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Dominic Zamprogna Talks Dante’s Torment, His Daytime Emmy Nomination, And If He Might Be Back To GH

Photo/ABC

If you caught last week’s episodes of General Hospital, you witnessed the heartbreaking goodbye (the second time around) between Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna) and his wife Lulu (Emme Rylan), after it had been revealed that Dante is suffering deeply and disturbingly from his time in captivity in Turkey, and the mission that sent him away from Port Charles in the first place.  Of course, GH fans know that leg of the story served to facilitate the exit of fan favorite, Zamprogna, who departed the ABC daytime drama series back in 2018.

But since his original exit, Zamprogna has popped up on the series a few times.  First, as bad Dante in the special standalone episode celebrating Maurice Benard’s (Sonny) 25th anniversary with the series, and then again, a few weeks ago with his ten-episode run that set the stage for what might become of the duo known as “Lante”.

In addition, Dominic also learned a few weeks back, that he received a Daytime Emmy nomination for his performances in 2018 in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama category.

Michael Fairman TV spoke to Zamprogna while he was in Tuscany, Italy on the first leg of his three-week European trip with his family (which will also take him to France and Germany) to get his thoughts on: this just completed guest return on General Hospital, receiving the Emmy nod from his peers, and what the future holds for him in, or out, of the world of soaps.

When you came back for this ten-episode run, did you know what the story would be?

DOMINIC:  I knew it would be kind of a Brody from Homeland kind of story.  Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and I had a conversation, and he said, “Sonny is going to rescue you,” and I said, “With all due respect to Sonny, Dante got himself into this mess.  Let’s kind of help them, help each other get out of this mess,” and he was like, “I like it.”  That’s kind of how that came to fruition.  Then,  he said something along the lines of: how they were going to make it like Dante got messed while he was away, and that he had seen some crazy stuff, and that Dante had to do so some crazy stuff, and he brings it home with him.  So, we knew the story arc would be a little messy, for sure.

Courtesy/ABC

The impetus was to bring Dante back to Lulu, then to separate them again while you were off the canvas, because they left the character of Dante dangling out there previously, right?

DOMINIC:  Frank said, “We don’t believe that this guy would ever take off on his family in this way for this length of time,” and I said, “Oh, I agree with you, so let’s figure out a way to wrap it up.”  So, this is where we ended up.

I’ve been seeing many tweets from fans, like, “Dante’s the best,” and “You’ve got to bring Dominic back full-time.”   The story was very emotional, and I thought it was a good opportunity for you to remind everyone of your acting chops.  And, the writers made a point of making sure Dante said to Lulu, “Don’t wait for me,” which leaves her story kind of open, as well.

DOMINIC:  I know what I want, and that is a good story, and around the time that I left before, we didn’t have a lot of great stuff going on.  I think Dante needed a good shakeup.  Maybe this is a blessing in disguise for a lot of the fans, but I don’t know.  I know that there have been some negative reactions too … like, “Why bring this guy back if he’s going to leave again?”

Yes.  I have seen those reactions as well. 

DOMINIC:  I’d say that you bring this guy back because he did leave thinking he was going to come back sooner than he did, and stuff got a little too crazy, and maybe you can’t leave him hanging out there like that.  You do have to address that.  Dante wouldn’t have left his family for that long, knowingly.  It was ten months.  I think it is valid to bring him back and address it, and then realize that if the actor, or the show, isn’t ready to commit to what’s next, you do whatever creates the most drama.  Isn’t that why people watch these things … to yell at the TV? (Laughs) 

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about the tears Emme Rylan shed in those goodbye scenes that just aired!

