Director Cierra “Shooter” Glaudé On Working With Power Book IV: Force Actors & Chicago Backdrop

Spoilers

Each Power series has its own unique identity, and Power Book IV: Force Season 2 has hit its stride in its second effort.

With the beautiful city of Chicago as the backdrop, Force continues to shine as Tommy Egan’s plan to take over the city takes shape, and his rivals struggle to keep up.

Power Book IV: Force Season 2 Episode 3 is a beautiful showcase of the city and a beautifully acted hour with many emotional beats mixed in with the action and violence we’ve come to expect from the series.

We were lucky enough to talk to the director of the hour, Cierra “Shooter” Glaudé, who breaks down the prep that goes into a large-scale episode of television and discusses what it’s like working with this powerhouse group of actors.

Glaudé was a delight to speak with and had some fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into what goes into bringing us this fabulous show. Enjoy this one, Power fans!

Meeting With Walter - Power Book IV: Force Season 2 Episode 3

What kind of prep goes into you for an episode like this?

Yeah, so how I prep for an episode like this is, one, I watched all of season one. I took notes, stuff like where it comes to characters, tone, and just generally what’s happening. Who’s who? Who’s doing what? Visual style in general. Then, when they sent me my script, I promptly emailed them back, and I was like, “Send me 201 and 202, please.”

Because, as a director, I’m nosy. And I like to know what’s going on because I use that with my actors, and I like to know where they’re coming from. That’s especially true if I have a later episode. I don’t care if I have episode eight. I’m reading one through seven if I can’t watch them.

It’s just really having to watch down and read down so you know what’s going on because I like to be in there with my actors, and I’ll be like, “You remember when they had you messed up three episodes ago? Bring that to this scene.” And it really reminds them, informs them, stuff like that.

So, a lot of watching, a lot of reading, a lot of talking. Talking to your writer, talking to the showrunner about the tone, and actors too, and knowing how they feel about these things, how they can contribute, which I love.

Jenard & Shanti Chat - Power Book IV: Force Season 2 Episode 3

It’s a lot of collaboration. Chicago is an integral part of the series and is its own character in itself. How important is it for you as a director to capture the essence of the city in the episode?

It’s funny you ask that because, at first, somebody had to kind of remind me, and I’m thankful they did because I’m a country girl. So, when you get me around trains and stuff, I’m like, “Oh my god, it’s so loud.” And we were scouting, and I was like, “We could play this scene over here.”

It’s the scene where Jenard catches Lil K outside by the trash, and they’re like, “What if we brought it under here because of the architecture?” And I was like, “You know what? That does look good.” And I had to start thinking in the sense of the city architecture in the setting, the textures of a city, and stuff like that.

After that scout, I started looking at those things, and actually, one of my favorite shots in the episode is when we start up on a train passing overhead, and then we come down onto the grandma in the garden.

We were waiting on that train. We had somebody timing the train. We were like, “Here it comes.” And then we just had to get that one little bit because we couldn’t use anything else because they were talking and stuff with that. One little bit was all we needed.

Diamond Sampson - Power Book IV: Force

Awesome.

It was great. It gives you the vibe of the city, but at first, I had to learn that. I love Chicago now, though. I will say that. I love Chicago.

Was that one of your favorite scenes to shoot? I know that’s your favorite shot, but what was your favorite scene to shoot?

I really did enjoy shooting that scene. The lady who plays the grandmother, Mandela, is lovely. Also, the detective had such a great idea for the scene that I ran over to the writer. I said, “Oh my God, I love this. We’ll get an option without it.” But I’m fighting for this moment to live because he explained it to me.

Because sometimes I’ll go up to an actor in the scene, I’ll be like, “All right, I don’t really know what to tell you right now other than make a choice and stick to it.” That’s my way of letting them do something organic and surprise me. In the scene, the detective grabs the tomato and hands it to the grandma.

Miguel On A Mission - Power Book IV: Force Season 2 Episode 3

He came and explained to me why he did that. I didn’t ask him. I remember he was telling me, “It’s like a little olive branch. She’s trying to grow these things and keep them alive, and I’m trying to help keep her grandson alive.” When he told me that I had a water bottle in my hand, I slammed it on the ground and just hugged him.

