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SPOILER ALERT: This interview accommodates spoilers from “With So Little to Be Certain Of,” the sixth episode of the ultimate season of ABC’s “Station 19.”

Boris Kodjoe is able to begin his subsequent chapter. Since wrapping manufacturing final month on the ultimate season of ABC’s venerable firefighter drama “Station 19,” the 51-year-old actor — who rose to fame within the early aughts within the Showtime drama “Soul Meals” — has set his sights on broadening his horizons.

Chief amongst them is working extra behind the digicam. After directing his spouse (and former “Soul Meals” costar) Nicole Ari Parker within the Lifetime film “Protected Room,” Kodjoe expressed an curiosity in helming an episode of “Station 19,”  and his want was granted halfway by means of the present’s last 10-episode run. It was the perfect coaching floor for Kodjoe, whose exacting nature earned him a particular nickname on set.

“They known as me ‘Germanator,’ as a result of I knew precisely what I wanted and what I wished, and I raced by means of the day,” Kodjoe, who’s of German and Ghanaian descent, tells Selection with amusing. “I obtained all people residence by 5 o’clock, they usually appreciated that, in order that was enjoyable.”

Shot over eight and a half days, this week’s episode finds Chief Natasha Ross (Merle Dandridge) going toe-to-toe with Seattle mayor Robel Osman (Emerson Brooks) to avoid wasting each firefighter Vic Hughes’ (Barrett Doss) job and Disaster One, this system based by Vic’s late greatest good friend, Dean Miller (Okieriete Onaodowan), to show firefighters to de-escalate tense calls with out police intervention. That contentious battle between Chief Ross and Mayor Osman — whose private vendetta towards Station 19 has solely grown after Vic publicly known as him out at a press convention within the earlier episode — is juxtaposed towards a collection of flashbacks. In these flashbacks, the viewers sees the evolution of a friendship that Vic strikes up with Morris (George Wyner), a homeless Vietnam Warfare veteran whom she met on a Disaster One name.

Barrett Doss, George Wyner
Courtesy of Disney/ABC

As a consequence of her public outburst with the mayor, Vic is placed on probation and barred from serving to her squad reply to a hearth at Morris’ encampment. After her fellow firefighters break the information that Morris was killed within the fireplace, Vic volunteers to run a debriefing session, throughout which they focus on what went improper on a particular name. Shortly after initiating that group dialogue, Vic — who has most likely endured probably the most lack of any of the present’s most important characters — lastly reaches her breaking level, feeling the compounded weight and grief of shedding not solely her good friend but in addition this system that she used to attempt to save him.

This episode “is about Vic coming to phrases with the truth that regardless of all the time caring for everybody else, it’s OK to let your self fall. It’s OK to be susceptible; it’s OK to not be sturdy. And that has been a very long time coming for her,” Kodjoe explains within the interview beneath. “For those who take a look at this last season, it’s truly been from Episode 1 that she’s been making an attempt to maintain it collectively, so it was a extremely lovely theme.”

By the top of the episode, Chief Ross stops by Station 19 to ship some much-needed excellent news: Vic can preserve her job, and Disaster One will dwell to battle one other day. Whereas taking a break from serving to his daughter, Sophie, transfer out of her school dorm for the summer season, Kodjoe discusses his newest foray into directing, saying goodbye to the longest character he has ever performed and describes the sort of sports activities movie that he hopes to make in the future.

You got the distinctive problem of juxtaposing the present-day storyline with all of those little vignettes which might be designed to point out the firefighters’ — and particularly Vic’s — connection to Morris. What have been crucial challenges and concerns that you just had in thoughts because the director of this episode?

The VFX stuff is tough, as a result of it’s a must to think about how every part’s going to look, and based mostly on that, you don’t must stage each single shot and block it. There’s loads of motion [in this episode], and we had a stunt, an explosion, so these have been most likely probably the most detailed issues I needed to actually put together for rigorously in order that I used to be prepared for any wildcard that may simply seem out of nowhere.

