Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
January 26, 2015

Cindra Ladd, Wife Of Prominent Hollywood Producer, Says Bill Cosby Assaulted Her In 1969

Cindra Ladd
Alex Berliner

Dedicated 'Humans Of New York' Fans Raise Money To Send Underserved Kids On Harvard Visit

School
Let's Send Kids to Harvard/Indiegogo

Should Black Athletes Attend the University of Michigan?

University Of Michigan Basketball
Andy Lyons via Getty Images

MLK Today: Taking the Blinders Off White Privilege

I Have A Dream Copyright
Getty

Fox News Raises Alarm Over College Course About Race

Whiteness
Fox News

MLK Would Be 'Mortified' By The Gay Marriage Movement, Right Wing Activist Claims

Martin Luther King Gay
RJ Sangosti via Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens Release Terrence Cody Amid Animal Cruelty Allegations

Terrence Cody
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ben Carson Wouldn't Support Obamacare 'Even If It Worked'

Ben Carson
Scott Olson via Getty Images

New Classics Every Child Should Own

476804473
Inti St Clair via Getty Images

North Carolina Man Exonerated Of 1976 Conviction

Joseph Sledge
Raleigh News & Observer via Getty Images

Proof More Women And Minorities Should Take On STEM

Camille Eddy
KTVB

Police Launch Investigation After Video Appears To Show Cop Shoving Man In Wheelchair Into Street

Bofrierson
cop logic via Youtube

One Suit Dropped, One Still Pending Between MLK's Children

Bernice King Martin Luther King Iii
Getty

New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward Targeted For Gentrification

New Orleans Ninth Ward
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Diversity in the Classroom: How to Solve the Black Male Teacher Shortage

Black Teacher
monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images

McDonald's Has Another Fight On Its Hands

Mcdonalds
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

The Harrowing Story Of One Man's Escape From The Genocide In Burundi

Burundi
Escape From Burundi

Campaigners Call For State Investigation Into Fatal New Jersey Police Shooting

Jerame Reid
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Violence Against Black Transgender Women Goes Largely Ignored

Black Woman Violence
Hans Neleman via Getty Images

Bill O'Reilly Says Ferguson Protesters 'Should Be Ashamed'

Oreilly Protesters
Fox News

University Of Chicago President: 'Chicago's A Better Place' For The Obama Library Than Columbia

Zimmer
HuffPost Live

A Tale Of Two Movements

Abortion Rally
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The 9 Best Things That Happened When YouTube Stars Interviewed Obama

Seflie
YouTube

Showcasing Her Natural Hair Got This Meteorologist Fired

Rhonda Lee
HuffPost Live

'Light Girls' Producer Stephanie Frederic On Healing From Colorism

Stephanie Frederic
Stephanie Frederic

This Protest Song Captures The Power Of #BlackLivesMatter Demonstrations

Sidewalk 2
Sidewalk Chalk/YouTube

'Defy Hollywood, See Selma'

Ava Duvernay
Paras Griffin via Getty Images

College Student Likely Died From Chewing Gum In Her Sleep

Shanice Clark
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Al Sharpton Pokes Fun At Infamous Teleprompter Flub

Sharptom Teleprompter
MSNBC

Video Shows Man Raising His Hands As He's Gunned Down By Police

Jerame Reid
NJ.com

New ‘Hands Up' Shooting Is Anything But Black And White

Jerame Reid
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Bill Gates Makes Bold Bet About Poverty, And Tech Plays A Big Role

Bill Gates Smiling
NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

'Black Lives Matter' Protesters Interrupt Capitol Hill Lunch

Capitol Protest
Christine Conetta/Huffington Post

Barry Levinson Blames Hollywood's Diversity Problem On Our Education System

Berry Levinson
HuffPost Live

Oregon Was Founded As A Racist Utopia

Oregon 1930
MPI via Getty Images

How The State Of The Union Missed The Mark On Ferguson And Racial Politics

State Of The Union
ap

With a Book You Are Never Alone

Zimbabwe Library
Bisila Bokoko

Jay Leno On Bill Cosby Allegations: 'I Don't Know Why It's So Hard To Believe Women'

