Interview with ED QUINN | The Journey is the Magic
The idea about the journey in our life being the most important is well known, but do we really understand what that means? Desire is life, without desire there is no creation and without it, no human being would exist. Consciousness flows through us wanting to express itself through what we dream about becoming. The basis of our natural expansion lays within the birth of new desires, that’s why when we accomplish something we wanted, we always want something more. So if we will never get it done, we better enjoy the journey towards the realization of our infinite becoming while we are on the planet Earth. Being aware of that, the feeling of happiness will be unconditionally about the process of creation, without depending on the manifestation to feel all the good feeling emotions we enjoy so much.
Actor Ed Quinn, who can be seen as President Hunter Franklin on BET’s series The Oval from Tyler Perry Studios, says: “Aspire to what you want to be, what you want to do and what you want to have and just understand that just aspiring to it, you’ve already attained it because it’s all about the journey. The journey is the magic.”
In this insightful interview with Ed, the actor shares his emotions journey towards living the life he considers is best, as well as his passion for music and his excitement about his lead role in series The Oval.
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Ed Quinn?
A free spirit. The world is such a big beautiful place, I guess you could say I don’t like to play it safe. I want to get out there and experience as much of it as I can. I grew up in Berkeley, and then went to CAL (UC BERKELEY) It was extremely competitive, and I learned a lot about myself fighting my way through it. I found a love for music and pursued that. I also somehow ended up modeling in Europe for three years, so I’ve basically gone wherever there’s an adventure.
- Music has always been one of your most cherished passions, but after a successful international career as a model, you fell in love with acting. What inspired to pursue this professional path?
Music has always been one of my most cherished passions. I was really lucky growing up in Berkeley, California. You kind of end up being exposed to what your peers are doing. My peers, yeah, we were skateboarding and riding BMX bikes. But everybody was into heavy metal. They were into playing guitar and as fate would have it, Joe Satriani was teaching guitar lessons at a secondhand guitar store, so I took advantage. It was an incredible era to grow up in. Fast forward fifteen years and my bands were headlining all over Sunset Blvd. But the music business is hard. Really hard, especially to make a living. And while I was in Europe “modeling” I was actually shooting way more commercials. Thirsty seven in two years. I had no exposure to Hollywood or acting growing up. I didn’t even understand how one got into the business. Those commercials were my way in and I could make a living while I studied acting.
- The entertainment industry, like any other professional field, is considered competitive; some talents succeed and other talents don’t. What role do beliefs and faith have in fulfilling the desires for what the talent considers success?
The entertainment industry is incredibly competitive. It’s very true. Someone once told me, it’s all about the three T’s; talent, timing, and tenacity. And that’s really true. You have to have faith that this is kind of what you are meant to be doing. And also, you have to have the ability to weather the rejection and the disappointment and the heartbreak and the panic when you can’t pay your bills. It’s really hard. And the only way I think that you can persevere is if you really, really love it. You have to understand that it’s 99% rejection. You understand that most of the things that you want, you may not get but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredible career. I have suitcases full of heartbreaks and disappointments and second places and major roles that were for mine, I was THE choice, and didn’t go my way in the end. Makes it all the sweeter when you get the call… like the call I got from Tyler Perry… you feel incredibly, incredibly blessed. That’s when having some perseverance pays off.
- The entertainment industry is celebrating more and more diverse stories with diverse casts. Why do you think this is happening and how does this influence the audience, as well as professionals within the field?
Stories. People are looking for great stories to tell. Before The Oval I was just on One Day at a Time, (which was on Netflix and just got saved by Pop TV). It’s a reboot of the Norman Lear classic but now told through the eyes of a Cuban American family. Same concept, different viewpoint. Same thing on The Oval. An event that happens every four to eight years. (New First Family in the Whitehouse) but told from a different viewpoint.
- On BET’s series The Oval from Tyler Perry Studios, which premiered October 23, 2019, you portray President Hunter Franklin, a newly elected president placed in the White House by powerful people. How would you describe your emotional journey during the process of becoming Hunter?
For the role of Hunter, it was all about the feeling of waking up and realizing you’d accomplished your greatest aspiration… but at what cost? And not just to Hunter the person, but to his wife, and his children. Blind ambition comes at a steep price.
- What does the story behind The Oval represent, and how do you think it will impact the audience?
That the people we put in power are not gods. They’re not superhumans. They have all the same shortcomings and fallibilities we all do. This is a story of those challenges coming to light.
- The relationship between the First Lady, Victoria Franklin, and Hunter seems to be complicated. How would you describe their dynamic and connection as they move with their two children to The White House?
The relationship between Victoria Franklin and Hunter is sensational, very complicated. But I really feel it’s based on a true, deep, deep love. I mean, they’re both incredibly ambitious people and they’d be the first to tell you that they needed each other to get here. They couldn’t have done this on their own. They’re a perfect match. But to get to where they were going, where they wanted to go, there’s going to be a cost. And the main cost is who put them there and how much did they compromise themselves to do that? And that’s a theme that we start to see in the first season of The Oval. What it’s done to their marriage and is there any way to salvage it.
- Also, the relationship between them and their two children, Jason (Daniel Croix Henderson) and his sister Gayle (Paige Hurd) is not easy. What do Jason and Gayle want from their parents, and how do they navigate their new life?
This is another thing that’s going to evolve throughout the season. Paige Hurd, who plays our daughter, she comes right out of the gate, pretty volatile. Wild Child. But I’m going to be very entertained to watch the audience see Daniel Henderson’s “Jason” manifest itself because oh man, it goes dark, and all of a sudden, we’re in a sort of horror movie. So that’s going to be very, very interesting to see. Daniel very eloquently describes that this is, for his character, this show puts generational trauma on the frontline and what happens when you don’t deal with it.
