” as he is “just too beautiful.”
Oddly enough, although the role was offered to and eventually accepted by Omari Hardwick, he almost passed up on the opportunity. The actor made the confession while speaking to Fat Joe on The Fat Joe Show, stating that his fears almost held him back. Before becoming the lead actor in a show, Hardwick mainly played supporting roles. However, he claims he “ultimately had to look in the mirror” and admit he was “afraid” of being “the guy.” It wasn’t until his wife, Jennifer Pfautch, told him a prayer she’d been praying on his behalf. “She said, ‘God, please allow him to embrace his power,'” he said. Interestingly enough, neither knew that the show would be named Power at the time.
Omari Hardwick also could relate to Courtney A. Kemp’s statements on an actor being too attractive to be believable for a particular type of role. During his episode of TV One’s Unsung docuseries, the actor reflected on a time he had auditioned for the film Gridiron Gang that starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and rapper Xzibit.
Hardwick eventually landed the role of “Free” in the movie. However, he was initially told by the casting director that he was “too good-looking” for the part when he went to audition. But Omari Hardwick persisted and returned, donning a transformed look that included a gold tooth. As a result, he was able to trick the same casting director, who had no idea that Hardwick was the same individual she had seen in an audition a week before.