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The David Gregory, Nicolas Robuck & Lenny Platt Interview – One Life to Live

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How do you bring in three hot guys to a soap when they are unrelated to anyone else on the canvas, and make it work?  First, make sure the eldest one takes his shirt off in various scenarios, and sleeps around while professing his love for one of the town’s good girls, and stealing her from her beloved boyfriend.  Next, while trying to get your car out of a parking garage, another beloved female character stumbles into a hostage situation with another young strapping, good-looking guy, who later turns out to be misunderstood.  And then, take another guy who is already part of the core younger set on the show, and dating the daughter of one of the most identifiable characters on the soap, and add him into the mix as the other guy’s brother!  So did it work?  The answer is, now it does, with a resounding, “yes”!

One Life to Live’s David Gregory (Ford), Nicolas Robuck (James), and Lenny Platt (Nate) are the brothers’ wunderkind, whose looks put everyone else to shame!  And, as a soap opera band of brothers, they are also well on their way to melting some viewers hearts, or making them mad as hell!  Then, throw in a great soapy twist; that they all come from an abusive (unseen and un-cast) father, and from a runaway mom!  And, when that runaway mom turns out to be actress Jessica Leccia (Inez) and she shows up in Llanview, the story possibilities and complexities become endless.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with the three on-screen amigos, Gregory, Robuck, and Platt, to find out about brotherly love or dissidence, shirtless scenes, playing opposite their leading ladies, working with the fantastic Leccia, and if they feel there are real similarities in their looks and with each other’s personalities.  And, we get a preview of their on-screen feuds with Brody, Cole, and Matthew, which heat up next week.  So watch out, as we end the summer and head into fall. You still may need to find a room to cool off in after watching these guys on screen.  Here are the Ford Boys!

MICHAEL:

David, let’s start with the eldest Ford brother.  Robert, better known as “Ford”, had become quite the scoundrel, and to say he was a womanizer would be putting it mildly.  But now it seems the show is making efforts to redeem the character.  Were you surprised by that?  It makes sense, because how could they keep him around?  

DAVID:

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First, I was glad.  Not that I wanted to be a squeaky clean guy, but they are adding elements that make him why the way he is.  A lot of directors I have worked with since have told me, “We don’t want him to lose his fire, because that is what kind of makes him interesting.”  So that is not going away, but once he brought in family members, it allowed us to see, not that he is justified in the way he is, but that it makes more sense.  So I don’t know if it’s as much that Ford is being redeemed, as much as it is explaining to people why he is the way he is.  I like he is still in a grey area.

MICHAEL:

Did you know when you came back to the show earlier this year, that you would then have a brother, James, added into the mix?

DAVID:

Not at all.  We were actually shooting scenes in the episode that featured the band Lifehouse. They performed on our show.  And that was the day that our EP Frank Valentini, came up to me and said, “You are going to get a brother.”  I was really excited about that.  Then, once Ford ended up in the hospital, Frank says, “Oh yeah, you might have another one, too.”   And I went, “What?”  I knew they were bringing somebody in to play James, but I did not know that Lenny’s role was going to get tied in to this at all.  That was a surprise, because he was already on the show.

MICHAEL:

Nicolas, did you screen test with Kristen Alderson (Starr) or David when you landed the role of James?

NICOLAS:

I originally tested for a role that was not for Ford’s brother, James.  I was screen testing just to be a love interest for Kristen Alderson, and when they hired me they said, “They really look alike.  Why don’t we bring him on as Ford’s brother?”  And that is how that magic happened! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

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When you look at David now, do you see how you two guys could be brothers?

NICOLAS:

Yeah, sometimes.  When I am on set and watching the show, I will go, “Oh that’s me, and then I go, never mind!” (Laughs)  Sometimes at a quick glance I think it’s me, or if I see a picture of David in a magazine.  People get us confused quite a bit and actually last week, I was called, “Nic Gregory”. (Laughs)

LENNY:

Two weeks ago, I was walking down the studio hallway and Brittany Underwood (Langston) called me David.  She went, “Hi, David.”  And, I turned around and went, “What are you talking about?”  (Laughs)

DAVID:

Brittany and I have gotten pretty close on the show, so if she mistakes me for Lenny, then I don’t know what to think!  (Laughs)

LENNY:

I think the first time I was getting a hint of it was when Renata, who is one of our make-up artists, looked at the screen and Nic was doing a scene with the character of Cristian and she said, “You guys look alike.”  And I thought, “Yeah, we do.”  Then when I found out that I was going to be David’s brother…well, I have a close friend from home who watches the show and thought David was me in a scene!  So, I think Julie Madison (OLTL Casting Director) did a great job of casting, because it works.

