Lynn Whitfield on the joys of playing “layered” character Lady Mae on ‘Greenleaf’
Ever since Greenleaf premiered on OWN in 2016, Lynn Whitfield has been masterfully playing the role of Lady Mae Greenleaf and the actress insists there are tons of surprises in store in the show’s fourth season.
theGrio caught up with the lovely lady to find out how she feels about the character she calls “resilient.”
On the series, Whitfield’s character is the matriarch of the Greenleaf family, which runs a prominent megachurch, Calvary Fellowship World Ministries.
“I love her spirit and I love that she really loves her family and absolutely has dedicated her life to them,” she says of Lady Mae. “She’s very witty in a very subtle kind of way. I love that. I like her style.”
Lynn Whitfield admits that there have been some challenging parts of the role as well. “Her need to control everything is a challenge. She’s not sensitive. She isn’t going to cry. She’s always strong,” she says. ” Also, I have such a great relationship with my own daughter, so to have such a complex relationship with Grace where we haven’t been getting along for years, is not something I can relate to.”
According to Whitfield, viewers will start to see some other sides of Lady Mae this season.
“She’s so layered. This season will be just like pulling back the layers of an onion,” she reveals. “You have an idea of the things she’s carrying inside of her. We know she has experienced trauma. Underneath the style and beautiful hair and beautiful table settings you know that there’s something more going on. So the strength isn’t always straight.”
Check out the season 4 synopsis:
Season four finds the Greenleafs attempting to maintain a united front in the face of losing Calvary to Bob Whitmore (Beau Bridges) and Harmony & Hope Ministries, but secrets past and present create what could be fatal fractures in the family’s fragile foundation. Lady Mae (Lynn Whitfield) and Grace (Merle Dandridge) form an uneasy alliance as they endeavor to reclaim their church from Harmony & Hope — Grace from within the church where she’s operating as interim head pastor and Lady Mae using her persuasive ways from the outside.
But Grace’s mission becomes complicated when a mysterious phone call sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to reveal her biggest secret yet. The Bishop (Keith David) continues working to mend his rift with his wife Lady Mae, while day by day Harmony & Hope’s grip on Calvary tightens.
Greenleaf airs Tuesday night at 10/9c on OWN.