La La Anthony on that Power shocker: 'I'm sure I will see tons of people celebrating'
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Power season 6, episode 8, “Deal With the Devil.”
Late in Sunday’s episode of Power, it looked as if Saxe (Shane Johnson) was about to take his last breath, until Tommy (Joseph Sikora) and Ghost (Omari Hardwick) gave him a second life. But poor LaKeisha (La La Anthony) wasn’t so lucky. Her relocation to the suburbs with Tommy and Cash (Denim Roberson) didn’t last long, as she was ready to run so she wouldn’t have to snitch on Tommy. But while Tommy and Cash were picking out an engagement ring for her, LaKeisha got a surprise visit from her old bestie Tasha (Naturi Naughton), who quickly realized what was going on. A fight for LaKeisha’s gun ensued, with Tasha getting a shot off during the struggle. Like Saxe, LaKeisha begged for her life, but Tasha declared, “I’m sorry,” before finishing her friend off.
After watching the shocking conclusion, EW chatted with Anthony about not being surprised that Tasha was her killer, how proud she is to go out in this fashion, and her hopes that some LaKeisha haters will soon realize that they miss her.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Already this season, I’ve done this same interview with Lela Loren, Jerry Ferrara, and now you. By the end, will there even be anyone left for me to talk to?
LA LA ANTHONY: I know, I know. I think it’s going to be such a shocking moment for this show. People think something might happen to her, but I don’t think they can even imagine that this is going to be what it is.
How did you find out about LaKeisha’s fate? What was that conversation like with creator Courtney Kemp?
It’s definitely not a conversation any of us want to have. I mean, that’s our family, we’ve been on the show for so long, but you understand the nature of the kind of show you’re on, and that things have to happen to keep the story interesting and moving forward. Courtney just talked me through the whole thing and explained why and told me how it would happen. She was extremely gracious in making me feel comfortable and making me understand from a writer’s perspective, like why it had to happen. My thing is, I could have just died off the show in a lackluster way and no one even cares or talks about it, but I think this will be a moment that will be talked about for a long time. So if you’re going to go out, that’s how you want to go out.
You said that you think the audience will be surprised, so were you surprised that it was Tasha who killed her? The easy guess would have been Tommy.
I wasn’t as surprised as you would think. I knew the way the story was playing out that Tommy actually loved LaKeisha in a different way, and there were such strong feelings and he finally felt like he found the one, that it never occurred to me that it would be him. I think that’s more the easy answer because of what he did to Holly [Lucy Walters]. The only other logical person outside of maybe Ghost would be Tasha, and it goes back really to the demise of their entire friendship. So many people who watch the show say they can relate to that, someone you’ve been friends with your whole life and suddenly something happens and you fall out and can never recover from that. Now, I don’t know anybody who’s killing their old best friend, but I’m just saying that we all have incidents with people we were so close with and grew apart from over time, and it’s sad to watch.
We really do see in these last few episodes how much LaKeisha means to Tommy, and it is different than with Holly. Do you think there was a world where Tommy and LaKeisha could have had that quiet, happy life together? Or was she just never cut out for this life?
I think something was always going to get in the way. I mean, they definitely were going to make an attempt at having some sort of normal life, but I think the way they were living, at least Tommy was living, they were never going to have that house in the suburbs with the white picket fence and the dog. I just feel like something was always going to get in the way of that and their past was going to catch up with them at some point. It was only a matter of time before this was going to happen.
What was your last day on set like?
That was a tough moment. Very emotional, very sad. I remember we worked until 7 or 8 in the morning after coming in at like noon the day before, so it was a long, long day, and a lot of physical activity. I like to attempt to do a lot of my stunts on my own, and I ripped off a nail all the way down and my finger was bleeding; there were so many things happening that it just added to the emotions. I ended up getting the entire crew this truck in the middle of the night with milkshakes and candy, just a small way of telling them how I’m going to miss them. We tried to make it fun, but definitely an emotional moment to know that’s the end of the character — and the end of an era. I started on Power in season 1, episode 1, and there’s not a lot of people left on the show that started from the beginning. But I think I really did it justice and went out there and ended it the right way.
You’ve touched on it a little bit, but this was six years of your life and your longest-running acting experience, so what have this show and character meant to you?
It’s been my life for six years. Professionally, I grew as an actor, I’ve learned so much being surrounded by such amazing talent. Courtney and I are very close, she’s an amazing showrunner and writer. I just learned so many things, not just from the actor prospective, but the writing perspective, like how to keep a show together, how to run a show. I was a student my entire time being there, and I walked out a better actor and a better person. And I’m excited to see what’s next for me.
Speaking of what’s next, what impact do you think LaKeisha’s death will have on the final stretch of episodes? Like, Tommy and Tasha aren’t just going to easily move on.
It’s not going to just go away. They’re going to be trying to figure out what happened, how it happened. And I think in that way, LaKeisha continues to live on, even with me not being there. Tommy definitely will be trying to get to the bottom of it. I think she’ll still be in front of mind for a lot of people.
And a lot of people will be talking about this when the episode airs. The Power fans are as passionate as any, and you’ll no doubt be trending on Twitter once the episode is out there. What kind of reaction are you expecting?
It’s been mixed emotions. I’m seeing a lot of people don’t like her this season, and what you said about the Power fans is so real. I always say they can’t separate real life from the show, they’re like, “La La, you’re so dumb!” I’m like, “That’s my character, that’s not me.” And, clearly, if she’s making you this upset then I’m doing my job. But I just have to laugh at it sometimes.
All of us as actors, we talk about it, whether it’s Lela or Michael [Rainey Jr.]. Like, we go outside and people are really mad at us like we’re the ones doing all of this. [Laughs] It’s like, “Guys, it’s just a show!” So I think it will be mixed emotions. I’m sure I will see tons of people celebrating that she’s been killed, because they wanted her to go, but then some people will be really sad, and I think a lot of people who thought they’d be happy about her getting killed off are going to be like, “Damn, as much as I didn’t think I’d miss her, I actually miss LaKeisha.”
I think you’re right, because it’s just so heartbreaking when Tommy and Cash are about to walk in.
Joe and I watched that together, and I looked to my right and he had tears in his eyes, which of course then caused me to have tears in mine. This was months after we shot that, and I just looked at him like, “Wow, this still hits us after all this time.”
Power airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.