Written by: Langston John Blaze
“The sex, the drugs, the money, the greed add a real life perspective to the show.”-Christian James commented about the drama which is currently being marketed to major networks through 480 Studios.
In the last decade, themes of football in film and TV shows have become quite trendy. Shows like the hit comedy drama The Game and the recently cancelled, USA’s Necessary Roughness, resonated with viewers. Yet on the brink of wanting to remain innovative, fresh, sexy, and authentic has come a new hit drama called The 4th Quarter. Writer/director/actor, Tavares M. Wilson, created the sports drama about five NFL athletes whose lives on and off the playing field are full of relatable themes of dysfunctional family and relationships. The ensemble cast includes many fresh faces like: Racquel John, Scott McDonald, Nasir Rahim, Ali Froid, Wardell Richardson, Blue Kimble, Lem Collins, David E. Collier, Jules Nobles, Talia N. Hill, Stephanie Stevens, David Alexander, T.L. Lewis, Roc Shabazz, Will Jeziorski, Tihirah Taliaferroas, and Christian James. James, who plays Riley Gibson, the rookie country Wisconsin native with the shy momma’s boy persona, is a new actor, whose modeled for well known photographer, Rick Day. “The sex, the drugs, the money, the greed add a real life perspective to the show.”-Christian James commented about the drama which is currently being marketed to major networks through 480 Studios.
“It’s Scandal but with football!”-actor Blue Kimble commented. Kimble found his passion for acting after losing his professional football career due to an injury. “I get the best of both worlds; my first love is football and my second is acting.” In interviewing Christian James and Blue Kimble, I got a sense of brotherhood and fun. “We wanted the show to look organic.”-Kimble added, in reference to the live football playing action while shooting The 4th Quarter. However, with football being such a big theme in television, I asked the cast the one question any viewer would want to know, “What sets you a part from the masses of TV football themed shows, including reality TV?”
“We’ve taken actual stories from NFL players and wives and input them into the story.”-Wardell Richardson answered, who plays Lance Stevens, also known as “Zesus”. “I’m the biggest dude and I’m a running back. So I have no problem running people over!”-the actor answered, full of personality. I sensed a bit of comic relief from Wardell, who ensured me he had that quick improvisational side. Yet, Richardson also revealed that his Lance character is dealing with less lighthearted issues in his personal struggles with martial separation and infidelity. “He (Lance) wants his family back.”-Richardson told, whose story line deals with a man caught between his personal desires and fighting to keep his family together, including a wife and daughter, played by actresses Jules Nobles and Racquel John.
Racquel John, a New York native and inspired by the brilliance of actress Viola Davis added, “I play Cheyenne Stevens. She’s very close with her mom. My parents are separated. I’m not happy about that, but I’m very independent and strong.” As I interviewed each cast member, I couldn’t help but notice their instant chemistry. “During our first table reading, I thought, my gosh, this is a great cast. We fed off each other. It’s good energy.”-Racquel assured. Moreover, I commended Wilson on his strong independent female characters, who don’t appear to come from the caddy, fashion-drowned, cat fighting bougee lives of women privileged by their athlete star beaus. Actress Stephanie Stevens plays Monica Tate, a mother of two with a career as a college professor. “I play Monica Tate. I’m Coach Tate’s wife!”-Stevens laughed with her co-star Scott McDonald, who plays Brad Tate, coach of the Atlanta Spartans. “I have two daughters, so I want them to grow up and be who they want to be and not feel like they have to be shackled. It’s not the stereotypical wife role.”-McDonald commented, in reference to the new approach to the female storylines on the show.
Furthermore, other strong female roles are depicted through actresses Jules Nobles and Talia N. Hill. Both beautiful African American women had a strong presence during my exclusive interview with Hollywood smiles, glamorous appeal, and insightful views on black actresses and the pursuit of getting more roles. Nobles plays opposite Wardell Richardson as his scarred wife, Destiny Stevens. Love, betrayal, and new beginnings play major themes in the Destiny and Lance characters. “My character’s flaw is a lack of vulnerability and figuring out how to deal with someone who hurts you so bad.”-Nobles stated. “Destiny will make you cheer for her. The character is not over the top. I know her.”-the Mississippi native added, who had a strong relationship with 480 Studios prior to The 4th Quarter.
Nonetheless, Talia N. Hill plays Jennifer Cooper, the perfectionist powerhouse mother and businesswoman married to near retirement NFL star, Peter Cooper, played by actor Lem Collins. “She’s the mastermind and machine behind her husband. She’s outspoken, a diva, and classy! She’s like super mom with a baby in one hand and signing the contract in the other!”-Hill stated in describing her character. However, Lem Collins’s character, Peter, also known as “Coop”, is dealing with internal demons, touching on story-lines of steroid usage, a common issue still dominating the football world.
In talking with Director Tavares M. Wilson, who plays NFL star, Dallas Hughes, about his many production roles and how he maintains balance, he commented, “It’s good I have a team. At certain times, I can focus on one thing at a time.” His main co-star and possible love interest, played by actress Tihirah Taliaferroas, took on the role of Kerri Lewis. From interviewing Wilson and Taliaferroas, one could sense a great start of a Love and Basketball flavored romance between their characters lives, whose college romance is halted by Dallas’s successful football career. “She (Kerri character) has her own aspirations and wants to own a dance studio. She’s a waitress, working hard to go for her goals.”-Tilhirah stated.
Nevertheless, new actor Will Jeziorski, who plays, Jack Harper, the bad boy son of the Atlanta Spartans team owner, Ted Harper, played by David Alexander, bring spice to the drama as Alexander’s character deals with the lost of his wife while trying to rebuild his once dominating football team and the pressures of influencing a near unbearable reckless son. Jeziorski described how fun it was to play the menace of the show, stating, “He’s so different from who I really am. He dropped out of college and invested in a club, trying to follow in his dad’s footsteps of being a businessman.” The independent actor also talked about the grind of being an agent-less performer. “If you don’t have an agent, you really have to do research.” Jeziorski started out as an extra on shows like MTV’S Teen Wolf. After months of experiencing what it was like to be onset, he decided to stop doing extra work to focus on acting. Will also added that the Kelly Harper character, played by actress, Ali Friod shows the dynamics of sibling rivalry as both children have different perspectives on the football family business.
“The way Tavares has written the show is incredible. This is more of a story about the people, money, and gossip like you hear on Sports Center. It’s ideal for a story line.”-David E. Collier commented, who plays a sports agent on the show. Rounding off the cast is T.L. Lewis, Nasir Rahim, and IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, Roc Shabazz. This new innovative approach to sports and drama is sure to make for great television. Viewers will be captured by this fresh new cast and their approach to the exciting but some times controversial world of professional football. Look out for The 4th Quarter as it makes its way to television this coming year.