A Conversation with Kent Faulcon, Star of the TBS Sitcom For Better or Worse

From working in the film Men In Black to starring in Tyler Perry's new TV comedy, Faulcon is doing what he loves best: acting.

By , Columnist

Some people know early on what they want to do in life. Kent Faulcon is fortunate to be one of those people. “I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and started acting really young,” he told me during a recent phone conversation. “It’s been one of those things I kind of knew I wanted to do since I was maybe five or six years old. I distinctly remember visiting my grandmother and the Saturday night lineup was Love Boat, Fantasy Island. I remember watching the TV going, 'I don’t know what that is but I could do that.'

"Fast forward, 20 years later. I’m in L.A. and I get cast for a guest lead on Aaron Spelling’s New Love Boat. I remember being on the soundstage, having a cheesy moment being on the promenade deck set. I think, 'I’ll be darned. That five-year-old kid from North Carolina has made it into the TV onto The Love Boat'. It was just kind of like my own circle of life moment.”

Faulcon has indeed found his niche in life and getting work in his field has never been a problem. He’s guest starred on popular TV shows like Bones, Boston Legal, and NYPD Blue and can be seen in such movies as Men in Black and American Beauty. "Men in Black was a lot of fun to do. I spent almost two weeks on that film and shot a lot of stuff. A lot of it didn’t make it into the film. But that was one of the first big things I’d ever done. I didn’t realize how big that film was and how it continues to still be big. I take a sense of pride being part of a memorable moment in that movie. I look back fondly on that."

kent.jpgIn his most recent project, Faulcon plays Richard Ellington in Tyler Perry’s new TBS sitcom For Better or Worse. The series is based around three couples and follows the ups-and-downs of marriage and dating. Faulcon’s character is a former baseball player who has joined a new sports news program called C-Sports Now.

Faulcon calls working with the iconic producer/director Perry ‘a real joy’. “One of the things I was really struck by was that Tyler Perry was trying to go for a true dramady. He was really trying to use some heavy situations along with his comedic sensibilities and see how he could weave those elements together. I thought it was very bold on his part in terms of trying something. This is very, very different. You try to pick a genre that’s very established and sort of push it in a [different] way. I admire his bravery in trying to do something artistically different.

“He could very easily just throw out another House of Pain, throw out another Meet the Browns. Even as I look at his film development. I’d seen a couple of his films before I’d worked with him but this is my first time working with him. After I got the job, I started watching his films and thought of them in succession. Being able to do that, I thought, 'Wow, this guy’s really growing'. So to see him try to take that same sort of growth and spirit towards a television property, I had great admiration for him. I admire that spirit of trying to continually improve.”

What are the chances For Better or Worse will go another season? “We shot an initial ten-episode deal. That ran and we wrapped right before Christmas. Now they’re in the process of trying to decide about the pickup and when we’ll actually go back into production. I think TBS and Tyler Perry Studios were very happy with the numbers. I think we should probably know soon what the schedule is and how we’re going to be able to move forward.”

Besides plying his craft in TV and films, Faulcon has done theater, acting in Shakespearean plays such as As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing. How does preparation for this type of role differ from the work he’s done in television and movies? “Preparing a show is so methodical. Particularly working on Shakespeare. The last one I did I played Orlando in As You Like It in the L.A. Shakespeare Festival a number of years ago. Just in the richness of the language and the fun of it, they do cross over in similarities.

“I recently was a guest star on Harry’s Law, a David Kelly show. There was a lot of legal babble but there’s a certain clip. There’s a certain pace to it, a certain efficiency about it. A lot of his shows are about the words. A lot of times you’re sitting there making your arguments. In those situations they can be very, very similar that it’s a lot about just the language. You’re not doing a lot physically. It’s just making the words live. So those kinds of things are similar.

"Being in the theater, as many actors will say, that process of putting together a show and seeing it toward its development, you’re just growing this thing and the immediate response is the audience in terms of the run of the show and the feedback. You do miss that in TV. You show up that morning. You go, you do your pieces. Sometimes during the takes you will have those moments where you feel, 'Wow, I’m really in this thing'. But they’re just so abbreviated and just so quick. [Theater, films and TV] are just different with some similarities here and there.”

He has also done work behind the camera as writer and director of the 2011 film Sister’s Keeper. “That was such a joy. Sister’s Keeper came out on DVD June 25, 2011. It was a great experience. I played this hardened ex-military who’s now a hired assassin. He gets the oddest assignment where he has to go to this small town and kill this schoolteacher, which is not what he’s used to. He’s used to dealing with mobsters, real scum of the earth. When he finally shows up to do it, the teacher mistakes him for her long lost brother who she’s never met. Her mom left her when she was two, pregnant with him. She’s hoping he has answers about why [the mother] left. The longer he stays, the more he gets pulled into her life and is made to wonder why someone would want this woman dead. That’s the evolution of that story.

"That little film. I swear, I had the best time with it and the best time shooting it. I was on the film festival circuit with it for about a year and a half. Fifteen festivals in about 13 months. That little film took me to London, Frisco, San Diego, Dallas, New York, Atlanta. I went all over with that film.

"I’d been writing for awhile and directed about four shorts before I decided to do the feature. I really enjoy that process. As an actor I’m just doing my little contribution to help tell the story but as the writer/director I’m fully engaged in making this story be what I see it to be. I enjoy both processes.”

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning Blogcritics.org website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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