Interview: Feargus Kennedy
Photo Credit: Amanda Ramon
Upcoming actor Daniel Croix stars as the son of the President of the United States in the number one drama for cable audiences between 18 to 49, “the Oval,” as well as appearing in the Hulu show, “Love Victor,” and having origins in stage productions in New York. Daniel is a rising talent to keep an eye on.
Your character of Jason Franklin could be considered the most evil antagonist on ‘the Oval’. What is it like playing such a complex character?
Jason is waaaaay on the dark side. I was scared to take on the role! It was my first TV project out of school and I'd never done anything like it. I was used to playing a chill boyfriend, a stoner, an artist, and suddenly this psyco-drama script comes along about an evil presidential family. I had to get out of my own way, step out of fear, and commit to bringing him alive from an authentic place. I loved the challenge. I also loved the idea of doing a project with Tyler Perry and BET - so the rest is history.
Many of your roles deal with serious subjects. How do you wind down from all the drama? What does Daniel Croix do for fun outside of acting?
I really appreciate the small beauties of life - kicking it with my friends and seeing music, eating good, sweating every day, watching sunsets, drinking wine. I paint, I read, I dream about films I want to make and write them down. I travel the world frequently and see things I never would've never imagined. It means alot to me to share food, stories, and laughter people from totally different upbringings. It helps me expand what I think is possible.
In ‘the Oval’ you work alongside Tyler Perry, have you found it daunting working alongside such a large figure in the entertainment industry as Perry?
Tyler and my co-stars are all great, grounded people. I never felt intimidated. The on set vibe is fantastic - everyone is warm and open, but also hyper-focused. Working at the studio in Atlanta as a Black actor is also a powerful experience because I see the names of my heroes soaring in the sky on the way to set, Denzel, Sydney Poitier, Spike Lee, Oprah. I can't help but feel motivated and inspired. Tyler built all of it. It's a reflection of who he is.
You star as a member of the presidential family in the Oval. The real world counterparts of your fictional presidential family have spoken out about issues such as the importance of environmental justice. Being someone who has lived in places of great natural beauty such as O'ahu, Hawaii, how relevant is environmental justice today’s political discourse?
I was born in New York and am not native to Hawai'i - but I am grateful to call O'ahu my home. Living on O'ahu reminds me of my responsibility to be a steward of the land and earth. We all have to have to make adjustments to preserve the earth and ensure that future generations have their needs met. It starts with us. My friend Sage Lenier has an amazing project to learn about solutions for a brighter future- check her IG @sustainableandjustfuture.
Many of your recent projects have Shakespearean themes throughout them. The power dynamic between husband and wife in ‘the Oval’ is reminiscent of MacBeth, and the drama of hidden love that runs throughout ‘Love, Victor’ is similar to the hidden love between Romeo and Juliet. How has your background doing ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ with the Public Theatre impacted your performances?
Oh, it's for sure made an impact. I did really classical acting training in New York at SUNY Purchase - so all the time I spent working on Shakespeare is going slip into anything I do. There's a Shakespere character to draw from for any modern role. Jason is a high-status devestated prince who ends up in a battle with his will to live. It's the same story arc as Hamlet.
Being so young and at such a relatively early stage of your acting career, you have many paths ahead of you could choose to pursue. What would you like to be doing in the next five years? - and what is next for Daniel Croix?
I'm zoning in on the path I'm on - acting in cinema and tv series and making films. I look forward to returning to the stage in New York too. I just want to keep telling great stories with great people, with a focus on Black and Indigenous storytelling. It feels bigger than myself, and I'm humbled and grateful for it every day. It's how I feel free.