DOMINIC:  I think she was really angry at me! (Laughs)

Probably!  She was like, “What are you doing!?”  (Laughs)

DOMINIC:  She was like, “What the hell is happening?” (Laughs)  I think that’s what people watch GH for.  I went on twitter and saw the clip of General Hospital from 56 years ago in honor of their anniversary.  It makes you give pause and think:  “What are you watching this show for?  Are you watching it to feel resolve at the end of it?”  Probably not!  As much as people don’t want to admit it, you don’t really want to feel fantastic after watching the show.  Nine times out of ten, you want to feel conflict and unresolved.  Otherwise, why would you come back the next day?  I feel like we kind of achieved that.  Which is why when you posed the question on Twitter, “What did you think of Dante’s return story arc?”,  I responded by saying, “I thought it was pretty good,” because a lot of fans are going to be pissed off.  However, a lot of viewers are going to be happy with seeing some good drama and some emotional scenes, and a cool arc (because I thought it was a good arc for Dante).

Photo: ABC

When you played Dante on this recent return, he’s obviously been tortured.

DOMINIC:  Yes, he’s been tortured, and he’s had to torture people to prove his worth.  As easily as he killed Raj, he’s probably had to kill other people during this time.  I think that’s a big step for Dante, because he’s never really had to do that.  In the time that he’s been on GH, he’s always been very black and white. I thought it was very good for me to be able to play that, because maybe he’s been pushed to the limit, and in those situations, you have to justify things that you probably would never have had to justify before.

Right!  I thought it was really sad, because you see people with PTSD who have been tortured.  Did you do any research on how being in captivity and how the condition may manifest itself in cases such as this, or someone under mind control?

Photo: ABC

DOMINIC:  I think PTSD is a pretty wide-ranging thing.  There are people who deal with PTSD who haven’t had to kill people and haven’t been tortured.  I think there is PTSD that people deal with in everyday life.  I think for a lot of people, if you had to go back and examine things, you’d be like, “Wait a sec, maybe that’s what this feels like,” and it’s not a comfortable place to be, but for this role, you kind of do go to places like that.

I think there’s been a silver lining for you in a few things since your exit from GH last year.  1) Since you’ve left, you came back, and got to play a bad guy version of Dante in the “Sonny-centric” episode. 2)  You received a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category.  What do you think about what has happened since you have been away from Port Charles?

DOMINIC:  That’s also about betting on yourself …  because it’s kind of like rolling the dice.  It can go either way.  It can be: “Hey, if I step away and no one cares, that’s cool too,” but you have got to be okay with that.  It’s like when I first started the show, and everyone said not to read the message boards, because if you read the good stuff, you’ve got to read the bad stuff, too.  Well, if you roll the dice on yourself, you’ve got to be able to look in the mirror and say, “Hey, it didn’t work out.”  Fortunately for me, in this situation, I rolled the dice, and it worked in my favor.

Courtesy/ABC

Did you love the “Sonny-centric” episode when you got to play mobster Dante?

DOMINIC:  I did.  I thought it was great.  Honestly, Michael, I loved this story too.   It was an experience for me.  It was a cool journey.  I felt like it was a neat exercise as an actor.  It was a cool development for the character.  I had interesting scenes with Sonny, I had interesting scenes with Anna (Finola Hughes), and I had good scenes with Mike (Max Gail), and the stuff with Lulu.  I thought the end of the arc was interesting too, because I’ve already played these goodbyes.  So, as an actor you’re like, “Man, we’ve already done this,” but as the character you still have to protect something.  So, when people ask why he didn’t say certain things to Lulu that he did to Anna, it’s because it’s so much more difficult to say those things to the person who you’re married to, and go to bed with at night, who supposedly knows everything about you.  It’s almost more difficult to reveal that vulnerability that he realized that he had been brainwashed!  You don’t want to admit that you’re at your weakest to the woman who looks to you for all of the strength.  That’s massively important.  I thought it was really interesting.

You received your third Daytime Emmy nomination. Previously you were nominated in 2014 and 2016 in this category.  I was so happy for you.  What scenes did you submit that have you going for gold on May 5th?

DOMINIC:  First off, this year felt kind of extra special.  I think because I left the show and only had four months of material that I could submit within the guidelines of the rules.  I sent the scenes with: Mike in the stables where he is talking with Avery, a scene where Nathan (Ryan Paevey) is dying, one scene with Peter (Wes Ramsey) in the interrogation room at the PCPD, and then the material where Dante says goodbye to Lulu to go off on his mission.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

You’re in with a good group of actors in the Supporting Actor category.  Max Gail is in there, too.

