It’s a nice warm day in Los Angeles, and Omar Miller is in joyful spirits. We’re talking about the brand new season of Ballers that starts in July on HBO. Miller plays Charles who has retired from the NFL and is adjusting to life outside the world of football. Unlike the other characters who are living in multi-million dollar houses, partying up a storm in hotels and boats, Charles doesn’t. In turn, Omar Miller plays one of the most relatable characters on the show.
I talked with Miller about Ballers and how his real-life love for sports has resulted in a podcast which he hosts from his own living room.
AwardsDaily TV: So, Omar Miller, I’m excited for Ballers season two.
Omar Miller: It’s going down. I feel very confident about the direction of the show and what we laid down. When you first introduce story lines and characters to the public, it takes a while to connect. But we’ve hit our stride and it’ll show when everyone sees the new season.
ADTV: Everyone can relate to your character.
OM: I got the best character on the show if you ask me. Most people can’t relate to spending a 12 million dollar contract or having groupies in the bathroom. Everyone can relate with going through a transition in their life in regards to their personal life and work.
ADTV: What’s it like playing this character while everyone else is playing that character who has this $12 million contract?
OM: It’s so much fun to play because my guy is vulnerable. There are so many different options and choices.
ADTV: What research did you have to do for the role?
OM: There’s so much research I wanted to do. I consulted with former professional athletes, and what it was they did on the day-to-day after they retired and how did they transition to normalcy. These guys are like modern day gladiators and they have to figure out how to be normal again.
ADTV: How physical is the role for you?
OM: That was tricky because, in season one, he was meant to have let himself go and was in the wilderness, and they asked me to gain 35 pounds. In this off season, I’m supposed to be back playing and I had to tighten up and get back into shape to mimic being in offensive for an NFL team. It’s a summer full of working out.
I play baseball and basketball. I’ve never really played organized football, so I had to learn about the position that I was playing on the show. I got to hang out with athletes to figure out what they were going through on a daily basis.
ADTV: Who was your favorite team?
OM: The same team that is still my favorite team, Oakland Raiders. It’s all about Raider nation.
ADTV : Are you looking forward to the Rams coming?
OM: I am actually.
ADTV: What will be expecting from Charles this season?
OM: You can expect that he’ll find his way this season and for him to find his way in his life. He’s on daddy duties, so he’s entering a new area of being a father. He’ll be juggling being a father, husband and NFL player.
ADTV: Prior to Ballers, you were on CSI. How do the two differ?
OM: The thing about CSI, it’s a huge juggernaut. It was a network show, and was safer. This is more about a specific area of life and a having a good time in excess. It weighs the question of what really is success. Is it big cars, big houses and a lot of women, or is it being satisfied with who you are and being in a committed relationship. What is your version of success?
The similarities of the shows are, they are both worldwide hits. People talk to me about the show all over the world. To be recognized all over the world is great, they can relate to Charles. He’s trying to keep it together, he’s married, and trying to do the right thing which is a real struggle for people everywhere.
ADTV: What were some highlights for you from season one?
OM: Season one saw me do my first sex scene with two women. That was interesting. I shot my first scene in a strip club, and I was paid to gain weight. Both, interesting and new. I have to say, working with this cast was phenomenal.
I also got to know more about South Florida, and that was lovely.
ADTV: There’s a lot of on-screen chemistry with the guys. Do you hang out?
OM: This cast is no different, we all get along, there are no divas. We have such a good time. It’s not like we’re doing Macbeth, it helps that we have fun with each other.
ADTV: OK, let’s go back. How did you get involved with Ballers?
OM: I got the phone call about a show they were making. I actually play basketball with the show’s creator Steve Levinson. He’d been keeping up with me and my work. I read the script. I went in and did the reading. I did that. I was the first person cast. They put together this all star cast. HBO did what they do, they promoted it well. Now we’re just kicking ass.
ADTV: What do you do when you’re not on Ballers?
OM: I’m writing. I’m writing TV shows. I really want to get involved with telling my own story after this. The other thing I do is this podcast, with my brother. I’m a Sports junkie. It’s called the O-Zone, and we do it right from our couch in our living room, and we invite everybody to be a part of it. We talk sports.
Omar Miller can be seen on season two of HBO’s Ballers, which premieres Sunday, July 17.