Cast of TV One’s ‘Down for Whatever’ discuss race, abuse and police brutality

TV One has taken on its first action-packed feature film, Down For Whatever, a gritty, layered story which tackles adoption, abuse and

Down for Whatever

TV One has taken on its first action-packed feature film, Down For Whatever, a gritty, layered story which tackles adoption, abuse and the timely issue of police brutality.

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The film, starring LeToya Luckett (Greenleaf), Hosea Chanchez (The Game) Bre-Z (Empire) and Imani Hakim (Everybody Hates Chris), is based on the 2017 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) award-winning screenplay.

The script, written by Tim Folsome, captivated the TV One brass and Luckett who said she was drawn to the project because it was “different and exciting.”

“[My character] Tracey pulled on my heartstrings and I know there will be a lot of people who are able to relate to her story,” Luckett said of her character during a recent interview with reporters.

Luckett plays a young successful doctor and her detective cop, husband Mike is played by Chanchez. The couple is happily married but a sense of family has always been missing in their relationship. Tracy grew up in foster care and longs for the traditional family environment that she never had.

“The hoops that this young lady jumps through to find her sisters is beyond me,” said Luckett.

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Her sisters are played by Bre-Z (Denise) and Imani Hakim as Sonya.

“I think a lot of people are going to gravitate to the project because it’s relatable and it’s kind of a roller coaster ride. I think people are going to be really moved by it,” said Luckett.

Chanchez, who plays a cop, admits that he had to dig deep in order to foster empathy in playing the role given the current state of affairs where videos of unarmed black men being gunned down by police flood social media.

“Well, I executed a character that feels a bit different … the process of getting into this character as a cop, given the heighten state of affairs with shooting of black men, I was a little apprehensive at first because of the climate with cops in today’s society,” Chanchez admits.

“So, every page that I turned I was hoping that it was something that I could grasp from this character that would allow me to have some conviction in playing him.”

Chanchez character Mike suddenly loses his partner in a senseless cop-killing. Tracy is there to support him, that is, until she receives an unexpected visit from a social worker who informs her that the ruthless killers suspected in the murder are her biological sisters, Denise and Sonya. Tracy decides to track her sisters down herself.

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Chanchez said while he didn’t want to project his personal judgments on the character, it’s a difficult thing to do these days.

“Not wanting to put my personal judgments into the character but I think it’s hard in today’s time when you’re dealing with something so sensitive. I admire actors who absolutely don’t judge their characters at all and have no opinions of the outcomes of their stories. I’m still trying to make it to that place personally.”

Chanchez however found a way to flip the script and get into character.

“But as I read the script it was really touching and endearing and I thought that I can do this guy some kind of justice and the fact that to me he represented with the rest of us in the world what we’re experiencing with our judicial system, political system with cops and the climate in the world. To me he represented just a person who believed in the law…unapologetically believed in the goodness of the word of the law as it stands.”

But in that blind trust of the law, Sanchez said his character learned that people have flaws and that realization rings true, he said in this day and time with police brutality.

Hakim, who plays Sonya, said her wanted to be a part of something bigger to help people understand a different perspective.

“I wanted to be a part of that storytelling because a lot of time you see young people attacking cops… we tend to judge them without realizing they have a story too,” said Hakim. “I wanted to be a part of that and bring these girls to life and bring this story to life.”

“I just approached it from a way of not judging my character because I don’t see her as a villain. She’s just another young girl who has faced adversity and it only takes one moment in our lives that can kinda set the tone for the rest of our lives and where we’re going.”

Down For Whatever premieres Sunday, July 22 at 8/7c on TV One.