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Billy Warlock On A. J. Quartermaine: "That Character Has Never Been Given A Fair Shake!"

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

From one A. J. Quartermaine to another!  After the news broke this morning that Sean Kanan is out at General Hospital, after Kanan revealed he was disappointed in the writing and the direction they were taking the character and by mutual decision with the series EP, Frank Valentini to part ways,  another former A.J., Billy Warlock, took to his Twitter account to express his feelings over the show losing Kanan and the character of A. J. itself!

Warlock first tweeted, “I must say if it’s true about SK I am truly bummed.  Not just for him but for AJ as well. SK was a great AJ! Go B&B.”  But then followed up with another tweet which expressed, “Believe when I say I’m not lobbying. It’s just how I feel. That character has never been given a fair shake.”

When you look at all the twist and turns for the character of A.J. over the years, does Warlock have a point? 

What do you think?  Has the character of A.J. been bungled over the years by various regimes at GH?  Let us know your thoughts!

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jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

I have had a lot of bad luck over the years so i never had any problem the way A.J. was written except for the relish storyline and his story dropped for two months…besides A.J. can always return one day with either Sean K., Billy W. or even with a newbie like Micheal M. ex Adam or Billy M. ex Billy from Y&R…no big deal to me but sad to see only a few Qs left!!!

Reagan
Reagan

Agree. And like I said in the Sean leaving post, Frank and Ron did the character no favors this time around for sure.

Sal Piscioneri
Sal Piscioneri

yes yes yes agree>>>>>>>>>>.

Rosana
Rosana

Well even it may be true but if he was looking for work, this may not happen now being A.J again. Its tough there are budget restraints that do not allow everything, I understand as I live within a budget in my personal life and yes its tough but a necessity and im sure the soaps are the same way. Good luck to SK maybe sometime in the future he will return.

E
E

AJ has been a whiny crybaby for literally decades. His character needs to grow. Mainly up. No matter who plays AJ the victimhood has to go. No one cares about a 40 year mess there’s got to be more to AJ than drunkeness and misery.

Dani
Dani

Are they recasting or killing off AJ? I am not getting a clear picture on this. Does anyone know?

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

I believe he’ll be in a coma and sent to that same clinic where Nina was supposed to be!!!

Avatar610
Avatar610

The fact that BOTH actors have publicly complained about how unfairly the character has been treated speaks volumes. Heaven knows that there are a lot of longtime GH viewers like me who have always hoped that the writers would FINALLY stop making A.J. the show’s ‘whipping boy’ and give him real growth and happiness. I hope Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati are raked over the coal over this. If they’re smart, they’ll keep A.J. in a coma and recast him with a strong, dynamic actor who will FINALLY put Sonny in his place. Here’s a crazy casting idea for a new A.J.- how aout MICHAEL MUHNEY??

etypical
etypical

isn’t Michael Muhney that guy that got really handsy with a teen actress on his old show?

Susan
Susan

The only proof so far that MM put hands on HK comes from TMZ. Really! He would be great as new Jason, AJ or anything they want to give him. I think he is the best actor in daytime.

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

Thats one of my picks…M.M. if they eventually recast…and i suggested A.J. to be in a coma in another post!!!

rebecca1
rebecca1

Sean Kanan is plenty strong…a whole lotta good-looking…and I’m sure he could have put Sonny in his place if the writing was there! Sucks.

mollie
mollie

100% agree. It’s the writing. Sean K. plenty strong enough to play a strong AJ. Character development / storyline is the problem.

mbmomof3
mbmomof3

Ditto. SK could have made AJ amazing if the writers had written the story that way. I would have loved to see AJ as Sonny’s downfall.

harry
harry

Rebecca, now I may be reading between the lines but I don’t think MB is happy with his storyline either as he is dropping hints about extending his contract which is up on 7 months. He may be blowing smoke as he is oft to do, but I really don’t think he relishes (no word play intended) the idea of his character lying to his son that he would not hurt AJ, only to break his promise in his mis guided belief that AJ killed Connie. See? This storyline does not only inflict harm on the character of AJ, it inflicts irreparable harm on Sonny as well.

rebecca1
rebecca1

Hey Harry…where’d you read that? Was it on Twitter?

I don’t know…Maurice Bernard has barely done anything but GH…(as far as I know a few TV movies here and there…). Not sure how in demand he would be on another soap; on the one hand others may not want to touch him because he’s been Sonny for soooooo long they themselves might have him pegged that character forevermore.

On the other hand…another soap may just swoop him up since he’s been (seeminlgly) unavailable before.

As for his wanting to leave because of the current storyline…I’d find that surprising for a few reasons. First…he’s at the forefront once again. When the new writers came on he had griped that while he welcomes new blood (no mafia pun there!) to the show…there needs to be a balance. Meaning, he didn’t like the facd that he was getting less screen time. Now it seems they’ve returned him back so he’s probably thrilled.

I also think (at Sean Kanan’s/AJ’s expense) that a story where he has to hide what he did from Michael…or live in fear of being found out…or perhaps being found out and the repercussions (not sure which direction they’re taking this) could make for very good drama.

As for Sean Kanan…you know how I feel. Big loss for me as a fan/viewer.

Michele
Michele

I thought SK was terrific as AJ and hope he’s happy on B&B. I would LOVE for AJ to be recast with Michael Muhney and for the character to be written differently. MM would be amazing. His multi dimensional, riveting performances would be incredible to watch as AJ!

mama22
mama22

Absolutely. I was excited to see Sean Kanan back in the role of AJ and the return of the Quartermaine family. They totally dropped the ball. But they will never admit it.

dmr
dmr

I agree, 1,000%!

