Alix Lapri on Uncovering the Layers of Effie in ‘Power Book II: Ghost’ Season 2
How excited is Alix Lapri to see her character Effie’s role expanded within the Power-verse as she graduates to series regular for season 2 of Power Book II: Ghost? The 25-year-old clearly remembered her ecstatic reaction upon getting the call.
“I completely lost it in my room,” she said. “It was refreshing to be on set and playing a role I’m so deeply in love with. This season is going to show so much of her on so many levels. I can’t wait for everyone to see.”
Fans won’t have to wait much longer for the next chapter in this Courtney A. Kemp-created Power spinoff, which centers on Michael Rainey’s Tariq St. Patrick. The son of the late James “Ghost” St. Patrick, Tariq is looking to pave his own way, out of the shadow of his drug kingpin/business mogul father. That proves to be easier said and done.
Lapri checks in to tease what’s to come for street-hardened Effie as she emerges from Tariq’s past to become a more prominent part of his present — and perhaps his future.
In the original Power, there was this peripheral view of Effie. Now you’re able to delve more into maybe her backstory and the motivations behind her actions.
Alix Lapri: It’s surreal. It took me a long time to believe it was actually going to be happening. It’s validating when your role grows and gets deeper and more complex. You get to stretch more as an actor. I think she was still a mystery last season. Everyone wanted more because they are intrigued by her. She would just come and go and pop up as she pleased. I think this next season you’ll get to see her step into her bag a little bit more. She is powerful, edgy, risky, bold. She definitely does some very crazy things this season. We’re expanding the tough, borderline masculine, dominant energy in season 2.
Effie is all business and is driven to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. How much of her do you see in yourself?
We do have quite a few things in common, but for the most part, we are very different. With Effie, as you said, she will stop at nothing to get what she needs. She will hurt anyone in the process, get into trouble and not really care at all. With me, I’m very sensitive. My relationships mean the most to me, more than anything. We’re different in that she can be cold, and I’m a warm spirit. There is a contrast, but we are similar in that I have an edgy side. My energy is strong and bold when I enter a room.
50 Cent is an influential force within the Power-verse both as an executive producer and as returning costar Kanan Stark. You also worked with him on Den of Thieves. How is it seeing him at this stage of your career?
A lot of people don’t actually know about when I first auditioned for Den of Thieves. I got the callback. After I finished, the director [Christian Gudegast] leaves and says, “Hold on a second.” He comes back with 50. He walked into the room and pretty much was like. “Yeah, she is the one.” It’s very unheard of for that to happen on the spot. From the beginning, he was always super confident in my work. I’ve learned so much from him over the years. I’m not sure he is aware of how much he has inspired me. Den of Thieves had many heavy hitters including Gerard Butler, Oshay Jackson, 50 Cent. Just seeing the sureness he carried, I started to mimic that just watching him. I was lucky enough to be in the episode he directed on season 6 of Power. It was cool to be back in his energy again.
You also have your musical background. Has there been any talk about providing music for the show?
I would love to. There have been no talks but I’ve actually been feeling like I want to step back into music a little bit lately. I feel it would be a great place to start. Who knows? Maybe we’ll make something happen.
There is the online chatter about who Tariq is going to end up with; whether it’s Effie, Lauren, or Diana. Do you want to see Tariq and Effie get together long-term?
It’s really hard to call. Either way, it’s really interesting. If they do end up together, it would be a power move; no pun intended. Two bosses coming together to create this life together. On the other hand, if it went the other way, it shows she doesn’t need a man to do anything, and she is able to separate her feelings from business and move that ship forward and afloat. Either way, it’s a crazy dynamic.
What do you make of the comparisons to Tariq’s path and one his dad took?
Tariq is very similar to Ghost. That’s what he is playing over the course of this season. Really the only time we’ve seen him, he is fighting with himself because he’s trying to convince himself he is not like Ghost, but he is more like him than he even knows. At the same time, there are some differences. Tariq has a heart of gold. Not many people get to see that. Effie is compared to others within the Power world. I get a lot of comparisons to “Jukebox” [LaVerne Ganner] understandably. I get a lot of comparisons to Patina [Miller], who plays the mother on Raising Kanan. It all goes back to the women that run the show.
What can you tell us about the themes explored this season and Effie’s workings with Tariq and Brayden?
We play a lot with morals. We play a lot with the idea of free will and what is written in the stars. The relationship between Tariq and Brayden is going to intensify. Effie and Brayden have a unique relationship. Tariq and Effie have a unique relationship. It’s going to be exciting to see everyone’s reaction to things. This goes back to Tariq’s entanglement with Lauren and Effie and Diana, and how people create their own opinions of who’s best for him and who brings out their strengths and weaknesses. It’s going to be one for the books. This season is going to be insane.
Power-verse has been likened to the Marvel cinematic universe.
It is incredible. In every episode, we’re finding out these new things as well. We get to see how it develops and what they are representing and what it stands for. We have super deep themes over the course of season 2. It’s impactful to be a part of something that stands for something and means something. I can’t wait for everyone to see what I’m talking about. There is a lot of inclusion when it comes to sexuality and race. We’re seeing all types of things. It’s so beautiful to see because it wasn’t always that way on television. I’m happy to be on a show that has all those things.
Power Book II: Ghost, Season 2 premiere, November 21, 9/8c, Starz