Oprah Winfrey will show a new side of herself on the upcoming OWN drama, Greenleaf. The media mogul, who makes a return to acting with two upcoming OWN drama series, told Entertainment Tonight that her Greenleaf character is different than any character she has ever played. In fact, this character sounds totally out of character for Oprah, which means it should be a whole lot of fun to watch.
Oprah’s new series is about a disillusioned preacher named Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge), who moves home to Memphis to her estranged family and their megachurch after being away for 20 years. Winfrey plays Grace’s outspoken aunt, Mavis McCready, on the soapy drama, and the character is totally against type for the talk show host turned actress.
“The character that I play owns a blues club and she has a bar and had a drinking problem. She uses f-bombs a couple of times.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, in addition to Winfrey’s role as Mavis McCready, the ensemble cast for the buzzy new 13-episode series includes David Keith as Bishop James Greenleaf, and Lynn Whitfield (How To Get Away With Murder) as the bishop’s wife, Lady Mae. Desiree Ross, Lamman Rucker, Kim Hawthorne, Deborah Joy Winans, and Tye White will all co-star as the second generation of the Greenleaf family.
The first official trailer for Greenleaf was posted to Oprah Winfrey’s Twitter page (you can see it below), which shows Oprah’s character being called a “whore.” Later, Winfrey’s Mavis character is seen telling a “brotha” that this time, “You are going down.”
While Oprah is best known for her long-running daytime talk show and her popular magazine, she has never shied away from acting and she is even an Academy Award nominee (The Color Purple). In an interview with Academy of Achievement, Oprah said her long-winded career has even been a “roundabout way” for her to achieve her acting aspirations.
“I always wanted to be an actress for most of my adolescent and adult life. My father didn’t want me to be, because his idea of what ‘an actress’ was, was one of these ‘lewd women,’ and ‘How are you going to take care of your life?’ So I always wanted to be an actress and have taken, I think, a roundabout way to get there because I still don’t feel fulfilled as an actress. I still feel like, ‘Okay, once I own my own studio…’ but I’m thinking, ‘I did all of this just to be an actress. I just want to be able to act.’ “
Now that she has given up her grueling daytime talk show schedule, Oprah has more time to devote to her craft, and with her own network at her fingertips, she also has the resources. Indeed, Oprah Winfrey is keeping herself busy with multiple projects for her TV network.
In addition to hosting the popular update series Oprah: Where Are They Now?, the OWN head honcho also took a role on the drama series Queen Sugar, which Selma creator Ava DuVernay will write, direct, and executive produce. Queen Sugar will actually mark Oprah Winfrey’s acting debut on her OWN network, and it will also be her first-ever recurring role on a TV series.
Greenleaf debuts on June 21 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN. In addition to her co-starring role on the soapy series, Oprah Winfrey will executive produce alongside Craig Wright and Clement Virgo.
Take a look at the video below for more on Oprah Winfrey’s Greenleaf role as well as her recent 30-pound weight loss and eBay clothing auction.
[Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for FIJI Water]