‘Power’ Director Rob Hardy Breaks Down That Intense Finale: ‘It Got Me Excited!’
Director Rob Hardy was behind the lens for the explosive Season Four finale of Power, and the veteran filmmaker talked to The Boombox about the season's big finish.
Hardy came to the fore in the 1990s, when he and former partner Will Packer launched Rainforest Films. The production company delivered well-received fare like Trois--the erotic thriller would become the fastest independent Black film to gross over $1 million at the box office. The company would go on to release popular films such as Lockdown, Stomp the Yard, This Christmas, Obsessed and Takers before its dissolution in 2014.
Since then, Hardy has brought his creative touch to hit shows like ABCs black-ish and How to Get Away With Murder, and of course, STARZ's highly-rated crime drama.
The Boombox: So much of the Power Season Four finale--and the entire season--hinged on Tariq's moral downfall. How complicated was that to convey?
Rob Hardy: The writers basically arched out [the fate] of Tariq’s character throughout the season. What I did as the director was look at the script for my particular episode and try to give as much balance and authenticity and realism as I could to Tariq for the finale – that way we saw the fact that he missed his sister, we saw the pain he was in and we saw the remorse and [we] also saw that fact that he wanted revenge. And when it came time for him to actually kill [Ray Ray]…we get to see the fear Tariq has for his life.
When Ghost is going to kill Ray Ray, it’s about killing the guy that killed his daughter. When he pulls up, having to look over and see his son getting onto an elevator he then realizes, ‘Oh my God, Tariq is here. That means I could lose two kids in 24 hours. So the shift goes from "I gotta kill Ray Ray to ‘I have to protect my son." You create those moments to where now Ghost has an emotional shift from aggressor to protector.
Fans were shocked to see the Ghost, Tommy and Kanan reunion--were you surprised to see that in the script?
When I read it on the page, it got me excited! This whole series, it’s been Kanan versus Ghost. Earlier this season, when they went to go help Tariq…they weren’t really partners. But [their reunion] was an active choice [to come together because Dre] messed with the innocent part of their lives.
Everyone’s pretty much in agreement that Dre has to go.
If I happen to have a chance to write that, I would make sure that Dre was heroic in his fight to stay alive.
When I say “heroic,” I don’t mean he’s the hero and everybody feels good about him. I mean, [he won’t] cower or run or be afraid. The same way that he plots heroically, from his perspective, is the same way he should go out. He should go out on his on two feet, and it should probably be pretty grizzly.
I’m with everyone that Dre must die, but if we look at the evolution of Dre…[he] really admired [and] wanted to be Ghost. At the end of season 3, it was Dre and Ghost. Then all of a sudden, Ghost goes to jail. Dre’s trying to stay legit, but he discovers that Kanan’s back and his boss is probably going to get the death penalty. This opens a window when he’s like, "Okay, I need to start to think for myself. I need to start doing things for myself to protect my daughter, to protect my life." He’s down this path because of survival. It’s circumstance. Just like Tasha had to make the deal with Stern before she knew Ghost was going to get out [of jail].
The finale was emotional, but what did you find to be the most intense moments to shoot?
Tasha and Ghost in the car when Tariq leaves after the interrogation. That scene [depicts] two parents – when there’s no money, there’s no entourage, there are no drugs or extended family like Tommy. It’s just two parents dealing with a loss and how do you handle that and how do you deal with the guilt. And the scene with Tommy and Father Callahan in the confessional was a nice place, where Tommy had a sounding board and a refuge. Everybody thinks that Tommy’s crazy. Ghost loves Tommy and Tasha loves Tommy … but they also feel like Tommy’s a wild card and they have to look out for Tommy. But Father Callahan is someone that really seems to bond with Tommy.
When Dre is confronted by Tariq and Tariq all of a sudden becomes the boss that he sees Kanan being or that he’s heard that his dad is. He pulls a gun on Dre and basically reads him like, "I can snitch on you any time. I have the power in this situation. Either you’re gonna give me what I want or I’m gonna tell my dad and my Uncle Tommy or I may just shoot you myself."
And I love the ending moment with Ghost, Tommy and Kanan in the car, and you see Dre on the cusp of taking the power mantle with the Jiminez and becoming the rising crime lord. And now, you have the guys who are plotting against him and saying "We’re back! Let’s make it happen." And then, of course--there’s the tracker on the bottom of his car.
Those are all character moments.