And that’s true for both kids. They’ve never had their own lives. They’ve just been like this luggage that gets brought along by their crazy volatile parents and there’s going to be a push back. And also, being the First Daughter and the First Son comes with a lot of power. So, they’re dealing with pretty incredible storylines themselves. And like I said, everything gets more sensational pretty quickly.
- How was your experience filming the series at the newly built White House, Hunter’s and Victoria’s home, at Tyler Perry Studios?
The experience was incredible. Tyler is a visionary and bets on himself every time. He is always building. Building his dream, his studio and if you’re lucky like I am, you get the nod to join the ride.
It was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to get back on that studio lot and get back to work.
- How do you feel being part of the team of co-creators behind Tyler Perry’s new drama direction?
I went to work every day with one thought in mind: “overdeliver.”
No one works as hard as Tyler and his team. I just aspired to match that. I hope I did.
- Are there any other exciting projects you are working on at this moment?
I just finished with a fun movie for Universal. I can’t talk too much about it yet but it’s really hilarious, just one of those great teen romps. And then hopefully depending on scheduling, nothing’s for sure yet, but we are trying very hard to have me go back on One Day at a Time for season four as much as I can. So, fingers crossed that it all works out. Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce have been fantastic to work with and I would love to come back. They’re willing to work around The Oval schedule and that’s very rare in this town, especially when you have a show like One Day at a Time which is shot live. But yeah, really, really hoping that works out, because I love that show and I love my relationship with Justina Machado on there and the audience did too so let’s give everybody what they want, Right?!
- How would you describe your state of being when the music flows through and to you?
Music is such a wonderful thing because it makes me feel like I’m fourteen years old again. There are two things that make me feel like a kid; surfing and playing music. I just forget that I’ve been playing for 35/40 years, whatever it’s been and I just feel like I’m this little kid again and something happens where part of my brain turns off, the part that’s analyzing stuff and worried about life… and another part just takes over. And you get the music flowing through you. Right now, I’m currently building a recording studio. So, I hope next year to start recording new music.
- You are an advocate for the Jimmy Miller Foundation; a non-profit dedicated to helping others with mental health struggles through surf and ocean. What kind of work they do and how do our readers can contribute to this cause?
The Jimmy Miller Foundation is really close to my heart. There are two foundations that are special to me. I’m here in Sumba, Indonesia right now doing some stuff with the Sumba Foundation. There’s a spirituality to Indonesia that I love and ironically, it was Jimmy Miller that introduced me to Indonesia. We became best friends at Cal. He was from Manhattan Beach. I was about to become a lawyer. He convinced me I shouldn’t be a lawyer, I should surf and travel the world and chase other dreams, which I did. (THANKS JIMMY!) And Jimmy became a drummer and we had a band and we traveled the world together. And one place we came, was Indonesia and it’s just really changed my life forever. Unfortunately, Jimmy, through bouts of depression, hardship, and injury, ended up taking his life fifteen years ago. It was a devastating blow to, obviously, his family and all of his friends and the community in the South Bay. But his spirit has lived on. His family believes that if he could have stayed in the water, if he could’ve stayed surfing, it might’ve saved his life. And that’s what the foundation is focused on. Introducing people to surfing and letting it be a sort of an outlet, a challenge, a broadening of their horizons. Through the ocean and through friends you can learn to love and appreciate yourself and your life if you’re struggling. I think the genius pairing was its relationship with the Wounded Warrior Project. The military has all of this incredible coastline; Coronado, Pendleton, Point Mugu, Vandenberg Air Force Base and we’ve been in these foreign wars for a while. A lot of these young kids come back and they’re trying to figure out how to get back into society. They’re trying to overcome terrible injuries and the stress and the pressure of decompressing. And then all of a sudden you say, “You guys live on this beach. The surf is really good. Let’s get you out in the water and get you chasing waves and learning to surf.” And you just see these big smiles and this sort of sense of release and wonder and new activity. It’s true spiritual healing.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is The Essence of a Joyful Living. How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
There is a joy in the creative process that is really a gift. It’s very special because the creative process is all about trying to transcend all the things that are going to undermine it. Just getting the job is hard, interpreting the character or writing the right lyrics or making sure you’re giving your best performance at the very moment that you need to. It can be nerve-wracking. It can be overwhelming. It gives a lot of people a lot of anxiety. But when I talk to other artists who get butterflies or get worried about things like that, I’m like, “But isn’t that the best part of life? Isn’t it the fear of trying to create something great, the fear of failing that makes you feel alive?” There’re so many aspects to being creative, and not just in entertainment… starting a business, putting together a lecture series, trying to pull off a walk-a-thon. I mean, there are so many things that you can do to get out of your own comfort zone. And you’ve got to convince yourself not to be afraid to fail, because you learn more from failing than you do from success. But then when you’re successful, boy, it feels good. It really does.
- When you hear: You can be, do and have anything you want, words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
Well, that’s true, but in a sort of a figurative way. I mean I literally can’t be LeBron James. I just can’t. But I could decide that basketball is my life and then I could figure out a way to make basketball my life. Coaching, broadcasting, working at the Los Angeles Laker’s front office… Even somehow telling the thirteen-year-old me to work on his jump shot and get a college scholarship. (*googles “do time machines exist yet?”) It’s all a possibility. But that’s not the point. I think what I’m trying to say is that you can be and want and have anything. You should definitely aspire to it. Aspire to what you want to be, what you want to do and what you want to have. Just understand that by just aspiring to it you’ve already attained it because it’s all about the journey. The journey is the magic.