Starz’s “Survivor’s Remorse” will enter it’s second season on August 22.
This show is a great watch for several reasons, such as the great talents on the cast. We got a chance to sit down and chat with stars Mike Usher, who plays Cam Calloway, and Mike Epps, who plays Julius. They opened up about their characters, themselves, and a little of what to expect in season 2.
Check out the interview below:
So what have you guys been doing for your summer?
Jessie Usher: For the summer? Man we’ve been working! Soon as I finished the second season of Survivors I jumped straight into Independence Day 2. So I was there a day and a half later. So yea. These past couple of weeks were the first two weeks I’ve had since the summer started where I got to go home and just hang out and that’s basically all I’ve been doing since I’ve been back home but I’m going back to work next week.
Mike Epps: I’ve been doing standup trying to prepare for a T.V show. So I’ve been preparing for a T.V show I got on ABC. Just doing standup, you know, I did do my standup special, which is coming out in October. I’ve got a couple different names for it, but the one I like is Don’t Take It Personal.
Is there anybody we know in this standup routine?
Epps: Do you know my baby mama?
I figured you both are kind of like the Cam Calloway of your families, the ones that are making the money and people are coming to you and asking you questions, how’s that for you guys? Have you had Survivor’s Remorse?
Usher: A little bit. I know Mike is probably getting the call everyday. I’ve had a few calls and you never really know how to handle it necessarily. Sometimes it’ll be from people that you’re actually kind of close to and then other times it’s just like, what side of the family are you on? You know what I mean? You get those calls more often than not, but it depends on the case-by-case thing. Sometimes I’ll bring it to my parents like do y’all even, like, what do we do about this. Y’all help me out here, and then we kind of just handle it like that for the most part. I don’t know Mike, I can only imagine how it must be [for you].
Epps: I think, you know, like Jessie said, it comes from a lot of different areas, a lot of different places. I think a lot of people, believe it or not, a lot of people think that they supposed to be that way with you, you know? It’s a few people that’s like, I’m supposed to ask him because he’s in the position, but, it’s just something that you have to manage like everything else. You have to realize, hey it’s the cutoff point, I ain’t doing no more than this, if I do do something it’s going to be for that person or that person and it just comes with the game, comes with the business.
Do you feel a type of way because before you were famous they were probably just like hey Mike, you know, whatever. Now that you’re famous it’s like hey Mike!
Epps: It made me mad at first because one thing that hurts your feelings is that you can’t believe that people have enough guts or they don’t have enough couth to know not to do that to you or ask you for it, but once you realize that that’s just part of it, it’s just natural. You say ah, they’re just doing what a natural person would do. I always sometimes try to think of myself, one time my brother told me this, and it blew my mind. He said, if you was in my shoes you’d do the same thing to me and I told him it must be some twist of fate that you ain’t in my shoes. But I thought about what he said too! I said you’re right! I would be on your ass.
Can you guys relate at all to your characters? I know Cam is a really kind-hearted guy and Uncle Julius is hilarious.
Usher: Yea, absolutely, and now, we’ve been working on the show for two seasons, we’ve kind of got a chance to develop those characters and kind of envelope ourselves in them so it kind of becomes more of ourselves through Cam or Mike through Uncle Julius then it is just words on a page that we’re kind of just delivering, you know what I mean? We’re putting ourselves in these characters so that they become more and more relatable everyday. There’s things that as the show continues and of course as the show gets more popular this and that, I end up dealing with things that Cam has to deal with on a more regular basis. So it sort of becomes more relatable than it was before, but it continues to grow as we go on.
Epps: No doubt, it does, and I think that’s why we were cast cause they had seen some type of familiarity in the characters in us, and like you said we grow into it. It’s really, really funny, it’s kind of like therapeutic. It’s kind of like the way Mike O’Malley writes the scripts is kind of like forewarning you in your life not to do some shit. You know what I mean? If I read this and I played it in the T.V show I know I better not do that shit in real life.
I know that you’re a storyteller, I know that you are a filmmaker, and I know we talked about learning while you were working. So, you want to share a little bit about what you’ve learned on the T.V show?
