“I felt that the weight of Aaron’s world was literally on top of him and so I worked with his shoulders being hunched and him trying and fighting to stand proud and be upright,” actor Nicholas Pinnock reveals in his exclusive interview with Gold Derby about playing imprisoned protagonist Aaron Wallace in “For Life” (watch the video above). He continues, “It’s like two negative ends of a magnet trying to press together, but they just won’t, so he, from the inside, is trying to be his former self.” The new legal drama series is inspired by the life of executive producer Isaac Wright Jr., who was serving a life sentence for a wrongful conviction, but got himself exonerated and became a lawyer.
“For Life” begins Aaron’s story after nine years behind bars, when he has “almost a poised and ready aggression just in case of anything” in the way that he carries himself physically. Pinnock explains, “If you look at any flashbacks in the series, you will see that he’s a lot more open with his chest and he’s more upright and there’s a pride and a sense of life, but when you see him in prison, there’s that shoulder hunch.” Pinnock says as he delves into the nuances of the five versions of the character that he portrays, “I very much like to marry the text with the physicality, because they have to complement each other, so if my physicality is not in line with the text, I don’t feel I’m telling the true story from its subtext right through to its surface if I’m off on that, so I played with his physicality a lot.”
Pinnock lives in London and is well known to British audiences currently for the first two seasons of the International Emmy Award-winning “Marcella” (and Pinnock laughs that he has no comment on the third, coming this fall), but it was actually an earlier British crime drama that was more instrumental in his “For Life” casting. Executive producer 50 Cent pursued him for the lead because he was a fan of his four-episode stint in 2011 on the first season of “Top Boy” and because he felt that Pinnock was overall “an actor’s actor that could bring something dynamic and meaty to the role.”
“There’s so much more story to tell,” Pinnock says about “For Life,” which recently aired the finale to its 13-episode first season on ABC and is left as the network’s only show that has finished its run and still awaits a renewal decision. The actor even envisions narrative opportunities beyond the exoneration that the series is theoretically driving toward “in the same way that Isaac’s life was still very interesting after he got out of jail.” He concludes, “I absolutely, positively believe that there is life after jail for Aaron.”
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