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12/14/2011 11:28 am ET

'The Game's Hosea Chanchez On Staying Busy, Idris Elba And A Sneak Peek At Season 5 (PHOTOS)

Between stints in rehab, helping your superstar girlfriend stay on the wagon and trying not to get pushed out by the younger, up-and-coming rookie, life as an athlete can be tough. Life as an actor playing an athlete? Even more so.

For Hosea Chanchez, who's been picking up the pieces where his character Malik on BET's "The Game" left off, life is about work, work and more work. (Forget all that partying and lounging in front of ESPN that you imagined -- although it could qualify as "research," to a degree.)

With less than a month until the show's January 10 season premiere, Chanchez says the show is his number one priority and that it often requires up to 20 hours of work each day. Yet Chanchez still finds the time to get in some top secret production work he says we'll see in early 2012, to run the nonprofit youth empowerment organization he founded called Watch Me Win, and to sit down with The Huffington Post for a brief chat.

Tell us more about Watch Me Win and how it originated?
It's a youth empowerment organization for 14- to 24-year-olds that teaches kids how to overcome socioeconomic and mental roadblocks, how to live a fear-free life and how to tap into their full potential.

We're mentoring kids online and actually show up in their homes on a weekly basis. The mentors speak with the youth via chatroom/classroom online.

With such a hectic work schedule and so many things on your plate, what keeps you inspired day-to-day?
What's inspiring me through the day is to give the fans what they want. That's what it is.

After watching the last season, many people said that "The Game" changed when it moved to BET. What are your thoughts?
The show changed in general, which is really natural after four seasons of a show. The producers just wanted to try to give the fans what they wanted. This season, the direction of the show is going to change completely again and get back to a lot more of the things that the fans said they wanted, from the earlier years of "The Game."

Aside from "The Game" and Watch Me Win, what else do you have going on? And how do you juggle it all?
I'm doing a lot of things on the production end, which you guys will know a lot more about in the early part of 2012.

When you do what you love to do, it's not really a juggle so much. It is just living in your purpose. This is what I was born to do. So for me, it's not really work. I don't have any kids, so I can dedicate my life to it right now.

Working out is [also] a part of my everyday lifestyle. You gotta be healthy in order to do whatever it is that you need to do.

You play an athlete on TV. Are you into sports?
Basketball.

So what are your thoughts on the NBA finally coming back?
You know what? I don't really care. It's people with millions of dollars, and everybody has an issue. I'm more concerned with the Occupy that's going on and the people that aren't arguing over millions of dollars -- the people that when they lose their jobs, they're losing their homes, they're losing their food.

To be honest with you, I could care less.

You mentioned that this is something that you were "born to do." At what point did you know that?
From about five years old, from watching my idols: Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy. But being from Alabama, I didn't really know how to do it. It was something that was always for me. It was something that I wanted, I just didn't really know how to do it. If I could have left a long time ago, at 15, I would have."

Who are your idols now? Are there any contemporary actors?
Same people, they haven't changed. But I like Idris Elba's career a lot. I respect what he's doing and just the work that I see he does. There's not many actors that, no matter what they do, I'll see it. He's definitely one of them.

There's tons of other ones, but as far as ones that look like me, that would be it.

What would you say to other people who are working 20-hour days, or those people out there at Occupy Wall Street, as far as inspiration and how to channel it?
When you live in your passion and your purpose, it's the most fulfilling life you can actually have. And it doesn't have to mean you're living for something financial or something physical. It's not about monetary things, but it is about having a purpose-driven life. Living a life that is full of some sort of passion and some sort of desire that will help somebody else past you.

When I'm tired at work, I realize, the crew has to eat ... there's tons of jobs associated with just my job. So no matter what you do in life, it always comes back to having passion, having purpose and doing something for somebody else.

PHOTOS: Take a peek at season five of "The Game."

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