One on One with Anthony Dalton II: Filming Season Two of Sistas, Working with Tyler Perry, & more
On Monday, October 12, I was able to do an interview with Anthony Dalton II of Tyler Perry’s Sistas which aired on Wednesday. During the interview, he talked about filming in a bubble, working with Tyler Perry, and the racial injustices going on in America.
DERRA HOWARD, HOST: Hey Anthony. Welcome!
ANTHONY DALTON II, Calvin Rodney on BET’S SISTAS: What’s going on?
HOWARD: Nothing much. How are you?
DALTON II: Good good.
HOWARD: You as well. So how you been?
DALTON II: Oh man. Just gearing up for this press run. But you know the new season is Wednesday. It’s been busy and different. You know with the whole pandemic and not actually being able to go to these media outlets and sit down and you know, but it’s all good though. We making the best of it.
HOWARD: So has everything been virtual for you with the Press?
DALTON II: Yeah, I haven’t done an interview with somebody since last year. Like sat down and actually done it. All my stuff that’s been virtual, zooms, IG lives, and stuff like that. But it’s cool though.
HOWARD: It has been an adjustment- I would imagine?
DALTON II: say. Oh, yeah. Definitely. It’s a new norm for now. I believe it shall pass. We have to make the best of it. That’s the good thing about the human condition-we know how to adapt.
HOWARD: So I want to jump right in there. Okay, and as you just start asking about your career life, so how was it filming this season of Sistas?
DALTON II: This season two of Sistas was different from any other production that I’ve ever worked on. First of all, we shoot very fast. Even if there wasn’t a pandemic we film extremely fast and this just kind of added onto it. We were in a bubble for-I think 10 days or a little less than 10. We actually wrapped earlier than what was expected. We shot 22 episodes of this season in 10 days. Last year, we shot 25. I think it was like 11 days or 12 days. The biggest thing is coming in with that energy like you had last season, but there are so many restrictions, you know. We got tested every day. We had to practice social distance when we weren’t filming, everybody had masks, there was so much hand sanitizer alcohol which is, you know, all kinds of stuff. So, the only time we got to really interact without a mask or the precautions was when we were filming. Once we got finished filming it was “cut put your mask back on now!”
You know, everybody lives in different places. Like L.A., I’m here in Atlanta, some people that live in Florida, and New York. So for us, we haven’t seen each other in almost a year. Of course, the first thing you want to do when you see one of your friends or your family that you haven’t seen in a minute is give them a hug. Dab them up. You know, but it was like no, no, no, we gotta practice social distancing. We gotta practice this. That was the big hang-up that I didn’t really like too much. Because my cast is like a family. I love them all and it was just kind of difficult with that. But like I said, we got through it and you know knocked out 22 episodes.
HOWARD : And that was really quick. So filming in the bubble is basically you guys are living there as well. Right?
DALTON II: No one in. No one out.
HOWARD: So, I know that was different.
DALTON II: Yeah, I mean it was well for me personally, you know just a little bit personally. My father had just passed away on the 7th and then I had to go to the bubble on the 9th.
HOWARD: I’m sorry to hear that. How did you cope with that?
DALTON II: Aw man, honestly, it was work. It was my cast, Tyler. Everybody was real supportive of what I was going through. And you know, I just knew my father would have wanted me to go back to work. You know, I just know the kind of man he was. He wasn’t going to sit there or tell me to sit and cry and mope. He’s like I’m in a better place now. You know, I can hear him now like that: “Don’t you mess up that black man’s money that he’s paying you like let it go and do your work. So, you know, that was a good thing. Plus, it was therapeutic because those who haven’t watched the show my father actually passes on the show the same way my father passed in real life. It was kind of like giving myself over to my art. It actually was therapeutic. And helped me through the process and once again. I cannot say enough about my cast- I can’t praise them enough. They would make sure I’m ok- “oh Anthony you okay?” They checked on me, they didn’t let me sit you know. Yeah, so it was cool.
HOWARD: Okay firstly, I love Calvin! When I’m watching you on television, you really play the character well. How are you similar to your character?
DALTON II: Calvin (laughs). Oh, I could tell you a lot of things that we aren’t we then we are not the same. Okay as far as similarities-compassion. I’m a very compassionate person. Calvin is too. He cares about others, respectful, very goal-oriented, and driven. I like to think I’m a decent dresser. Calvin would just up the ante with that. I mean, if I can wear a sweatsuit I’ll do it. Don’t get it twisted, it’s gonna be fresh. But Calvin’s gonna wear something that may have rhinestones or some stuff on it like that. But yeah family-oriented. I love my family. Calvin is real big on family and just really the main thing is just being compassionate. He has all these pluses you would think that he was. You know, Diva, arrogant, or conceited; but he’s not. He’s very loving. He understands who he is, even though other people may not.
