“We really wanted to put faces to some of these tragedies,” reveals Jason Mitchell about “The Chi.” Created by Lena Waithe, this Showtime ensemble drama examines life on the South Side of Chicago, which is notorious for its high homicide rate. “So many people are losing family members,” he explains. “We really wanted to show how not only does it strip a family of something, but it also strips a neighborhood of something.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Mitchell above.
SEE Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (‘The Chi’): Why he was ‘terrified’ of playing a man from the South Side of Chicago [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]
Mitchell plays Brandon Johnson, an aspiring chef hoping to open his own restaurant. He’s the kind of character everyone roots for, “a guy who’s just working as hard as he can to catch a break. He wants to be everything except a product of his environment, and his struggle is intense.”
His world is shaken when his younger brother (Jahking Guillory) is killed in retaliation for a murder he didn’t commit, so Brandon sets out to find who did it. “It’s one of those things that pulls so many different colors out of you,” says Mitchell. “He definitely has to maneuver through the whole situation, but be very, very smart about it at the same time, because his mom can’t lose two sons.”
SEE Yolonda Ross (‘The Chi’) on the Lena Waithe series and the reputation of her hometown: ‘Chicago has gotten a bad rap’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]
Mitchell has twice been nominated at the SAG Awards as a member of the ensemble casts of “Straight Outta Compton” (2015) and “Mudbound” (2017). “Mudbound” also brought him Best Supporting Actor nominations from the Chicago and Washington Film Critics Associations, as well as the Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards with his co-stars and director Dee Rees. He has additionally acted in the films “Keanu” (2016), “Kong: Skull Island” (2017), and “Detroit” (2017).
“The Chi” also stars Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Yolonda Ross, and Sonja Sohn and ended its 10-episode first season in March. It will be back for a second season.
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