For the record, Kron Moore is nothing like the ice queen she plays on TV.
As First Lady Victoria Franklin on Tyler Perry’s The Oval, Moore does and says things most viewers could never fathom, and it makes for damn good TV. But while audiences immediately relished her jaw-dropping one liners and shocking antics, it took the actress a minute to embrace her character’s seemingly wicked ways.
“There was one scene in Season 1 where Victoria throws a bucket of water on [her daughter] Gayle, and I’m so glad we had to break for lunch after shooting that scene, because I had a complete and total breakdown,” Moore tells TVLine. “I’ve never told anyone that. I was like, ‘Who could be this evil?’ And I cried for literally 15 minutes. They had to kind of bring me out of it. It was really tough for me. … Shortly after the episode aired, people reached out to me and were like, ‘Oh my gosh, my mom did that to me when I wouldn’t get up for school.’ So I’ve really had to learn to not judge her for who she is. The way she responds is the way she responds, and I can’t judge that. I had to get that out of my system early on.”
Behind the scenes, Moore says that the First Family — Ed Quinn as husband/POTUS Hunter, Daniel Croix Henderson as son Jason, and Paige Hurd as daughter Gayle — acts like a real family. “I love Daniel and Paige like they were my own kids,” she says. “So we really have to transform into these characters.”
The process behind that transformation began even before the cameras started rolling on Season 1. “As soon as [Ed and I] were notified that we booked the roles, we exchanged information and started to get to know one another so we could build an organic relationship and a level of trust,” Moore explains.
And it’s good thing they did, because the first scene they shot for the pilot was Victoria and Hunter’s iconic Inauguration Day brawl.
“Both Ed and I were nervous,” Moore says. “To open a series like this, we figured people were either going to love it or be completely turned off by it. I went through the scene with Ed first, then my stunt double came in and kicked all sorts of butt. Tyler turned to me and asked, ‘How much of that can you recreate?’ I said, ‘Well, roughly none of it.’ But I tried, and it was so much fun. Someone may have sustained a couple of bruises, but it wasn’t me.”
In The Oval‘s second season, Victoria’s priorities are two-fold: In addition to dealing with her murderous sociopath of a son (“Hunter and Victoria become a much more integral part in that … and I will tease that there is a [group] therapy scene coming up”), she also has her eye on Priscilla’s husband Sam. “He’s the first real connection she’s made since she’s been in the White House,” Moore explains. “She’s pursuing him heavily because she’s jealous of his and Priscilla’s relationship, but she’s also genuinely into him, and she doesn’t find anything wrong with what she’s doing. Her husband is sleeping around, so she also feels entitled to have her needs met.”
Filming entire seasons in just a few weeks certainly takes a toll on the actors, but Moore has developed an appreciation for Perry’s fast-paced production method. “I liken it to theater,” she says. “We usually only get one take, so we have to show up with our choices made. It’s challenging, but it’s a lot of fun, and we’re all up to it. I feel like an Olympian actor. We’re all like athletes at this point.”
And Moore assures us that the insanity has only just begun: “When we were on set for Season 3 a few weeks ago, I came out of a scene and asked Tyler, ‘Where does your mind go? How do you come up with this stuff?’ He looked at me and said, ‘Well, how do you deliver it so well?’ I said, ‘OK, touché!’ and just walked away.”
New episodes of The Oval air Tuesdays at 9/8c on BET. Your thoughts on the show thus far? Drop ’em in a comment below.