Hulu's 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' actor Marcus Callender says Wu-Tang Clan a 'group of 9 superheroes' who gave hope to people
In a chat with MEAWW, Callender spoke of the group's impact and how different it was from N.W.A., the focus of the 2015 film 'Straight Outta Compton.'
Hulu's 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' is five episodes down and the show is slowly shaping up the story of how the Wu-Tang Clan was formed, with members of opposing hoods coming together to create what is possibly the greatest hip-hop group in history. The show is created by the RZA himself and Alex Tse and gives a semi-fictionalized account of the group's beginnings. Behind the scenes of the great music, it was the RZA's older brother Mitchell "Divine" Diggs and Oliver "Power" Grant that executive produced the music and made Wu-Tang Clan the brand that it became.
Power was the original founder of the Wu Wear clothing line and produced and developed a PlayStation game based on the group called 'Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style.' On the show, Power is played by Marcus Callender, who you might recognize as Ray from the Starz network show, coincidentally also named 'Power.' In an exclusive interview with MEA Worldwide (MEAWW), Callender spoke about his experience filming 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' and working with the RZA. Callender said "throughout filming, (the RZA's) there on set making sure that us the actors are aware of certain details involving our characters. And to answer all of our questions because we certainly had a ton."
This certainly helped Callender a lot as he did not know much about Power before filming and was worried if he would do the character justice. To prepare for the role, Callender watched as much footage of Power as he could find and this was difficult since Power was more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. However, Callender did meet with Power midway through the filming of the show and the latter trusted Callender with portraying him. One lesson Callender takes away from filming the show is to "trust the process."
Callender also spoke about the impact of the Wu-Tang Clan, when it formed and even today, saying that the group of "nine superheroes" gave hope to those that feel like "they could never “make it” out of their situation". Callender also had a role in the 2015 film 'Straight Outta Compton', a movie about the rap group N.W.A which counted Eazy-E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre as its members. Said Callender, "I think the biggest difference between Straight Outta Compton and American Saga is the location in which these two hip-hop groups were formed". N.W.A originated from the west coast, while the Wu-Tang Clan comes from the east coast. Callender says that the struggles of both groups were similar and legendary in terms of the barriers they broke coming into the music industry, "N.W.A made records that really pushed the envelope politically in America and Wu-Tang, along with their sharp sword lyrics, revolutionized the meaning of a 'rap group'". Callender also said that all nine members of the group, they are also individually "super-talented" and to have a rap group with nine members was completely unheard of, and still is today.
Callender also writes his own plays and is currently in the process of editing it. He will be appearing on the second season of NBC's 'New Amsterdam'. When he's not acting, Callender dives into his interests of music and tech. Callender calls it his "nerdy side" and hopes to go to the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas next year.
Catch Marcus Callender as 'Power' on 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' on Hulu every Wednesday.