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By Kate Oczypok | October 5, 2017 | People
Ray Donovan’s Pooch Hall is getting into some dark material with his role as Daryll—and he’s ready to dive in.
Pooch Hall spent his early years modeling and later acting on the BET show The Game. Hall also dabbled in rapping, but has since “put the mic on the shelf.” Now he can be seen on the Showtime drama Ray Donovan, as Daryll, with a dark twist this season. Hall shares with us what it’s like working with co-stars Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight, the secret to his happy 20+ year marriage, and his vision for our country’s future.
First of all, how did you earn the nickname Pooch?
POOCH HALL: I’ve been Pooch since I was in my mom’s Pooch. It started with my next door neighbor who used to say, "How’s Pookie doing?" when I was in my mom’s stomach. My dad is from down South and never gets anyone’s name right so he started calling me Poochie. It just stuck.
I heard we can expect your character Daryll to go deeper and darker on Ray Donovan. The show has been on since early August, but what can we expect throughout the remainder of the season?
PH: Absolutely, it gets really heavy. Daryll starts to walk down that dark road. They say be careful what you wish for... he wants to be a Donovan so bad that he’s willing to do whatever it takes. He does things that are just beyond imaginable and heavy. He does it for his family but at what price, you know? He’s really venturing into some troubled water this year for sure.
What’s it like working with Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight? Have they given you any sage advice over the years?
PH: It’s like working with the ying and the yang, take your pick on which one’s the yin and which one’s the yang, to me it doesn’t matter. They’re both brilliant and great. Jon—I say he’s my dad away from my dad and Liev is like a big brother. They both teach me things and have taught me things about being a better actor and a better person.
You’ve done some modeling and rapping in the past. Any chance you’ll get back into those at some point?
PH: I think the modeling can come at any time. I put the mic on the shelf though, I hung it up. I’m going to leave that to Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Chance the Rapper. My favorite rappers are Jay-Z, Jadakiss, Eminem, Drake, and Kanye. I think that it’s a field I kind of had fun in in college. I feel that I’ll rap for fun, but I’m not trying to make a career out of it. I had one song that I did called “Something Light” by Consequence, Future, and Pooch Hall.
You shot Bleeder and A Dog’s Purpose. Did you catch the movie bug or do you prefer working in television more?
PH: I prefer to work period. As long as you can stay working in this business then you’re doing something right. A Dog’s Purpose was fun. We got a bad break with the unfortunate video about the dog though. On Bleeder, which is now being called Chuck, I play the greatest Mohammed Ali, where I got to work with Liev again. He fought for me to get in that movie. I was just like, "I want to do it all, not just movies, not just TV, I want to model, I want to rap if I can." Growing up in Massachusetts you had to do what you had to do. I’d like to know I could do it all, I mean, why not? It doesn’t hurt that you have a hit show either!
You met Linda, who is now your wife and not in the “business," over 20 years ago. What’s your secret to a long and happy marriage?
PH: Lot of fun, lots of honesty, lots of sex, and I think you have to just keep it fun and simple. Every marriage has its own routine and way they go about the marriage and being with each other. My wife and I, our lives changed. Our oldest daughter was born with cerebral palsy and that changed us for the better. Our daughter makes us better but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a toll on us or that it’s all hunky dory. I’m very fortunate that my career has been plentiful and my family they reap the benefits. I have been blessed to where I can continue to work and provide for them. My wife and my jobs help the family to grow and move forward. My wife and I just got back from Vegas and had a nice little daycation, a little weekend getaway. I love my wife very much and I love my family. I know her strengths and mine and we also try to strengthen each other’s weaknesses.
Does any of that change the expectations of what you want from your country? What do you make of the current political climate?
PH: I feel that we are definitely in trying times. A lot of emotions and unlawful actions going on. The country is divided based on who our commander in chief is. Take away all of that, look at yourself in the mirror and say how do I want to leave my legacy, how do I want to be remembered and treat other people and how do I want people to treat me. Sometimes we allow things to get in the way of what’s right and not allowing people to make free moves and choices. You can speak your peace and say I love you but I don’t agree with this. There’s no reason why if somebody’s different or somebody wants to do something different, we automatically frown or hold or nose up or don’t want to talk to them or curse them out. It’s kind of like to each his own. If we allow each person to have their own thought process, we can educate a person and show them hey this is why I do what I do. I think that as long as we do what’s right and make the right choices then the end result is something we can be proud of. My wife and I try to educate people on the handicapped world, they often get overlooked. If we all came together and don’t worry about who someone voted for, what someone’s driving, who’s got so much in the bank. If we’re just one race, one job, one love, there should be no reason why we couldn’t all live in harmony.
Photography courtesy Benny Haddad