Actor Kadeem Hardison might have seemed like the man as Dwayne Wayne on the hit television sitcom “A Different World,” but when Tupac Shakur appeared on the set, the rapper struck a nerve with the actor.
On the latest episode of the “Allison Interviews” podcast with host Allison Kugel, the entertainment journalist got a chance to talk to Hardison about his illustrious career.
One of the things that he revealed is that he was jealous of Tupac Shakur when he guest-starred on the show.
Pac’s role, Piccolo, on the HBCU-inspired show was a former love interest of Lena (played by his Baltimore bestie Jada Pinkett Smith). The 1993 episode was directed by Hardison and was called “Homey, Don’t Know Me.”
It was also the only time Tupac Shakur and Jada starred opposite each other on a major stage — and their chemistry was magical.
“It was fantastic. They had a seamless chemistry,” Kadeem Hardison marveled, noting how the two played off each other.
“How do you direct De Niro and Pacino? You just kind of stand back and let them go. You hope that the cameras are in focus,” Kadeem Hardison explained. “I didn’t really have to tell him much. I didn’t have to tell her hardly anything. It was a joy to watch. It was probably the easiest directing job,” he confessed.
He said that he had to “tweak” the fight scene, but once he called, “Action, the scene took on a life of its own.”
“It felt like a real brawl, and that was Pac. That was him going in, like, ‘I’m going to whoop this sucker.’ It was awesome to direct the two of them. They were good buds, and I kept asking her, ‘Is he going to show up? Because I have lots of rapper friends and I knew that [being on] time is not their friend? She said, ‘Yes, he’s coming. He’s on his way,'” he recalls.
Hardison told Kugel that Tupac Shakur was not just timely but a brilliant actor. Tupac Shakur was so talented that it left him a little jealous.
In a moment of sheer honesty, Kadeem Hardison said, “I always felt like I loved Tupac as a rapper, but I was jealous of him as an actor because I just thought he had such range.”
“He could touch places that I didn’t know if I could go. I just wanted to watch,” he continued. “But it wasn’t Macbeth, you know what I mean? He’s playing the neighborhood cat that comes in full of bravado to claim the girl he thinks is his. He was like, ‘Yeah, I can do that.’ (laugh). [Jada] was playing the girl who was trying to get away from that life.”
“There were no real notes for them … Everything they did was magic,” he concluded.
Allison Krugel’s interview with Kadeem Hardison covers his relationships with the entire cast of “A Different World” and what it was like to transition into a Disney actor, playing Zendaya’s dad, on the show “K.C. Undercover.”
His new show, an AMC television series, “Moonhaven,” takes place 100 years in the future in a utopian society set on a 500 square mile Garden of Eden built on the moon.