The Knockturnal caught up with Angela Robinson and John Schneider who portray the villainess Veronica Harrington and the cunning judge Jim Cryer on Tyler Perry’s hit OWN series The Haves and the Have Nots at OWN’s New York luncheon on Friday (January 8) celebrating the season premieres of both OWN series The Haves and Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor.
In The Haves and Have Nots your characters come across as very strong and dominating, what would you say is your character’s biggest vulnerability?
Angela : I think her vulnerability lies in the need to be perfect. And I don’t really know the backstory of where that comes from. I’m excited to find out. I have my own thoughts, but I’m excited to find out. But I think that desire to run after perfection is a terrible flaw and you can never achieve it. I think that is probably one of her areas of vulnerability.
John: Jim has one vulnerable spot only one left and that’s Wyatt. The only Achilles heel that Jim Cryer has is you can get to him through his son and sadly my son is an idiot. And he can be used to get to me and has been used to get to me on several occasions. Obviously getting to me the death of my daughter on the show was devastating. So rather than make it so there’s only a smaller spot through Wyatt to get to me, I think that spot has actually gotten bigger because I’ve transferred the love of a father to two children now I’ve transferred the love of a father for two children to one child and I think that’s an area where Jim could fall, the only area where Jim could fall.
What do you think has to happen to your characters for them to truly change?
Angela: I think my character has changed maybe not for the better for what people think. But I think my character has continued to get deeper and deeper into her own psychosis her own paranoia. So I think she’s changed. I think in the beginning she was really trying to go legit so to speak.
John: The dutiful wife.
Angela: The more she started to lose control and lose that perfection she started to fall off and control people more and blackmail people more sleep around more. I don’t think she was doing that in the beginning. The thing that I think could make her actually change for the better it doesn’t exist yet. I think it would be something that has to happen from a maybe some information that he has. I don’t think anybody on the show; it would have to be somebody from her past I think come back. Maybe go back to rehab and getting off them pills. Whatever it is it is not on the show now.
John: The thing comes to mind that would change Jim because I think he’s changed quite a bit too because there has been many references to well I’m gonna have to be the old Jim. So obviously there’s a meaner more vindictive more power wielding nasty Jim than anyone has seen yet. As has been hinted at with David I’ll show you an enemy the likes of which you’ve never seen. I love mocking him that was so terrible. I think becoming governor or not is what’s gonna change Jim a lot. Becoming governor because now I think this is something oddly enough Schwarzenegger had to deal with because no one told Schwarzenegger what not to do until he became governor because governor at it’s heart is a public servant, you’re a highly elected public servant. I don’t think Jim is quite ready, he’ll love all the trappings that go along with that but I don’t think he’s quite ready to serve the public. But he’s also not ready to lose because that would mean that it didn’t work and this would be the first big thing in a long time because Jim has had designs to be governor for a long long time. It’ll be hard pill for him to swallow and it will force change on him. Whether it can be considered growth I don’t think so. I think Jim is the kind of guy that changes his stripes but has several different kinds of stripes in the closet and he’s ready to put them on at any time. He hasn’t had any new stripes in a while except that he’s in jail.
What have you learned about yourselves as actors through playing your roles on the show?
John: I learned that when a script is written in such a way that it’s written to be remembered it’s written to flow well. I don’t want to say that I learned that I’m better than I thought I was, but I have learned that I was capable of a new kind of performing that I did not know was in there. That’s what this process and the way that Tyler does it that’s brought that out of me and I’m very surprised … in that even it appears to Angela that I have this incredible memory which I like to say it’s a script — it’s easy to remember. It’s not me, it’s the way it’s written for me so that’s what I brought. I’ve done several things since the show and I’ve been able to carry that over to other work to. So it’s stepped up my game considerably.
Angela: I’ve learned that every experience that happens really is valid and important in your life as you go through your career. I believe that everything that I’ve done in this twenty year career has prepared me for this moment for this. So the reason why I think I’m able to deal with the fast pace and the oh my God I just got this script is because of all that’s happened before. I think if I was fresh off the boat I would totally be completely be lost in a different way, because it’s not about memorization it’s really about learning it and then delivering, so just every experience. So now I don’t poo poo any experience I’m just like sure I’ll try that because I might have to use it five minutes from now, you never know.
Catch new episodes of “The Haves and the Have Nots” (#HAHN) on Tuesdays at 9/8c on OWN.