MICHAEL:

Nicolas, we have gotten to see over the past several weeks a gamut of emotions from you.  Not only is James this cocky guy, but there is some depth to him, too.  Is it easier for you to play the tough guy, or the more sensitive side of your alter-ego?

NICOLAS:

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What is kind of hard for me is to play the tough guy jerk that does not care sometimes, because I do tend to be more emotional, and that is easier for me.  I have to go someplace and pull from something to be who James really is, which is somebody with a bad past, and who is tough on the inside and out.  That can be a bit of stretch for me, but I do what I can to make it work.

MICHAEL:

OK, let’s get to this big question that has been on everyone’s mind. (Laughs)  What did you think when they told you that your pet name for Starr was going to be “Twinkle”?

NICOLAS:

I laughed and I said, “You have got to be kidding me!”  I was like, “I don’t know if I can say this seriously and mean it.”  But I got use to it.  At first, Kristen laughed at it, too, but she got used to it.  Now, we call each other pet names.

MICHAEL:

Each of you has stolen the hearts of three young ladies in Llanview, or shall we say, well on your way to do doing so.   Let’s start with the relationship between Ford and Langston.  David, do you think now these two have a fighting chance at a real relationship?  But more importantly, does Ford truly love her?

DAVID:

Love is a weird word for Ford, because his mother was never around.  Love from a female, in general, Ford only knows how to get it one way, or at least his version of it.  So, I think whatever the closest thing to love that he can feel for a female, he is associating with her and is pretty genuine.  I can tell you playing scenes now with Brittany are different in a good way, because when I first came on the show and I was doing so many different sex scenes with so many different women, it just started to feel like I did not know what I was doing.  I was new enough to the show at that point, that I was just trying to figure out how to play a scene.  Since I have gotten a family, and the scenes are darker and have more substance to it, going back now to love scenes, things make more sense as to how to play that.   Brittany and I are now playing more layers to the scenes. The stuff we shot recently had been pretty interesting to play, and I am pretty happy with it so far.

MICHAEL:

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And next week, Brody is going to come out swinging when he finally learns from Jessica that she had a one-night stand with Ford while she was in teen mode.  Looks like Ford is headed for some more bumps and bruises!

DAVID:

There is a big confrontation, and because Brody is an ex-navy seal, it may not be pretty and may not be good, because Ford is a self-proclaimed lover, not a fighter.  He also knows whatever he gets from Brody he deserves, which also shows that Ford is kind of coming around.  I guess it takes a man to take a punch like that, because he knows there is no other action that could be taken.

MICHAEL:

Your head must be very durable!  First, you get smashed in the head with a foreign object, and now another beating is on the way!  And, you still look perfect.  How is that possible?  (Laughs)

DAVID:

I can take so much and my brain is still intact.

LENNY:

He did mess up his hair a little bit.

MICHAEL:

Lenny, your love interest on the show is Kelly Missal (Dani). How has it been being paired with her?  And, I also heard you were somewhat trepidatious singing and dancing in the musical event: Starr X’d Lovers. How did you get through that?

LENNY:

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First of all, working with Kelly is fantastic!  She is incredibly talented and it was easy to hit the ground running with her.  As far as the musical goes, I had no real musical theatre training, and never sing out loud unless I am at a karaoke bar. (Laughs)  So it was a little intimidating.  But it was exciting to step out of my comfort zone, and if you had asked me six months ago would I be up for it, the whole thing would scare me to death.  I was amazed how it was done, with the choreography and the direction, and it was surprising.  I was proud of how it turned out.  And then to go on The View, which is surreal, and perform a number, was a lot of fun.  I am glad I did the musical.  I learned a lot about myself, and I grew as an actor to do be able to do something I am not comfortable with.

