‘Hacks’ Star Carl Clemons-Hopkins Speaks on Season 2 After ‘Critical’ Cliffhanger (Exclusive)

The first season of HBO Max‘s blisteringly funny Hacks ended on Thursday with cliffhangers involving all three main characters, Deborah, Ava, and Marcus. Carl Clemons-Hopkins, who gives a fantastic performance as Deborah’s workaholic chief operating officer Marcus, is excited about the show’s upcoming second season. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture before the show was renewed, Clemons-Hopkins previewed what’s to come and reflected on what made the first season a joy to create.

Hacks was created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky. The series starts with Ava (Hannah Einbeinder), a comedy writer, being banished from Hollywood writers’ rooms after posting a bad tweet. She just happens to have the same agent, Jimmy (Downs), as Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), a Las Vegas comedy diva with stale material. At first, Deborah and Ava can’t get along, but over the course of the season, the two learn to work together. In between Deborah and Ava is Marcus, who has spent his entire adult life working for Deborah and struggles to find a work-life balance.

Clemons-Hopkins said there have been “many hopeful” and “speculative” conversations about the show’s future when asked about the second season. They are hopeful audiences will get to see more of Marcus’ attempts to finally be an “active participant in his own personal life,” which began playing out in Season 1. “I’m excited for, hopefully, the continuation of that story and to see what other decisions he decides to make, and everyone really,” Clemons-Hopkins said. “They’ve left it at such a critical moment for all these characters. So I’m preying on every good star that we get to keep telling the story.”

Hacks is the first major television role for Clemons-Hopkins, who previously starred in a few episodes of Chicago Med in 2020. Although they leaped at the idea of working with Jean Smart, they admitted to being a little worried that Marcus wouldn’t get that much development. Downs, Aniello, and Statsky assured them Marcus’ personal life would be at the forefront of some episodes. Clemons-Hopkins embraced Marcus as a background character that then slowly becomes more important as the season progresses. “I think it’s an interesting way to do a character-driven story like this as in you see these people, you see a little bit of them and then you start to see more and you start to see more,” they said.

The characters played by Mark Indelicato (Damien) and Rose Abdoo (Josefina) also start in the background but become more important later on. This is another reason why Clemons-Hopkins wants a second season to happen. “They’re slowly coming more into the forefront of the storytelling and creating the world,” they said. “So that’s even more of a reason why I hope we get to continue telling the story now that everyone is securely in the room.”

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Marcus is also one of the most relatable characters in the show, as so many are learning the importance of balancing life and work during the coronavirus pandemic. Clemons-Hopkins definitely felt that while making the show, even if their own work-life balance struggle wasn’t as extreme as Marcus’.

“I’m hoping that people do pick up on that and do learn [to] split [work and life],” Clemons-Hopkins said. “One of my favorite things about the show is that it’s entertaining, it’s compelling with life lessons sprinkled into it. One of them is the importance of work-life balance, the importance of building your life around you and not necessarily around someone else, especially if it’s someone else or other entity is not necessarily fully serving or helping what you want in your life if that makes any sense.” Hacks is now available to stream on HBO Max.

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