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'Tyler Perry's The Oval' Star Walter Fauntleroy Talks New Season of the Hit Show

Those who watch Tyler Perry’s The Oval, know Walter Fauntleroy as the composed Secret Service agent Sam who protects the President of the United States and The First Lady in the hit series. But Fauntleroy’s career in the acting industry spans beyond the screen and has taken on roles in numerous theatrical stage play productions.

In his current role as Sam, Fauntleroy is representing a Black man in power within the White House, which prior to the 2019 premiere of the series wasn’t really showcased since Barack Obama left office. In his own words, Fauntleroy describes his character Sam as a “typically responsible, loyal old fashion citizen. I think [Sam] thinks in terms of respect for everyone,” Walter explained. “He tried to have respect for his marriage, and I think he does. I think it's just that internal struggle. But he's a good man. He's a solid man. He's a man of integrity at the end of the day,” he added.

“Sam is the leader of the Secret Service, it gives us something else to aspire higher to other than just being flashy and not saying there's anything wrong with that, but anything that has too much attention, it takes us away, and then it gets us off balance. Sam, I think in terms of his character, represents us at the highest level other than the president because he is in the White House,” Walter said. “He's not trying to be the president, but he's trying [to be] presidential in his approach,” Fauntleroy added.

So where exactly is the line drawn between Walter Fauntleroy and Sam? “I'm more kind of extroverted in my expressions, but what I chose as a character trait for Sam was to be more poised, not to ever really lose control, not to be so excitable, but always tempered in his demeanor,” Fauntleroy explained.

Walter’s working relationship with The Oval creator Tyler Perry goes back further than the show. He first worked with Tyler as a cast member in Madea’s Farewell Play, which toured in theaters throughout the United States. During his run with the Madea’s Farewell Play tour, Perry told Walter about his plans for The Oval and informed him that he had a part in mind for him.

“My dad was my best friend growing up until around my teenage years, and so a lot of that influence was already there,” Walter said about how he was able to connect to Sam. “So when I read the character, and Tyler was already familiar with me, just from being on the road and getting familiar with me on the road, I think he already felt my rhythm and was able to write some of that based on how he perceives me, and I'm planning it based on how I perceive my father in the military,” he added. Walter also auditioned for another one of Perry’s projects, the Netflix film A Fall From Grace, in which he landed the role of Malcolm.

Before Fauntleroy hit the theater stage with Perry, he had been mentored by theater icons such as Akin and Obba Babatundé. “Theater is the place where I've discovered magic, I discovered my spirituality on a deeper level, I discover more things about my cultural history, and discover things about myself as a person and as a human being,” Fauntleroy stated. He also shared his aspirations to produce a production of the recently revived Suzan Lori Parks’ award-winning play TopDog/Underdog. Walter expressed that in the past he wasn’t able to secure the rights to the play prior to the current production on Broadway, which stars Corey Hawkins and Yahya Abdul Mateen II.

While The Oval is still going strong on BET and BET +, Walter Fauntleroy still has a lot to look forward to. “Because of the schedule, whether professionally or personally, I just haven't had the time to do some things, but what I can tell you from my heart is that they are great things to come,” Walter said.

Photo credit: Eric Michael Roy

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