MICHAEL:

So when you came on to One Life to Live, was it just for the musical, and then they extended your stay?  Or, was there always a plan to keep you?

LENNY:

I don’t know, but they kept me around.  At first, it was just for the musical, as far as I knew.  Then I started entering into other storylines, and then this rivalry with Eddie Alderson’s character (Matthew) developed.  I have been very fortunate.

MICHAEL:

Next week Matthew and Nate are also going to get into it!  There is some bad blood there, too.   After all, Nate stole Matthew’s girl, Dani!  The face-off happens on a basketball court!

LENNY:

Yes, it’s great.  Matthew is accessing his genetic ability that is inside of him, which is fun to see.  I tell you what… Eddie is one of the best people to work with.  He is a great guy and super-talented.  You can see him portraying Matthew now, and relishing this other side to his character, and it sort of comes out ten fold on camera.  He plays it with such gusto and it is a pleasure to work alongside him. These basketball scenes are pretty fun, because some elbows and shoves were thrown and it is interesting to see where Eddie takes the character.

MICHAEL:

Nicolas, how is working with Kristen Alderson?  You have the added complexity of coming in between one of the most beloved couples on the show, which fans have rooted for and invested in for many years, Starr and Cole.  And I might add, how about those “in-your-face” scenes during Dorian’s failed wedding to David, where an arrogant James continually irked Cole on with text messages!

NICOLAS:

Kristen, really showed me the ropes early on, and she really made me feel part of the family when I started.  She gave me pointers and tips on how to feel comfortable, and was very supportive.  I like our scenes together, and because we are friends off-set, I think we have a lot of chemistry on-set.  As for being the “thorn” in Cole Thornhart’s side (laughs), it’s fun, but it’s separating an iconic pair.  I was kind of hesitant as to what the feedback would be, because people root for Cole and Starr, but happy couples only last so long on soap operas.  So getting in between them and in the mix has been a lot of fun.  I like how James handles the situation a lot.  

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MICHAEL:

I love how he just inserts himself into situations involving Starr, and tries to get her riled up, which I think is really refreshing. And, he seems also very confident that deep down Starr shares the same feelings he has for her.

NICOLAS:

Confident is the perfect word, and typically in my own life I tend to avoid confrontation, and James is right in the face of it.  So I really like playing that, and I like to bring a different side of myself to the set, which I like.

MICHAEL:

Will we continue to see more and more sexual tension between Starr and James?

NICOLAS:

Yes, you can say that.

MICHAEL:

Soap fan favorite, Jessica Leccia, has come on to One Life to Live as your mother, Inez.  The pivotal episode where each of the brothers learned that they were related, and that she finally divulged the gut-wrenching truth, were key to the future success of this on-screen family.   In it, Inez admits that Nate is Robert and James’ brother, and that she ran way while pregnant with him from their abusive father, Eddie Ford.   Inez also left Robert and James behind with their father!  Did you feel a heightened sense and awareness that these scenes had to be good? And, what did each of you feel about them and how your character reacted?

NICOLAS:

Yeah, it really was a key moment, because it was coming to terms with something we did not know of, or we thought was a lie to begin with, and from the get-go. Then to find out the truth that we had another brother, drove something between all of us as a whole.  James, being the middle brother, was a little more level headed and a little more emotional about the whole thing.  He was left out of what the truth really was, and Ford being the older brother, did really know more of his mother than James did.   I think we really got to see that in that episode.  I was really pleased on how that turned out.

LENNY:

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It was a great scene. There was a lot of pressure, obviously, because it was really solidifying all these relationships and bringing them together.  I thought what was interesting for me as an actor, was that Nate was the one who was taken away while he was still in his mother’s womb.  He never saw his father and never knew about that aspect of their lives.  I thought it would be totally fascinating that the one brother who had the least contact with his father, would be the most like him.  So I wanted to portray the son, with whom all these lies built up, and instead of making Nate cry, it brought all this rage out in him that I thought would be interesting to access.  Inez wanted to take Nate away from this violent upbringing, yet he still has a piece of that inside of him.  So I thought it would be interesting to take Nate to that place.  Jessica was great, and I learned a lot from those scenes and was extremely happy with how they came out.

