By now, it’s certainly no secret that Luke Cage drops all 13 episodes this Friday, and that Sons of Anarchy alum Theo Rossi will play a major role in the show as ‘Shades’ Alvarez, a classic Luke Cage villain that dates back to the 1970’s.
In preparation for the show’s release later this week, Rossi sat down with Recess to discuss his character and his training regimen. When asked to discuss his character, Rossi responded:
He’s in the first comic book ever with Luke Cage. He’s known Luke for a long time before he was Lucas. And he makes it very dangerous because he knows a lot .he’s an extremely cerebral character. He has, as crazy as it sounds, he’s very shady. This dude is like no one I’ve ever played because he’s extremely patient. And he’s really really, really dangerous. When you’re watching it you almost don’t know what’s going on you kind of have to figure it out.
Shades Alvarez has superpowers in the comics (as we discussed in this article that was recently shared on Twitter by Rossi himself), but we’re not positive whether or not the character on the show will exhibit the same powers. What we do know, however, is that training to play a superhero is almost as intense as being a superhero. Rossi had this to say about his training regimen and diet in preparation for the physical role:
My training like everything else in my life is really about efficiency because I don’t really have a lot of time. So if I have to wake up at 4 am to train or I have to run at 10 pm at night. I’m really fortunate that we just built a really cool gym in the house so I can just get downstairs to the gym and I can be super efficient and that’s one of the reasons I put the money into because going to the gym was just taking up too much time with all the things that I really want to do.
If I’m not training for a race my weight training and boxing is a little more. That’s probably three days a week and my running is three days a week. And if I’m training for a race my running is five days a week and my strength training is one day a week. I always take one day off on the weekend so I can at least recover a little.
I’m really OCD with what I eat. I’m vegetarian but sometimes I eat fish so I guess I’m pescatarian which is the biggest word now on the planet. Usually, it’s more tofu, quinoa, a lot of vegetables in the morning. I pretty much have the same exact thing for breakfast every morning as boring as that may sound to the rest of the planet. It works for me.
Rossi also commented on his daily food routine, so read on if you’re interested in eating like a superhero (I, on the other hand, will stick with my significantly less healthy diet).
I fill up a gallon of water every day because I want to drink a gallon of water every day. I pour out three glasses of water. I have these chlorophyll supplements. I put one in the water. I have another water with apple cider vinegar and the other water I have with lemon. While I’m getting breakfast prepared I have a vegan whey protein with flax milk and super green and bee pollen in it and fiber in that shake. I add some ice, most of it water. I have that whey protein shake and then I have Greek yogurt with almond butter, cinnamon, a little organic maple syrup and then I cut in an apple, strawberries, and blueberries and I mix it all together and I have that every day and I’m like, super-charged. I’m like, bursting out of my head.
Not only is Rossi highly aware of what he’s eating and how he’s exercising, but he’s also tuned into the music of Luke Cage, and much like everyone else in the cast and crew he sang praise for it all (puns intended).
We had Ali Shaheed Muhammad from “Tribe Called Quest” do the music with Adrian Young (drummer from “No Doubt”). As our showrunner (Cheo Hodari Coker) said it’s like the Wu-Tangificiation of the Marvel universe… It’s the greatest line I’ve ever heard, especially for me growing up in Staten Island listening to those guys. I mean 1993 changed my whole existence. That was when The Wu hit everything. If I could really echo what he said, it’s so Wu-Tang ,it’s so 36 Chambers. It’s just like this album. He named every episode after a Gang Starr song. So it’s like you when you see all 13 episodes together it’s like you just listened to the greatest album. There’s a lot of shows out there. But not like this. It really comes together like an album.
Rossi, who is best known for his role as “Juice” on Sons of Anarchy, spent a long time working his way up through the ranks of show business which gave him ample time to reflect on the fads of the industry. When asked about how the United States’ social climate is reflected in the show, he had this to say:
…I’ve been a historian of Hollywood ever since I’ve tried to get into this racket and I’ve always said: The best this business has ever been, the best, the top of the game, The best Hollywood has ever been is when it matches and when it portrays on its screen – whether small or big – exactly what’s going on in society. It’s the best it’s ever been. The people that are paying for the tickets, the people that are paying for Netflix, the people tuning in on their TVs and people that are downloading your show — when you mirror what’s happening in their life and their world, it’s usually the best storytelling.
I think there was absolutely no agenda. We were telling a story and things happened to be happening in the world. But like I said and I’ll say it again; The best this business ever is, is when it’s portraying the real world. I think this story is like nothing anyone’s ever seen and it just happens to come along at a really pivotal time in our society.
With such in-touch ideas about the show and such a strong dedication to the character, it’s hard to be anything but excited for Rossi’s portrayal of Alvarez on Luke Cage. This Friday, we’ll be able to tell if all the excitement is worth it.
Luke Cage will also star Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Alfre Woodard (Mariah Dillard), Mahershala Ali (Cornell Stokes), Simone Missick (Misty Knight), and Erik LaRay Harvey (Willis Stryker).