Apart from that, the tonality of the present was fascinating as a result of, such as you stated, we had vignettes that took us again to the previous. I wished to set the tone visually, but in addition ensure that we don’t neglect about among the character traits that we knew from the previous after we return and do these flashbacks. For example, Sullivan had come a good distance from being this grumpy, authoritative, quasi-dictator that he was to start with, so I wished to point out that he’s come full circle by actually diving into among the new character traits that now we have found within the final two years, and actually displaying the juxtaposition between him now and him then. And that goes for each single character on this episode; we needed to ensure that we actually thought-about the arc that every character went by means of.

Courtesy of Disney/ABC

The emotional climax of this hour takes place in the course of the debriefing scene contained in the firehouse. How did you method capturing that?

First, let me give somebody props who actually wrote the you-know-what out of this episode, which is Rochelle Zimmerman, who was my partner-in-crime, who was there with me each step of the way in which. She helped me handle our visitor star and ensure that each single theme actually speaks to the tonality that we have been capturing for. Rochelle was actually the driving drive behind this episode.

I’ve obtained to offer Barrett Doss props, as a result of she was the one who carried the entire episode, and he or she did extraordinary work. She’s an incredible actress with so many various ranges, and I wished to actually push her to offer herself permission to entry all of these subtleties that she possesses in her instrument. I wished to slowly get her to the brink of the sting, if you’ll, [but] I didn’t need her to leap. I wished her to let the viewers soar for her. She did an incredible job holding and combating her feelings, and we may actually see that battle in that [debriefing] scene. After which the bunk scene instantly following the debrief was actually about her entering into a brand new chapter. It’s nearly like a resurrection for her when Travis tells her that it’s OK to be the child typically, and I feel that was a extremely highly effective scene.

The 2 scenes that you just’re referring to the touch on the concept of being an individual of colour — and, on this case, a Black lady — who’s often anticipated to assist and champion others, however doesn’t all the time get the identical sort of care in return. It was significantly transferring to me to listen to Travis inform Vic privately that he’ll handle her, that he would be the one to catch her when she falls. Did you give Barrett and Jay any particular course for the bunk room scene?

I’m glad that you just obtained that from that scene, as a result of that’s what we have been capturing for. It was much less directing them; it was extra about having a dialog with them and giving them permission to discover all of these feelings that you just simply referred to. You’re proper that it’s about Vic coming to phrases with the truth that regardless of all the time caring for everybody else, it’s OK to let your self fall. It’s OK to be susceptible; it’s OK to not be sturdy. And that has been a very long time coming for her. For those who take a look at this last season, it’s truly been from episode one which she’s been making an attempt to maintain it collectively, so it was a extremely lovely theme. If there’s one factor that I shared with them, it was to seek out the enjoyment and the sunshine in that scene as a result of it’s about resurrection reasonably than falling deeper.

On condition that the visible language of any present in its seventh season is already so well-established, how a lot inventive freedom did you have got as a director? Do you have got a specific model of course?

Personally, I imagine in pacing, and I additionally imagine in not overshooting, which implies typically much less is extra. We’re so conversant in these characters that I don’t have to carry the viewers’s hand. By creating these elaborate kind of introduction pictures, typically you’ll be able to go proper smack dab in the midst of the motion or begin on a closeup of a personality that’s so well-established with out displaying the surroundings that she or he is in, as a result of all people is aware of the present. So all people is aware of that once you get actually shut on a personality who’s, let’s say, in mattress, that they’re within the bunk room.

I took somewhat little bit of freedom and likewise the freedom of making my very own visible language, as a result of I knew they weren’t going to have the ability to fireplace me. The present is over, so I used to be like, “Hey, what are they going to do? Not use me once more?” So I used to be much less involved with that. However I additionally know the present and these characters very well. I wished to be true to that, and honor that whereas on the similar time including somewhat little bit of my very own spice to it.

Three days into capturing the premiere, you found that the seventh season of “Station 19” can be its final. However because the crew was already prepping for the second episode, the writers actually had solely eight episodes to wrap up any free ends. Are you pleased with the place we depart Sullivan within the finale?