AJ
AJ

I watch GH from time to time, but Sean Kanan as AJ brought me back to the show.. they really messed up by letting him go. Kanan played AJ better than every other actor in that part.

#EPICFAIL

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

I couldn’t agree more. I liked both SK and BW as AJ. I always found it odd how AJ was treated so badly (by the writers).

DonnaM
DonnaM

And with both actors, the fans are with A.J., no matter how he’s trashed by the writers.

carol
carol

I don’t think that BW would make a good AJ at all. Just can’t see him in this role so I hope they either recast with someone else or let AJ remain off the canvas.

etypical
etypical

you know he’s been AJ before, right?

Lynda Robinson
Lynda Robinson

B W was a great A J and he is a great actor the writers never have given him a fair shake in any of his roles and I don’t know why he is awesome!

harry
harry

I initially thought Bill Warlock was an odd choice as an AJ recast, but he made it work interjecting a wounded son vulnerability into his performance. His comments here show what a class act he is and I find it very sweet that he not only feels bad for Sean, he feels bad for the character he once played.
No matter who is playing him, I am forever rooting for AJ. Just once, just ONCE! I’d like to see this man win.

Julie
Julie

Agree!

dmr
dmr

It was awful! No chemistry with anyone.

Shay
Shay

He’ll always be “Ricky Flyer” to me……

k/kay
k/kay

He is not lobbying for a job first of all they have to put AJ in a coma if they are going to keep Sonny & Ava around obviously they are AJ has to go. MW is the new it girl on this show and I am already bored with her and it has nothing to do with her personally. Just add her to all the rest of the over the top acting on GH.

Mark
Mark

This is what I mean when I say gh is a mess right now a Quartermaine character with long term ties to the show should not be treated like this. I’m glad sean is coming back to bold and beautiful which is a much better show anyway!

mfarris70
mfarris70

AJ was a drunk and a kidnapper who pretended to be dead to avoid prosecution. To have him be a romantic leading man right out would have been ridiculous. Plus his story was stalled when the show had to switch gears when Kimberly McCullough came back.

The fact that both actors have spoken publicly only speaks to their lack of class. If you’re a GH hater you’re going to twist everything to support that hate.

harry
harry

Ahem, but you think it’s okay for Franco, the man who orchestrated Michael’s rape and who tortured and tormented Jason to be Carly’s romantic leading man? You think it’s okay that a cold blooded murderer like Julian is having an affair with Alexis?
I disagree with your assessment of both actors having a lack of class for speaking the truth. Warlock did not disparage Ron or the show, he merely said this character he once played never got a break–tis true. And Sean said the writing for the character was not to his liking. Neither actor said anything that we viewers didn’t already understand.

mfarris70
mfarris70

Where did I comment on Franco or Julian? Don’t put words in my mouth.

I never said AJ wasn’t a viable character, but he needed to go through some rehab, literally and figuratively, before I could see him as a leading man. And “speaking the truth” is problematic in that “the truth” is subjective and not always appropriate or respectful. It’s best to know when to say nothing and merely shake hands and move on.

k/kay
k/kay

What does class have anything to do with this? RC can not take anybody not thinking he parted the Red Sea. The man needs to seek therapy nobody is going to love everything you write. Live with it!!! Gosh there are always hit and misses he is as thin skinned as I have ever seen he is nasty on twitter just when people are making funny jokes. GH will be in the toilet soon if he does not become a grown up FV is not the problem RC is.

boes
boes

Oh please. Plenty of people are unhappy with the writing on GH these days and that doesn’t make them GH “haters” – it makes them people unhappy with the writing.
It’s completely possible to love a show and hate the current direction and writing. We all don’t have to think Ron C. is a genius or else we don’t “love” the show.
I love the show but Ron C. and his “talent”……not so much.
And because I love the show I wish they’d get someone in to write it who actually CARED about GH, which we haven’t had in at least a decade.

It’s starting to feel like AMC.

mfarris70
mfarris70

And once again someone who disagrees with me is putting words in my mouth. Show me where I said Mr. C is a genius or that you don’t love the show. I didn’t.

You misunderstand the term “hater.” A hater is someone who only posts negative comments. I completely understand viewers being unhappy with the show, as there are viewers who don’t like what’s happening on every show on television. But the ratings hold up and that’s what the network cares about.

harry
harry

MFarris, now follow closely since my point eluded your grasp. You said that AJ could not be considered as romantic leading man based on his past. Your stance is negated by men who have committed far worse crimes (ie, Sonny, Jason, Julian and Franco) being given romantic lead statuses. That is why I brought those characters up–to negate your rather silly point.

harry
harry

I agree, Bose, and I am so tired of the overuse, misuse of the term”hater.” It’s on my list of pet peeves along with the overuse and misuse of the word “literally.”
It is literally driving me insane!

rebecca1
rebecca1

mfarris70…I agree with Harry. by what you wrote you implied that AJ alone could/should not be a leading man because of his ways. however, even by omission…what does that say about Sonny, Rick, Julian, Franco, Luke…they have ALL committed crimes and have been center stage and pegged as “leading men.”

