Photo: Courtesy of OWN
Benjamin Patterson’s opportunities as an actor, raised in Oakland, CA., have landed him his latest role with stellar castmates including Ms. Oprah Winfrey. The two have formed a bond where Ms. O, recently gifted his young child with a starting collection of children’s books accompanied by a handwritten thank you letter. We speak with Ben (as he likes to be called) about what viewers can expect from OWN’s newest drama series.
The newest original drama series “Greenleaf” debuts tonight on OWN. Tell us the backdrop for the show?
It’s a one-hour scripted drama executive produced by Oprah Winfrey with award-winning/producer Craig Wright. The storyline is a family drama that has the backdrop of the church world and it involves every sort of power struggle you can imagine between sibling rivalry and business dealings but keeping the family together is the biggest concept these characters are facing.
Did you pull from your family in some areas with this series?
My character is Noah Kendall and I play the head of security for the Greenleaf family. He’s the right-hand man who loves the subtlety of danger. I don’t live that lifestyle in real life [laughs], but what I did pull from is how I support my family in whatever they do; my mom, father, and brother. The loyalty I definitely drew from a personal place because I consider myself to be a very loyal person to my friends and family. There is a lot of battles that my character will go through in this season that really do involve loyalty issues.
What has your experience been like working with Oprah Winfrey?
It’s been pretty extraordinary! The fact that we’ve grown up knowing her work, her philanthropy, and her generosity through television…you see and you hear a lot but then you finally get to meet her. This was my experience when I was on the set for a press shoot and we made eye contact. You know, she’s looking around to see who’s there and then she walks over to me in her “Oprah” voice and says, “Hi, Benjamin!” [laughs], She really acted like we had known each other forever and that was the most comforting thing someone of that stature could do for anyone. She is so gracious!
Did you know early on you wanted to act?
I knew from kindergarten that I wanted to perform and whatever I wanted to do it would involve music which led me to a career in acting.
How do you balance career and family?
It’s a priority to wake up and hold my son and to say “Good morning!” with my husband. We’ve been together for almost sixteen years. External happiness comes from my family but personal happiness comes from doing the things that make me happy like playing my instruments…even if it’s only for 15-minutes a day.
Greenleaf also stars Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, Lamman Rucker, Merle Dandridge, Kim Harthorne, Tye White, Deborah Joy Winans, Gregalan Williams, Desiree Ross and Lovie Simone.
Catch Ben’s new music on Itunes. His newest single “Maxine” is available soon!
GREENLEAF PREMIERES TONIGHT 10/9c
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