Russell Hornsby has taken his role within the BMF story to the next level. 

Not only is he exploring fatherhood in his portrayal of Charles Flenory in the series’ third season, but the renowned actor is fulfilling his dream of getting behind the camera.

“Directing has been a labor of love of mine for a while,” Hornsby told Blavity’s Shadow and Act. “I’ve wanted to get behind the camera for several years now, and I think that both 50 [Cent]  and Randy [Huggins] as well as Heather [Zuhlke], our showrunner, were very supportive of me getting behind the camera, getting the opportunity to direct. I went to 50 at the end of the first season to talk to him about it and he said, ‘I’m all for supporting you.’”

Not only did 50 Cent, consider Hornsby’s goals, but he also provided tangible steps to help him achieve them, allowing him to shadow directors throughout the show’s second season, ultimately preparing him for his standout moment as a director of an episode in the current installment of BMF.

“This gave me time to study, to learn more about storytelling, more about the camera, how it moves, having a better understanding and a better ability to take and communicate with actors,” Hornsby said. “Then the third season came about, and because I know the show and the other actors, it was a lovely experience. I felt that I was able to have a shorthand with everybody. I like to think that I was able to get the actors, especially the young ones, to a different level. Also, I’ve gained a lot of respect for directors, writers, and all of the people who are behind the scenes. You realize that many hands make light work and it takes a good number of people to move this mountain, to move this ship.”

“I think all actors should understand what happens behind the scenes,” he continued. “If that’s the case, you wouldn’t see as much tardiness. You wouldn’t see the lack of preparedness that can arise with a lot of actors when it comes to set. … It just humbled me to know and see how much work goes into putting up an hour of television.”

Hornsby said his character, Charles, also learned some valuable lessons this season.

“The biggest lesson that Charles is learning thus far is that you can’t cheat yourself and you can’t cheat others and that you can’t cheat life,” Hornsby said. “Things come back around, and they affect you and the ones you love. All of the things that he’s done, the infidelity, decisions that he’s made that have affected Lucille, decisions he’s made that have affected the kids, and the decision that he’s beginning to make with Meech and Terry, they have a cause and effect.”

He added how portraying the character has also affected him as a father.

“I realized more than ever that every decision that I make will have an effect, whether it be positive or negative, on my children and my family,” Hornsby explained.

What’s more, the former Lincoln Heights star said he continues to stick to his recipe of embodying people’s spirits, which has allowed him a successful career of continuously perfecting his craft.

“I don’t say this to brag, but I am a shapeshifter. I embody people’s spirits,” Hornsby said. “I embody the elements of the men who helped raise me and I use it as needed.”

Previously, he said that men like Charles Flenory “come from a generation where boats were made of wood and men were made of steel.”

“It’s the mannerisms of which one walks, the way which one talks. How do you talk? Out of the side of your mouth? It’s manners of speech,” Hornsby continued. “And all of the things that I said of those men of steel are embodied because the reality of it is and was that they didn’t care about vanity. They didn’t care about or weren’t looking for the ‘gram or Twitter or whatever. They weren’t worried about that. They were worried about providing food for their families and putting crusts of bread and such on the table and so that’s why, with Charles, only now in this season, do you start to see him sort of change his look with different haircuts and clothes. Prior to this, you never saw Charles worried about necessarily how he looked or the manner of how he dressed and things of that nature, because those weren’t major concerns. It was more about how he provided for his family.”

The new season of BMF airs each Friday on Starz.