As for AJ kidnapping anyone…if you remember it was HIS SON that was stolen from HIM! He was rightfully a distraught, desperate man willing to do anything to get his son alone…prove to him he loved him…that he didn’t leave him…and to give him his side of the story. He didn’t hurt anyone…his intentions were always good and on the defensive…where people put him. I think your take on the character is a tad…a huge tad…off.

mfarris70
mfarris70

Again, putting words in my mouth. I’m trying to share an opposing point of view and enjoy discussion but don’t attribute things to me that I never said. Seems to be a habit with people who don’t like the show.

Yes, just about every man in PC has committed crimes and is now a romantic interest. My point was that AJ also did and needed to be mended a bit before I could cheer him on in his quest for Elizabeth. I was enjoying watching him try to be a better man, to make a huge mistake, to try and get his life together. I thought it was great story. And by the way, I think that faking Michael’s death probably hurt a lot of people!

rebecca1
rebecca1

mfarris79…I enjoy discussion too and am not…nor do I have a desire to…argue over a soap. So, take this with a grain of salt and part of a “lively” discussion.

I STILL disagree with your comments. First, I never thought AJ was a bad man to begin with, thus I didn’t really feel he needed to be a “better man.” I think he was vulnerable, hurt and a scapegoat. I think his actions were justifiable…he had no recourse in getting his son back, his life was threatened and harmed numerous times by Sonny when he attempted to claim his son. When I said he didn’t “hurt” anyone I meant physically. He had no help legally, nor from his family… parents to Emily to his own brother who helped keep his son away from him. As I said the kidnapping was a desperate act by an understandably desperate man.

Alcoholism is a condition that needs support and understanding…not hate and venom that was spewed upon this character…with the hideous assumption that Michael would be better raised by a murderer with known enemies than in the Q household. It was ridiculous from the start…though made for a good storyline.

The problem now is many AJ fans had eagerly awaited the character’s return as well as Sean Kanan’s…and once again the writers made AJ a victim who could never catch a break. It looked as though they brought him back to be a new power player…with success, a relationship and his son by his side…but ultimately reduced him to right back where he had been so unfortunately written…

Was really loving both the character of AJ….someone I actually cared about and rooted for. Also loved Sean Kanan’s portrayal. I think he and Michael shared a resemblance…I think their on-screen chemistry was great…and I think AJ added a touch of humanity to the show.

And…if he’s continually bad-mouthed even after the character’s departure, that too will be exasperating.

Aria
Aria

Yes he does, it’s clear that no matter whose in charge they can’t seem to write fairly for any character that goes against sonny . They already are turning Anna incompetent just to make sonny look good…

Cindy Tendollen
Cindy Tendollen

I so agree with you. I am so tired of Sonny.

dmr
dmr

As much as I agree with Billy Warlock on his statement, please do NOT bring him back as AJ! The only AJ for me is Sean Kanan. I’m so disappointed to hear that he is leaving; though, I can’t blame him. There was so much potential for AJ, having Sean back-bringing the Q’s forefront and center, ELQ, his relationship with Michael, his chemistry with Maura West, Laura Wright, etc. I’ll miss Sean.

Libby
Libby

I have thought if they recast Jason, which I think GH needs to do or entice Steve Burton back somehow someway,,,

But if they recast Jason with Billy Miller or really any other actor – the resemblance between SK and SB could be distracting and make it harder for the new actor to quickly assimilate on the show.

I am sure there is much more to the reason for the changes.. but this could be a contributing factor.

swag
swag

Why is it every time a male character needs to be cast Michael Muhney’s name is alway’s mentioned? I would like to see a recast ( and not MM) and see a sober AJ.

su0000
su0000

yes!!
Michael Muhney is an excellent actor and would bring his A-Game to GH.. and his million of fans with him to GH..
Michael Muhney would make a great Q ..

I tweeted FV and RC to grab Michael Muhney !!!!

Jimmy
Jimmy

Honestly, I could really see Billy Miller as A.J., I think he’d be amazing… Michael Muhney seems more fit to play Jason in my opinion. I’m sad Sean Kanan is leaving though, I liked his portrayal of A.J.

I wasn’t a viewer back when Billy Warlock played A.J. but I watched him as Ben Hollander on Y&R back in 2007 & 2008 and I really liked him. I agree with his comments about A.J., since his return he hasn’t really had any great material, other than his relationship with Elizabeth, which I was really hoping would work out.

su0000
su0000

I liked the character AJ.. He is full of drama and always in a mess lol
Kanan is an actor.
He is hired to act a part/character
If Kanan doesn’t like what he is doing then he should leave..
He is not a writer or directer he is an actor..
I wish him the best in finding what he wants..

Kanan did not his roll/character at Y&R either..
when leaving from Y&R he did comment he was at his best being the bad guy and that was rolls he wanted to play..

Jess
Jess

Bingo.

Lin
Lin

I have never been a fan of AJ, however…. I thought he was coming back this time sober and being a mensch. He acted stupidly, besides the drinking he confronted someone he believed to be a killer, and he believed someone he hardly knew (same person, Ava.) the character has potential. Perhaps if they have A.J. leave to go to a facility like Betty Ford, someday he can return. I think the writing on GH is getting worse and worse.

Cindy Tendollen
Cindy Tendollen

It is too bad that SK is leaving. I always liked him as AJ. I hope they don’t kill him off. I am so sick of Sonny and now Ava getting away with the things they do.

