Actor Derek Luke has brought us incredible and memorable performances in films such as Antwone Fisher, Miracle at St. Anna and Notorious. This New Jersey native captured our hearts with his heart-wrenching performance in the Denzel Washington-directed film, Antwone Fisher. Since then Derek has proven many times over how talented he really is and why he continues to have staying power in Hollywood. While the winner of the Independent Spirit Award [for his portrayal of Antwone Fisher] has continued to wow us on the big screen with his dynamic portrayals the actor has recently decided to make a return to the small screen. Luke has joined the cast of the TNT drama HawthoRNe that stars and is executive producer by actress, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rolling Out recently spoke with the Hollywood hunk about his new character and the chemistry of the cast of the highly popular show.
–christa e. jackson
Tell me about your character on “HawthoRNe,” Dr. Miles Bourdet.
I play Dr. Miles Bourdet and he is a surgeon from Chicago that had been looking for an opportunity and have a better life and he was able to go to Richmond, Virginia and find that opportunity working under Dr. Tom Wakefield [played by Michael Vartan]. He is now fulfilled professionally but one of the problems he’s going through a divorce and he’s also the father of two children and some of the difficulties he’s having is how to move forward.
How did you relate to this character personally?
What attracted me to this character was that there were a plethora of challenges that were true to life. What I love about this character is that Miles draws you in to family matters that require him to make hard decisions about while still being a good father and surgeon. One lesson that I believe that Miles can show people is that you can’t escape certain issues in life and it doesn’t matter that you’re smart you have to learn how to balance all your roles in his case being a father, husband and surgeon. Here’s a guy who going to have to learn and teach others how to be a man while he’s making tough decisions and making certain important issues a priority.
Hopefully, playing Miles is going to encourage young African-Americans as well because Miles is a makeup of everyone’s experience and that many people will be able to relate to.
How do you balance your family life and career?
Derek is different from Miles because when I came to LA I knew I had a dream and I didn’t turn away from relationships but I felt like I didn’t have time for one. In Jersey where I grew up I was very distracted so my mission when I got to L.A. was not to be distracted. I didn’t know that meeting your future wife or the woman of your dreams is not a distraction if you believe she is the right one. So I had to decide if meeting my wife, Sophia, would be an advancement or if it would be a distraction. I finally figured out by learning on the fly that having this woman as a part of my life would only enhance what I was doing.
… Working with this cast has made me appreciate everyone that works with this show because this is truly a collaborative effort and it’s not just about one person. It had been encouraging, comforting and challenging because just being on the set of the show makes you want to be the best that you can be. This is one of my favorite casts because everyone was so easy to work with.
“HAWTHORNE” returns for its third season on June 14 on TNT.