“Family take it in. These are the good old days we dreamt about. This is where we’re meant to be. Together.”—Cam Calloway
The press notes for the Starz original dramedy series “Survivors’ Remorse” describes the lead character Cam Calloway (Jessie T. Usher) as a big-hearted, hardworking young athlete who is thrust into the limelight after signing a multimillion-dollar contract with a pro basketball team in Atlanta.
With the guidance of his cousin and confidant Reggie Vaughn (RonReaco Lee), Cam is trying to navigate both his meteoric rise and the challenges of balancing family with the rewards and responsibilities of wealth and fame.
That was season one, and it was an impressive first year for the rookie comedy. In season two, Cam, Reggie and the whole Calloway clan wrestle with exploding stardom, love and loyalty.
Based on the available episodes that media were permitted to review, the second season is bringing the heat and has turned up the volume on the comedy, which is squarely delivered by comedic actor Mike Epps, whose portrayal of the outspoken truth-bearer Uncle Julius makes this series a standout.
“The core of the show is a family that really loves each other. That’s how Mike O’Malley, the creator, showrunner, writer and executive producer, explains the series. We actually all like each other. We’re not faking it. We have really good chemistry,” said Jessie T. Usher.
On a recent summer day, I had the opportunity to see that crackling chemistry when I interviewed Usher and Epps.
The two defer to one another with grace and heartfelt comments. It’s not an act. It’s real. A blindman wearing sunglasses, blind-folded, sitting in the dark in the dead of night can see that Usher and Epps respect one another. Perhaps it’s because both are storytellers and share a creative bond that seals tighter than glue. Usher is a filmmaker and has been “shadowing directors” when he’s not working on the series, which he revealed when we first met in the spring of 2014.
Recently, the AmNews had an opportunity to catch up with the talented young man.
AmNews: What’s new in season two? Talk to me like a fan, please.
Usher: Fans will see that Cam, my character, has blossomed in his role as provider. He’s moved his entire family to his mansion; he has picked up that man-of-the-house attitude a little bit. He’s a little bossier.
Is the series still as funny?
No doubt. Funnier!
You shared when we first connected that you want to absorb and learn everything about the making of film and TV. What have you learned from working with Mike Epps? He’s a veteran in both mediums.
What haven’t I learned from Mike? So much (laughing). First, to be kind. He’s kind and respectful. To listen. He’s like a politician, “shaking hands and kissing babies.” He makes people feel good and that’s a valuable character trait.
So what’s next for you, Mr. Usher. Mr. Filmmaker? Mr. Movie Star on the Rise?
Glad you asked. The day after I wrapped season one, I was off to set for “Independence Day: Resurgence.” In the movie, I play Dylan Hiller and I can sum up the experience as “tremendous”!
“Survivor’s Remorse” returns Aug. 22 on Starz.