DOMINIC:  Yeah, and I’m so rooting for Max.  He’s one of those guys, like with Maurice Benard, where it just takes very little trying in a scene.  You’re in a place with a person and you’re just speaking, and good things happen.  The other guys who I’m up against, I’ve heard they’re all good dudes and good actors.  I’m not expecting anything.  I just want to go and have a fun night and enjoy being around everybody, and the group who is nominated from GH.  And … we’ve got Maurice, finally, back in the Lead Actor category which I am very happy about.

So, in terms of where you are now with GH, what would like to see happen down the line?

DOMINIC:  I don’t know.  When I left, Frank said, “Let’s have a chat about that future.”   However, I don’t know where I’m at as far as coming back goes.  I’ve been enjoying the freedom of being able to take a little control of my moves, so we’ll have to see.  I miss my friends and my family there, and we’re in a good place on both sides.  I think the story has been received well.

Photo: ABC

So, if GH gives Lulu a new love interest, how would you feel?

DOMINIC:  Oh, totally fine.  She’s dead to me at that point, but I mean, whatever. (Laughs)  Lulu better find somebody at some point.  I think in the long run whatever happens can only create more material for everyone to play, if we do revisit another appearance in town.

For the drama, Lulu will have had to have had sex with somebody by the time Dante reappears.

DOMINIC:  Oh, for sure.  If she doesn’t, I’ll be like, “What are you waiting for? (Laughs)  I told you forever is a long time,” but as long as it’s not like Peter, or Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), then I think Dante would fully expecting her to be with….

Photo: ABC

… Chase (Josh Swickard)?!

DOMINIC:  Oh, Chase.  Yeah, what about that jerk?  (Laughs)  I forgot about him.  You know, if Lulu did do that, it would kind of feel like almost like a “Top Gun” kind of thing … like if Maverick slept with Goose’s wife, or something like that.  Then, if Dante showed up and they were like, “Well, you were gone, and she needed help,” and Dante would be like, “Whatever Chase!  That’s low!”  It would be expected, right?  Chase is a good dude, and Dante left very messed up, so it’s kind of his fault, but I think in the long-run as a human being, she needs to have her needs met.  If it happened right away, then it’s like, “Wow! You didn’t wait forever at all.  Forever was two weeks for you? (Laughs)”

Photo: JPI Studios

So, what did you think of Dante’s return and the performances of Domininc Zamprogna? Are you rooting for Dom to take home the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series?  Who do you think Lulu might fall for while Dante is off the canvas?  Are you hoping Dominic returns on-contract with GH at some point down the line?  Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below!

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Aki
Guest
Aki

Dom you bring such a tenderness and so much heart to Dante. I really hope you find a way back to Gh and eventually, after a bunch of drama, back to Lulu too. It’s just who Dante is. Best of luck!

su000
Guest
su000

Dominic Zamprogna, will, without a doubt, return to GH..
The vet actors and their characters Always return home.

He is a soap actor–he won’t be going to BB nor Y&R, he will, eventually, return to GH- Dominic Zamprogna is GH family.

I’d bet he’ll be back before fall..

Tina
Guest
Tina

Me too please I don’t understand he does have a life and a family to think about

Cheryl Kosnick
Guest
Cheryl Kosnick

Well,if Dantes not coming back a new character would be best,for Lou Lou.shes leaving for Paris good time to introduce a new character

Tina
Guest
Tina

I think if Dominic doesn’t want to come back they should recast him. Any suggestions on Who?

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

I’m still in a Lulu fix, after this good time; it’s a 3 years

the scintillating brought back sex.. with Lulu PLUS

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

thee – ONLY – couple that resonates SEX, and that’s Nina AND Valentin;

ADULT – FIRE

who’s on next

nancy dillingham
Guest
nancy dillingham

I just loved all his comments. He hit all the right notes. Shows what a conscientious actor–and great human being he is. I do hope he comes back. And I do hope he wins; he’s just so modest and unassuming. And a realist without an outsized ego. How very refreshing! I’m missing you, Dante–and Dominic! Good traveling!

