Geoffrey Owens is still riding high on the wave prosperity after being job-shamed for working at Trader Joes.
In a new interview with Good Morning America, the actor can be seen on set at Tyler Perry‘s Atlanta studios. He scored a recurring role in season 6 of Perry’s hit OWN drama, The Haves and the Have Nots, after the producer/filmmaker heard about the job-shaming controversy.
“There’s this little sense of mischief, I think, to Tyler — as well as generosity. Because I had just said, ‘I don’t think I would really feel comfortable getting offered work because of the situation,’ — and darn it, what does he do? He offers me work,” Owens, 57, said with a laugh.
Perry, 49, told GMA he understands Owens’ situation because he came from humble beginnings himself, recalling his days “sleeping in my car, struggling, wondering how I was going to pay the bills.”
“And to get to this place, to have seen both sides of this, has been really incredible,” he said. “That’s why I feel like I’m the guy for the underdog. Sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s okay. You do what you have to do in between … until it gets there.”
Perry said when he heard about Owens’ situation, he immediately got to work writing him into the show.
“I said, ‘Hm, I’ve got something for you. I’ll write a senator in, make you a senator in this thing,’ ” he explained. “I called him up and the next week I had written him into 11 shows. When he showed up the first day, I saw him in costume and I had 20,000 more ideas running into my head for him.”
“It’s incredible to be written for,” Owens said. “I’m really proud and excited to be part of his world. He’s so inspiring.”
And the admiration is mutual.
“He teaches me a lot,” said Perry of Owens, who has taught Shakespeare at Yale. “He teaches this stuff, so I’m watching him — his subtleties and his moments and his nuances and the things that he’s doing. I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s really good.’ “
In addition to The Haves and the Have Nots, Owens was cast in one episode of NCIS: New Orleans‘ season 5, set to air later this month.
He also received $25,000 from Nicki Minaj, but graciously opted to pass along the money to other actors who are in need, donating it to the Actor’s Fund in memory of the late Earle Hyman, who played Bill Cosby‘s father on The Cosby Show.
The Haves and the Have Nots airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.