Joseph Sikora doesn’t look or sound like a hot-tempered New York drug dealer outside of his role as Tommy Egan on Power. The Starz drama starring Sikora, Omari Hardwick, and 50 Cent aka Curtis Jackson as major cocaine traffickers has brought forth accolades and a third season, due in part to Joseph Sikora’s convincing depiction of a volatile, drug dealer with a substance abuse problem, and changing loyalties.
The Chicago-born actor’s ability to look and sound as if he can and will bite bullets has garnered many roles where those menacing eyes and threatening voice come in handy. When playing James “Ghost” St. Patrick’s co-conspirator in their illegal and legitimate business — Truth nightclub, a front for their drug business — Ghost may be the lead character on Power, but Tommy is nowhere in the background, and the crazier Tommy gets, the bigger his fan base grows.
Sikora grew up in the Norwood and Jefferson Park areas in Chicago, not the worst areas, but that didn’t prevent him from getting into mischief and conducting a drug deal or two in his youth, Joseph confides in a Chicago Tribune interview. For someone whose idea of mischief was graffiti and selling marijuana, he certainly managed to turn his secondary street life education work into an impressive body of work.
Sikora graduated from Columbia College with a degree in theater and worked the Chicago theater circuit, and he is still an ensemble member of Shattered Globe. He has appeared on several HBO series; Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, and the movie Normal as one of Tom Wilkinson’s sons who has to deal with his dad transitioning. His casting in Shutter Island by Martin Scorsese lead to his Boardwalk Empire role as Hans Schroeder, an alcoholic gambler. Television roles on Criminal Minds, Without a Trace, Chicago PD, and Grey’s Anatomy are just a few of the opportunities his talent has gotten him.
Sikora describes Tommy as “raw and “real,” not calculating or manipulative (unlike his girlfriend Holly played by Lucy Walters), but honest and loyal. Whether he stays that way is a different story, and the show’s creator, Courtney Kemp Agboh, says the Season 3 opener will let us know who Tommy is and will be.
“One of the things about playing Tommy is that it has to be an unconscious choice to be so solid with that character. You can’t lie at all — it has to be very organic and natural. The words and mannerisms have to ring true.”
Part of what makes Power so intriguing is how smart it is; the muli-racial cast that represents the diversity of New York’s night and street life forces people to look at something other than color when looking at what a gangsta looks and sounds like, and that is one of the elements that makes Joseph Sikora proud to be part of the cast, he tells the New York Post.
“In Power, the smartest, most-rounded people in the show are Puerto Rican, Mexican, and African-American actors. I think that’s a wise and progressive way to view television in 2016.”
Tommy is a complicated guy; angry, loyal, gullible, violent, self-destructive, and unpredictable. He is a layered character and Sikora plays him well.
“Parts like this just don’t come around often, if ever. The first time I read the script I really, really wanted it. I knew I could murder this role.”
Offscreen, Omari Hardwick and Joseph Sikora are brothers as well, and the married 40-year-old actor (who often looks younger than he is) has seemingly managed to maintain a down-to-earth vibe when fame could have easily gone to his head. The show’s creator Courtney Kemp, told Gold Derby in a web chat that the theme for this season is “be careful what you wish for,” which may apply to Ghost as well as Tommy. Power begins a 10-episode run on Starz beginning July 17.
[Image via Starz]