Method Man Talks Johnnie Cochran & Denzel Washington Inspiring His Character On ‘Power Book II’

Method Man

The Grammy winner explains how he was influenced by a Jonathan Demme-directed movie.

Hip Hop legend Cliff “Method Man” Smith has established himself as a serious actor. He was previously a cast member for critically-acclaimed television programs such as Oz, The Wire, and The Deuce.

The 49-year-old Wu-Tang Clan member currently plays defense attorney Davis Maclean on Starz’s Power Book II: Ghost. Method Man was one of the guests on Tamron Hall this week, and he discussed his character on the Power spinoff.

“Well, I’m glad you said Johnnie Cochran because he was definitely one of the inspirations, but I believe Denzel [Washington] in Philadelphia helped a lot,” Meth told Hall. “When I took my acting class, me and my scene partner had to do a scene from Philadelphia. Of course, he played the Tom Hanks part, I played the Denzel part.”

The New York City representative continued, “It kind of prepared me for where we’re at right now and Davis Maclean is polarizing at best, some people love him and some people hate him. I think the people that love him get what he’s trying to do and the ones that hate him, so be it.”

Johnnie Cochran is the famous lawyer who led the “Dream Team” of attorneys that defended O.J. Simpson in his highly-publicized 1995 double murder case. The phrase “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” helped secure a not-guilty verdict for Simpson and made Cochran a household name.

The 1993 film Philadephia, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, told the story of a gay corporate lawyer who was fired from his firm because he was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Washington’s character conducted the legal fight in court on behalf of Hanks’s character who was extremely sick at the time.