I was like, “That is beautiful.” Those are the moments that if you let the actor do their thing with the information of who their character is, they will give you something so beautiful. When I watched the episode this morning, I was looking out for that tomato. Out of all the stuff in that episode, I was looking for a tomato, and the tomato lived.

I am just so proud of that little tomato and the choice that he made. It’s little moments that I, as a director, love because it adds that extra meaning. It wasn’t necessarily on the page, but a win is a win. A good idea is a good idea.

I loved it when Kate was in the NA meeting, and I liked the idea of having the camera firmly on her. It wasn’t really about anybody else in the room, even though you knew she was talking to a room full of people, but it was her, what she wanted to say. The focus was on her. That was a really neat way to frame that scene.

Because that was kind of like her breakthrough moment, we saw her trying, trying, trying poorly all the time earlier. Terrible at apologies, terrible at icing cakes, things like that. But she’s trying hard. Bless her heart.

Getting Answers - Power Book IV: Force Season 2 Episode 3

What was the most difficult scene for you to shoot?

Most difficult scene? Honestly, logistically, it was probably that car chase scene because the sun was falling out of the sky. We had to hit the writer and say, “Hey, we have to change the time of day on this scene because it’s not going to be daytime like we thought.”

But also, who’s robbing and jacking people like that in a synchronized fashion in broad daylight? So, it worked out in our favor, but the stunts team had that on lock. I think it was all pretty smooth for the most part. Shout out to the crew for being on their Ps and Qs. I can’t think of any hiccups.

The car scene had us like, “Oh my god, we might not get this. Y’all might have to shoot it later.” So that was the most stressful one. If something had to win, it was that one, which is like a molehill compared to the mountain it could have been.

You talked about this before, the collaboration, and how important that is. What was your experience like working with this particular group of actors? There are a lot of veteran actors and people who have been around for a long time. What was that experience like?

Walter Flynn - Power Book IV: Force

Love them—especially the actors who know their character and have known their character for so long. I could not show them. I can just call them and tell them what to do on the phone and stay in bed, but they know who their character is, and that’s just a wealth of knowledge.

So, I can go into that toolkit they have and be like, “Oh, let’s play with this thing,” and have them try different things and just open up. I try to push them out of the nest. I’m like, “You’re a little cozy. Let’s stretch those wings a little bit,” and make them do something different or interesting.

But I love talking with them. It’s just like a big old cheat code. It really does make my job so much easier if you just talk to your actor. When I go into my rehearsals, I’m like, “All right, guys, this is what I think is happening in the scene.” And then I look at them, and I’m like, “What do you think?”

And sometimes they’re like, “No, you’re thinking, girl. You’re right.” And then other times they’re like, “Well, what if?” And sometimes, that ‘what if’ is gold. So, I love it. I love actors. Shout out to them. Pay them and the writers what they need and want so we can get back because we’re doing good stuff.

Yeah, 100%. Were you a fan of the Power Universe before directing?

Special Delivery - Power Book IV: Force Season 2 Episode 3

I actually never watched any of it. And I told them this in my meetings because I’m honest. I’m a little too honest sometimes.

I was hip enough because I saw it play out on Twitter and Instagram. But did I ever sit down and say, “Ooh, I’m feeling…” No, I wasn’t a part of that group. But I did my research, watched, and knew what was going on and stuff like that.

But now, if you let me tell it, I am a Power spinoff girly because I have done Power Force, and I got a cane from Power out of Walter’s office, and then I did an episode of Raising Kanan, and got a cane from Raising Kanan. So now I’m pandering for an episode of Ghost so I can make my Infinity Stone dream come true.

So yeah, I never really tuned into that other stuff, but that didn’t stop them from hiring me. And shout out because I’ve had a really good time with these characters in this world. And it also just makes it easy to know what you’re fitting into. So, shout out to the Power Universe.

Oh yeah.

Ghost is coming up next. Yes, hopefully.

D-Mac Listens Up - Power Book IV: Force Season 2 Episode 3

I hope so, too.

I’m trying to get a cane from that show, too. I’m going to tell the production designer, “I don’t care who has a cane or where it is, but it’s coming with me at the end.”

***This interview has been edited for length and clarity.***

You can watch Power Book IV: Force on Fridays at 8/7c on Starz.

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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