HOWARD: So how is it working with Tyler Perry?
DALTON II: It’s everything that you would imagine and like a hundred times more. Tyler is one of the most giving and generous people. He has a great spirit. I’ve known him since- I want to say like 2011. But it’s just so inspirational watching his growth and his journey through the years. Just like how it is for someone who followed me. Ever since you know, maybe I even first got on Facebook or social media to all the way now to where people are like wow, I witnessed your journey is the same thing. I’ve witnessed Tyler’s whole journey and it was crazy. It’s in his mind. He still has so much further to go. We think once we hit a level of success that it can’t get any better than this. This man is a billionaire and this man didn’t even have to shoot all these shows. He’s still trying to challenge himself in other avenues. It’s just inspiring to be around him, to talk to him, pick his brain. Just watch how he moves, watch how he works. You know, we work fast like what we do at Tyler Perry Studios. It’s unlike anything else. We shoot a hundred and thirty pages a day. So anything less than that is a piece of cake for us. You know what I’m saying. So it’s kind of like being at a master class because I tell people all the time if you can work a TPS under those conditions you can work on anybody set. It’s not only that we get to do a show but we’re also learning and it’s strengthening us as a cast and as artists.
HOWARD: How do you feel about what’s going on right now with a racial Injustice going on?
DALTON II: Well, first I had to log off of social media for a little bit because I found myself getting very angry. It started hurting my mental health because everything I was seeing made me so angry. We live in the social media age like people rarely watch the news anymore. They get their news from the telephones. So the first thing you do when you wake up you is look at the phone “what happened or someone got shot.” Oh my God. You can carry anger all day and then by the time you go to bed and/or try to go to sleep you looking at your phone again. It’s something else that happened and then you can’t get any good sleep. I wasn’t getting any sleep at all.
I feel that this pandemic and the racial injustices that are happening in this world/country is shedding a light on something that some people swept under the rug. You know, with George Floyd you saw it. If you tried to spend that, there’s no way you could spin that. Some say “well, he was resisting.” No, he wasn’t. They have multiple angles on what happened. So you can’t even tell a lie and say that he was. If people have no issue with that, you’re a part of the problem in my opinion. You’re a part of the problem. I don’t care if you’re black, white we’re all human. We should show a level of compassion for our fellow men and women. It was just making me angry.
I protested. I was in the streets. It wasn’t Anthony the actor. I’m more than that, you know. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. So, I have no problem speaking out against racial injustice. I’ll tell you exactly who I’m voting for and it ain’t the one who’s in the office right now. I feel like I now try to look for a silver lining in everything, but I feel that Trump getting into office was a necessary evil to show this. We see just how ugly this country can be. You know what I’m saying. Now, I definitely do not want him to get a second term. So now with him being in office, it has allowed those people who are closet races to show their true colors. I feel like something will change. I’m always thinking positively no matter what the situation or circumstances are. I think we just need to practice more love and exercise more compassion throughout all of this.
HOWARD: Is it safe to say that you’re an activist now?
DALTON II: I think if someone calls me that. I mean I would wear that proudly. I personally wouldn’t call myself an activist. I’m human. My mother used to tell me all the time, you know if you see something going wrong and you don’t say anything about it. You’re just as guilty as the person who’s actually doing it. In these days and times, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye. We’ve done that for years. You know all that’s just the way it is. We have to speak out against this stuff. We just have to and it’s hard. Being Black in this country is hard. Being a Black woman is hard. I have a strong appreciation for Black Women. It’s hard but we’re the most resilient people on this planet, you know. We take a lot. You just can’t break our spirit. No matter what people do they cannot break us. And I love being Black. I wouldn’t want to trade this being you know. I saw a meme the other day that said being black is the hardest thing in the world, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
QUICK QUESTIONS WITH ANTHONY DALTON II
HOWARD: Okay Anthony. I have a few more questions, but they’re going to be quick questions. What’s your favorite color?
DALTON II: Royal Blue.
HOWARD: Dream collaboration?
DALTON II: Denzel Washington and Will Smith in a movie.
HOWARD: Your favorite person?
DALTON II: My Mama.
HOWARD: Do you speak Spanish?
DALTON II: No but if I get cast in a role that requires me to speak Spanish. I will get all the Rosetta Stone tutoring and everything. I need to portray that character, but poquito Espanol.
Watch Anthony Dalton II as Calvin Rodney in Tyler Perry’s Sistas, which will be airing every Wednesday on BET at 8pm CST/9pm EST.