KM
KM

Regardless of AJ’s problems in the past RC and FV had an opportunity to reinvent the character and rebuild the Quartermaines. Instead we got…RELISH??? And what ever happened with Edward’s will, the missing Q heir, the battle for control of ELQ and the fate of PickleLila anyway?

I don’t know if I’d say the character of AJ never got a fair shake but SK certainly didn’t. It’s a mystery to me why SK/AJ was even brought back in the first place when Cartini clearly didn’t have a story in place beyond a stupid relish sight gag on Chew.

You gotta wonder what they’re thinking sometimes.

Colleen
Colleen

No disrespect to the characters but for years GH has been mostly the Sonny/Carly/Jason/Sam show. You’d think there were no other characters on the show. When Frank and Ron came in other characters were given a chance, finally. However, I’ve noticed that a lot of characters are either MIA or aren’t given a storyline. AJ being one of those characters. I have never been a big fan but it would be nice to see the character doing something other than what he has been doing. AJ has never really fully been given a chance to show potential as a character. Hopefully they will recast the role and not kill ANOTHER Quartermaine off the show.

steve
steve

ATTN GH
Michael E Knight for new AJ
Imagine the chemistry with Chad Duell and Jane Elliot.
Best wishes on B&B, Sean. Will miss you.
But life goes on, hopefully, for AJ.

4everDAYS
4everDAYS

M.E.K. is too old.

steve
steve

MEK is 54, two years older than the longest AJQ, BW. Also SK is 47. MEK looks darn good for 54 IMO. Anyway, actors age irrelevant. Just ask William Devry, just eight (?) years older than “daughter” Kelly Monaco.

steve
steve

And was RH (Franco) too old? Didn’t seem to matter he was in his forties, even though James (Franco, original Franco) is in his thirties.

harry
harry

Not a bad idea, Steven and yes, Michael Knight looks at least 5 years younger than his age. He’s be great, however, I simply don’t trust Ron not to continue with his ruination of this character. He seems primarily interested in introducing new characters (2 new 20 somethings will soon be shoring up to Port Charles) and boasting those characters. Right now, we have Robocop who is such a bad actor he makes his bare chest upstage him in order to distract.
But I adore Michael Knight, think he’s a very gifted actor who has the ability to make the viewers fall in love with him even when he’s screwing up.

rachie
rachie

I was definitely hoping for something better and once again they made him an drunken crybaby. Its ridiculous you would think the new writers would come up with improved characters but not true some are just not worth watching. good luck to sk he deserves a good role sorry it couldnt be on our show.

JT
JT

These writers and this producer is the one totally lacking in class. He consistently brings back characters from the past for the sole purpose of destroying them or making them look cartoonish and foolish in an effort to prop up a newer cast. Im ashamed that the soap press tolerates this practice and condones it. Im ashamed that producers think this is a way to go. GH is definitely now on the wrong track. I had hope for a new producer but he is doing the same thing that awful former producer did and is doing now to Y&R. Once Y&R became the Burton hour, it become worthless and I cancelled it. History should be respected, characters deserve integrity of character and the audience some respect. Im sad to say these new producers have little respect for the genre or the audience and they are ruining once great soaps. They sure broke my soap addiction.

su0000
su0000

I disagree with every thing you said..
GH is a suburb soap in all ways..
Never forget; GH has ”doubled” it’s viewers in a short time..
So, all is well ..
I have great respect for ALL at GH..
They have done great work and have kept me fully awake and wanting more.. And kept GH on the air, daily..
soaps have changed since 1970 everything moves forward and in other directions.. GH has moved along very well.. 🙂

harry
harry

GH has not doubled its viewers. Ratings are up for all soaps right now, but that is a matter of default considering there is no more AMC and OLTL to watch on either ABC or Prospect.

Marjorie Manford
Marjorie Manford

You must be kidding me suoOOOO if you think that crap is great. The show is very cartoonish and campy. Way to many new characters coming in all at once and there not tied to any core characters. Your right soaps have changed since the 70’s back then they were well written.

boes
boes

Wonderfully said.
What is happening at GH right now reminds me of what happened to AMC – and it’s not a good memory.

There are good writers out there – I wish GH would find one.

su0000
su0000

Soap writers are extremely hard to find, they are a rare breed..
Writers do not want to 80-100 pages of script, daily..
And to be able to connect past 20yrs to date..
Mostly writers would not want to put up with the soap fans..
They usually are a hateful hoard who bad mouth them at every breath .. lol .. who would want that put on them..
We are very lucky to have soap writers still hanging in there..

soaps switch writers but its rare a new writer enters the soap world.. the demands of a soap writer are very high.. I’d say stress off the charts..
be thankful we have writers.. 🙂

harry
harry

Boes, AMC was my first soap–once upon a time it was a great soap under Agnes Nixon’s tenure. But the last 5 or 7 years of it was simply dreadful. It was as if it were cannibalizing itself, as if it were trying to run off viewers. When it was cancelled, I didn’t mourn because I had already mourned its passing.
Yes, I am getting the same feeling about GH. It has become so bad it almost feels deliberate.

harry
harry

Sue, I do not know where you come up with your facts (the mother ship?) but soap writers are NOT hard to find nor are they a rare breed. What is a rare breed are EMPLOYED soap writers. I know of many qualified, unemployed soap writers who would jump at the chance to write for GH and they would do a much better job than Ron who ruins veteran characters, writes choppy storylines and runs off actors who are disenchanted with his writing.

