‘Power’: Shane Johnson Recounts the Embarrassing Events That Earned Him the Role of Cooper Saxe

Power is so extensive that at this point, the drama franchise has hundreds of characters. Since they are many deaths and betrayals, not all characters have an extensive lifespan. However, Shane Johnson, who portrays Cooper Saxe, has continued in his role from Power into Power Book II: Ghost.

In the series, Saxe is a rather annoying U.S. attorney for the FBI who is continually outsmarted by James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) and later, Ghost’s college-age son, Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.). After years of messing up at the FBI, at the end of the first season of Power Book II: Ghost, Saxe is booted from his role at the Bureau. However, as Power fans know, you can never count Saxe out.

It has been quite a journey for Johnson who has been portraying Saxe since 2014. Now, he’s revealing the embarrassing events that helped him land the role.

Shane Johnson as Cooper Saxe in 'Power Book II: Ghost'
Shane Johnson as Cooper Saxe in ‘Power Book II: Ghost’ | Starz

Shane Johnson audition to play Tommy Egan on ‘Power’

When Starz began casting for Power in 2013, Johnson struggled to find steady work as an actor. Therefore, though he couldn’t really relate to menacing Tommy Egan, he jumped at the chance to audition for the role. “So I came into Power, and I auditioned for Tommy,” he explained in an Instagram Q&A with Tea with Tia. “I knew at the time that this isn’t my casting. But I’m an actor! So I’m going to be Tommy. I grew up on a farm, but I’m being streetwise Tommy.”

Needless to say that Johnson never heard back from the producers and casting director about his Tommy audition and the role went to actor Andy Bean, who portrayed FBI Agent Greg Knox on Power before being recast with Joseph Sikora in the role.

Though Sikora was discoraged at the time, he didn’t realize that Tommy would eventually would lead him to role of Saxe.

Some embarrassing events led Shane Johnson to the role of Cooper Saxe on ‘Power’

When Johnson was called in to read for the role of Saxe, he was actually in the unemployment office. “I was at the unemployment office, and I’m in there listening to this lecture that you have to. It’s so demeaning,” he remembered. However, after learning about the role of Saxe he knew he needed to get to the audition.

“And once I get the sides for Cooper Saxe, and I saw kinda the vibe he was; it was twofold,” Johnson told Tea with Tia. “It was, they finally have a scene where I belong, which meant they obviously liked me. And I also was like, ‘This is the guy. This is who I am.’ And a few weeks later, I got the call, with my last $50 filling up my gas tank.”

Now, Johnson is just hoping that Saxe will get a win soon. “Here’s what I want for Saxe; I want Saxe to win. Just to win,” Johnson said. “I’ve taken so many L’s. I’ve been on this show for seven seasons. I’ve been on this show for eight years. Can you tell me a single triumph?”

RELATED: ‘Power Book II: Ghost’ Season 2: Release Date, Plot Details, and Everything Else We Know

Shane Johnson was terrified to work with Mary J. Blige on ‘Power Book II: Ghost’

Johnson is thrilled to still be a part of the Power Universe with Power Book II: Ghost, but he was terrified to work with Mary J. Blige who portrays Monet Tejada on the series. “The truth is I haven’t really worked with Mary much, because the characters don’t really cross paths,” he told Tea with Tia during an Instagram Live. “I’m a huge, huge fan of hers, and I probably get a little bit uncomfortable around Mary to be honest.”

Thankfully, it all worked out. “It’s a little intimidating to be in her presence, I mean, she’s such a legend,” he said. “And yet she comes across really gentle and really present. I think she’s incredibly talented, and she deserves all the incredible success that she’s had.”