DAVID:

I struggled with those scenes.  At that point, there was a scene that aired in July where Inez and Ford talk in James’ hospital room when James was out having tests run. Ford is trying to put everything together, and going after his mother, but as much as he does by the end of the scene, he is completely worn down and turns away from her and is upset.  So, by the time this all goes down with the rest of the brothers and mom (and she shows up) I think Ford knows exactly what is going to go on, and it is something he has been trying to put off.  I think at that point he is numb.  What I struggled with in playing those scenes, was playing numb actively.  He is not going to be as emotional as James, and he is not going to fly off the handle as much as Nate, but he has definitely dealt with this all.  Ford has had a lot longer to digest this than the other boys have.  I think what upsets him in his mind is he was trying to do the right thing and it backfired on him.  Now, Nate is upset and pounding on a table and it reminds him of his dad. Then, seeing how much it hurt James to not even know, and again him being the middle one and being sensitive, and struggling with not being able to be around mom, that is something Ford has dealt with, but Ford manifested it in other ways.  Like you said earlier, we each have a different dynamic to play which made those scenes interesting.  And at the same time, it was difficult to make sure it was done correctly.  We had to repeat the actions, but Jill Mitwell who directed the scenes, was very adamant about that if we felt we needed to do it again, then we could go back.  We spent a lot of time on those scenes, which in the soap opera world is very rare. You do one take and you are finished. We were given a lot of rehearsal and a lot of time to run it and talk about it.  Jill was excited to direct the scenes, and she told us she had been anticipating this for about six weeks.  I felt like she was on our side before we did  it.  I feel like it really fleshed out all the boys individually, and for such a new family on the show, Frank has been talking to us that we have to make the audience care.  I think the show has done a really good job of giving us material to work with to allow us to do that, and to flesh things out for the audience.

MICHAEL:

There must be some Jessica jokes on the set.  I mean, she is this beautiful woman with three strapping young men as her sons, and she is not that old herself!  In fact, Jessica in real life just had a baby girl last year!  (Laughs)

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LENNY:

I think my real mom is very jealous that I have this very attractive, very young mother.  (Laughs)  Jessica is fantastic and she has a rabid fan base!  I was surprised.  I am on Twitter, and I mentioned I was really happy to be working with her and I must have got like 30 messages, saying, “We are so happy you are working with her, but you better be a good boy to Jessica.”  It’s been a blast!

NICOLAS:

I had scenes with Jessica recently, and she really brings some kind of maternal element to the set.  She is very comfortable and poised and that makes you feel that relationship between the two.  Off- set, we joke that mother is always watching our backs! 

DAVID:

We are closer in age to her, and so she is able to switch gears so fast.  So, I will be having a conversation with her and before we start shooting, and when they countdown “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” something switches in her and you can see it.  All of a sudden she is our mom, other than that she is one of the kids.

MICHAEL:

Should fans expect more mother/son scenes between Ford and Inez since these two have to try to deal with the fallout the most?

DAVID:

There are a lot of unresolved issues that Ford needs to deal with her on. I know James is interested to explore, “Oh, I have a mom now,” and Lenny’s character of Nate has always been around her, so I would say, “yes” there will be more.

MICHAEL:

Who from film, primetime or daytime, could you see cast as the Ford brother’s abusive father, and why?

NICOLAS:

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I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan would make a believable dad for the Ford brothers.  He looks like and portrays well a rough and tough guy who could land some good punches! He also looks like he’s paid his dues in a chop shop or two.  Not to mention he resembles us all in some way, shape or form.  I would really like to have Matt Damon play our dad. I think the three of us would be a good mix between Matt Damon and Jessica Leccia. He’s a phenomenal actor, one of my favorites, and I believe he could pull off the brutal and abusive father seamlessly.

LENNY:

Mickey Rourke.  I know he’s in everything these days and this might be cliché, but I think he’d be ideal.  I always imagined Eddie Ford as a mix between the “Duke” character in the film Pusher II and the Marlboro Man.  I think Rourke would embody this character both physically and emotionally with surgical precision.  Eddie is a violent and imposing man, but he’d have to also have remnants of the “sweet boy” Inez once fell in love with. Rourke would portray this perfectly.  Now whether or not he’d lend his talents to our show is another thing.  But one of the cast members of The Expendables, just made an appearance on Daytime, so why not two…

DAVID:
Lenny, that is one epic answer. Well said.  In keeping with the tradition of OLTL alums returning, I could see Joe Lando (Sully on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) as Eddie.  Or Mel Gibson – I know it sounds strange but I think it could work.  Both men look like what I’ve always pictured Eddie Ford.  And I think it would be interesting to see.  But Lenny, well played!

