Pooch Hall is so ready for tonight’s series finale of The Game, the show that got its start on The CW as a spinoff of Girlfriends and found new life on BET. After nine seasons, though, the Game must end. And although Pooch Hall as Derwin and Tia Mowry as Melanie one of the show’s original couples, weren’t a part of the last few seasons, they are returning for the series finale tonight on BET at 10 p.m.
‘The Game changed my life,” Hall sings. “As an actor, you’re trying to get whatever job you can and then when you try to hone your skills as an actor and work with the heavy hitters in Hollywood. And as a fan, being on The Game allowed me to meet a lot of important people from athletes to politicians that I have the utmost respect for.”
Although Hall left the show in a contract dispute and is now a regular on the acclaimed Showtime series Ray Donovan with Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight, now in it’s third season. When BET asked him to return, he said yes unhesitatingly.
‘It was like when LeBron James went back to Cleveland. He want back home. It was like going back home to me. I’m excited to see what we’ve accomplished. The fan support is what kept The Game on TV. If it was up to Hollywood, The Game would have ended after three seasons. But we kept going and that’s a testament to the fans and the people who made the game what it is. It’s not just me and Tia and Brittany, and Colby, it was the writers and everybody involved. So why not get back to what it was before and invite some of the original players back?’
Hall says he wanted to go back to The Game because he wanted to have a last chance to revisit a character that he loved.
“It’s a different feeling with Ray Donovan. Derwin was the man over there and not to be narcissistic or ego-driven, but I wanted that again. I wanted to use some of the energy to do a better performance than I’ve ever done in the past to say Derwin is back, Derwin is here to say and Derwin is part of The Game.”
Of course, Mowry as Melanie, Derwin’s fianceé, was a big part of the success of the The Game as well. And Hall says that despite the cast changes over the seasons, he appreciated being able to work with her again.
“It was really cool to get back in the trenches with Tia. It was so great to work with her again and see her work again and realize how funny that girl was,” he says. “I had some laughs working with Tasha Mack and working with Kelly. It was refreshing because I’d been away for so long. On Ray Donovan I play a darker character with darker characters. It was a refreshing light and you find yourself laughing constantly because they’re so funny. And to stretch those muscles playing Derwin and to go deep into his storyline and to what Melanie means to him and what they’ve been through to where they are now and its going to be really interesting and exciting to see their story.”
Hall promises a ‘nice closure.’ Because he obviously knows what happens and says he hopes there will be a movie that comes out of the show as it happened with both Veronica Mars and Entourage after their series runs ended on TV.
Given that Hall’s career was so positively impacted by his time on The Game, he says that that it was just a part of what the show did for Black actors – and shows, overall. Of course show creator Mara Brock Akil and her husband and creative partner Salim Akil have gone on to create the critically and commercially successful drama Being Mary Jane for BET. Hall says the show jump-started the Black TV renaissance you see today with shows like Empire, Power, and more.
“The Game was something that helped a lot of those things become what they are. Without the backing and the billboards and a real push, they’re doing their thing.”
Lee Daniels, pay attention. Hall would like to guest star on Empire and he says he’s like to go toe to toe with either Lucious or Cookie.
“I want the best. I hold my own almost every day in scenes with Jon Voight playing my dad. We challenge each other where a lot of our work is amazing.” Hall would cast himself as a lawyer who would discover some tax fraud in the Empire that impacts one of his family members. He’d be there to get revenge.
“I would be like Ice T in New Jack City – ‘This is personal,”‘ he laughs.
Lee, are you listening?