Jay Leno
Aaron Davidson via Getty Images

Arkansas Bill Would Remove Robert E. Lee From MLK Day

Mlk
Getty

New Looting Footage From Ferguson Grand Jury Aftermath

Dellwood Looting
St. Louis County Police

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    3. View all RSS feeds

Ava DuVernay's Passion Project

Ava Duvernay
Paras Griffin via Getty Images

Jon Stewart Was NOT Expecting This

Jon Stewart
Comedy Central

Kim And Kanye Get Matchy-Matchy In All-Black Balmain

Kim Kardashian Kanye West
Johnny Nunez via Getty Images

This Is The Buzziest, Coolest, Dopest Film At Sundance

Dope
Dope

Viola Davis' Natural Hair Is Her Crowning Glory

Viola Davis Natural Hair
Lester Cohen via Getty Images

Muppets-Biz Markie Mashup Is Just What You Need

Muppets
YouTube

Rihanna Just Dropped A New Song With Kanye & Paul McCartney

Rihanna New Song
RihannaNow.com

Kanye Finally Explains Why He Doesn't Smile

186118297
Gabriel Olsen via Getty Images

How Sherri Shepherd Responds To Critics Who Said 'You Can't'

Own Ownshow Sherri Shepherd
OWN

#CurlPower Encourages Women To Put Down The Flat Iron

Dove Love Your Curls
YouTube

Tia Mowry Is Our New Favorite Style Star

Tia Mowry
Tia Mowry Instagram

Here Are More Reasons To Love Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Ellis Ross
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images

Stevie Wonder Set To Produce An Underground Railroad Miniseries

Stevie Wonder
Josh Brasted via Getty Images

An NBA Player Paid A Touching Tribute To Stuart Scott Last Night

Danny Green Stuart Scott
Jesse D. Garrabrant via Getty Images

Let Jennifer Aniston & David Oyelowo Show You How To Handle A Snub With Grace

Aniston Oyelowo
Getty Images

Starz Debuts 'Power' Season Two Trailer

Starz Power
Starz

20 Awesome Photo Ideas For Wedding Parties Who Know How To Have Fun

Wedding Party Fun
Bre Thurston Photography

Flavor Flav Pleads Not Guilty

Flavor Flav
Bryan Steffy via Getty Images

Kevin Costner Hopes His New Movie Redefines How People Think About Race

Kevin Costner
Vince Bucci /Invision/AP

Listen To This NKOTB/TLC/Nelly Mashup Ahead Of Joint Tour

Tlc Band
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Black Films Are Buzzing At This Year's Sundance Festival

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

How The Beyoncé Backlash Could Help The GOP

Beyonce On The Run Tour
Larry Busacca/PW via Getty Images

Nas Explains How Police Misconduct Exposes America's Weakness

Nas
Andy Kropa /Invision/AP

Vince Camuto Dies At Age 78

Vince
WireImage

Michelle Obama's State Of The Union Look Is Grey And Gorgeous

Michelle Obama State Of The Union 2015
NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images

Two Married Moms Ditched Glitzy Gigs In the Music & Fashion Industries To Launch The Crabby Shack

The Crabby Shack
New York Daily News

Anthony Mackie On 'Selma' Oscar Snub: People Are Tired Of Being Bombarded With Race

Anthony Mackie
Jason Merritt via Getty Images

Michael Franti's Proposal Video Reminds Us That Love Happens In The Little Moments

Michael Franti Engagement Video
Michael Franti/YouTube

Lil Wayne Drops New Mix Tape

Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne

Barack Obama Gets #YesWeTan Trending With Tan Suit Prank

Barack Obama
Bloomberg via Getty Images

This NBA Star's Post-Game Interview Is Pure Gold

Tupac
YouTube

'Single Ladies' Adds New Cast Member

Melissa De Sousa
Mark Sullivan via Getty Images

Lee Daniels Is Using 'Empire' To 'Blow The Lid Off' Homophobia In The Black Community

Lee Daniels
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images

20 Questions With Actor Pooch Hall

Comments (21)

Fans of 'The Game' might have grown up seeing Tia Mowry-Hardrict alongside her twin Tamera on 'Sister, Sister' or have enjoyed Wendy Raquel Robinson as the feisty Principal Regina Grier on 'The Steve Harvey Show before they were cast in the dramedy, but few knew who the man born Marion Hall, Jr., better known as Pooch Hall, was.

Just days shy of getting the news that BET broke records with their fourth season premiere of 'The Game,' BlackVoices.com sat down with the hottie who plays wide receiver Derwin Davis on the Mara Brock-Akil created sitcom. During the conversation, 34 year-old actor talked about his humble upbringing in Massachusetts, what he's learned from Spike Lee and how his daughter has changed his life.

BlackVoices.com: First, congratulations on that amazing fourth season premiere of 'The Game.' BET pulled in 7.7 million viewers. How do you feel basking in the good news?
Pooch Hall:
It's overwhelming. My dad said when I was a kid, 'You better be a son of a gun.' That's kind of how I feel -- something like that. It's so interesting to see people respond to me like, 'You're the man,' and 'I watch the show and you made me cry,' to have that affect of so many people. It's really cool.