Charday
Charday

AJ was bungled (again) by the writers, but would be great to see Warlock back if Kanan had to go.

Marjorie Manford
Marjorie Manford

Would love to see Billy Warlock back but Ron only going to destroy AJ no matter who’s playing the role.

4everDAYS
4everDAYS

Go back to DAYS, B.W.!!!

Ann Marie
Ann Marie

I agree with Sean comments about the writing of his character.

Marjorie Manford
Marjorie Manford

He was right of course. Ron has a temper tantrum on Twitter this guy is nuts and needs to go. Sadly i don’t think his going anywhere.

Judy
Judy

AJ never had a story to being with! He was a drunk, didn’t have a life! They could have done better for AJ. Got help for his drinking, had a relationship with Liz or someone else, a better foundation for Michael….. ya the writers didn’t do absolutely nothing for AJ. Cheers!

Gjose
Gjose

Amen !!!! AJ was never given a chance to have a real family like most people do.
He was always the villain.

Jess
Jess

Curious as to how Billy really feels. Does he mean the character has never been given a fair shake or the actors portraying him have never been given a fair shake? Or is it both. Glad to see he holds no bitterness and has moved on in his life and as an actor. Wait what show is he on now? What exactly is he doing now?

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

I for one am going to miss Sean Kanan. Although Billy Warlock is a talented actor, to me, Sean Kanan was always AJ. The best part of his return were his scenes with Chad Duell as Michael. They really did seem like father/son, but the rest was just the same old, same old. AJ as a punching bag for Tracy, Ned, and Sonny. It galls me that AJ was considered to be a bad father because of his alcoholism, but a gangster who breaks glassware, and treasts women like crap, is considered a good father! The show had ample opportunity to let the audience know what exactly AJ was up to all the years that he was away. I’m pretty sure he didn’t spend all his time in the clinic playing pinochle with Cesar Faison! Also the point about the missing Quartermaine heir is valid, whatever happened to that storyline? When does Tracy find the time to run ELQ, since she seems to spend most of her time worrying about Luke Spencer.

Diane
Diane

I always felt that Sean Kanan was one of the best AJ’s. The character, though an alcoholic, has always been dumped on be everyone throughout the years, Sonny, Carly etc. It comes down to the writing. They wanted Aj to be the drunk and Jason, though a criminal, to be the golden boy. Good Luck to Sean at B&B

General Hospital

Ingo Rademacher Returns As GH’s Jax Beginning In May

Things will get more interesting in the lives of Josslyn (Eden McCoy), Carly (Laura Wright), Sonny (Maurice Benard) and many others on the GH canvas with the arrival back in Port Charles of Jasper Jacks.  That’s because as previously announced, Ingo Rademacher is headed back to the ABC daytime drama series to reprise his signature role.

Circle May 7th for when you will see Jax back in action.  According to EW.com. “He’s back to see his daughter Josslyn and ex-wife Carly”   Jax will also share scenes with Steve Burton (Jason) and of course Maurice Benard (Sonny).

Looks like Jax may be back to help out Josslyn in her time of need as her boyfriend Oscar’s (Garren Stitt) final days seem to be drawing near, or does something else also bring his attention back to Port Charles?

It’s been a bit since Ingo played Jax on GH having last appeared on the soap in April of 2017.  Ingo eventually landed the role as the recast Thorne Forrester on CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful, a part he played till December of 2018.

Back in March, the actor originally from down under shared on his Instagram account: “Won’t be long now.  Just had my fitting. All new look for Jax. Start shooting next week. No air date yet. Stay tuned. Can’t wait!”

So, excited for some Jax on GH? What do you think will bring him back? What do you think will keep him in town? Comment below.

 

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General Hospital

GH’s Coby Ryan McLaughlin Talks: Shiloh’s ‘Dawn Of Day’ Followers, Playing A Cult Leader, And His Co-Stars

Ever since the arrival in Port Charles of the mysterious “David Henry Archer” (Hank) now better known now as “Shiloh” (Coby Ryan McLaughlin), the minds of several members of the community have been revealed to, or have fallen under his spell.

For Shiloh is the cult leader of the group “Dawn of Day”.  He wields his manipulative skills to entrap unsuspecting people in his quest for power and control.   And make no mistake about it … he certainly has a target for Sam (Kelly Monaco), and an ax to grind with her.   For in her past, “the con-artist” Sam apparently swindled Shiloh’s father leaving him with next to nothing.  In addition to that, it has been noted, that Shiloh shared combat time in Afghanistan with Drew Cain (Billy Miller), before changing his name and coming to the town, where says he owes Drew for saving his life.

In story, one of his most loyal followers, Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) was to be initiated in the inner-circle of the cult, and after drinking from the cup as part of the ritual which drugged her, she was saved by Jason (Steve Burton ) who got her out of the “Dawn of Day” house and to a secret location, leaving Shiloh infuriated and needing to cover his tracks.  As the story has played out, we learn that Brad (Parry Shen) has also been bitten by the “Dawn of Day” bug and believes in Shiloh’s musing.  So much so that he wiped the evidence from the cup Krisina drank out of that Jason provided to Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) for testing in the hospital.  The GH audience has also learned that Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) was one of Shiloh’s favorite former members of the cult.  She has revealed she had a child with the guy (the baby she thinks is being raised by Brad) and needs to make sure he never finds out.  But, does Shiloh secretly know?