Joe
Guest
Joe

I want Dante back with a vengeance getting the help he needs, Lulu coming back from Europe finding her strength and them working through their trials and tribulations. I love their love and strength. Let’s see Dante’ come back and face his demons

Tina
Guest
Tina

I would love that too they make for good story

Steve
Guest
Steve

DZ is very open in the conversation and definitely comes across as a nice guy.

He should only return if there is good story written out on a long term arc. Otherwise, the character could easily be recurring.

As for the Emmy, it’s Max Gail’s in a runaway.

Djlina50
Guest
Djlina50

Dominic was always the voice of reason. We need characters like that in the show. Nowing that Lulu was almost murdered and the killer not found, leaves the door open for Dominic to return soon to protect his family. He went after Raj to avenge his wife, but a an active murderer may be after her now. Dominic would protect his family.

Fanny
Guest
Fanny

I want him back… even if it’s a week out of every month.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

“THEY” may as well not cut this cycle – Next man up ; Scotty Baldwin FIRE

let’s see him, NOW , sequestering Lady Ava.. for a good time

mid life
his pull on Ava.. they are the best bff go to comforting glue
why not try a get go @Lucy.. while Ava festers

it saddens me Lucy felt bad and/or stopped hearing the news of nuptuals of “Kevin” and Ava

I would love to see this “PLAY” out newget

Scotty “fires”

“I’ve got a gun and know how to use it” as he walks

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

So the big question everyone wanted answered wasn’t. Why is he leaving GH? Did Frank want him gone or was it a personal decision? Cause he is so loved by the fans that I can’t see them not figuring out a way to make it work. I mean he is adored. Fans love Dante. He needs to be on GH and it needs to be Dom

rebecca1
Guest
rebecca1

He left to do other things; as he said in this interview Dante didn’t really have much of a story. “He”didn’t. As Dom said, “I know what I want, and that is a good story, and around the time that I left before, we didn’t have a lot of great stuff going on. I think Dante needed a good shakeup.” Dom is such a good actor and they under utilzed him; he was back burner…there was nothing going on with him or Lulu for that matter. FINALLY, this short arc was worth his time and showed his chops; centered on… Read more »

joanne
Guest
joanne

Love him 🙂

Kat
Guest
Kat

Yes, bring Dom back as Dante. Please don’t recast. Still getting used to a new lulu, even though it’s been 6 years since Julie left the show. Will be rooting for Dom in May.

Harry
Guest
Harry

I think Dom is diamond in the rough–we will never see his like again. Loved him the most with Julia Berman’s Lulu, and I will never forget their first date whereupon Dante took Lulu to the Opera. It was pure soapy-romantic magic. Now, to you, Mr. Michael Fairman. I have seen links to your singing videos on your Twitter feed but the humble man that you are, you don’t afford fans the opportunity to comment. Maybe I missed it, but I could not find a comment section attached to your videos and I don’t comment too much on Twitter. Therefore,… Read more »

rose
Guest
rose

I was never much a Dante fan, but when writers finally gave him a more several-layered storyline in his recent re-appearance I was impressed. If they kept giving Dominic good lines to work with I wouldn’t mind seeing him. Back.

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

I never cared for the character, although, I think Dom had A LOT more chemistry with JMB. This version of Lulu annoys me, and grates on my nerves. I would much rather have Dom on my screen, than that Parking Lot FLOP who is creepy, stalker-ish, and has ZERO chemistry with his co-stars. #nepotism

Shay
Guest
Shay

Tell us how you really feel, DMRR!!! Lol…Having said that, I totally get your residual affection for “TruLu” over “NuLu!” They are like two totally different GH characters, and never shall the twain meet! However, I’ll still take either version over Peter Parking Lot…there is simply no way to make the fruit of Faison’s loins likable!

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

The PLP Flop can’t act, has zero chemistry with his costars, and is ugh/yuck! I can’t watch when he is on during the episode.

Tina
Guest
Tina

You have talent please come back we miss you. But I also understand you need to do what’s best for you. Maybe they work out a schedule that works for both sides.

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