BV: What is the craziest reaction you've gotten from a fan? Has anyone tried to fight you for acting up on the show?
PH:
Oh, no nothing like that. The craziest reaction was a girl fainting at the Hawks game. Just crying. You know when you see videos of Michael Jackson performing and people yelling 'Oh my God.' That's probably the biggest reaction.

BV: How do you deal with the pressure of your breakout role on 'The Game' and playing someone that fans of the show all have an opinion about?
PH:
For me, it's about making sure I stay true to the character so I don't cheat the fans. I don't want to not be prepared or focused and I have to give Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil a huge 'Thank You' because they trust me to be able to do what I do on the show and have alot of range. There are people in the industry doing it for 30 years and don't get half the range that I get. I don't do this for money or fame. I do this for the fans.

BV: Give us some insight into your background. People don't really know a whole lot about your story.
PH:
I grew up in a family that didn't have much but we had each other. I had a brother and a sister and a mom and my dad. My dad was the backbone of my family and gave me the weaponry and know-how to become a big man.

BV: Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
PH:
Well, I used to play with my super hero figures and drawing. I loved to draw and set up my action figures and create scenes. It's like doing pre-story board in a sense. I think that connects to who I am now and certain things that I did it, it makes sense that I'm doing what I am doing now.

BV: Where'd the name "Pooch" come from?
PH:
I was Pooch since I was in my mom's pooch. That wasn't a fake name that I made up. I was Poochy. My dad is from down south and the next door neighbor used to ask how Pookie is doing, but my dad would call me Poochy.

BV: When did you decide to become an actor? Was that when you were enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth?
PH:
I was playing football [in college] and the wide receiver and running back. I didn't even try to go into acting. I was on the bus when we went to play other schools making people laugh. People used to say, 'You need to be on TV. You're so funny.' I always entertained. I never thought you could become an actor from Massachusetts. Let alone what I've become.

BV: So when did you get your first break?
PH: They posted flyers around school for a movie being filmed outside Providence and I went down and I actually got a role in a movie. I was one of the only ones who got a role outside of hundreds of people to show up. I always wanted to do something special, but I thought my way of getting out of Massachusetts was sports because I boxed and played football my entire life. When I went to college, I fell into the acting thing. I thought with that role here's an opportunity since Hollywood was coming to me and giving me a role.

BV: Your breakout role was definitely in the television miniseries, 'Miracle's Boys.' How was working with Spike Lee on that?
PH:
That's where my career really began because Spike made me a better actor and a better person. He made me understand what it meant to put in hard work and do good work and be the best that you can be as far as having every area covered. Acting is about being and creation and Spike said that 'You have to be one with your character so that if I don't yell cut, we can keep going.' That's what was cool about working with him. Spike is so small, but has such a presence but I wasn't intimidated because he believed in me and took a chance with me.

BV: The story with 'The Game,' is that you were really close to not getting your breakout role because you and your fellow castmate Hosea Chanchez have a similar look. Is that true?
PH:
People always say me and Hosea resemble each other. I knew him before i knew anyone in the cast. Me and Hosea used to go out. We didn't come from many known projects, but I used to audition for a lot of commercials and he ended up commenting on 'Miracle's Boys' and how good of a job I did at one of the auditions. After that we kept running into each other and auditioned for 'The Game.' At first I went in for Derwin and then they brought me back to audition for Malik. Then they brought me back for Derwin.

BV: Did you get the role immediately after coming back to play Derwin?
PH:
Oh no. The process was so hard it got to the point where I said, ' I don't even want this job. I don't even want to play this character.' I played football for 11 years and I felt like Hollywood doesn't know what football is or the choices that the character is going to make. I felt like I didn't know what [the network] wanted when I auditioned. Then, I got a chance to have a role in 'Pepper Dennis' with Rebecca Romjin Stamos and at the same time, they said they were going to go in a different direction. I wanted to do 'Pepper Dennis' anyway. We did our run and we only did 12 episodes.

BV: So, that show was short-lived, how'd you get back to 'The Game?'
PH:
After the pilot of 'The Game,' they re-cast and I got a call, and went in. I felt the same way before and didn't know what to expect. I did a screen test with Tia where they narrowed it down between me and Chaz [Lamar Shepherd] who plays Trey Wiggs. Chaz is darker than I am and him and Tia were rubbing elbows in the lobby and laughing. I thought, 'They already got the chemistry going on. They're gonna pick him.' Well, I messed up and then Tia came out and said that Chaz messed up. They said,' Tia and Pooch could you stay a few minutes to re-do the scene?' and usually in Hollywood when they say 'Stick around,' they are interested in you. I said 'Yea, what?' in my mind...not out loud. (laughs) I went back in and killed it and the next day I got a phone call saying I got the part.

