It’s hard to believe Omari Hardwick shied away from leading roles at one point in his career, because no one could embody the multi-dimensional character that is James “Ghost” St. Patrick like he does.

Returning July 17, season three of Starz’s addictive series, Power, boasts more drama, steamy sex, and violence as Ghost tries to leave the drug game and become the businessman he’s always wanted to be. But, of course, it’s not that simple. With the fate of his friendship with Tommy (Joseph Sikora) still up in the air because of betrayal and deceit, and the possibility of Kanan (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) still being alive, Ghost unknowingly becomes the target of his former allies. In short, for everyone else to win, Ghost must die.

Tackling the “three-headed monster,” as Hardwick calls his character, was no easy task, but with the help of his cast mates and Power crew, the Decatur, Georgia native takes his character to another level. Just like Ghost, who’s capable of doing it all, Hardwick is also a well-versed poet who’s looking to explore various creative mediums in the future.

Recently, EBONY caught up with Hardwick to get the scoop on the upcoming season and find out what’s next for the in-demand actor.

EBONY: How did you approach Ghost this season?

Omari Hardwick: Ghost was the most daunting that he’s ever been for me this season. I had not been aware of how much peace I had found in playing Ghost knowing that he was a three-headed monster in terms of Jamie, James and Ghost in season one.  I was only being half in the first two seasons by playing the guy who was able to get away with just being Ghost. This season, I had to be Jamie and I claimed to be Jamie in the first two seasons, but as Ghost.

This season I was actually transitioning into being Jamie and it was an awkward, funky transition for me. There were times as an actor that I really needed help, and found myself to be of more control when I was asked to play Ghost because I had figured out Ghost. I guess what makes this [character] so interesting is that as soon as you think you have one of those heads figured out, then [Power creator] Courtney Kemp in the writer’s room or the story itself is asking you to change that head and now be one of the other ones. That was hard for me this season. I got a lot of help—Joseph Sikora who plays Tommy, Lela Loren who plays Angela, and Courtney Kemp talked to me a lot. I even had time to talk to the script supervisor because our script supervisor is really good at making sure we stick to the page.

EBONY: What’s going to surprise viewers the most about season three?

Hardwick: I would say how extreme the measures are of each character. The characters go to very extreme measures to maintain what they say they want, or think they want, or what they got by the end of season two. So that means the murders are up, the blood shed is up, and the heartbreak is up. The level that these characters to go is mind-boggling, especially Ghost because he’s the most narcissistic of them all.

EBONY: In addition to acting, you’re also a great poet. How has poetry influenced you as an actor?

Hardwick: As an actor, I come to set and I have already broken the character down by writing a poem about the character. I try to write in his voice, the way he would write it. I write [a poem] for every character I ever played. Even in For Colored Girls playing with Janet Jackson as a down-low brother from Atlanta who was confused about his sexuality or confused on how not to be confused. I’ve approached every character I’ve ever played with a poem, first and foremost. It lends itself where one is not without the other. I think I’m an athlete who’s trained as an actor and when you smash it all together, you get whatever Omari is doing as a performer right now.

EBONY: Like Ghost who wants to evolve, which creative medium would you love to pursue next?

Hardwick: I’m at the brink of producing. I’ve produced one thing with Russell Parr, TV One’s big hit, A Christmas Blessing.  It was one of my greatest experiences as an actor and I just really love the process of producing and helping Russ Parr who’s become a fine director. And speaking of being a director, I would say ultimately that of directing. Writing as well. I haven’t jumped into the seat of screenwriting. I have a lot of friends who are very successful screenwriters and they’re always on me about it. They say I write these incredibly long stories as a poet, there’s no way I shouldn’t be screenwriting. I understand that to be logical and to make sense, but perhaps I’ve been intimidated to take that on. I would add that to my desire to direct. I think actors make for very good directors and I would like to do that one day.

Catch the season 3 premiere of Power July 17th on Starz.