This year marks an election year in the United States, and the political scandals we know all too well are making their way onto the small screen. TLC brings Tyler Perry’s Too Close To Home to life, combining love, sex, and the political landscape for an emotional new series. We chatted with the series’ lead, Danielle Savre, who plays Anna, a young woman of humble beginnings who is swept up in an affair with the world’s most powerful leader when she lands an internship in Washington.
Savre opened up about her role in the film, Washington’s impact on Hollywood, and working with movie mogul, Tyler Perry.
On August 22, Too Close To Home premiered on TLC to 770,000 viewers. The show, which serves as the network’s first scripted series, is quite the departure from TLC’s usual fare. Aside from working on the network’s flagship scripted series, Savre says she found her appeal of the show from the darker nature of the story.
“What struck me the most was the grittiness. It was darker than scripts I had been reading,” she says. “It didn’t sugar coat or glamorize the impoverished world that is portrayed in Alabama, and it wasn’t shy to paint every character as flawed. There isn’t a hero or a villain. There are just real, relatable characters. That was refreshing to read and made me excited to get the opportunity to dive into the character of Anna and that world.”
Savre found herself in a role fit for American royalty, thrust into the political limelight. Preparing for a role shroud in political scandal entails exactly what one might expect. With a role in such a controversial setting, the lead actress says she studied the true scandals of D.C., and focused quite a bit on a shocking secret to come.
“I researched articles and people online, watched videos online of people from impoverished towns, read stories of political scandals and the aftermath,” Savre continues.
“The biggest thing I researched actually pertains to a big twist later on in the season that shines a light on why Anna has made some of the decisions she has made. Obviously can’t discuss that currently!”
In her research, it’s hard to believe Savre could find a scenario in which the script hadn’t been slightly impacted by the true stories of politics’ past (read: Lewisnky/Clinton circa 1998). While life and art imitate one another more often than not, Savre was quick to point out what she found in research doesn’t quite mirror the story she’s telling.
“Life does imitate art but no two stories are identical. Even though on the surface it may seem familiar the show really focuses on two very different worlds colliding and Anna’s present indiscretions forcing her to face the world she was trying desperately to erase from her past.”
Not only is the series hot on the tail of ABC’s Scandal, another political-based drama series, the talk of politics has moved back towards the current election in the United States. 2016 marks the new election year, and understandably, the storyline of Too Close To Home finds a few similarities to the current political landscape. Just ask Savre.
“I feel there is no way to deny that the political environment influences so many different current TV shows and films,” she admits.
“I think as people we are intrigued about what may or may not go on behind closed doors. The salacious stories that come out of the White House are always going to peek our interest and spark a conversation, as the show has done so far.”
Aside from her love of acting, and the intense narrative of the series, there was more to the project that intrigued the Californian native. Having the opportunity to be a part of TLC’s first scripted network certainly had its appeal, not to mention the name behind the show.
“The difference with this TV show is that it’s TLC’s first scripted program ever. That holds a very particular weight and importance to what we are making. I felt honored and proud to be a part of TLC’s history and to have the privilege to work with Tyler Perry.”
Creating a complicated character like Anna was no easy task for Savre. The talented actress discovered layer after layer of the lead role upon filming. And while she may have never been at the center of a political sex scandal, Savre did find she related to Anna on a more human level.
“All of the characters Tyler Perry wrote are layered, complicated, and relatable. I don’t relate to her story and what she is going through specifically, but I do relate to her being a girl that has made mistakes and is trying her best to make a better life for herself than the one she left behind.”
When it’s all said and done, there is a lot to take away from a politically-based drama focused on a dimensional, and relatable woman. Savre hopes the show leaves its viewers on the edge of their seats, thirsty for more.
“Too Close To Home will get people hooked. Whether it’s through the relatable characters, twists and turns, or just a fun escape from everyday life. It is a show that people will and are enjoying to watch week after week!”
With her love of acting in full force, Savre can set her sights on new projects like CBS’ Blue Bloods and Awesomeness TV’s new season of T@gged. But keep your ears open, you just might hear Savre on the radio sooner rather than later. Savre has a background in singing, and wouldn’t deny the opportunity to make a record.
“[I would like to make] an album that is fun with lyrics that are honest and portray an important message. I love the unexpectedness of a fun, relatively pop-styled song having lyrics that speak volumes.”
And if she could collaborate with any artist alive today, she wouldn’t say “no” a certain DJ.
“Currently, I would love to work with Kygo. His music is so emotional and uninhibited. I feel he has a song for any mood I am in or want to be in.”
Too Close To Home air on TLC Mondays at 9/8 C.