PHILADELPHIA-native Actor TYLER LEPLEY stars in the TYLER PERRY-produced drama The HAVES And The HAVE NOTS that currently runs on the OWN Network, and he covers the new issue of ROLLING OUT!!!
Here are a few interview interludes:
How do you feel about the season so far?
You know what, it opened back up with big-time numbers. I expect no less working with giants like Mr. Perry and Ms. Winfrey. At the end of the day, it’s a blessing to have the fans keep turning out like that and to have their support; it’s great.
How great of a feeling is it to be in the presence of the greats, Tyler Perry and Oprah?
It’s hard to put it into the words, but what struck me the most though is how hardworking they are, how diligent they are with their time and they’re still so humble. I’ve been blessed to be in intimate settings with Oprah and Tyler Perry and the nuggets of knowledge they drop on us daily is mind-boggling. You think once you touch a billion dollars and you’re this world mogul you might let off the gas a little bit, but they haven’t skipped a beat at all. As happy as I am to be working with them, I’m more inspired than anything. I’m taking notes every day, so it’s cool.
Were you an actor in Philly before you moved?
Never. I was a football player and I got a scholarship to play football at Kutztown University — shout-out to Kutztown. Naturally gifted at football, I graduated, but since I didn’t apply myself like I should have, my gift was my curse. After graduation, I didn’t like my job, so I ended up moving to the West Coast. I stayed on my cousin’s floor and five years later, here we are.
Your character Benny seems to be so naïve when it comes to your sister, played by Tika Sumpter.
Everyone has been in situations where you love someone so much, you’re so close to that person, which in turn makes you more susceptible to getting hurt by them. Especially someone as manipulative as Candace. In real life, Tika is a sweetheart.
On the show, you’re dating a cougar. Would you ever be interested in dating someone that much older than you in real life?
I have dated someone older than me before and wouldn’t necessarily call them cougars. I think that because of my upbringing and because of what I went through, I’m a little more mature past my years. It doesn’t make me better or worse than anyone; it just is what it is. It goes both ways. I have friends who are older and knuckleheads that act like they’re 16. Most of the time, your age will equate to your maturity level and since I’ve always acted older than my age, I can easily vibe with someone who’s been through a little bit more.
What’s next for Tyler? What projects are you working on?
Before I go down to shoot the next season of “The Haves and Have Nots,” I’m about to start shooting this new movie called Ringside. It follows the life of a boxer whose name is Jackson Holly. It’ll be cool to actually get to work out in my cousin’s gym, Gloveworks, in Santa Monica, California, and really live the boxing life again, because, if you’re in a film not doing something physical, it’s easier to get by, but when you’re doing something with your body, there’s a chance to not look authentic. We start filming for that in two weeks.