Originally posted Monday, November 25, 2019 by Rodney Hoemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Playing an evil character is often so much more fun than playing a noble one. Kron Moore, as the conniving First Lady Victoria Franklin in Tyler Perry’s BET series “The Oval,” gets to channel her inner power-hungry demons.
“Her character is the complete opposite of mine,” said Atlanta resident Moore in a recent interview to promote the show. “She’s pretty intense. I’m laid back. My mindset going in was not to take her too seriously, not to take myself too seriously. Tyler gave each of us skeletons. We have to flesh them out.”
Moore said Victoria is “a compilation of people I’ve met in my life over time. Those that have been hurt and out of control, those who are underdogs. I piled that all into one character and sprinkled little Kron in there.”
Victoria and her husband Hunter Franklin (Ed Quinn), the charming but lazy, “drink before 10 a.m.” president, both hate and love each other. He even expresses a desire for her to be dead. But she endures.
“I liken her to a snake,” Moore said. “She’s quiet, stealthy, then becomes a raging bull when she snaps.”
Naturally, Victoria’s two children are problematic as well. With these two parents, that isn’t a surprise.
“Go to hell!” said Gayle, the moody teen daughter to her mom at one point when she tries to leave the White House to see her boyfriend.
Victoria’s retort: “I’ve been in hell since the day you were born!” Minutes later, she actually tases her own daughter.
Later, Victoria goes to the shop of her husband’s mistress and beats her to a pulp, all while keeping her white dress white.
As these scenes reveal, this is vintage Tyler Perry. It focuses on very twisted, broken relationships with no shortage of bad choices, betrayal and lies mixed it. It’s the anti- “West Wing.”
“It’s more like ‘Power’ and ‘Empire’ wrapped up into one,” Moore said.
She and the other main actors were given all 25 scripts of season one at once. Ever single one was penned by the prolific Perry himself. “It was like reading a novel you couldn’t put down,” she said.
Moore said working with Perry has been inspirational, someone audacious enough to build a White House 80 percent to scale at Tyler Perry Studios for the purposes of the show. (Obviously, others will be able to rent it out as well.)
“Seeing it for the first time was a bit overwhelming,” she said. “He took us in as they were building it. It was surreal. It was larger than life. It felt like we were being woven into the history of his studio.”
Moore, a Michigan native, originally thought of going into physical therapy, then entered the corporate world before catching the acting bug. She moved to Atlanta in 2012 and has received several acting roles on local shows. She now also has a recurring role on DC Universe’s streaming service show “Stargirl.”
So far, she said “The Oval” has received plenty of positive feedback. “We’ve gotten good ratings,” she said. “We’re really happy with the progress. Tyler is happy as well. Hopefully we’ll be around awhile.”
Marlon West is one of the key animators for the film “Frozen 2,” which opened with record-breaking numbers this past weekend.
He came by Atlanta recently to talk about being one of few African-American animators in the business at the top level. He is now effects animation supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
“I like going to schools and talking to kids so they can see someone like me doing something like this,” West said. “When I was growing up, I saw a photo of Willis O’Brien, who animated the original ‘King Kong.’ That let me know that people animated. I didn’t have the words for it. I was seven years old. There was no Internet. No DVDs. No animation classes. My parents were wiling to take this leap of faith with me.”
He got his lucky break working as a trainee for Disney on “The Lion King.” He became a full-time animator with Disney in 1993 and has worked on many of their films over the years such as “Tarzan,” “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Winnie the Pooh.”
Then in 2013, he joined “Frozen,” which became Disney’s smash hit of the decade. On paper, he said, it was a risk since it wasn’t boy-centric and featured all original characters.
The film’s captivating snow and ice effects he helped create were central to its success. “The effects were out there and I was thrilled,” West said. “I loved the ‘Let It Go’ sequence as she built the ice palace.” (The official video below has been seen a mere 1.9 billion times!)
With Elsa more in control of her powers, “Frozen 2” enabled West to go even bigger and brighter with the effects.
“Her powers are more fully formed,” he said. “She faces other elemental spirits so we have wind and fire as well. The wind spirit has no face, no body. The wind had to be very expressive from wrathful to humorous.”
He called it a massive collaboration with the sound and character experts. And he felt like the sequel fulfilled its mission of advancing the story a step further without feeling gratuitous.
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