It’s actually laborious to offer every character a correct kind of sendoff, if you’ll, as a result of there’s so many characters with so a few years of storylines, so many ups and downs. After I met with the writers about my character, I stated one factor to them: “Look, guys, I really like you, and I belief you.” They’ve identified this character in addition to I’ve identified him, and I actually wished them to have the liberty and my confidence to ship him off how they see match.

Clearly, the love story between Sullivan and Ross is the primary storyline between them. It’s about the place they’re going to go together with that relationship. Are they going to say goodbye to one another, or are they going to take it a step additional and take it to the subsequent stage? I’m actually pleased with the writers, as a result of the way in which they wrapped that up was phenomenal in so some ways, as a result of they actually paid homage to their tradition, they usually actually made certain that we see among the ranges between them that we hadn’t seen earlier than. 

What do you imply by that? What cultural particulars resonated with you personally?

One of many issues that I used to be actually joyful to see between them was the enjoyment and the liberty to be who they’re and never having to cover behind their shields and fake and be skilled on a regular basis, so I actually loved this final season. I actually loved Sullivan getting in contact together with his playful and joyful facet, and for folks to see that as nicely. 

Jaina Lee Ortiz
Courtesy of Disney/ABC

Sullivan is now engaged to Ross, who he met within the army, however there may be nonetheless a subset of followers who imagine Sullivan ought to find yourself together with his ex-wife, Andy (Jaina Lee Ortiz). How would you distinction these two relationships?

Within the first half of the present, with Sullivan and Andy, I feel these two got here from actually traumatizing circumstances of their former relationships, they usually fell in love whereas combating. There was loads of combating happening between them as a result of they hadn’t come to phrases with their particular person pasts but. So though the love was sturdy, the infatuation was there, and the attraction was there, I feel that we discovered them nonetheless within the therapeutic course of. I feel that’s the primary distinction between his and Andy’s relationship, after which his with Ross. I feel Sullivan and Ross discovered one another once more after having spent loads of time therapeutic and coming to a spot the place they’re actually at peace with who they’re. So once you’re at that place, I feel it’s a lot simpler to be open and susceptible as a result of you have got healed. 

To the “Surrera” followers who’ve been flooding my DMs each single day for the previous seven years, I wish to say: I really like you guys, and thanks for the love and assist you’ve proven us, whether or not it’s for “Surrera” or for Sullivan and Ross. I perceive that there’s lots of people who’re upset as a result of they fell in love with [Andy and Sullivan] very early on within the present. However folks develop, they alter, they modify to their surroundings, they usually lose one another and discover one another. So typically, that’s what occurs. I hope that they’re not too upset. I personally suppose that Sullivan and Ross discovered one another on the excellent second, and I feel Andy additionally discovered her goal on the proper second as a result of her changing into captain was actually what the present was about. And to witness that, to observe her and to assist her by means of all these trials and tribulations as she steps into her father’s footsteps, I feel, can be a lovely story. 

How would you say Robert has developed within the six seasons that you just’ve performed him?

I feel the primary half of the collection, Robert was offended and afraid, and he was compensating for among the trauma that he had skilled — shedding his spouse and going by means of what he went by means of [as an Army veteran]. And the second half of the present, I feel he was capable of let go of a few of these ghosts and actually step into his mild and his energy and permit himself to be free and to like once more. It was enjoyable to play him constricted, however it was much more enjoyable to play him expanded, if you’ll. I actually loved that.

Trying again, do you have got an episode or storyline that you’re most pleased with?

I’m pleased with all of ’em, however [“Get Up, Stand Up”; Season 4, Episode 12] caught out as a result of we have been capable of collaborate with [former showrunner] Krista Vernoff on the time. It was post-George Floyd, and we did an episode that actually addressed among the social justice points that we have been going by means of on the time as a rustic and as a world. I used to be actually honored and delighted to have the ability to give voice to a few of these emotions that I had on the time — and that’s actually one other signature of the present. We have been by no means afraid to talk out, and to speak about present points that have been vital — to shine a lightweight on issues which were caught at the hours of darkness, to additionally uplift and provides voice to communities that aren’t historically heard as a lot as they should be. In order that’s a testomony to the braveness of the showrunners, the producers, the writers, and the forged to ensure that we constantly raised the bar and caught to these rules.

