After being renewed for a new season after just a few days after its premiere, “The Deuce” is back for season two on HBO. The show follows the journey of pimps and their girls in New York City during the seventies.
The Knockturnal had the opportunity to sit down with one of the stars on the show, Gary Carr, to talk about his character, a pimp named C.C. Carr also gave some insight on what to expect in the upcoming season, and his opinions on his character.
The Knockturnal: From your point of view, how does The Deuce differ from other TV series?
Gary Carr: I think it’s great detailed work. I haven’t seen many other TV shows of this time period, but it’s thorough. David (Simon) and George (Pelecanos), they’re really good at writing those pieces that really reflect the time. I think all the departments have done the highest quality work. From costumes, set design, to hair and makeup; all of those elements really do help you invest in the show and believe in the world you’re watching. The Deuce does that really well.
The Knockturnal: All of those elements must require a lot of research. What was your research process like?
Gary Carr: I did pretty much what the heads of the departments would do. I collect everything from books of the time, news publications, magazine articles, documentaries, films, music. I’d research what the climate was like to be an African American at that time in the 70s in New York, as well as the social and economic climate.
The Knockturnal: In terms of character, C.C. doesn’t let his race or any circumstance affect him. He has an arrogance about him. Do you think it’ll be his downfall?
Gary Carr: Yes, but I think he’ll try to dodge it the way C.C. does. C.C.is always trying to survive and considers himself to be “The Mack.” By the time we come to season two, I don’t even know if the pimp game really exists anymore. I think he’s trying to figure it out, and I think the audience is going to try to figure that out as well. But he’s got this swag to him, he needs that to drive him.
The Knockturnal: With that being said, what does being a pimp mean to C.C.? Or what did you as an actor decide what being a pimp meant to your character?
Gary Carr: Right now, for him, it means to survive, to be alive, to be the best at what he’s doing on a superficial level, and make as much money as possible. I feel like, yeah, C.C. did choose this profession, but at the same time, I thought his background or his upbringing was one that gave him no choice. Maybe he was exposed to that world at a young age. What I love about C.C., it sounds crazy, but he’s always trying to be the best version of himself. In season one, we hear him speak about his dreams of living in a different city, and having a house. He’s thinking of that stuff and that’s really interesting. He has ambitions that go beyond the pimp game.
The Knockturnal: So you don’t think he’s in the game to stay?
Gary Carr: No. I don’t know, I don’t think so.
The Knockturnal: When do you think enough will be enough for C.C.?
Gary Carr: If it’s not circumstances, then I think that it’ll be when he’s reached his goal. I imagine he’s had this idea in his head like, yeah, I just need to make this amount of money and advance to the next part of my life. He’s very fierce and stern about how he works his girls. But I think we see them struggle in season two and that’s really interesting to watch.
The Knockturnal: Struggling in terms of?
Gary Carr: In terms of being the number one pimp. In terms of the pimp game, I don’t think he’s really killing it anymore by season two; Laurie’s working for the studios now.
The Knockturnal: How does he feel about that? He seems to love her, if not, she definitely seems more special than the others in C.C’s eyes. What is it about her?
Gary Carr: Any way you look at it, I don’t think he’s happy about it. It’s crazy because, it’s bringing him a good source of income right now, but I think he knows it’s not sustainable. The more success she obtains, the more it leaves him in a position where he doesn’t really have a place, or a say, or a voice; or any kind of power or clout. That’s shutting him down completely, so I think there’s a lot of fear, insecurities, a lot of jealousy as well over her success. It’s a big deal that his girl really stepped out on her own. She doesn’t need him and that’s what’s not being said. He’s always trying to enforce his power.
The Knockturnal: So is he in love with her? Or is Laurie, like the other girls?
Gary Carr: I think he’s in love with what they are. We don’t see C.C.’s story before season one, episode one, but we know him and Laurie meet at that time and they very much decided to be a team very early on; and that was exciting for him. Over time I think he developed strong feelings. She’s ride or die, she’s proven that and that’s a big deal for a pimp to have someone completely depend on you; but she’s independent as well, he’s got a lot of respect for her. He’s got a lot of respect for Ashley as well. I think C.C. does love these women. I don’t think we can understand that world really because we’re not in it, but there are these genuine relationships with the girls, and it’s real, very human. There’s love there, it’s mutual, and there’s an understanding.
The Knockturnal: Is C.C. a villain?
Gary Carr: I don’t see him as a villain, I really don’t judge. I don’t think any of them are bad people. I empathize for them, if anything, actually.
The Knockturnal: How does this show speak to modern day issues such as patriarchy and women’s rights in the workplace, etc.?
Gary Carr: There are a lot of things being highlighted in the series now, things that occurred in the seventies, that are actually still current now. Whether it be female empowerment movements, or equality across the board; from race, sex, gender, everything. All of that stuff was happening in the seventies and is very current today. I think the show does a really good job of reflecting the time, which happens to be very similar to now. I think though, it’s a positive thing because in the seventies there was so much change and so many progressive things happening and I feel like that’s happening now. I know everyone doesn’t think so, but I think it’s positive a lot of things are being said and people are being heard.
The Knockturnal: Anything you want people to look out for?
Gary Carr: I’m just interested to see how people react towards him. I was really interested in comments that were made first season. People seem to really like the character, they’re like, “I like him, but I don’t want to like him because you know, he’s bad, he’s a pimp,” but I was like cool because I think that means the writers and performers definitely humanized these characters. I hope people still like it
Tune in to The Deuce on Sunday, September 9th at 9pm EST on HBO.