*By now viewers who have seen the first two episodes of the new Tyler Perry television drama, “If Loving You Is Wrong,” on OWN may appreciate why it set a ratings record and debuted as the #1 show on the network – pulling in a record 1.93 million viewers. Now viewers get to meet the actors behind the hit show. Conceived, written , directed and executive produced by Perry, a young, energetic cast is behind this new adult-drama series, which premiered last Tuesday on the OWN Network. Continuing his tradition of troubled relationships, hidden agendas and colorful characters, the show promises a season filled with lustful and lively scenarios that every-day folk can relate to. After watching the first episode, I’m guessing some of the thoughts that may have entered your mind ranged from, “Oh no he didn’t,” to “How can a b*tch be that naive?” to “Oh hell no!”
EURThisNthat editor, DeBorah B. Pryor, joined other media colleagues by personal invitation to watch the first episode of “If Loving You Is Wrong” at the beautiful OWN offices in Los Angeles (Oprah was in Atlanta preparing for her upcoming tour, which officially began last weekend!) We watched the episode alongside the cast, who were also seeing the show for the first time. Speaking with them afterwards on how they felt about what they saw, the uniformed response seemed to be that, “It was just as much fun to watch as it was to work on.”
Charles Malik Whitfield (“Law and Order”), who is probably one of the most recognizable members of the cast, talks about how Tyler Perry works and his expectations of “If Loving You is Wrong”
“I’ve had the fortune of doing some prime time shows and worked with some wonderful networks. I’ve been around for a while and this is bar non…the best experience I’ve had in my whole acting career.”
Whitfield says that he is so impressed with the time and energy that his colleagues put into the show, even above their individual characters.
“In between…spending the time doing the work…the coordination with Tyler is…extreme. And…how effortlessly people put so much time and energy on top of the cast, the individual, and what you had to do.”
“I think that as time goes on these first two episodes will only be the seed that allows the nurturing because it really does grow and it becomes extremely cohesive…and you have characters who are not being performed actually, they are just being real. And that dynamic is going to be so very rich for so many of the viewers.”
“I didn’t know what episode 1 was like. I didn’t know what the other one was like, but I know this one right now,” said Whitfield following his viewing of episode 1. “I knew after we finished how extremely proud I was of the time put in. And when you can say that, then you can lift your head up and say whatever may come is welcome.”
The clip below will introduce you to the drama behind each character.
Fans of the daytime soap,”All My Children,” will certainly recognize British actor Aiden Turner, from the show. The actor says he loves the diversity of the cast, and really appreciates the opportunity to “act” more than you get to do within the structure of daytime TV. In this drama Turner plays “Brad,” a man who has decided to keep a life-changing secret from his wife. The end of the first episode showed viewers what a mistake that was! Below, Turner talks about what he thinks audiences will like about the show.
“You’re going to fall in love with them, you’re going to relate to them, you’re going to cry with them,” Turner claims confidently. “There’s sex and there’s funny moments…There’s…drama, deception…and that’s completely different from daytime soap.”
Tiffany Haddish, whose character “Jackie” will be introduced mid season as close friend to another character on the show, is easily the most outgoing and hilarious personality we spoke with. Here she talks about comparisons to an iconic TV show and what she thinks viewers will relate to on this program.
“I got to sit in the dressing room and watch everybody act and I was in there and I was looking and I would say to myself, ‘you know, people are probably going to try to compare it to “Desperate Housewives” but I never heard anyone say… ‘No she didn’t just do that!’ ‘Oh my goodness!’
The actress said she found herself talking to the television at some of the outrageous things the characters did and she expects viewers will do the same.
Actress Heather Hemmens, who plays “Marci” a wife who probably had many women screaming at the TV in the first episode, talked about her first reactions after watching it. “The first thought that struck me was that it was as much fun to watch as it was to make, and that was my biggest hope. That that would come across,” said Hemmens. “We had such a great summer filming this. We had too much fun. It was amazing.”
All of the actors appeared to really appreciate the “realness” of the set. How there were actual homes to visit in “neighborhoods” that really helped them to become their characters more effortlessly. Edwina Findley Dickerson, who plays “Kelly” on the show – is a woman who yearns to become a wife so badly that she ignores what appears to be signs as bright as neon lights coming from her mysterious missionary boyfriend.
“To be able to see what everybody else was filming. I would say to April [Parker Jones], ‘This is my first time seeing your house. Seeing the inside of your house (laughs). I think it gave us the opportunity to really appreciate the work that one another was doing, you know, in their own environment when we were all shooting our individual scenes.
Zulay Henao (pictured above), who audiences will remember from her role in Perry’s “Single Mom’s Club,” plays “Esperanza,” on the show. She is the former wife of an abusive and controlling “Edward” (played by Joel Rush, pictured above, but who was not at the screening because he was said to be in Ecuador, climbing a volcanic mountain) who is still ‘sponsoring’ her and her child, and uses every opportunity to throw it in her face. Although he is in another relationship, she is afraid to tell him about her present boyfriend.
Henao says, “There’s so many different sides to everybody, so it was really cool watching. I think that’s another reason why we are so different from Desperate Housewives…because there’s a storyline that anybody can follow…and appreciate. We’re all from different walks of life.”
Dickerson says the women in this show goes to places that many women in real life don’t want to because of the pain it evokes. Hence the perplexity behind the title, “If Loving You is Wrong,” she notes. “I pray that (the show helps with) healing amongst women, and men, as a result of watching. I believe [it will] be a mirror for many women …” she concludes.
Watch this explosive scene between the characters of “Randal,” “Brad” and “Julius.” I am sure it had audiences raging mad. It features actors Aiden Turner, Eltony Williams and Joel Rush.
“If Loving You Is Wrong” airs on Tuesday nights at 9p.m., 8/C on OWN
—Written by DeBorah B. Pryor