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  • -Jonathan, welcome.

  • Thank you so much for being here.

  • This is your late-night talk-show debut.

  • Just how you always pictured it happening, over Zoom.

  • -Uh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it's great, man.

  • I mean, I never thought it would happen, or pictured it.

  • But, yeah, it's -- I'm glad to be here, man.

  • Very much so.

  • -There's so much going on I want to talk to you about,

  • 'cause I know you were in New Mexico

  • filming a movie that is like a Western

  • that Jay-Z has produced? -Yeah.

  • -Called "The Harder They Fall."

  • And then COVID-19 broke out. Is that what happened?

  • -Yeah, we were a day from -- a day from shooting.

  • We had done a pre-shoot day,

  • and then we saw the suits come in

  • or the Netflix guys come in,

  • one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand.

  • They called us all in.

  • Which was not the best idea, when I come and think of it.

  • They called us all in one room to tell us

  • that there was a pandemic and we were shutting down.

  • -No, you keep everyone distant. -But it happened.

  • -Yeah. -Yeah. "Stay where you are.

  • Stay where you are and listen up."

  • -Your co-star in "The Harder They Fall" is Idris Elba,

  • a.k.a. one of The Sexiest Men Alive.

  • -Correct, yeah. -Yeah.

  • Did he hold that over everyone's head?

  • Does he walk around with a "People" magazine,

  • showing everybody?

  • -No, the thing about Dris is he is a very, very, very sweet man.

  • You know, he's just so gentle.

  • And, like, it's almost like -- When you see him, you go,

  • "There's no need for you to tell us that,

  • because we can see you are The Sexiest Man Alive."

  • -Yeah, yeah, we already know. -You know, he's like

  • "Oh, yeah, of course, yeah, yeah."

  • -I thought you were going to hold up --

  • Because you can show him that you're coming for him

  • because you're on the cover of October issue of "GQ."

  • -Yeah, wow, man. -I mean, come on!

  • -Yeah. -That's awesome.

  • -Yeah, that's all right. -Congrats, buddy.

  • -Thank you, bro. Thank you.

  • -Can you think back 20 years ago when you were a kid?

  • Did you ever think one day you'd be on the cover of "GQ"?

  • -You know -- I'll tell you the truth.

  • I did think so, but I thought

  • it would be because I was a basketball star.

  • I thought I was going to be a point guard.

  • -Really? -Playing in the NBA, yeah.

  • That was like -- That was, like, the plan.

  • And then my uncle,

  • who is probably my closest mentor to this day --

  • I was about 14 years old.

  • I was playing ball. And he came to the game, man.

  • I was like, "Okay, Uncle Chuck's coming to the game.

  • I got to clown. I got to do my thing."

  • And I played my ass off, man.

  • And at the end of the game, he pulled me to the side.

  • I was in his truck.

  • And he said, "Nephew, I got something to tell you."

  • I'm like, "what? Tell me. What was it? What was it?

  • What'd you like? What'd you like?"

  • He said, "I don't think this basketball thing

  • is going to work out.

  • -Aww. -I don't think it's for you."

  • -No. -And I go -- Yeah.

  • I go -- I go, "What?"

  • We didn't talk for probably -- probably six months.

  • I didn't talk to my uncle.

  • And, mind you, I'm 6 feet tall.

  • My uncle's about 6'5"

  • and just a brilliant athlete.

  • -So he knows how to play.

  • -And so he says it. I go, "Okay, cool."

  • And then that kind of put me on the track, though.

  • You know, that's a hard no. You know?

  • -I would have -- I would have started

  • to break down crying right there.

  • I would have been like -- -Oh, that happened.

  • That absolutely happened. In his Chevrolet.

  • In his white Chevrolet truck. -Wow.

  • And then you thought, "Oh, acting is what I want to do."

  • -I was -- I was kind of already in it.

  • I was kind of already --

  • Things had happened in school, you know,

  • trouble and all that stuff, and kind of put me on that path,

  • and I was getting into it at that point.

  • But then -- It was kind of like a turbo boost

  • when Uncle Chuck was like, "Nah, nephew."

  • You know. And it was so sober.

  • That's the thing. It was so sober.

  • I was like, "Okay." -Wow.

  • -"All right, then." -Wow, that was --

  • Yeah. "You really said that." Oh, my gosh.

  • "You didn't break it down like I'm a little kid.

  • You're like, 'It's over, dude, yeah.'"

  • -"It's not for you." That's exactly what he said.

  • "It's not for you." And I said, "Okay."

