Woody McClain has been killing it on television screens as Lorenzo “Cane” Tejada on Power Book II: Ghost. But many who were first introduced to the actor many not know that Woody McClain has been building an impressive resume prior to being cast on the Starz show. From music videos to playing a legend, life for the Power Book II: Ghost star has been on the rise.
Born in Charleston, SC, and raised in Jacksonville, FL, Woody McClain had his sights on making it big in entertainment. In 2012, he moved from the east coast to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams. McClain started to become popularly known as “Woody The Great in the social media age.” However, that name had been carried for quite a while before social media.
The actor had a recent sit-down with Angie Martinez, where they discussed his journey up until Power Book II: Ghost. Since his college days, Woody McClain shared that he had adopted the “Woody The Great” moniker. Additionally, the actor shared that while in college, he was in a marching band called “Marching 100.” Woody McClain credits Nick Cannon and the 2002 film Drumline for inspiring him to want to be in a marching band.
According to The Florida Times-Union, Woody McClain attended The Florida A&M University. As a freshman, McClain was a sousaphone player as a freshman. During his time in the band, the actor was afforded the honor of playing for President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington D.C. However, when asked if he can still play the instrument, McClain said he’s “trash now. But back then, I was nice,” he said.
Woody McClain was also a part of the FAMU Strikers Dance Troupe. “They was like the guys on campus, you know what I mean?” the actor recalled. After seeing a performance of the dance troupe and the reaction from the women, McClain approached them to join and claimed he could dance. However, he’d go on YouTube later that night to watch numerous dance videos, only to fail his first audition. But the following year, he ambitiously returned to audition and was successful. From this, he was able to enter the dance industry.
When Woody McClain moved to Los Angeles, he was introduced to Chris Brown’s choreographer by his dance mentor. This led to him working on the “Love More” music video. McClain tells the story of his first meeting with Chris Brown, as he was tasked by the choreographer to teach the singer his moves. According to the actor, he had to perform the routine for Brown “30 times while Chris was standing back there chilling.”
Woody McClain shared that while on set, Chris Brown’s cousins would refer to him as rapper B.O.B. He then shared that after watching him perform the routine that many times, Chris Brown gets up and executes the moves without practicing at all. “He just watched me and then learned it. And from there, I hated Chris Brown,” McClain stated. “At that moment, I hated him.”
But the next day, he received a call stating that the “Iffy” singer was in search of the actor. After being reluctant, Woody McClain shows up to the music video set where he encounters a “different” Chris Brown. At the time, he was doing videos on the Vine app where he would frequently go viral and was dancing for R&B artist Sevyn Streeter. But Chris Brown saw for Woody to continue to work with him. He would soon be in Brown’s “Loyal” music video and also continue to tour with the singer for three to four years. Woody McClain also revealed that Chris Brown would soon eventually share that he was testing him on their first encounter.
From dancing, he was able to work with famed choreographer Fatima Robinson on the Whitney Houston biopic that was being shown on Lifetime as a dance double for Bobby Brown’s character. When the New Edition Story auditions came about, Woody McClain was referred to the casting directors. At the time, McClain had not done any professional acting but was taking acting classes. After the first audition, which proved to be excellent, he was selected to play Bobby Brown.
Woody McClain would return to reprise the legendary singer on his own BET miniseries, The Bobby Brown Story. He also appeared in the series Tales and can be currently seen on the Netflix film The Harder They Fall. The actor also did extensive work with comedian and actor Kevin Hart and his “HartBeat Digital” studios.