Monday, May 27, 2013

OWNing Up: 'Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots'

ON the surface, Katheryn Cryer and Hanna Young have virtually nothing in common. Take a closer look, however, and the similarities are more apparent.

They are two women trying at all costs to keep their dysfunctional Savannah, Georgia families from unraveling at the seams.

The two actors who play these determined women on the much anticipated, modern-day Southern gothic drama, “Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots” premiering tomorrow night at 9 on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, disclosed they drew heavily on their personal experiences to breathe life into their formidable characters. (See trailer above).

“I didn’t have to do anything. I already knew what it was like to look like a million dollars,” Renee Lawless jokingly said of Katheryn, the matriarch of the moneyed “Haves.”

Seriously, though, this child of the South recalled her youth and formative years, reflecting on travels around Atlanta and other locales, as well as exposure to what she would pointedly refer to as “large Southern homes” after discarding the less palatable plantation moniker. “In preparing, I was trying to write a back story, so I made it personal to myself.”

Sitting next to RL on a plush pearl gray bench at Dream Hotel Downtown at a New York press junket arranged by Harlem’s 135th Street Agency (, Crystal Fox noted that she stood on a lot of shoulders to play Hanna, the Cryers' maid and matriarch of her family, the “Have Nots.”

“When I read it [the script] on paper, I identified with all of our mentors – the women that raised us … My grandmother is a tiny, tiny woman but she was so powerful … I wanted to pay homage to her and other people.”

The Cryers, Youngs and others in "Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots." Photo courtesy of OWN.

Based on what can be gleaned from trailers – in customary TP fashion no press preview was made available – “TP’s The Haves and the Have Nots" – is a lowish-brow entertainment that is an amalgam of “Dallas,” “Dynasty,” “Falcon Crest,” “Upstairs Downstairs,” “Downton Abbey” and “The Family That Preys.”

What a concoction! Bets are that is will be as deliciously decadent and inappropriate as chocolate chocolate cake topped with chocolate chocolate ice cream and Cool Whip, or Chantilly for more sophisticated palates.

Visit to learn more about "Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots."

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