Lamman Rucker & Kim Hawthorne Have Stolen Hearts as Jacob and Kerissa Greenleaf
These days Actor Lamman Rucker and Actress Kim Hawthorne are known as husband and wife, Jacob and Kerissa Greenleaf. Their acting careers stretch several years, in fact, between the two of them they have a combined 40 plus years of experience. While their journey’s in acting and entertainment have been quite different, with Kim working her way primarily on dozens of television shows and Lamman securing over a dozen films, including several Tyler Perry Productions, the pair come together for the perfect balance on the latest OWN network show to spark a buzz, Greenleaf. Now midway through it’s first season with a second season already confirmed, audiences can get used to a lot more of the ups and downs that come with Jacob and Kerissa Greenleaf.
We caught up with Lamman Rucker and Kim Hawthorne for an interview to talk about the series, their roles and much more. Check out the full interview here…
Parlé Mag: Let’s begin by talking about the characters you both play, Jacob and Kerissa Greenleaf. How do you feel you were able to embody your characters?
Kim Hawthorne: Well I think with my character, over the course of the season I’ve really grown as an actor because I come out the gate smoking as a character but over the course of the season you’ll see a softer side. It’s been wonderful to have an arc for my character to find a more vulnerable side and a softer side. What I’ve learned mostly from coming to work for thirteen episodes and having that same character for 13 episodes is come prepared, stay open—like don’t make all your decisions before you come to the set, because you’re not alone, you’re not flying solo. You have your fellow actors, you have your director, you have the lighting guy, you have the camera guy, so it wasn’t just me developing this character. I feel like it was a group effort really. So not only did my character become more vulnerable, but me as a person, me as an actor became more vulnerable also.
Lamman Rucker: Yeah I think similarly, the work that it takes to get into this and give it the work that it deserves, it doesn’t just come from you. It comes from what you receive, it comes from what you allow the space to do and explore and it comes from who you’re telling the story with. That’s what’s really fun about this. We all get to originate these people, originate this story, originate this family from scratch but it has to be a family that existed before you get to witness and come to see what’s going on. Where these people come from, what do they want, what drives them, what do they love? What do they hate? What are their desires? What are their fears? What are their successes and triumphs? What are the mistakes that they make? And everybody in this room, in this moment have all kinds of mistakes that they never told anybody about, so what we have the privilege to do as actors and as storytellers is to let people in so you get to witness when we screw up, you get to witness when we actually discover something for the first time.
Kim Hawthorne: We also spent a great deal of time—he and I, when we first met, discussing back stories of our characters. And some of the things we agreed on, and some of the things that we don’t agree on. There’s still some things about his character that I know he believes and I’m like, that’s not what happened.
Lamman Rucker: And that’s going to happen with two people, there’s going to be a difference in perspective. And you just let it be.
Kim Hawthorne: And that was helpful. Knowing where his character came from, how did he get there and even how we met, how did we get together. And hopefully it comes together as something real when it comes out on the screen.
Parlé Mag: Playing these characters who are big in this church family, I wonder did the two of you grow up in church?
Lamman Rucker: I didn’t really grow up in church, but I went, especially when it came to my grandparents. If you didn’t go any other time, you went with grandma and grandpa. And even not specifically just the Christian church. I thankfully have been in other places of worship and I’ve seen other families who are in different positions of church leadership or religious leadership. I know how much of a business the church actually is. I know some churches that are run as corporations, some that are run as nonprofits, some that are actually run by a family and some where only two or three people from that particular family are involved in the executive structure, but there’s all these other people—this board and that board so I’ve had the opportunity to have a bit of an inside scoop, but at the same time absolutely as a child I looked at the church one way, but at the same time as someone who’s studied, traveled, researched and had other experiences, especially as an adult, we’re bringing all of that information, all of that experience, all that texture. And even as we continue to work, I talk to peers that are preacher’s kids, sons of a Bishop, that are married for so long—you know, so whatever experience there might be part of Jacob’s experience that’s different from mine, I’ve got a variety of sources of information to help shape what I make real for Jacob, though I may not have specifically experienced it myself. But absolutely having the exposure and going to church with my grandparents at a young age has contributed a lot and informed a lot.
Kim Hawthorne: Absolutely. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal—I am a singer. That’s my first talent. So a lot of my ministry was leading the choir and I taught Sunday school, so I definitely grew up in the church. I don’t attend church now but it was just a way of life for me for many, many, many years.
Parlé Mag: You start the series off as the characters audiences may want to hate, and as we get to know you that may change a bit, although it still feels like we’re getting to know you. How do you expect your characters to transition and how do you hope audiences view your characters as the season goes on?
Kim Hawthorne: I evoke whatever Craig the writer wants. Because here I am, natural hair, and they kept trying to pull away from that. I was like, I don’t care if I’m well liked, I just want to tell the truth about this person. I’m not on this show to be well liked, but as an actor I bring many dimensions and layers, and that’s my job. You put the words on the page and let me interpret it. So you guys are going to see many different sides of her, just like people that you know in real life. And in real life I can be the nicest person, until I’m not. People just have that dichotomy.
Lamman Rucker: Any first impression is going to be enhanced and involved once you’ve had the fifth impression or the thirteenth impression. We got thirteen episodes and you get more than one impression per episode. So over time your going to get much richer and deeper information. Your going to see things that are going to happen over time that are not only about circumstance or a certain situation, but also based on personality and who their talking to. The way I’m going to talk to each sister is based on who that sister is to me, how we feel about each other, how old we are, you know.
Kim Hawthorne: And you know I think you’ll get a better understanding too of where we’re coming from. That first episode, it’s like BOOM! But then you’re going to start to understand how we ended up on that staircase.
Lamman Rucker: Right. Where are they going to go from there. And you’ll see us rise and fall, rise and fall. We’re going to screw some things up. That’s what makes it interesting.
Get more from Lamman Rucker and Kim Hawthorne every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT in Greenleaf on OWN.
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