A lot of actor Omari Hardwick’s characters are family men, he said, but how they show up for their families is different from role to role.

In the TV show “Power,” where he plays a nightclub owner and drug kingpin named James "Ghost" St. Patrick, Hardwick shows a one side of the family man — someone hiding large parts of his life to keep his family safe. In the new Paramount+ movie “Fantasy Football,” a kid-friendly Nickelodeon comedy with a father-daughter relationship at its heart, his family man role is lighter.

“I love that the throughline between Ghost and this guy, Bobby Coleman, is that of being a family guy,” he told GBH’s Morning Edition co-host Paris Alston. “I'm very aware that I kind of can play Ghost and then play a silly guy like that. Once the career gets going in a way — where it's just getting going, as much as I'm 19 years in — I feel like all the different colors of my opportunities are now being presented to the viewer.”

In “Fantasy Football,” Hardwick plays a football player with a waning career whose daughter Callie, played by actress and producer Marsai Martin, discovers she can control him on the field using a video game.

Hardwick grew up playing football and played cornerback for the University of Georgia. He said he even mentored Superbowl winner Sony Michel when he was first signed to the New England Patriots.

The teamwork and trust that football requires stuck with him through his acting career, he said.

“There are 10 people you have to be depended upon on the field, and then about 40 to 60 people on the sidelines,” Hardwick said. “So It has never really left me.”

The original “Fantasy Football" script had a son in what ended up being Martin’s role, Hardwick said.

Martin played daughter Diane on the sitcom "Black-ish," and in 2019 became the youngest-ever person to executive produce a major Hollywood studio film at just 14 for her work with the movie "Little." She was originally involved in “Fantasy Football” only as a producer. But early on, Hardwick said, she came up with the idea to read the part of Hardwick’s son herself, just to see how it sounded.

“And she read it as if she were a boy,” he said. “She liked the voice coming out of her spirit, and then embracing the voice that came from her spirit and reading a character that was slated to be a boy. She called back and she said, ‘Yeah, I think my company would love to produce it, but what about making the son a daughter?’”

Hardwick embraced the idea. He has two children, a daughter named Nova and a son named Brave, and drew on his relationships with them for the role. He also drew inspiration from Martin’s relationship with her own father.

“We learn more from our kids, both kids, sons and daughters,” he said. “Parents think that we're doing the teaching and we're disciplining them and trying to maintain them from not dying. … But we learn way more from our kids than vice versa.”