Philadelphia Native Tyler Lepley has arrived, and isn’t hesitating on showing the world what they’ve been missing on his new series The Haves & Have-Nots. Lepley who plays doo-gooder Benny Young on the series, seems to be the only one with less than five-secrets to hide, but in true Tyler Perry form, we’re sure that’s bound to change. Slowly but surely. I chatted with Tyler about this experience working on the show and playing Benny, and he had a lot to say.
1. On working at OWN. My experience working at the OWN was second to none. I’ll tell you what, I went down to the OWN headquarters here in L.A. and was blown away by the welcoming that I received. Every single person there was warm, welcoming and took time out of their busy day to stop and genuinely talk to me which makes you feel special. In this industry and in life for that matter, its very typical for someone to be in a conversation with you and not be present. Everyone that I met at OWN was truly a professional and above all a great human being. It really says a lot about the North Star, Ms. Oprah Winfrey. She is a blessing and a role model to all of us.
2. On working so closely with Thee Tyler Perry. I couldn’t have had a bigger blessing than to have Tyler Perry as the first director, writer, and producer for me to work with and learn from on a series. With this being my first series regular role it was important to learn on my feet and be a sponge. This guy is the real deal. Not only is he a brilliant director but he’s smart and humble enough to listen to the cast in certain situations for their input on how the character may feel. That’s huge for an actor because that’s the route of collaboration. The fact that he is hands on while he listens makes for an environment on set that is creative and captures our real feelings as oppose to words on a piece of paper. I’ve never had a situation where I felt like I couldn’t ask a question or have and input on something. Tyler was such a pleasure to work with and he and everyone else at Tyler Perry Studios had a huge part in me being the professional I am today.
3. On what fans should expect coming from the new series. The audience can expect a sexy drama series that is high paced, hard hitting and full of sex, lies, deception and life lessons. This is going to open the world’s eyes to a new dynamic to Tyler Perry as a Director. He has really captured something special on camera and took himself to a new level with this one. This is something that the world has never seen from Mr. Perry. And the most important thing that the audience can expect to take away from this new series are life lessons that have the ability to change your life. I speak for Mr. Perry, Ms. Winfrey and everyone over at Tyler Perry Studios when I say I can’t wait for you to experience it, we really put our everything into this one.
Check out A Set Tour Straight from Tyler Perry himself.
4. On his gruesome but worth-wile Audition Process. The audition process was a long one. As you mentioned, this is Thee Tyler Perry we are talking about here. So my whole audition process took about 4 months. In the past, I have been able to book a project usually within an audition, callback, and an additional producer’s session; so about three meetings maximum. This is a little bit bigger so not only did I have to impress casting but everyone representing Tyler Perry Studios as well. It started with two auditions then I had my first screen test here in L.A… IN FRONT OF MR. PERRY! Tyler flew here for the first round. As if that wasn’t nerve wracking enough, then I had to fly to Atlanta for the second screen test and booked it shortly after that. So in all I saw them for both shows about 6 times, totaling around 4 months from start to finish. I couldn’t be happier with the process and where it landed me.
5. His own take on The Haves & Have-nots. I would describe this show as the hottest new drama making its premiere around this time. It’s something that will appeal to all crowds. It’s a sexy, drama series that will push boundaries as you’ve mentioned and will really make people think. I think these are real issues going on and that the audience will really be able to feel and understand this story to the point where they start looking at some of the things, people or situations in their life a little differently.