Mehcad Brooks (True Blood, My Generation) steals just about every scene he can as troubled football star Terrence King in Necessary Roughness. So of course we had to talk to him when on the show’s set. Keep reading to find out what’s in store for TK in Necessary Roughness season 2.
How did you get in shape to play TK in Necessary Roughness season 2?
Mehcad Brooks: Yeah, well last season was kind of unfair to me, because I couldn’t work out ’cause I got in a really bad car accident. So I did the best that I could, but you know, I was on a lot of medication and steroids, so there wasn’t a lot I could do. You know, I couldn’t even work out. So this year, oh my goodness!
But with this year, about two months out, I worked out with some pro guys and pro bowlers — some guys who train Olympiads. And so I just took it really seriously. And because now I have the physical opportunity to do so, I’m not playing around.
Have you gotten any feedback from NFL players about your role?
Mehcad Brooks: I have. I have. And not always positive. Some like, “Man, your stance is horrible! Like, come on, dawg!” I’m like, “Let’s see how you can do a monolog, fool!”
I’ve had a lot of positive feedback, and I’ve had some really helpful criticism actually too. Like there was actually a conversation with a very well-known wide receiver in a nightclub. And he was helping me with my stance in the nightclub. And everybody’s dancing around us like we’re in New York, and I’m like, all right. He’s like, no. He said, “The problem is your form is down perfect, but you look like a poindexter.”
Did you do any research into PTSD for this season?
Mehcad Brooks: Yes, I did. I did a lot, actually. I got a couple friends who’ve come back from Afghanistan and Iraq with some issues. And one guy was actually blown up by a grenade, and we knew each other for 16 years, 17 years. And one of my best friends, he’s like a brother to me and we work together, I got him a job on My Generation as our military coordinator. And he’s just a great guy, just a fantastic guy. 13 surgeries later, make a long story short, he’s walking, he’s running, he’s back, you know, as part of the population, physically.
I’ve been able to talk to him about it, and you know, I want to portray it as serious as possible… As accurately as possible, because it’s an under-discussed subject. And it’s something that 2 million Americans are going to have to deal with actively themselves. Not to mention the toll it’s going to take on families and friends and so on and relationships and jobs and so on and so forth.
I think no one really wants to see soldiers going through it, because we have this sort of war fatigue and we have this insulation. We haven’t even paid for the war, you know… I think, when it’s coming from an athlete or a football player, somebody that we see every day and that we allow into our home every day, it’s different. And so I hope that maybe, you know I have athletes who come up to me and say, “Hey, that, what you did, was real.” You know, it was realistic. And I hope that one of these days, I’ll have a soldier come up to me and say, “You know what? I went through that. My family went through that. And thank you for taking it seriously, because it really affected us.” So it’s not something that I make light of.
How hard is it to play such a serious arc for a character whose normally so upbeat?
Mehcad Brooks: Challenging. But that’s what I got into this business for, to be challenged. I love this job because it’s varied in that way. And one minute — which is great about TK — one minute, you can have him in a scene where’s on the verge of tears and like not knowing what’s going on in his life. And then really sort of losing grip of who he is. And then, the next moment, he’s having a Twitter war. Like he’s a 12 year old. And that’s fun to play. But sometimes, when you’re shooting both scenes in the same day, it’s, you know, “Can you put that one first please?”
For spoiler-ish reasons that we can’t talk about here, you have a bit of a name change in season 2. Was it hard to keep things straight?
Mehcad Brooks: Yeah, it was. I mean, I was actually the one keeping the “KT” going, and the show was like, “Forget it.” I was like, “What you mean?” I’m like, I like it. So we don’t keep it for the whole season, but you know it was kind of strange. At first, I was like KT — I’m like, this is ridiculous. And then I got this new, blinged-out chain that says TK, and I was like, “This is the wrong chain. Y’all ordered this chain like a month before I changed my name!” But props didn’t give a sh*t about it.
How do you get into the TK-mindset of being so arrogant?
Mehcad Brooks: I wake up… I like to pretend that I’m arrogant. I don’t think I am, really. How do you get into that mindset? You know what it is, it’s actually TK and I are really different. Like he’s not even a dude I would hang out with, tell you the truth. But I’ve known guys like that, and it’s just about really taking five minutes to believe your hype. And if you thought you were God’s gift to “insert-noun,” you know, then that’s how you act. There’s no boundaries. You’re put on a pedestal by society, so that means you’re above the societal mirror. Which means you can’t even look at yourself in a realistic light.
Will Nico’s relationship with TK in season 2 evolve into a sort of father-figure thing?
Mehcad Brooks: Yeah. I call it Tiko. TK and Nico. You know what I’m saying — like Brangelina. You know, without the sex. I think that it’s cool, because it’s like TK finally has a maternal figure in his life, in sort of his sisters and in Dr. Dani. He’s never had that and then, you know, he does need a positive male figure in his life. And Nico is the only guy with the patience and probably the training to handle someone’s attitude as large as TK’s. I mean the guy doesn’t listen to anybody but Nico really. So there you go.
Will we go into TK’s past at all in Necessary Roughness season 2?
Mehcad Brooks: We do go back to his old neighborhood. You know, he doesn’t really know his family. He was a foster kid at 9 years old. So, you know, only child, mom’s passed on, father he doesn’t know. So you see the closest thing to family that he has. I think it’s episode like 203 or 204 or something like that. But it’s great, and he goes back to his old neighborhood and hides out for a couple episodes and gets into some shenanigans. Some funny stuff and some not-so-funny stuff, actually. It’s weird, because especially after almost losing his life, he kind of doesn’t know where he belongs. You know, professionally. It’s almost as if, “Wow. Maybe I catch a ball for a living. Is that important? I don’t know.” He starts to question everything.
For more interviews on set:
Callie Thorne discusses if TK wants Dr. Dani’s help
Scott Cohen gives us the scoop on Nico
Executive producer Kevin Dowling talks changes from season 1
Necessary Roughness season 2 premieres on Wednesday, June 6 at 10pm on USA. For a video refresh of season 1 click here.
(Images courtesy of USA)