You simply wrapped manufacturing on the collection finale on April 19. Did you get an opportunity to take any on-set mementos to commemorate your time on the present?

Are you alleging that I might steal one thing from set?

Sure!

Sure, I did. I took my helmet, and I additionally took my title plate that’s on the again of the turnouts.

Robert Sullivan is now the longest function you have got ever performed, so it should really feel bittersweet to be closing such a major chapter of your profession. What are a few of your largest takeaways from engaged on this present?

The key takeaway from the present, and the one factor I’m eternally grateful for, is the relationships. I’ve made some nice pals over these previous seven years, and I really like these folks like household, so I don’t remorse a minute of it. Regardless that the cancellation comes as a shock to all of us — as a result of the present has been doing very well, and it’s been stable for years for [ABC] — I noticed that that is enterprise, and this enterprise is fleeting. It is extremely, very temperamental, so typically, selections are made that you just may not perceive. 

To me, the importance of the present will most likely grow to be extra obvious in 5 or 10 and even 20 years, as a result of every undertaking that I’ve been blessed to be part of has had a really particular half in my life [and] performed a really particular function on my journey, so I’m truly trying ahead to discovering out what that goal or purpose was [for being part of “Station 19”]. However I’ve loved each single second on the set of enjoying this character. We, the forged, are literally having a get-together subsequent week. So we’re staying in contact, we’re staying shut, which is de facto the largest blessing. Actually, I’m very excited to take this subsequent step and to enter this new chapter in my profession — performing, directing, producing, and creating many extra wonderful recollections alongside the way in which.

Have you ever given a lot thought to what you’ll do subsequent?

Completely. I’m very intentional about issues that I wish to do. I write down every part that I’ve deliberate. I’ve an org chart. I visualize. I’ve tons of conversations. I’m in talks proper now about 4 totally different tasks that I’m serious about. So, sure, I’m very excited to get on this subsequent journey, and I gained’t put any limitations on myself. I wish to do options. I wish to do TV.

You’re one of many few high-profile actors I do know who truly grew up enjoying aggressive tennis — and also you even competed on the collegiate stage. Have you ever seen “Challengers” but?

I’ve not seen that film but. I’ll watch it, nonetheless. I’m very curious to see it.

Properly, I used to be going to ask you should you had any ideas on the way in which that tennis was depicted within the movie. However as an avid tennis fan myself, I feel it’s additionally no secret that this sport we each love hasn’t precisely been depicted convincingly onscreen previously.

It all the time bothers me when sports activities films don’t depict the game in a legit method. It simply drives me loopy. It takes me proper out of the film.

How so?

It’s simply that once you don’t know [a sport], you don’t know painting it appropriately. That’s what it comes all the way down to. So though you may need a advisor on board who is aware of what they’re saying and doing, you’re not the director, as a result of the director and the editor are going to make decisions which might be utterly disconnected from how the game is performed. I imply, typically you see folks beginning the serving movement from the deuce facet they usually find yourself within the advert court docket. Or they’re hitting an method shot and taking the primary three steps in direction of the web, after which the subsequent body they’re on the baseline. I suppose most of the people wouldn’t discover, however I really like the game. That’s been my entire life, so I’m most likely somewhat bit extra crucial.

I’m certain [“Challengers”] did a great job, and I really like Zendaya. I’m an enormous fan of hers. She’s a candy, candy woman. I’ve identified her for a very long time, so I’m certain she killed it once more.

Given your pedigree and expertise as each a tennis participant and an actor, I hope you get an opportunity to make a tennis film in the future.

I feel there’s an Arthur Ashe film floating round someplace, so I might love to try this. [Tennis] has been my life ever since I used to be tiny.

This interview has been edited and condensed.



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