MICHAEL:

David, what did you think when you found out that Ford actually slept with Jessica! For months, the show left it very ambiguous and we did not know who was telling the truth, or if she ever had sex with him during her nightmarish evening!

DAVID:

In love scenes on daytime, there are only certain things you can do, so I was not sure how far we had gotten.  They left it purposely vague to surprise the audience, and then they eventually find out.  I had an idea that I was in question, and I liked that, because it also showed a different dynamic of Ford.  I think because he is the oldest brother, I think he has that sense of responsibility that is innate in him.  But “father” in his world is a negative connotation, and the thought now that he might have to be one, brings out a side of him that is full of conflict.  I really like how that is being written.

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MICHAEL:

I was also really floored by Ford’s caring reaction to Jessica when she came to him, when she needed to know his medical history/blood type so she can check for the Rh factor that could potentially harm her unborn baby, and he jumped to it, willing to help.  That being said, how is working with Bree Williamson (Jessica) in this complex baby saga?

DAVID:

Bree is fantastic!  I was intimidated because I knew she was nominated for an Emmy.  I was like, “Oh, my God.  She could win this year.”  I was trying to be calm about it.  But, the best compliment I can give her was when we were doing the scenes where I was seducing her in my room.  She kissed like a sixteen year old girl, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I mean that I literally felt she changed her vibe for the scene, and it was cool to work off of her, and still is.

MICHAEL:

David, you clearly have had more shirtless scenes in one year than any soap opera actor… ever!  And from where the fans are standing, that is all good! (Laughs)   So, how do you guys like doing the half-naked scenes?  No problems I assume, being labeled “Soap Hunks”?

DAVID:

I think it’s neat that we are more appreciated as a whole than we are individually.  I was combined kind of, and I think that is neat.  That the idea is we are brothers, like the brothers in The Godfather or Tombstone. They are better as a pack, and it needs to gravitate towards that, like, “Look! They are genetically the same!”

LENNY:

It’s funny, because Nate is seventeen or eighteen and I exercise pretty regularly.  I don’t remember being that large in High School.  It’s TV world and all good.  I am young and it’s fun doing the shirtless stuff, but its tough being shirtless next to David.

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NICOLAS:

Well, I know the fans are taking well to it, but me on the other hand, I feel uncomfortable on set with my clothes off.  I have done quite a few scenes already, and in underwear and towels.  I feel very aware of myself on-set and that is every actor’s enemy.  So, I could do a little more clothes scenes.

DAVID:

I have been appreciative that I can put on a shirt and focus on a scene to what is really going on as opposed to, “Oh, I got to be doing my push-ups!”  And you know, with Mark Lawson (Brody) and David Fumero (Cristian) on set, it’s a lot to keep up with.

MICHAEL:

Of the three of you, which one is the prankster?

LENNY:

None of them are funny.  I hate working with them! (Laughs)

DAVID:

I would say, because we all have birthdays pretty close to each other and we are all Leo’s…. I would say we have similar personalities, and we know when to let the others shine.

NICOLAS:

It depends on the day.

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DAVID:

Nate does a lot of work to prepare for his scenes, like a novel (laughs) which is admirable.

LENNY:

It’s true.

MICHAEL:

Nicolas, what were you surprised to find out about your on-screen brothers, Lenny and David?

NICOLAS:

David was a trained dancer.  And, I did not know Lenny’s favorite band was Nine Inch Nails.

MICHAEL:

David, what did you find out?

DAVID:

We share a love for movies.  I came in one day to get a script, and Lenny was here to shoot something.  We talked about an hour and half about movies, and I thought it was only 20 minutes. But we talked about these old movies we liked and style and directors.  We have all gone to see movies together and these are guys you can talk shop with, but not that I am surprised about that, but to carry on an intelligent conversation for a period of time on style or something, I think its very impressive.  It’s not, “Oh, I want to be here because I want to be on TV.”  They want to do good work and they are serious. They know when and how to have fun at the same time, and you can’t really always expect that with someone you have to work closely with.  You just hope that it comes out that way, but with both of them, I know I am two for two!

