Shots Fired’s Yohance Myles Talks “Hour 3: Somebody’s Son” and More [Exclusive]
I decided to hold part 2 of my exclusive interview with Yohance Myles until after people got a chance to watch “Somebody’s Son,” because my questions were so spoilery. Not only did I ask him about how his character (and how we perceive Leon Grant) changes over the course of this episode, but I asked Yohance about next week’s episode (he preview “Just wait; you will be on the edge of your seat”) as well as working on this limited series and his other recent projects.
We’re introduced to Yohance’s character, Leon, when Sanaa Lathan’s Ashe Akino questions him about Cory’s whereabouts. Yohance describes Leon as “an everyday hardworking guy.” He’s married, with a son and as “an African-American male, his goal is to provide his family with all the necessities and stability, everyday things they need to survive.”
As the episodes have progressed and the Justice Department investigates the death of Jesse Carr, it becomes clear that the death of Joey Campbell also needs more than just the attention of the local black community. And why is it that the Department of Justice is looking at this officer-involved shooting before delving into what happened to Joey? (You know why).
While Ashe and Stephan James’ Preston Terry delve a little deeper into that mystery, Leon is “faced with a challenge of having to protect his family” and “just trying to do what is right, but at the same time he knows what he’s up against.” Whatever Cory saw or knows, it’s enough to mark him for death. Yohance describes the next batch of episodes, starting with this one, as a journey “the audience will get a chance to go on. We’re talking about a story that;s not foreign to America.”
When we first meet Leon in this episode it doesn’t seem as though he’s concerned that his son has been missing for 48 hours. Yohance explains, “There’s a certain sense of control you want to be in, particularly when things of this nature happen.” So, wisely, Leon decides to handle his business himself. He doesn’t know if Ashe or Preston have his family’s best interests at heart and he’s just trying to keep his son alive and out of harm’s way.
Because there are people looking for Cory, Yohance talks about Leon’s need to “not raise a red flag or raise the alarm for myself and bring more attention to me.” Leon’s concerned about his son, but he’s not sure who he can trust, that includes Ashe and Preston.
Yohance, a Birmingham, Alabama native, talked to me about his own experience growing up. Once upon a time kids were raised by their community as well as their parents, but “we don’t live in that type of world any longer.” And that’s the type of world Leon is trying to navigate. He wants to be careful of the politics of the situation as well as involving any “outside entities in concerns with your family.” And once the media becomes involved, the story can often spiral out of the control of those trying to tell their story, their version of the truth.
So while Leon initially comes across as uncaring or apathetic, we learn that he’s struggling with “the right choice and making the best decision,” for his son and his family.
I/ve already watched “Hour 4: Truth,” and there are some great developments. All I will say about it is that Leon and Cory are wary to “bring the law in,” but they are also after the truth “the truth of Joey Campbell death. That’s what we’re searching for.”
When I asked Yohance about working with Marqus Clae’s Cory, he told me “he did an awesome job. He;s an awesome kid to work with.” Yohance didn’t want to give away too much, but “when we were on set shooting, they were interrogating us and he’s so good.” And although the subject matter is so serious and can be quiet heavy at times, Yohance told me it was a great experience to be on set and shoot this series.
I always like to find out what other projects the actors are working on and Yohance has been very busy of late. He just wrapped Created Equal, which was directed by Bill Duke. Yohance tells me he got to work with Lou Diamond Phillips and Gregory Alan Williams and Aaron Tveit. He explains that the film “deals with a young woman who wants to become a Catholic priest.” The film asks, why “can’t she become a Catholic priest? Is it because she’s a woman? Or is it because of other things? The theologians? The set-up of the Catholic Church?” He plays “one of the defense lawyers who represents her as we try to go on this journey with her in equality.”
His other upcoming projects are still in process, so they’re a bit top secret for the moment but Yohance is also a stage actor and recently “completed a regional premiere of a show called Best of Enemies, which was really fun.” It’s “about a guy who was an exalted cyclops of the KKK and an African-American woman who was a civil rights activist in North Carolina and how their lives come together to help change a community.” His character comes “in and helps them to see eye to eye and empower their lives through education and leaving something behind for the children.” Yohance hopes to “keep heading in that direction” and knows “it wasn’t about my acting. It was about a message that touched the world.”
Right now, Yohance couldn’t be more “excited in the direction my — I call it family, I won’t say team, of hard-working individuals — is pushing me. I still have dreams of things I want to do, so I’m glad that I have the right group of, and this is great to say, all of them are women. My whole family of behind-the-scenes, the heart of Yohance are women who are getting the job done. They are boss ladies.”
I’m excited to get to see more of him on this series and can’t wait to see where his career takes him.
Shots Fired airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on FOX.
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