  • -Wow. -Yeah.

  • -Actually worked out. It worked out, man.

  • Wow. I mean --

  • -We still got on the cover of "GQ," Uncle Chuck.

  • It still happened.

  • -It still happened. You can't stop --

  • You can't stop a train, yeah.

  • No, no, no. -Yeah.

  • -I want to talk about

  • "Lovecraft Country." -Definitely.

  • -But first, there's a rumor out there I want to ask you about.

  • It was reported, I think it was last week,

  • that you might be joining the Marvel cinematic universe

  • as Kang the Conqueror.

  • Now, you'd tell me if this is true, right?

  • There's no one here in the studio. It's just us.

  • -It's just you and me? -Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

  • -Man, I heard the same thing, bro.

  • I heard the same thing.

  • It was like, "What? What? What?"

  • So -- You know.

  • We -- We apparently have the same source

  • because I heard it, too.

  • -God. I knew -- I knew I was gonna get nothing.

  • Let's talk about "Lovecraft Country."

  • It's a big hit. Oh, my gosh. Congrats on this.

  • All my writers love it. Everyone's like,

  • "That's the show you've got to watch right now."

  • For anyone who hasn't seen it, how would you describe it?

  • -It's a story about a family

  • and a man searching

  • for their legacy

  • during a very turbulent time in America.

  • Right? It takes place during the Jim Crow era.

  • And they move through this America

  • as Black people attempting to stay safe,

  • to grow as a family, and to push the lineage forward.

  • And chaos ensues on so many levels,

  • you couldn't even imagine.

  • -You're great in this.

  • As we said, the show takes place in the '50s,

  • but there are a lot of themes, I would say,

  • in "Lovecraft Country" that feel relevant now.

  • -Yeah. -Especially given the news

  • yesterday of the Breonna Taylor grand-jury decision.

  • Does it feel even more special to be part of this show

  • where we are right now?

  • -Um...

  • You know, that's a -- that's a tough word, isn't it?

  • "Special." You know?

  • -Yeah. -Like, it's --

  • But it does. It feels novel.

  • It feels -- There's a certain gravity to it.

  • I wouldn't say weight. I'd say gravity to it.

  • You know what I mean?

  • And you know, with Sister Taylor, it's heavy. You know?

  • 'Cause you look at our show, and kind of what I feel

  • we've done is a lot of folks say,

  • "Oh, it's so relevant." You know?

  • I say, "Yeah -- I mean, most things are relevant."

  • You know what I'm saying?

  • Like, everybody's in charge of making it.

  • You know what I'm saying? But nobody's a fool, you know?

  • But to make something that is both relevant

  • and, in my opinion, revealing, is a bit of a --

  • bit of a hat trick, you know?

  • Because what the show does -- One of the things

  • I've said before, and I'll say it again,

  • it's like you put a body cam on an entire culture, you know?

  • And the advent of the body cam really blew everybody's mind.

  • Like, "Ooh, my God, I can't believe this [bleep] happening

  • to so-and-so at these stops."

  • But to put a body cam on an entire culture

  • for just a day in the life is such a --

  • It's such a special thing, as you say, you know.

  • And those body cams, we're putting them

  • on our Black bodies, you know.

  • And we're telling something that allegedly was in the past,

  • but as we can see,

  • with Sister Taylor, is very current, you know?

  • And we reveal that, you know, every Sunday.

  • So, yeah, "special" is an interesting word.

  • And I would say that's what it is.

  • -I want to show everyone a clip.

  • Here's Jonathan Majors in "Lovecraft Country."

  • Take a look at this.

  • ♪♪

  • -Her name was Young-ja. She's was a nurse.

  • Your unit shot some of us at checkpoint

  • then dragged her away!

  • -She was a communist sympathizer.

  • -Is that what you tell yourself? -I was following orders.

  • Who knows how many lives I've saved by doing what I did?

  • -Does it have balance, how many have you taken?

  • The ones that keep you up at night and sobbing?

  • There's no book for you to escape what you have done.

  • -You knew this entire time but didn't say a word?

  • Ji, you made me care for you? What's wrong with you?

  • -Nothing is wrong with me.

  • You're the monster!

  • -Why did you agree to go out with me, then?!

  • -Because I was going to kill you.

  • -Jonathan Majors, everybody.

  • Check out "Lovecraft Country" Sundays at 9:00 p.m.

  • on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.

  • And he's on the cover, come on, of "GQ."

  • Hear that, Uncle Chuck? We'll be right back.

-Jonathan, welcome.

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