MICHAEL:

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And finally Lenny, any tidbits you can share with the viewers as we wrap up our visit?

LENNY:

I do want to add that I think I am fortunate to work with two other guys that I have so much chemistry with.  We are playing brothers, and so it’s important for us to get along. It’s important for us to work well on camera, but we hang out outside of work, too. Since we get along well, that can only enhance our performance and that will show on camera, and that bond will be stronger.  I think what is also important to point out is that I have met some wacky actors in my day, and to meet two guys where we see eye to eye professionally and socially, is great!   So I would say; we are just able to really communicate on many levels.

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Mariah Leigh-Anne Hart
Mariah Leigh-Anne Hart

When is Nicholas Robuck’s birday and I really think he is sexy if u think he’s hot check out my youtube Pg username-MariahHart16 and the name of my channel is starjam if u cant find my channel look up the 1999 backstreet boys disney concert 1999 quit playing games with my heart click on my name and u’ll find my channel which it has Nick Robuck and its sexy

kara anderson
kara anderson

I will check it out on your site

Mariah Leigh-Anne Hart
Mariah Leigh-Anne Hart

oh cool thanks

michele walker
michele walker

OLTL has been so much more fun to watch with these 3 guys. I am a stay at home mom. I have tuned in to OLTL since a younging at home with my Mom. I stopped watching for a while. Right now I am hooked big time. I dvr it. Blair has been ageless and fantastic since forever. Always loved her. I like all of the cast. Star is fantastic. My main fav’s our the characters of Bobby and James. Yes , they are very good looking. Besides that, they bring their characters to life and make you feel they are real. The acting is truly fantastic. I am 39, and watching their story is as exciting as I was a teen again. The attractions between the boys and Star and Lanx. Just fantastic! Please have them on a really long term. They are gems! I am a happily married almost 40 yr. old stay at home Mom. I can’t get enough of their story line. They are fun and the whole damn package. I have not seen such good acting with young people since G. H.’s teen group: Lucky and Liz and the gang! Great work finding these boys OLTL! James amazes me. I loved Bobby from the start and felt the same of James. They hooked me the first day they were on. That’s not easy to do. I hope to see them in Movies. The fact is their looks alone could land them anything! They are also talented. That is not easy to find today. Whom ever spotted them and signed them, you know talent!

kara anderson
kara anderson

long story

Jennifer
Jennifer

While I always appreciate and enjoy the interviews, I must say it is the over-saturation and exposure of these new and unappealing characters that has prompted this viewer to delete OLTL from my DVR. I may try to catch-up with the true stars of this show online, but no longer can tolerate what passes for OLTL these days.

Shirtless and smarmy are the best descriptions for these characters. This show has confused sexy and sex appeal with merely being undressed. Cary Grant oozed sex appeal in a tux; George Clooney screams sex appeal in a suit; Daniel Craig with a smile; A Martinez with the way he moved. Those three in a sauna in towels? –I am not sure what that was, but it sure as heck was not sexy.

Ford’s actions in regard to every female he has been in contact with on this show is appalling and no amount of mommy left me backstory will change his disgusting behaviors. On prom night this sleaze had sex with the pizza girl, almost had sex with brainless Langston, and then did the deed with a mentally ill young woman. Middle brother comes across as stalkerish and the youngest looks way too old to be with Dani. Bottomline, there is nothing remotely entertaining about these characters for me.

What a sad day for this once entertaining show when Viki, Dorian, Blair, Joey, Kevin, Cassie, Clint, Max and the dozens of characters with substance are brushed aside for such an insipid threesome.

bottomchef
bottomchef

Wow, david gregory’s char is disgusting. W/c means OLTL’s writers must love writing for him: hello Todd!

brian
brian

The Ford brothers are too much fun, and the way they are getting mixed in with all the other characters is great.

I like how Bo is taking Nate “under his wing” It’s easy to image how Nate and Matthew will become rivals for the years to come!

OLTL is doing great doing great in my books!

