*Common returns to the big screen this weekend in “LUV,” a drama set in Baltimore’s inner-city featuring the rapper/actor as an ex-convict uncle who is idolized by his newly-orphaned 11-year-old nephew.

Woody (Michael Rainey, Jr.) gets a crash course in what it means to be a man when he spends a day with his Uncle Vincent, who may not be the best role model a boy could have.

Michael Rainey, Jr. as Woody in “LUV”

“Vincent, he really wants to teach his nephew but he doesn’t have good methods,” Common said of his character during roundtables for the film. “Some of that comes from male figures who may not know that sometimes you’ve got to offer a little hug, and then sometimes you have to be demanding and stern. It has to be a balance in that teaching.”

Vincent, unfortunately, never got the hug memo in his childhood, which makes his influence on young Woody problematic.

“He wanted to offer that [balance], but when it got rough for him he just started being stern and taking things out on his nephew,” said Common. “I think part of teaching is knowing how to teach, and I think Vincent just didn’t have the proper tools to teach his nephew the love that he really wanted to give him.”

Charles Dutton, Common and Michael Rainey, Jr. in a scene from “LUV”

In the film, Vincent is put in charge of taking Woody to school, but chooses instead to give the young boy life lessons by taking him around Baltimore on his daily errands, which includes a bank where Vincent tries (and fails) to get a loan to open a club, and a visit to his former crime boss Mr. Fish (Dennis Haysbert), hoping he will loan him the money. Fish needs assurance of Vincent’s loyalty, and sends him out to handle some business as a test. The task drops him right back into the life of crime he had been trying to leave behind — all in front of the innocent eyes of his nephew.

Dennis Haysbert as Mr. Fish

Below, Common says “LUV” is more than just another black film that takes place in the inner city.

Danny Glover, Michael K. Williams, Meagan Good and Charles S. Dutton co-star in “LUV,” opening nationwide on Friday (Jan 18). Sheldon Candis directs from his own semi-autobiographical screenplay, co-written by Justin Wilson. Watch the trailer below.