Providing much of the drama in Season 2 of Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots is Jaclyn Betham, who plays Amanda Cryer in OWN’s top-rated drama that airs Tuesdays at 9pm ET. This season of The Haves and the Have Nots finds the once-fragile Amanda in full-out beast mode looking to extract revenge on all who have wronged her. “She’s coming out of her shell in more dark ways than others, for sure, she’s not as introverted,” Betham says of her character. “She does seek her revenge. I think people are going to be really shocked this season with Amanda and where her storyline goes.”
Shocking indeed, as Amanda has finally developed a backbone and is standing up to her parents, which fans are truly happy to see. In a candid Saturday afternoon chat at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, Betham discussed the new season, her transition from professional ballerina to soap star, smoking those cigarettes and more.
It seems Candace (Tika Sumpter) is calling the shots for Amanda, how long before Amanda realizes her real motives?
She’s still naïve. Eventually she does start to get a clue and it starts glimmering here and there throughout the second season. I think she’s so involved in her own agenda and what has happened to her, and she wants to seek her revenge and go after what everyone has done to her. All the hurt that she is feeling she really wants to take care of that. I don’t really think she’s noticing what’s going on with her because she’s so overwhelmed and filled with this distress and anger that’s happened to her this first season. People are saying she’s naïve and clueless, I feel like she is, but she is going through a lot, she was just raped, she tried to communicate suicide, she was molested as a child – she’s dealing with some really dark issues, and she’s a cuter. … Eventually she starts to become more aware. I’m excited for people to see that – it is really twisted but it’s really entertaining.
Can Amanda truly find happiness?
I think Amanda’s never experienced love. Even the people who do love her, like her dad who loves her so much, still lies to her everyday. I don’t think anyone has really loved her unconditionally. Once she figures that out and finds someone who can love her unconditionally and help her grow into a woman, I think that will give her true happiness. I think she has to find it first within herself. Once she can get over those horrible things, I think she will be happy and let herself be loved by someone else.
Tell us about Amanda and that smoking scene, where did the cigarettes come from?
Actually Tyler came up to me on set and was like, “Can you smoke?” I’m like, “What do you mean.” He said: “Will you smoke?” [Betham agreed] … That wasn’t written in the script at all. They didn’t have stage cigarettes so I think I smoked eight cigarettes in like 15 minutes. I think in the scene I was actually shaking. With the continuity [in filming] you have to smoke the same amount each shot — I was literally like trembling. I feel like she’s always kind of been wild but she hides it, she’s so introverted and mysterious.
You were a professional ballerina before you started acting — how did that happen?
I was a gymnast and when I was 12 I started doing ballet. I was 15 when I got into a company. I would literally dance six hours a day — that’s all I wanted to do. My mom would always get mad because I wasn’t doing extra activities at school because all I wanted to do was ballet. I would get out of school and go right to the studio. I fell in love with it. It was my career. I danced on the Academy Awards and I’ve done all kinds of stuff with ballet, but then I took an acting class and I realized why I loved ballet so much. I would develop these characters and I could emote these feelings. People don’t realize when you’re in a ballet company and performing a ballet you are acting just as much, just through your body and facial expressions. I didn’t realize acting was my passion.
Where are you at in the filming process?
We filmed the whole series in 24 days. We shot 55 to 60 pages a day, which is unheard of. And Amanda , as we all know, cries and freaks out and is a little bit crazy this season. I lived in a very dark area for 24 days, so I never had time to snap out of it.
Are we going to be happy with how the season ends with Amanda?
Even though she’s kind of crazy and kind of dark, you still kind of love her and you want her to do all the things she’s doing because all these other people are treating her like garbage. They act like they care but they really don’t. It’s almost like they deserve it, the things that happen. I think people will be OK with it. There’s still kind of that sweet sorrow behind her story.
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