DaniAustin
DaniAustin

I think OLTL has reached the last straw it has. They have tried everything to draw viewers so now they are conceding to the lowest common denominator, cheesecake. I think they are hoping that somehow they draw in viewers. Don’t see that happening. Last week’s ratings indicated a 48,000 jump in overall viewers but they are still the lowest rated show and have been for a month now. Next week those 48,000 floaters will abandon the show and their viewership will go down again. Cheesecake ain’t workin’. If some acting ability went with the cheesecake maybe you could draw in viewers but the level of acting in this storyline is minimal at best. I wonder if they will be blamed for the ratings decline like the Kish boys. Hmmm! Once ATWT goes than OLTL’s death watch will begin.

big D
big D

First of all Dani, the word is then with an ‘e’. Not ‘than OLTL’s death watch will begin… Second, the Ford brothers are a great addition to the show. If you don’t think they are hot, you may want to find out where the local softball team meets. And I’d put money on Nic Robuck to become a breakout star in prime time or movies. I don’t think it’s bad acting that plagues OLTL, it’s just poor writing. Drawn out scenes that go nowhere last entire episodes and longer. There is a definite lack of creativity in the writing. But I cannot say the Ford storyline has anything to do with it.

bottomchef
bottomchef

David gregory looks so old in that photo where they’re all wearing white. And they want Mel Gibson or Mickey Rourke to portray their abusive father? hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doe
Doe

I think all these youguns have been put on the show for the summer because they could appeal to the out of school teen agers and young adults. I can’t believe this story has legs. What we don’t need are more characters, especially young ones. Actually, these so-called boys aren’t boys at all….

katina
katina

Well I love Nic Robuck/James he is my favorite of them all. I love James/Starr and I’m rooting for them to get together.

bianca
bianca

Here, here! He’s also won just a touch more admiration from me by admitting he would prefer to keep his clothes on. He’s cute and charming, but he just doesn’t have the same exhibitionistic personality as Ford. I actually get the sense that he would prefer to catch a person with his eyes, rather than his body.

Susan
Susan

I think all the ford brothers are good looking and hot. But I do like James the best out of the three.

andiepandie
andiepandie

Nic is just too hot for words. YAY James and Starr!

dragonfly31
dragonfly31

OMG!! James is so cute and i love how he says he would rather wear a shirt i like it better when guys are not overly confident with there body and it means he is also more willing to work harder to catch your eye instead of just letting his abs do it for him.

Mermer
Mermer

I just started watching OLTL and it’s these boys who have me tuning again. They’re just so fresh and young and good looking of course. And i know it must suck for long time viewers to have newbies become front burners (i experienced that with my other soaps) but I know a lot of people who have started to watch OLTL because of these boys. In the end, we all want OLTL and soap operas in general to continue for many more years so i help people continue to support the soaps. 😀

Kristina
Kristina

why did you not recognize my email?

General Hospital

Dominic Zamprogna Speaks Out On His Decision To Leave GH, His Final Scenes With Emme Rylan & How Dante Exited The Canvas

A few weeks ago, General Hospital fans watched as one of the series beloved stars, Dominic Zamprogna (Dante) exited the show in scenes opposite his longtime on-screen love interest, Emme Rylan (Lulu).  For nine years, Zamprogna brought authenticity, emotion, and heart to the son of Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) and Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero) to life.  While Dante’s journey started out with a bang, literally (thanks, Sonny!), over the years it appeared he was taking a backseat in meatier storylines.  All the while, Dante and Lulu remained one of the more popular duos with the viewers.

After much reflection, Zamprogna decided it was time for him to walk away from a place that became his second home.  His desire now shifted to play different characters in different projects, but it was not without taking many things into account with his life-changing decision.

Michael Fairman TV talked with Dominic to glean more insight into: if there was anything GH could have done to make him sign on the dotted line again, what went down to make those final scenes seem so rushed, how it was to say goodbye to his co-workers in front of the camera and behind the scenes, if he would consider a return at some point, and how would he feel if GH now planned on recasting Dante, and much more.

For us; we recall meeting Dominic for the first times just six months into his time at General Hospital for our first interview together.  We were instantly struck by his sincerity, humor, and his eagerness to learn from some of the best in the business.  Now exiting as a “soap vet“, per se, it is a full-circle moment that we had the time to conclude his GH journey with this conversation.  Here’s what Dom had to say about it all.