Usher: I’m trying to think if I can put this in a nutshell for you. I almost can’t because things come at you at different times and it’s so sporadic like the lessons that you get. Most of the time you don’t even learn them initially. You realize later like oh wow, I understand this, I get this now, and as far as being a filmmaker goes I kind of just learned a lot about being understanding, which I didn’t necessarily get before. Being a filmmaker you always have this idea and you want to stick to it and you’re dedicated to that and feed that idea, but then when it’s time to make something, there’s a hundred other people that you have to deal with. I’ve seen directors come in, I’ve seen writers come on the show, I’ve seen executive producers show up and everybody has ideas and they always want to, you know, put it in real quick. Then they had like 50 to a 100 other people saying like what, well maybe lets do [this], you know what I mean? I’ve seen everyone from different parts of the production just work through that process together and it kind of just broadened my horizons. I’m thinking like ok, if I write a script, you know, I say this to people all the time and they always go why and I say well if I write a script I don’t want to direct it. If I’m directing something, I don’t want it to be something that I wrote. If I’m executive producing something I don’t want to have written it because then instead of having those different people come to say and well let’s do this with your idea and it makes it so much better, then it’s just me and it’s like one-sided and it’s blind in a lot of areas and it ends of being grey and then you know, the audience will see it and they won’t love it as much. It may look fantastic to me, but only to me, and you don’t want that. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned, that we need that umbrella. I’m sure we’ve all seen projects where somebody written, directed, starred in and you go oh this is terrible and no one ever knows why until you’ve been on set with a team of people who know how to work together.
If you weren’t a comedian, what would you be doing?
Epps: It would probably have something to do with dealing with kids because I grew up in a community center called the Hill Center and I’ll never forgot, there was a guy named Mr. Hawkins, who was an older man, and a lady named Ms. Hollins. They were so funny, like they could’ve been comedians, but they were just like people who worked at a center that was there for like kids who’s parents wasn’t home when they got home from school, maybe parents were on drugs, you know, but their job really wasn’t like a job. They’re at work, but you didn’t look at them like that. You look at them like they’re just hanging out and they were morally supportive to you and that’s kind of like how I am. I’m like, I ain’t no construction guy.
Jesse, is there anything that you’ve learned from Mike while on the set?
Usher: I don’t know if Mike knows everything I’ve learned from Mike but there is an extremely extensive list of things that I’ve taken from him and most of it has to do with dealing with people. The way Mike deals with people has been a process through experience. So, I can stand back sometimes, or you know, we’ve gone out and I’ve gone places with him of course and I just see how he handles people and it could be fans, it could be people on set when they come to Mike and they say Mike we want you to do this and I know, and we’ve worked together for a while, and I know ok, I can tell by the way Mike’s looking at this guy right now that he’s not feeling that and I see how he handles it. There’s a professional way to handle things and there’s ways you see other people handle this, mostly when you hear stuff on the media say oh this person did this, this person did that, you know. From the outside it’s not something that you really understand. It’s just something that you didn’t want to do and they didn’t know how to handle it. So I’m able to stand back and I’m able to watch Mike shake hands and kiss babies and save face and still be able to get what he wants out of this experience.
Your character [Jesse] is a fun one to play, what’s your favorite thing about your character?
Usher: That he’s super rich. I’m not even going to lie to you! Cause he’s got like all this money to spend and blow. So when it comes time to play Cam I’m like, you get to drive the Aston and you know like, he’s throwing on the Versace jackets and it’s a lot of fun. He’s free in a way a lot of people feel that they aren’t free. Although freedom does not come with money we get that mind frame like things are going to be good when I’m rich, so Cam being rich just gets to do whenever he wants, he gets to just have fun.
How does Cam and Reggie’s relationship evolve in the second season?
Usher: We went through so much in the first season, butting heads like so many times that we now find like a ground level, you know, and some mutual understanding. Like I said earlier, there are things that come in for Cam, you know Reggie is answering the phone and he doesn’t even need to call me, he knows how to handle it now. We’ve talked it out at this point, we’ve fought it and then now we just understand each other. I know where he’s coming from, I get it, we got to make the money last, and he knows where I’m coming from, he gets it, we got to help people. Now it’s just we’ve found the balance and we’re able to handle things together, not so much like two little kids fighting about it.
Do you all have any thoughts on the recent spree of police brutality or any of the cases of like the last six months?
Usher: Of course.
Epps: That’s ugly for us. I think every young black person in the world should write the White House and write Congress and tell them this is injustice, you know. You know what hurts me more than anything is literally have nobody to run to tell on them. It’s like if you run to them and tell them, you telling on their brother, or you’re telling on their cousin, or their coworker. We really don’t have anybody that we can run to and tell on the government for allowing this stuff to happen. In these times we live in now, it’s so blatant and in your face it’s like alright, go home. It happened, go to bed, like what? There’s nothing that we can do? Nothing, and you’ll see it again next week so, peace. I’m like wow. Like police is supposed to be protecting [you]. Even though I’m under arrest, I’m supposed to still feel protected because you’re the cop. I see police now and it’s like I could die dealing with this dude. You know what I mean? Like police walk up on you, pull you over, you could die! I could really lose my life right now. This dude walked up and something can go wrong. So, it’s crazy.
Seeing as how you will be playing Richard Pryor in an upcoming movie, what’s the funniest thing you think he’s said?
Epps: I’m really nervous right now, because I ain’t had no cocaine since lunch.