CHICAGO-native Actor LaROYCE HAWKINS portrays Officer KEVIN ATWATER on NBC Wednesday night police drama CHICAGO PD, and he covers the new issue of ROLLING OUT Magazine!!!
Here are some interview interludes:
As an actor from Chicago, was it a struggle landing gigs before getting the role on “Chicago P.D.”?
Before I got the opportunity, it was definitely a struggle. I used to get behind on bills a lot, but I never got behind on my dream. I never got behind on the gift, and I think that’s why I was always excited, even within the struggle. It never felt like a struggle. I just understand it as a struggle now because I’m in a different situation. I live downtown now on Lake Shore Drive.
When you decide you want to be an artist and when you allow your gift to provide for you and feed you, you find yourself in positions where you have to sacrifice. It’s been a struggle and I had to borrow a lot of money from my family members. It’s been real, but I think they always knew that it would come back around. Now I’m in a position to give back everything that was given to me, and it feels amazing.
When you got your first “Chicago P.D.” check, what was it like?
I remember being excited for transfers that I was making from one account to the next. I never had that much [money] to play around with and compartmentalize. I’m a kid from Harvey. I have a little brother in college and a little sister who just had a kid. I got to give back. … It’s kind of weird to talk about money, but at the same time, it made me a bigger giver. I’ve always been giving, even when I didn’t have it. I think my heart has always been in the right place, even when I didn’t know where to put it. It’s more than the money — it means that things can be taken care of.
What is it like playing an officer?
We have some of the best stunt coordinators, in my humble opinion. When we’re not shooting, the guns on our hips are fake. But when we do have gun battles, we pull out the real demonstrations. When you’re in the battle shooting things, it gets [the] adrenaline pumping.
What kind of physical shape do you have to be in for this? I know you work out a lot. I see you on Instagram pumping weight. Is there a goal you’re trying to reach right now?
Yes. I saw myself on season one, and I thought I was a little round in the face. It looked like the vest was a little too small, and I wanted to start working on that. Fitness for me is more a lifestyle than anything. As I started to make life goals, career goals just started falling into place. I think last season I was around 250 [pounds], and I’m in the 240s now. But on camera, that’s a big difference.
Who are the people you look up to?
Idris Elba is one that I admire. He’s my mom’s favorite actor. She was very honest with me and told me I’m her close second to him. Understandably, the big homie is definitely doing great things. I look up to Jamie Foxx. When I first started doing comedy, my advice was to look up to comedians that have a style you can build on. Jamie and Steve Harvey were my favorite comedians when I first started thinking about doing stand-up. I thought they had a style that was very much like mine. Steve is one of the greatest conversationalists in comedy. I really appreciate how Jamie incorporated music in his comedy.
What are your career goals?
I can see myself going toward the comedy route. I started off in stand-up. People always say “say something funny,” and I still haven’t come up with a joke yet. I need a standard joke. I would love to do some comedy stuff and some real character-driven work. One of my favorite movies is Ray, so if there’s a role out there where I can emulate a powerful cat in history, somebody who had a dope impact on the world, I would be down for anything. I like to host — I can even see myself with a Nick Cannon type of vibe, like hosting a powerful show.