When we last saw Shiloh on Thursday’s episode of GH, he went into the files of the “Dawn of Day” followers and found Kristina’s.  He opened it, and we finally learn her “pledge” – a deep rooted secret from her past that one must share as part of the journey with the cult.  It revealed, that Shiloh knows that Kristina was abused by her former boyfriend Kiefer and that her mother, Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) ran him down and killed him with her car.  Kristina knows about it first-hand, because she saw it happen as she was in the car with Alexis.  What will Shiloh eventually do with this Intel?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Coby Ryan McLaughlin, who has been the catalyst for much of the latest trouble brewing on-screen on GH about: the complexities of playing such a dynamic, and yet terrifying character, what has it been like mixing it up with the stellar cast of the ABC daytime drama series, and what he thinks Shiloh’s next move might be.  Here’s what Coby had to say about all and more!

What do you think about the reaction of the GH audience to Shiloh?  Is it what you expected?

COBY:  I’ve never really played a bad guy like this.  It’s interesting playing a villain because they love to hate you.  I’ll go on Instagram every now and then and throw elbows at the fans.  It’s really a trip.  The thing I like about this guy is that he’s not completely diabolical.  There are other things going on with this guy; he has other agendas as well.  It’s interesting seeing people react to what it is that I am doing while I have a storyline that is playing out.

Courtesy/ABC

It’s is a bit of a trip as you say; because you have to, in many ways, be subtle in the manipulation as a cult leader would do.  Did you do any research on cult leaders before stepping into Shiloh’s shoes?

COBY:  I didn’t do much when I initially got the part, because I actually know some people like this.  I think as actors, one of the most interesting parts of our jobs is that we just get to sit back and observe things about people’s behaviors.  There are certain people who I have come across where my “Spidey senses” start tingling, and you think, “Well, I’m not going to get involved with this person, but what a fascinating individual.  This behavior is so fascinating.”  However, once I started this gig, yes, I did do research.   I’ll tell you, the one thing that a lot of these guys have in common is that they are extraordinarily exuberant.  They have just this energy about them, and they are seemingly humble.  They have these grandiose visions and these delusions of grandeur, but they do it in a way where you’re like, “Huh.  That almost seems kind of normal.”  In order to get a large number of people to follow you, you’ve got to be charismatic, you’ve got to be saying something that people really tap into and want to hear.  The behavior and psychology behind it are really interesting.  I watched this one documentary and these people literally had no idea … until they did.  They literally had no idea that they were in a cult until they woke up, and they were like, “Holy s**t.  This isn’t right.  This doesn’t feel right.”   Shiloh is an interesting role to play, and it’s written so straight down the line that I really don’t have to push anything, because the guy is written as what he is.   It’s really cool to be able to find all of the little things in that character, so I try to make him a whole bunch of different things to different people.

Did you know from the beginning that Shiloh would turn out to be this cult leader in the “Dawn of Day” storyline?  Who did you screen-test with that landed you the part?

COBY:  No, I didn’t know what he was going to be in the beginning.  I knew that he had an agenda, and when Mark Teschner (casting director, GH) told me that he was going to be a cult leader, I was like, “Oh, okay.  I know what I want to do.”   I have always had the opinion that cult leaders don’t come off bad… they’ve got to be likable.  You have to be able to relate to them in a way.  You have to be able to look at them and be like, “Ah well, maybe in certain circumstances what this guy is doing is okay.”  You have to be able to almost justify some of the behavior until you can’t anymore.  I screen tested with Laura Wright (Carly), and she is really fantastic.  We sit in the makeup chair and shoot the breeze all the time.

Courtesy/ABC

So, is Shiloh infatuated with Sam?   What does he ultimately want from her?

COBY:  Yes, but he wants a lot. (Laughs) There’s a lot of backstory to him and what really brought him to Port Charles.  Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and I have conversations all of the time about what this guy really is, and what his ultimate goals are, and that may change.  I think that Shiloh is a guy who has come to find his power, and the more powerful he gets, the more he wants.   You know, I’ve become a fan of General Hospital now.  I never watched the show before I got this gig.  I was a Days of our Lives guy years ago.  Don’t tell anybody. (Laughs).

Okay… we will not tell. (Laughs) Ah, sorry!  That’s got to be in the interview! (Laughs)

COBY:  All of  sudden, I will get a message from HR saying, “You’ve been great, but…” (Laughs)   But as to what Shiloh wants with Sam, you know I will read the scripts in advance, and I’ll start creating certain these things for myself in my own mind, such as: “What if he wanted to screw over Sam because of what she did to his father?”  What if it started like that, but all of the sudden he’s coming into some prominence and he wants to go after Sonny’s empire, and what if he wants to run the whole town and screw everybody…?”  I go through this whole thing.  It could literally go anywhere at any time, which is so cool about the soap world.

Without revealing what it is, do you have an idea of what the endgame is for Shiloh, or do you not?

COBY:  No, I don’t.  I think that it changes.  This is a really malleable medium, I’m coming to discover.  I think that nothing is set in stone.  I ultimately know what I want… just because I ultimately think that the foundation of the whole thing is rooted deep within this individual’s character: his emotional makeup, and how he was treated.  There is a lot of revenge going on with this guy, but there is a lot more than that.  He’s not just motivated by revenge.

