Pooch Hall, best known for his role as Derwin Davis on “The Game”, got a little taste of it when dealing with BET, as he’s revealing his experience with the network. The show was one of the many that was announced by Netflix along with Strong Black Lead that would be appearing on the platform. On top of the show’s reemergence on Netflix, it was announced by Viacom that a reboot of the popular show will relaunch on their new streaming platform, Paramount+. While Hall hasn’t confirmed whether or not he will be involved in the show, he did share that things didn’t end too well when he left the series.
Hall wasn’t the first actor to be cast as Davis. The show’s backdoor pilot episode actually appeared in Girlfriends (as it is the show’s spinoff), and upcoming Black Adam film star Aldis Hodge was seen as the lead of the show. During an episode of Fox Soul’s Cocktails with Queens, Hall explained that he first auditioned for the Malik role before trying out for the lead. “Then I became Derwin. I didn’t get it at first,” Hall shared. “Do you guys know who Aldis Hodge is? Well, he was the original Derwin, and then I replaced him as Derwin and the rest is history.”
The show lasted for three seasons on the CW network before its initial cancellation in May 2009. BET would soon come knocking and in January 2011, Pooch, Tia Mowery, and the rest of The Game’s cast joined back on-air for brand new episodes. He would stay on the show ultimately for 6 seasons before making the decision to join the cast of Ray Donovan. Hall wanted to do both, as that isn’t uncommon, but the producers didn’t see it the same way.
“So when we were in negotiating, I kind of was like, ‘Uh oh’, because I knew how BET got down and I knew how the producers got down,” he said during an interview with Rosci Diaz and Nina Parker for their Little Black Dress podcast. “It’s almost like you have this opportunity that we gave you, we want you to be loyal. It wasn’t like fly eagle fly. When we tried to make it work. It was like, ‘Well we can’t do that.’ Part of me was like, ‘I don’t want to leave’ because when you start making that type of money and getting that type of love, I was literally like the mayor of Atlanta.”
However, when the news hit that he had landed a new role, he says that’s when things changed. “When that s—t hit Deadline, the emails, and phone calls just ceased. It was like crickets,” Hall recalled. “Then my lawyer called and asked ‘has anyone from BET or Business Affairs called you?’ I was just like, ‘We might as well focus on Showtime because I know what that means.’ It was like the doors closed and all of a sudden no more BET Awards, it was like nothing. My peoples were like, “are you still acting?’”
He continued, “It was just like tough to deal with because all of a sudden it was almost like – the urban side of it was just like ‘Where’s our guy?’ and it was just like Damn, man, BET let another one go in a sense. And yo, you go through s—t. I don’t care how tough I am. A guy or whatever man. We have feelings and certain things hurt us and bother us and you know we’re not indestructible. So it messed with me. And I’m not afraid to say it. I kinda got depressed.
“But then people were like ‘Yo dude, you’re on Ray Donovan…with Oscar-winning cats. What are you talking about?’ I was just like well, you go from being the lead and as an actor, I’m an artist, I just want to spit dialogue,” Hall adds. “It’s almost like telling a rapper who’s got like ill tracks, ‘Well you just gotta sing the hook. Or just write for him.’ It’s like ‘Dog I can spit’. But now you’re running elbows and shaking hands with different people.”
Hall spoke on his strained relationship with the network with Vibe as well when they asked him at the time if he would return to the show if ever asked. “I can’t speak on [BET’s behalf] but if it was me, as a network representative, knowing that they had an actor that helped make The Game what it was and he’s on a higher profile show with A-listers, I would have jumped on it,” he said. “I’m at Showtime now and they show me so much love. The fact that they’re not threatened by another network is great because they know what they have and are solidifying their place in Hollywood.”
The actor did return to The Game once more for the show’s series finale. He will also star alongside Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo in the upcoming crime drama film Cherry, set to hit theaters in February of 2021 and Apple TV+ in March.