The actor behind The Haves and the Have-nots’ Tony Watson, opens up about his breakout role.
Photography by Frank Ross
Wardrobe by Mr. Perry Jones II
If there’s an unspoken rule in the casting department worth betting on it’s this: if you’re Black, say, over six feet tall, ruggedly handsome, robust build… you’re inevitably cast as law enforcement, or some type of authority figure; lawyer, detective, sergeant, or O.J. Simpson. Chances are if you’re watching network television, you’ve probably seen character actor Patrick Faucette briefly filling out one of these roles. “Looking like OJ was not a good thing,” he recollects with wry amusement at his casting in the TV series Unsolved History in 2004, “…he wasn’t the most popular guy around.”
My first time catching Mr. Faucette in movies actually had him exploiting one of the talents he had all but left behind for acting, playing bass.
“I guess there’s just no music tonight, boss…” was his line from the 2007 Judd Apatow/Jake Kasdan comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; a surprisingly well-constructed sendup of entertainer biopics, and an underrated Apatow gem (if you’ve seen and/or loved Ray, Walk The Line, or Great Balls of Fire!, you’ll love this, after being incensed.) Faucette, listed as ‘Bad Men Bass Player’ in the cast, actually moves the plot with that line, precipitating the protagonist’s first crisis; Bad Men bandleader Bobby Shad (played by Craig Robinson) was critically injured the very night the industry ‘suits’ were scheduled to show up to the performance, and it was then humble Dewey’s fateful opportunity to show everyone what this dance-floor custodian was truly made of. Not bad to have a line reading that helps turn the fate of the main character.
Patrick Faucette is currently filming (by no deliberate irony) All Eyez On Me, which is a chronicle of the life of Tupac Shakur. But of course most of our readers will know him for his breakout role as the desperate, self-serving father, Tony Watson in the Tyler Perry primetime drama The Haves and the Have-nots, which airs on the OWN network.
MW: Are you of liberty to tell us about your part in All Eyez On Me?
PF: I can tell a little bit; I play a guy named Oliver, who is the host of the Black Summit Expo. And Tupac comes to speak at the Expo, we have a couple of scenes together… and my character’s a little uptight. And that’s all I can say for now. But it was lots of fun shooting in Atlanta [where production is based]. And the guy playing Tupac [Demetrius Shipp Jr.] looks exactly like him. It’s kinda eerie.
MW: How did you land your recurring role in The Haves and the Have-nots, and could you give us some details on the character of Tony Watson?
PF: Tony is actually a deadbeat dad, who had a relationship with Hanna [Young; played by Crystal R. Fox]. But he was already engaged to another woman when he got Hanna pregnant, and left Hanna for that woman. He was never in [his son] Benny’s life, but they all went to the same church.
When I first came on the show, I was just supposed to be a blind date for Hanna. And it turned out they were working on casting Benny’s dad, and I looked a lot like Benny [played by Tyler Lepley], and I was a good actor. So in the midst of shooting our first scene together, Tyler Perry stopped production and said, “When Benny goes out the door and leaves, I want you to turn to her and say, “Does he know?”
And I was like “Are we really going to do this?” and Tyler was “Yeah let’s do it! Let’s do it!” And that’s when I knew this was going to be the start of something big.
MW: So is that the work that you’re most proud of, so far as your thirty-one acting credits (and counting) goes?
PF: Apart from a couple of recurring things, and a couple of small movie roles, this role is the work that I really got to delve into; the one where I really got to develop the character, and really develop who Tony Watson is, and grow with him.
At the end of the first season, Benny gets into a car accident and is knocked out into a coma. At the beginning of the next season, we find out that Tony has a bad kidney, and the doctor says I’m not going to make it, so I think I have to pull the plug on my son in order to get his kidney. I wanted to really internalize why he would do the things he’s setting about doing, and I did research into dialysis and renal failure patients to get a real idea of how desperate Tony is, to want to kill his own son. So that’s something I really got to delve into and flesh out, I’m really proud of that role.
MW: What’s bigger for you, acting or music?
PF: Music was my first love—I played bass from 10 years old, through school. I didn’t play much in college, but once I graduated I played in neighborhood jam sessions and stuff. And then kinda got into the acting profession and happened to have good luck with it. Now every once and a while I’ll jam a bit, but once acting came into my life, that became my new love.
MW: So what’s next for Tony Watson?
PF: Benny finally woke up in the third season, and he kinda poked fun at me, but I still had to tell him why I tried to pull the plug. And now we’re into the fourth season, and I’m hoping next season they’ll bring me back with a vengeance. We’ll see what happens.