‘The Oval’s Ed Quinn on Playing POTUS, & ‘One Day at a Time’
Ed Quinn is flexing his actor muscles. He plays the philandering and shady as hell U.S. President Hunter Franklin on Tyler Perry’s BET drama, The Oval, and had had a recurring role as Max Ferraro, love interest for badass mom Penelope (Justina Machado) on Pop’s just-canceled comedy One Day at a Time.
Quinn joined the rest of The Oval cast and crew in Atlanta over the summer at the expansive Tyler Perry Studios where they were able to shoot Season 2 of the BET hit — which has yet to announce an air date — in a COVID-19 production bubble.
The busy actor and musician talks to TV Insider about what it’s like playing the president, and more. [Note: TV Insider spoke with Quinn before the announced cancellation of One Day at a Time.]
How would you describe being in the Tyler Perry Studios bubble?
Ed Quinn: The first season [of The Oval], I lived on the lot. Tyler Perry bought [historic district] Fort McPherson to make Tyler Perry Studios and there are these beautiful old houses. I loved it. But there was something 28 Days Later about it. I was by myself on the weekends and wouldn’t see anyone. We got shut down a day before production in March. Tyler and Tyler Perry Studios moved heaven and earth, and spent millions of dollars [to resume production]. It was such an amazing experience. It was kind of like an old summer camp. Somehow, we had 377 people all testing negative, who continued to test negative because we had protocols that were pretty rigid. To pull this off was pretty special.
So, what’s Tyler Perry like?
I don’t use this word much, but he’s inspirational. Not just because he is this megastar; it’s because of how hard he works. In the first season, I saw him every weekend driving around the lot as they built the replica of the White House. He is just tireless. And he lived in a tour bus when we were filming The Oval this summer. He didn’t take one of the houses [nor] his gorgeous penthouse in the Tyler Perry Studios building He didn’t break the quarantine and go outside the bubble. There is a reason he’s so successful, and it’s not because of what a star he is, it’s because of how hard he works and how humble he is.
Was it challenging to play the U.S. president in the middle of a tumultuous political climate?
It’s kind of fun to play this role during this crazy tumultuous time. It’s also a little bit of a challenge because you turn on [the TV] and there are more scandals on CNN than there are on our show. We’re supposed to be the hot mess, so we have to keep raising the bar and keeping up with the Joneses. We’re not The West Wing. You don’t see much about politics. It’s more about personal struggles and escapism. It’s just fun. There is plenty to draw from if I need inspiration.
How would you describe your dynamic with Kron Moore [who plays Victoria Franklin]? The physical fight between you two really set the tone for what was to come.
That first scene in the first season, it looked like a career-ender, I’m not going to lie. I thought I would be the most hated man in America. We actually shot that scene twice because the first time we didn’t go far enough — it wasn’t crazy enough for Tyler. But Tyler knows his audience and his audience knows it’s supposed to be salacious and crazy. [Kron] and I have built this supportive, collaborative relationship. It’s a wild ride, especially last year when the show got this multi-city press tour. It was a ton of fun.
Can we expect more craziness in Season 2?
All of the storylines just keep [getting crazier] in Season 2. The season takes place over the course of three or four days. This administration is going to exhaust everybody. A lot of the storylines go in different directions and weave in and out. I’m excited to see how it all turns out.
I loved all the memes of me proposing and not proposing — proposing to Kat Dennings and not proposing to Justina Machado. All those people who did those memes, thank you for making me laugh out loud.
The Oval, Season 2, TBA, BET