Courtesy/ABC

Something had to have happened to him, of course, because you know how it works in soap operas!?  If you’re completely evil or bad, and even if you do horrendous things, and they want to keep you on the show, they have to find a way to humanize the character.  Otherwise, you’re there to cause trouble for a time, and you’re killed-off.  Shiloh’s tentacles seem more far-reaching then viewers first suspected.  He has this thing for Willow, who used to be in the cult, and now he’s got Brad under this thumb. What did you think about how much Shiloh is intertwined with and affecting the Port Charles canvas right now?

COBY:  I think that he is an apex predator.  I think that he sees certain people, and he knows how to utilize them for what he wants.  It’s kind of like a chess game.  He knows where Brad is.  He’s always wanted Willow, because it’s the one that got away, so there are certain things he uses as a means to an end, and there are certain things that I think he wants just for himself.  I think the relationships that he creates with this “higher-ups” in the town are because he knows he can utilize them, and there are some personal relationships that he keeps personal.  Shiloh has his own reasons for doing what he does, especially with Willow.  I think he was grooming her to be something.  Just the fact that she left him … really bothers him.

Photo: ABC

He doesn’t know that Willow had his child, or does he … hmmm? 

COBY:  No, not as far as we know.

If he was to know, what do you think he would do?

COBY:  Well …  you’re just going to have to watch and find out.

So, when you found out that there was this major initiation going on which included: the drugging of Kristina, the huge payment she made to be in Shiloh’s inner-circle, and how he was preying on her vulnerability, were you like, “Oh my, God! They’re really going all the way with this cult thing?”

COBY:  No.  We kind of alluded to it, and it has to go all the way.   I wasn’t surprised when I read that in the script.  This is this guy’s MO.  He gets what he wants.

Courtesy/ABC

Shiloh’s s really upset that Kristina is missing and has figured that Jason kidnapped her.  He wants her back in the fold, correct?

COBY:  He does want her back, but he wants her back for a variety of reasons … and not just the fact that she reminds him of Willow.  That’s part of it, but I personally believe that he wants her back, because as I mentioned earlier it’s all about chess pieces for him.  He sets up the prominent people in his organization, so he can set them up to expand his means and to expand his agenda … to motivate his agenda, because there is a bigger picture to all of this.  Kristina is a Corinthos and she is part of the most powerful family in Port Charles, so there is that as well.  He wants to be able to have that power hold over that towns that he is in.

Many in the audience are wondering if Shiloh having sex with Kristina was a key part of his plan.  Is that part of his ritual?  Having sex with women upon initiation into his “inner circle”… or is that a grey area?

COBY:  Here is the thing, everything is consensual with him … that’s where his charm comes into play, that’s where sense of power comes into play.  So, with these women, nothing is forced.  There is not coercion …  at all!   So, yes, its alluded that he sleeps with them, but we don’t necessarily know if that is true for all of them … or…. if it is just for the ones that he takes a liking to.   The other thing we know; is that this guy is also a megalomaniac, so it’s also an exertion of power as well.  What I tried to do with it was not make it so completely overt.   He is a bit of a jerk, but I don’t want it to overstep that boundary of being tasteless.  I think you can go too far with it, so that is one of the reasons that we alluded to the fact that it was always consensual, and people what to be with him for one reason, or another.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s why there was an important conversation written into the script with Jason, Sam, and Michael (Chad Duell) about how there is no way to nail Shiloh for a crime because he is so cagey with every move he makes.

COBY:  Yeah, you could say cagey, I say smart.

Now, Jason is his target.  Would you say there are even more underlying reasons that the obvious of why he dislikes Jason so much? Does he really have an axe to grind with him?

COBY:  I think he likes messing with people, and I think if he is unable to exert his power, or his will, or his control, over somebody, it really annoys him.  The stuff with Steve Burton is rather fun!  Shiloh can’t manipulate Jason like he can manipulate these girls, or the way he manipulates Brad, because Jason just operates on a whole different level.  I think that Shiloh finds it fascinating that he can’t get to him.   Shiloh also wants to get him out of the way, because he can’t out-muscle him.  Even if I could, the writers wouldn’t allow it. (Laughs) So, that’s never going to happen.  As Shiloh, I have to out-think him, because I want him out of the picture.   Shiloh sees Jason as an obstacle and he wants him out of the way, and he will do it by any means necessary, via him or with his kids… anyway that he can, because he can’t get at him on his level, because the playing field isn’t equal.

Courtesy/ABC

What about Shiloh’s relationship with Drew (Billy Miller)?  What does he truly feel about him? 

COBY:  I have this conversation with Frank Valentini all the time.  I think the relationship I have with Drew might be the only true relationship I have with anybody.  I think that Drew really did what Shiloh said that he did.  I think Drew really saved his life, and he does really want to pay that debt back.  I think therein really lies the contradiction with this guy.  It makes it difficult for him to operate.  I think he is conflicted on some levels because he is one guy to Drew, and he is a different guy to everybody else.  I think the way Shiloh is with Drew is real.  In his past, I think that Shiloh was completely fatalistic and reckless and didn’t care if he lived or died, and Drew did save his life, and he gave him a purpose.  However, I also think that he is such a damaged individual.  He needs that feeling of safety by exuding his power and control over others.  The writers have alluded to the fact that he has this other life, and that he was a broken individual, and turned his life around and came back from the brink of dying, of killing myself, of not caring.  So, with Drew, I don’t want to manipulate him.  I don’t want to use him.  I am truly just grateful for the fact that he allowed me another chance at life.  I love working with Billy, because that’s when I get to be human.  I’m not trying to gaslight him.  I’m not trying to get something from him – well, I’ll take that back, because I am trying to get something from him.  I’m just not trying to do it in a way that I go about it with the other characters.  There is a huge amount of respect between the two of us.

