*“Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” is back for its sixth and final season and EUR/Electronic Urban Report caught up with one of the series stars, Michael Jai White, to dish about the “dark drama” ahead.
White is a prime examine of a renaissance man. He’s an actor, writer, director, producer, stunt coordinator and martial artist who has appeared in numerous films and television series. His first major starring role and breakout performance was in the 1995 HBO film “Tyson,” as heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. And he’s the first African-American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture, 1997’s “Spawn.”
White appeared as Marcus Williams in the Tyler Perry films “Why Did I Get Married?” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?,” and currently stars as the character on the TV spin-off of the film, “For Better or Worse,” which airs Fridays on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network.
This season finds Marcus and Angela (Tasha Smith) worried about having another child at this point in their lives. The married actor also revealed to EUR that this season “is going to prove to be a lot more dramatic than previous seasons.”
“There’s a lot of life issues that Marcus is going to be facing,” he added.
White said viewers can expect to see Marcus battling “this whole fatherhood thing at that age when you start to lose people you grew up with and so a lot of questions about mortality rise.”
Check out the rest of our Q&A with Michael Jai White below.
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Without giving too much away, what can viewers expect this final season on “For Better or Worse”?
Michael: There’s a lot more dramatic issues. Each season we start to delve into a lot more deeper and darker situations and this one’s probably gonna be a little darker than the ones in the past.
How has Marcus changed from last season?
Michael: I think its a continuous growth. If you remember the Marcus and Angela from “Why Did I Get Married?,” they’re a 180 from where they were before. With Marcus now being the sensible adult of the group, he just continues to grow that way and I think it’s been a great thing because people have grown with Marcus.
In what ways do you personally identify with Marcus?
Michael: At first, when it was Why Did I get Married?, it was something that stretched me as an actor. I was known as this action guy and then to do this comedic role with folks that respected a great deal and then as myself doing the series, Marcus kinda evolved closer to who I was as a person. And he had to because now the character is somebody who’s a lead in a series and thus can have that kinda perspective that Tyler’s character had in the movie. And so I had to evolve to that point.
Talk about your experience working with Tyler Perry and the type of creative energy he fosters on set.
Michael: It’s really collaborative. With our cast, we’ve been together for quite some time and part of the most fun we’ve had is the collaboration because it gets to the point where it’s almost like, musicians just kind of vibing. And he gets to the point where he trusts us with the dialogue and we go off script a lot. And he trusts us to know our characters and say things that we feel is truthful for our characters that may not even be on the page sometimes.
What has been most rewarding about working with the stellar cast assembled for this series?
Michael: Definitely the camaraderie and the friendship. I have friends that I will have for the rest of my life, as a result of the show. So that’s the thing I’m most thankful for.
In terms of your personal and professional growth, how has being a part of the OWN family and this world that Mr. Perry has crafted, been transformative for you?
Michael: Well he definitely has inspired me. Knowing Tyler as long as I have known him and seen what he’s accomplished, my gauge for someone being busy is now set by Tyler’s standards. I don’t think I’ve seen anybody as busy. Because of that reason, I feel like there’s a lot more I can do in comparison. So that’s really affected the way I look at workload and how it’s kinda galvanized my feeling that you can get anything done if you set your mind to it.
How does your love for martial arts discipline you as an actor?
Michael: Well, martial arts teaches you that you can overcome obstacles. From the very first time you start, you start as a white belt and eventually you keep progressing until you overcome the other belt levels. So that’s pretty much what you’re learning applied to everything that you do. I don’t think that there’s much that I can’t accomplish if I put my mind to it and that discipline — that physical discipline and physically overcoming things and having to put your mind to these things. When you train in the martial arts you’re putting yourself through more than what life puts you through. So you have to focus your disciple and overcome these things and with discipline you can accomplish anything.
Lastly, what do you attribute to your longevity and consistency within the industry?
Michael: Well, I just tend to learn and continue to try to foliow my truth and I’m not waiting for folks to give me things, I’ve been creating and re-creating who I am basically. I’ve gotten more experience with producing and I’m kinda doing my own films, a lot more of them. I’m directing, I’m writing. So you gotta look to your potential. Just like what I was saying about martial arts, you can accomplish anything, all you have to do is put your mind to it. I really feel like I haven’t gone halfway to my destination. There’s a lot more that I look forward to doing and thank goodness it’s looking like I’m getting a chance to do that. I’ve got five movies that are coming out and I started my own company called Gigantic Entertainment, and it’s looking really good for me right now.
Tune into “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” Saturdays at 9/8c on OWN.