interview by JANA LETONJA

Filmmaker, producer and actor Edwin Hodge can be seen on the popular CBS series ‘FBI: Most Wanted’, which is currently airing its 5th season. Edwin is best known for his pivotal lead role in the Universal/Blumhouse feature franchise ‘The Purge’ and was the only actor to appear in the first three films. His new sci-fi thriller ‘Parallel’, which is available to stream on all platforms, marks the first project produced by Hodge Brothers Productions, a company he created with his brother Aldis Hodge. 

Edwin, you’ve been part of ‘FBI: Most Wanted’ since the fourth season. What has attracted you to star on this popular CBS series?
The idea of playing Ray was a no brainer. I enjoy taking on roles that present black men in a positive, strong and thought-provoking way, and that is Ray. Definitely couldn’t say no to the chance to work with Dylan McDermott and this fantastic cast. I had to catch up on the seasons before jumping aboard and overall enjoyed the trajectory of the show. Strong actors, engaging storylines and a professional set make being on this show a great experience.

In the second part of this season, your character Ray had a huge storyline. How was delving into that storyline this season for you?
The growth of Ray has been a fun journey. He obviously starts as the new guy and quickly has to get acclimated to the way Remy’s team works together, however, he’s confident in his skillset to help make the team successful. We introduced his father, played by the amazing Steven Williams, and his future wife and son, played by Caroline Harris and Ja’siah Young. It helped to open up Ray’s world a bit to allow for a progressive storyline going forward.

What were you most worried about getting into season finale, with each finale usually leaving fans hanging on a cliffhanger?
I wasn’t too worried about much honestly. I was just hoping we ended the season on a high note.

All three FBI series have heavy stories and topics in each episode. How do you personally deal with the heaviness of it all?
I am a man of the world in the sense that I like engaging in the psychology of criminals. It’s intriguing getting scripts for new episodes and breaking down why people even think to commit such deplorable crimes. Is it just a psychotic break, were they pushed to their limits and snapped or is it simply innate in certain people’s character?  It’s important to be honest with the audience no matter how graphic the content is. 

Also currently available on all streaming platforms is the sci-fi thriller ‘Parallel’, which is the first project you produced under your production company. What does this project mean to you personally and professionally?
It’s the first movie under the Hodge Brothers Productions and I couldn’t be more proud of how we were able to put it together. Wasn’t without hiccups, but adversity builds character. It was a huge accomplishment that we certainly plan to continue growing as producers and pushing content that is true to the identity we are establishing in this industry. 

How was the idea to create your own production company with your brother born? 
Collectively, my brother and I started getting asked to help develop projects as we were creating our own. We got on the phone one day and said it’s time to get our company up and running, so that’s what we did.

What drives and inspires the projects Hodge Brothers Productions wants to work on?
We want to tell stories that centre around the BIPOC community positively and evolutionarily. Push content that presents us as something more than what some may see our community as. From small independents to multi-million dollar films and TV series, the goal is to take new steps in this industry that provide opportunities not necessarily granted to certain folks in the industry. 

With both of your parents having served in the U.S. Marine Corps, how did acting become your passion?
I started my career when I was three. I told my mom I wanted to be in the TV box when I was watching an episode of ‘The Cosby Show’. Somehow my mom figured it out and got my brother and I out to New York City. I naturally love entertaining. 

When you are not filming or working on your own productions, how do you love spending your free days?
I love traveling with my future wife. I spend most of my days writing, working out, bowling and golfing a lot. You can also find me playing Call of Duty, NBA 2k and The Masters golf game on my Xbox. 

What can you tell us about your upcoming projects you’re currently working on, both as an actor and as a producer?
I’ll just say that I’m working on presenting content across many different genres. I love the roster we have and can’t wait to present it to the world. 

all photography by SONJA FLEMMING/CBS