‘Our Kind of People’: Joe Morton on a Secret Teddy’s Keeping & Directing ‘Out of the Norm’ Episodes

    [Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Our Kind of People Episode 7 “Fathers, Daughters, Sisters.”]

    There’s good and bad news for Teddy Franklin after he collapsed on Our Kind of People, as seen in “Fathers, Daughters, Sisters,” which was directed by series star Joe Morton.

    The good news is Teddy’s going to live. Furthermore, his daughters Angela (Yaya DaCosta) and Leah (Nadine Ellis) are by his bedside together when he wakes. The bad news is he also comes to in the hospital to discover that news has leaked that he has Parkinson’s.

    Morton discusses directing the episode and teases what’s ahead.

    The good news is Teddy survived his heart attack. But he’s still seeing ghosts at the end of it. How’s this experience going to change him?

    Joe Morton: A friend of mine years ago had a similar experience and became a lot more careful in his life because he realized how quickly life could be over. On some levels, that’s what happens to Teddy.

    And he’s taking the proper amount of medication now.

    He’s taking the proper amount of meditation. He’s looking at his daughters somewhat differently. He’s being a little bit more giving than usual.

    Now the world knows he has Parkinson’s. How’s he going to deal with that?

    Parkinson’s gets worse over time absolutely. But it’s not a completely debilitating disease. I have friends who have Parkinson’s and they take medication, so he can make his way through. It’s probably more on the part of other people to worry about it than on Teddy.

    Joe Morton, Nadine Ellis, Yaya DaCosta in Our Kind of People

    Brownie Harris/FOX

    Because he’s in the public eye and everyone looks at him, and also because of the business. What is coming up with the business because of all this attention on him?

    [They] focus on what needs to happen now, knowing that it’s taken a hit probably in the stock market and with the board. And so they try to stabilize by finishing up what they’ve got going, which for at this moment is the stadium deal.

    How does Teddy feel about his daughters at this point in the season with everything that’s happened?

    This episode finds a way to get Angela and Leah closer. I think he recognizes that. As you saw, he looks up from his bed at the end of the episode and says, “My girls.” I think he, for the first time, understands the value of being a father in a different way than before.

    Now Nate’s [McKinley Freeman] around…

    It’s interesting with Nate because Nate and Angela obviously have a relationship from the past. Angela’s relationship with Tyrique [Lance Gross] is in and out, given how Tyrique deals. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens between Angela and Nate.

    Joe Morton as Teddy in Our Kind of People

    Brownie Harris/FOX

    What made this the right episode for you to direct?

    I love things that step outside of the norm. So in this case, we have Teddy’s hallucinations and his “fever dreams,” which take us out of the norm. The research I had to do for heart attacks and what those procedures are was really fascinating. Moving from regular cameras to handheld, especially when we’re in the hospital scenes. It was very exciting. I loved the scenes on the beach with my brother. I love the concept of my older brother looking younger than I. I thought that was a lot of fun.

    What was the most challenging scene to direct?

    Probably the haircut scene. I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it to happen, but it’s at night, it’s with fire, and basically the idea was originally in the script; it was that Angela gave the speech and then she cut the hair. I said, “No, no. Why don’t we put those two things together?” So the idea was to pass back and forth past the fire, using the fire as our transitions and changing lenses, so that I got closer and closer with each pass. And so you went from him with dreads and by the time she gets to the end of that speech, she says, and you were born anew. And he is a different looking person.

    McKinley Freeman as Nate, Yaya DaCosta as Angela in Our Kind of People

    Brownie Harris/FOX

    What’s the biggest challenge Teddy’s going to be facing in the next few episodes?

    Lewis kind of gives it away, in a way. He says everybody’s gunning for Teddy and I think that’s exactly what’s going to be happening.

    Who does he trust then at this point?

    I think the only person he absolutely trusts without equivocation is Leah.

    He doesn’t know exactly where Angela stands.

    He’s protecting something. There is a secret that he is protecting, which I can’t tell you. So it’s not so much that he can’t trust her, it’s just that he doesn’t necessarily want her to find out what this secret is. That’s why he sometimes takes a turn that looks like he’s against her when in fact he’s really not. In my eyes, he’s trying to protect her.

    What else is coming up in the rest of the season?

    The big thing is that the finale of the season — [Episodes] 11 and 12 — will be a two-hour special. That’s when everything will sort of collide.

    What’s been your favorite change that we’ve seen in Teddy?

    His evolution with Angela has been really interesting. Because he’s protecting a secret, he’s been, at first, kind of very aloof with her and then that one scene, a few episodes back, where he comes into the office and he truly and sincerely says he wants to help her — I think that transition for Teddy was really important.

    Our Kind of People, Tuesdays, 9/8c, Fox

    Leave a reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here