André Holland talks ‘The Knick’ Season 2, says playing field in Hollywood isn’t equal

André Holland discusses Season 2 of 'The Knick,' and says he wants to see more diversity in Hollywood...

If you’re not watching Cinemax’s original scripted series The Knick, you should be.

This week President Obama named The Knick his favorite show of 2015.

Now in its second season, the scripted drama stars Clive Owen as Dr. John Thackery, an at times troubled surgeon at the Knickerbocker Hospital in 1900s downtown Manhattan.

Andre Holland, known for his performances in Selma and 42, stars in a groundbreaking role as a The Knickerbocker’s only black doctor, Algernon Edwards.

Holland says he knew immediately The Knick was going to strike a chord with viewers.

“I did have a hunch, mainly because it was directed by Steven Soderbergh. So as soon as I saw that name I knew it was going to be special,” Holland said in an interview with “Then you add to that Clive Owen, and then of course the material… as soon as I picked it up, it was so special and unique and a character that really spoke to me. I felt pretty confident that it was going to be successful.”

He believes his upbringing in rural Alabama helps him connect with his TV character, Dr. Edwards, who’s forced to overcome racial barriers in segregated New York City.

“I grew up in a small town in Alabama in an all-back working class community, but at an early age I was sent to schools across town that were predominantly white. I experienced first hand what that felt like to be the only one… but also the ambition that that breeds. I think Algernon and I share a sense of enormous ambition.”

This year there has been a banner year for black actors on TV, with shows like Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, Power, and Being Mary Jane generating huge ratingshowever Holland says there’s still room for improvement when it comes to on-screen diversity in Hollywood.

“I dont think it’s equal but I think it’s wonderful that movies like Creed are doing so well and John Boyega, with Star Wars coming out. I mean Chiwetel [Ejiofor], Idris [Elba] and David Oyelowo… there’s some incredible performances and projects that are happening, but I do not think the playing field is level, we have a long way to go.”

Ultimately, Holland wants to see more black actors, producers, and directors being proactive with creating their own projects, something he’s currently in the process of doing.

“Like Viola Davis said in her Emmy acceptance speech, opportunity is the only thing that separates actors of color from white actors. We still have a ways to go.

Be sure to tune in for all-new episodes of The Knick Fridays at 10/9c on Cinemax.

Follow’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.