Carl Clemons-Hopkins (‘Hacks’) on depicting Marcus’ ‘first heartbreak’ in Season 2: ‘He had never dared that much before’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I don’t think Marcus would have done anything differently,” Carl Clemons-Hopkins shares about how their character Marcus in HBO Max’s “Hacks” handled the events of the first season finale. In that episode, Marcus gets a promotion from stand-up comic Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) to become CEO of her empire, but his dedication to the job costs him his relationship with Wilson (Johnny Sibilly). “He had never dared that much before,” they say, adding that in Season 2 Marcus experiences “his first heartbreak.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

In the second season, Deborah and her writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) hit the road to develop a new act, leaving Marcus to run the business from her Las Vegas mansion. Although Marcus let loose in the first season when Deborah went away for a weekend, this season is different because “he’s lost without the connection he had with Wilson.” Clemons-Hopkins talks about the “emotional damage” Marcus is experiencing, all while “trying to pretend and portend that everything’s fine.”

Marcus’ facade doesn’t last very long, though, and he struggles in a way that viewers haven’t seen before. Clemons-Hopkins describes the work as “very challenging and therefore very rewarding,” especially since they had the chance to “dive into the psyche of his makeup and the way he handles situations.” “I could feel myself reading the script and seeing me on the periphery saying, ‘No, don’t do that!’” they add.

SEE ‘Hacks’ Season 2 trailer: Jean Smart returns to defend her Emmy win

In the second season, Clemons-Hopkins had the opportunity to continue working with incredible actresses including Angela Elayne Gibbs and Luenell, who play Marcus’ mom and aunt, respectively. Clemons-Hopkins talks about the “great rapport and shorthand” they have with both actresses, saying, “We have so much fun and I think it shows.” They also discuss their relationship with Jean Smart, sharing, “I’m so grateful to have her as the leader, her leadership is compassionate and humorous and heartfelt, and I have so much trust in her as an actor.”

Clemons-Hopkins also discusses Marcus’ evolving relationship with Ava. In the first season, Marcus almost sabotages Ava’s job with Deborah, but in Season 2 the two characters become closer. Clemons-Hopkins thinks they bond over their dedication to their work, as well as the fact that “they both are now sadly in the dead dads club,” which has led to their “mutual respect” for one another. They also discuss their favorite scene from the second season to shoot.

Finally, Clemons-Hopkins reflects on their Emmy nomination for the first season. They share, “It was not something that I ever considered would be for me and so I never really put that much weight into it; however, I do recognize what it means for visibility and for the fact that someone else who might share my adjectives will no longer think that that is something that is excluded from them because of who they are, so for that I am really humbled and honored.”

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