Force’ Tommy Flannagan and Lili Simmons detail how to play a lovable villain

Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora) isn’t the only villain in Book of Power IV: Strength. Surrounded by new characters in a new city, the former second-in-command of New York’s playing field is very different as he attempts to divide and conquer the Chicago drug game. Tommy Flanagan and Lili Simmons play father-daughter drug-dealing duo Walter and Claudia Flynn on the show — and both actors have mastered the art of playing a lovable villain.

Simmons, who previously worked on The purge series, learned a few techniques to make these otherwise nefarious characters somewhat redeemable in a way that makes them fan favorites. In a series where most of the characters exhibit villainous qualities, Simmons finds comfort in knowing that the experience isn’t completely dry for his character. “I think it’s not black and white. Everyone’s gray,” she says. “I think I love Claudia and I think every decision she makes is the right one. But I’m biased. I think she’s way more than just a villain, you know, I think she sees lots of opportunities and in Tommy Egan as well.”

“She [Claudia] Also does it for the love of his family,” she continued. “Loyalty rings true. And I think every character has good and bad, which makes it exciting. You don’t know what they’re going to do.”

Flanagan, who has some experience playing characters that never do well, as seen in his experience on Sons of Anarchy, doesn’t find his character to have any redeeming quality for him at all. In fact, he thinks his character is a “fucking psychopath”. “I don’t think the guy thinks he’s a lovely gentleman and I don’t think he thinks he’s a nice guy at all. I think he’s crazy, he’s a psycho and we we all are. It’s funny. Look at all these psychopaths bouncing off each other and being so adorable. So adorable.” Book of Power IV: Strength premieres February 6 on Starz.

Angela C. Hale