Unfortunately, Drew doesn’t remember anything about their past, which puts “pause” in believing Shiloh’s war stories.

COBY:  Yet.  (Laughs). Well, we’ve been alluding to the fact of, “What if he did this? What if he went back into his memories?  What if he were able to remember?  There are a lot of “What if’s …”  So, they keep a lot of balls in the air with this relationship.

Photo: ABC

What has it been like working with Lexi Ainsworth in this story, because she has been the main character so far drawn into the cult? 

COBY:  She’s great.  I love Lexi.  She is so easy, fun, and safe, and just a really nice person.  We sit and chat all of the time and talk about what it is that we want from each other in the scene and how it’s going to work.   Everyone is great.   Kaetlyn MacMullan is so much fun as well as Willow.  As an actor, it’s really fun when you get people who really want to play and want to go.

And, what are your thoughts on working with GH favorite, Kelly Monaco, who is key in your storyline?

COBY:  Kelly is rad.  We talk about being able to “play jazz” all of the time, which means being able to go into a scene and just riff and have a good time, because there is so much dialog that you have to learn.  I mean, that dialogue is nuts, and sometimes you forget halfway through a page-long monologue when you are at 27 pages in.  That’s when it’s wonderful to have a really good dance partner who can pick you up.  There are times where I get so off script, and I’m like, “Holy s**t!  Where am I going with this?” (Laughs) I have got really good people like Lexi, Katelyn, or Kelly who have my back and that just makes it fun.

Courtesy/ABC

Some actors like to watch back their work, while others don’t.  Do you check out your performances on GH?

COBY:  Yeah.  Somebody on Instagram, this wonderful fan, will take all of the Shiloh’s scenes and post them!  Shockingly, I don’t own a television, so I don’t watch the show that way.

Do you make changes or adjustments once you see your work?

COBY:  Not really.  I made a decision to keep it real low-key with this, and just try to play everything real.   The other thing is I had never done anything like this before in my career.  I was so intimated by this whole thing, that it was like, “Alright man.  Just get in and listen.  Listen to what your scene partners are saying to you.”  In my approach, I am trying to be as still as I can possibly be and let whatever that person is saying motivate my responses and my actions.  If I watch my work, I’m like, “Yeah, that makes sense to me; I like that.  That’s something that this individual would do.”  Shiloh controls every situation that he is in, and even when he is introduced to new characters, he doesn’t wait to be introduced, he’ll just walk up and say, “Hi, I’m Shiloh!  What’s new with you?  How’s it going?” (Laughs) He kind of disarms them in every scene he is in.

Photo: IMDB

Soap fans first saw you on The Young and the Restless in your stint as Andrew working alongside Eileen Davidson (Ashley).  How was that experience for you?

COBY:  Eileen was unreal.  She was really cool, because none of this phased her.  She had been doing daytime so long that it was just a thing to her.  I’d sit there and read my scripts over and over and over again, but she just knew how to do it.  It was so easy for her, that it made it easy for me.

In a broad stroke, what would you tells the fans to look forward to with Shiloh?

COBY:  Well, Shiloh is going to continue his agenda.  He is going to have to go about it in a different way.  There are things going down right now (and I won’t spoil it) that are going to change the way he operates, and he is going to have to get what he wants in a different way.  Some of the people who you would have thought that he trusted, have turned against him.  It just all makes it more fun for him because this is a huge game.  Even the stuff with Sam, you may think that you know where it is going, but it may not be.  So, as much as he is enamored by Sam, he has an agenda with her.

So, what do you think will be Shiloh’s next move?  Will he blackmail Alexis to get Kristina back at “Dawn of Day”? What is his plan for Sam? Is Shiloh connected to a key family in Port Charles, but it has yet to be revealed? Who else do you think might wind up in the cult? Finally, are you enjoying Coby’s performance on GH? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below!

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Breaking News

Cynthia Watros Replaces Michelle Stafford As GH’s Nina Reeves

Another big name is headed to the cast of General Hospital on the heels of the upcoming departure of Michelle Stafford.  Daytime Emmy winner, Cynthia Watros had been cast as the the new Nina Reeves.  Fans of Guiding Light remember her star turn as Annie Dutton, and she was last see on on daytime in the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless (2013-2014).

As previously reported, Daytime Emmy winner, Michelle Stafford is headed back to her old stomping grounds of The Young and the Restless to play her signature soap role of Phyllis Summer.  She will replace her own recast, Daytime Emmy winner, Gina Tognoni.  Both actresses are said to be finishing taping their current runs on their respective shows in May. Watros will begin her GH run in Port Charles in June,

GH’s EP Frank Valentini tweeted on today’s casting news: “It’s a bittersweet day. I love @TheRealStafford and wish her all the best. I’m also really excited about @watroswatros joining the #GH family and continuing Nina’s legacy.”

PEOPLE.com broke the casting change.  Stafford has been with GH since 2014.  As for Watros, she opted to leave her role on Y&R to join the cast of MTV’s Finding Carter.  She is also known for her run on the hit ABC drama, Lost and other notable primetime series and films.

Michelle Stafford’s on-screen GH love interest, James Patrick Stuart, tweeted on the news: “Cynthia Watros … Big fan.”

So, what do you think of the casting of Cynthia Watros as the new Nina Reeves? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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