BV: Did you do research when you first got the part and ask any established athletes about their stories so that you could play Derwin Davis as real as possible?
PH:
When I got the role, it wasn't too long after I had been a college rookie. So, my research was my experience in college playing football. In terms of the show, I was a rookie in the NFL. Remember, I was doing rookie stuff on the show. I was being Malik's flunky in a sense or being hazed and trying to have a voice. It was more about the relationship between me and Tia. Athletes came up to me and said how good I was and how believable I was. I'd tell them it was because I played football and that was where I was pulling from. I did watch ESPN and Sports Center faithfully but I wasn't basing my performance on any one T.O. or OchoCinco or Sean Jackson. I felt Derwin Davis was his own man and own brand.

BV: In the hiatus, you booked gigs. Were you ready to let 'The Game' go?
PH:
I have a great agent Marni Rosenzweig who is my friend and like a big sister. She gets me and she also gets this business. She said, 'Here's a fact, Pooch, 'The Game' will end. We are living for your career and your family. I wouldn't be doing my job unless you go beyond 'The Game' and get you out there.' I did a pilot for FOX and other great things that didn't see the light of day. I also did 'Accidentally on Purpose.'

BV: Thankfully, it all worked out with you getting back on 'The Game,' but many people don't know in real life, you're a family man with a wife and kids. How do you balance that with being a Hollywood actor?
PH:
I try and keep my family life private. I don' t like to bring work home but it is coming harder the more popular 'The Game' becomes because I will be with my kids and they are wondering 'Why do people want to take a picture of my daddy?' My oldest daughter is developmentally delayed and handicap. A lot of people don't know that about her because I'm sensitive about her and protective of her and all my kids, but that really changed my life. My oldest daughter requires a lot of attention and work and that's where my wife comes in and is a strong woman. She can't be as great as she can be because she has to make sure that my daughter can be her greatest.

BV: What do you think your daughter has taught you?
PH:
She is a gift and a beautiful being. A lot of people complain about stuff that is really dumb. My daughter can't walk or talk and is one of the happiest people on the planet. All she knows is love. I take a page from her book. The world would be so much better if we don't judge. I don't complain about dumb s**t. I don't complain about all red M&Ms or if my water is room temperature.

BV: You're not one of those actors that comes across as really egotistical, though. That's not you.
PH:
As far as my acting, I don't know any other way to be but real. Acting for me is being. Like [on 'The Game'] when my wife is telling me it's not my son [or if] I'm being Laz Alonzo's best friend in 'Jumping the Broom' and wanting him to make the right choice [or if] I'm being Ty'ree the older brother who wants his younger brothers to be better than him [in 'Miracle's Boys']. That's what acting means to me. I never want anyone to walk away from what Pooch Hall did and say, 'He didn't put it down.'

BV: 'The Game' will get another season. I think you're popularity is going to only grow. Believe it.
PH:
We're walking down the streets like 'Say something.' (laugh)

BV: What's going on with Brittany Daniel? She didn't do much press like the rest of the cast, but just did a big Vibe magazine story on her recurring role status this season and talked about her frustration with shooting 'The Game.'
PH:
Brittany Daniel is one of the most underrated white actresses in Hollywood. She is my friend, she is my sister and she is a soldier with us. When I see certain things not happening the same for Brittany Daniel, I get a little upset like 'Come on. We're a team.' There is no isolated incident, but if it's promoting 'The Game,' it should be Mara Brock Akil, Salim Akil, Pooch Hall, Tia Mowry, Coby Bell, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Brittany Daniel and Hosea Chanchez and Kelsey Grammer whenever he provides us with a nice spread from craft services (laughs). If someone's going to get something, all of us should get something. People were saying, 'I hear Brittany Daniel is making the most money,' and 'The white girl is on a black show making the most money.' I'm not saying that is true, I'm just happy for Brittany. All I can say is if Derwin has a voice I can't wait to have more scenes with Kelly Pitts next season.

BV: Looking back, is this the biggest payback to The CW ever?
PH:
I have no ill will towards those people. I'm going to be honest. Two of the producers put me on 'Accidentally on Purpose.' They treated me right and for three years I had a wonderful job working on 'The Game' and a wonderful paycheck. Some people give their children up for adoption not because they don't love them but because they can't give them the life that they need. As far as The CW, it could have been a combination of a few things, but they didn't hate us because they allowed us to stay on for three years. I don't think that they could give us the home that we needed. I have two great parents The CW and BET. I treat them both like family. I don't judge them. I say, 'Thank You.' Plus, Dawn Ostroff, the head of CW, sent an email to [BET chief] Debra Lee saying 'Congratulations and that she is really happy for us.' That's a class move in my opinion.

'The Game' airs on BET Tuesdays at 10 pm EST.





Comments: (21)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 3

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."