What were the factors that contributed to your decision to exit GH?  Was there a pivotal moment where you were feeling, and recognizing, that you were underutilized that you felt you needed to make a change? 

DOMINIC:  When you named me the “Most Underutilized Actor of 2017!” (Laughs) Well, my plan was never to stay forever.  But half-way through my second contract,  Emme Rylan (Lulu) and I were approached by our producer on set, who said words to the effect of: you guys have been on the sideline, time to get you into the game.  That led to the Dante cheating storyline, which gave us story for about a year … which was great!  But as that ended, so did any subsequent storylines, it seemed.  In the year that followed, I started entertaining thoughts of leaving.  By the next year, I started talking about it with my wife, Linda, who had started to notice that maybe I wasn’t happy anymore, and I wasn’t.  That’s not a good feeling, especially if you’re bringing that energy home with you.  Then, I made the mistake of going on social media, which is a terrible place to go sometimes.  But fans were saying the same sort of things I was feeling.  Was it all due to story or lack-thereof?  No.  I was starting to crave playing other roles, and that’s hard to do when you’re under contract.

Were discussions even had with Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and the powers-that-be about your feelings of dissatisfaction over not being utilized more in storylines?

DOMINIC:  The discussions happened late.  Not until the negotiation process, actually.  I’m no squeaky wheel I guess, but I also don’t feel it’s in my job description to be one.  I did put out a few ideas here and there, but they didn’t happen.  I know other actors have tried the same and it didn’t lead to anything for them, either.  I was a creation of Bob Guza (former head writer, GH), and maybe I was spoiled by the amount of great writing I received while he was there.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

There had to be some sadness in walking away from GH.

DOMINIC:  Oh yeah… it was sad.  I built that character, and now here I was walking away from it, and essentially my second family.  That’s been the hardest part.  Lifelong friendships were made, and memories.  However, it’s been over a month and a half since I’ve been at GH and I feel happy.  I’ve been up in Canada shooting Tin Star, which has been a great experience.  I’ve stayed in touch with everybody and I miss everybody, in fact, I just spoke to Mo (Maurice Benard) yesterday, and I’m in class with Emme (she won’t leave me alone).  But, I feel like I made the right choice for me at this moment.

To clarify; were you actually trying to work out a deal to stay put, but both sides just could not hammer things out to a satisfactory conclusion?

DOMINIC:  We did try to work out a deal.  After more talks and conversations, I felt maybe we were going to get things done.  I was being told things would change and maybe shift things in the direction we wanted to go.  But at the end of the day, it’s gotta be in writing.  I feel like I’d been told similar things in the past which hadn’t come to fruition.  I was also reminded that it was me who needed to sign my name on that dotted line and live with that decision, and I chose not to do so.

If someone would have said to you: “We have an “A” story for you, and you are going to be driving it,” would you have been more apt to stay?   

DOMINIC:  There was talk about us sitting down and talking about storylines, but that didn’t end up happening, not sure why.  And even if it did, I don’t know that it would’ve changed my mind about leaving, anyway.   But just to be clear: I have no anger towards anybody.  It’s all a business at the end of the day.  Both sides did what they felt was right.  For me, I just felt this chapter had come to an end.

Photo: ABC

When, and how did you tell on-screen scene partner, Emme Rylan that you were leaving?  Was she happy for you and your decision?

DOMINIC:  Emme knew really early on.  Once January rolled around I was like: “I have been thinking for the last six to nine months that I am going to go.”   I wanted her to know, because we have been a couple for five years on the show.  Emme was very happy for me.  I went, “Wait a minute!  Don’t be this happy.  I’m leaving.” (Laughing)  

What happened when you told your on-screen mom, Lisa LoCicero ?

DOMINIC:  She was sad, but she is also said, “You’re in your prime, go see what’s out there!”   I wouldn’t have done this move if I did not get support at home.  My wife is the rock and the one that makes this household go.  Some things outside the show were starting to happen; I had a nice screen-test for a pilot, and then I booked these four episodes of Tin Star.  When you have choices in life; you have power and control over your future.  I think Emme and Lisa as actors realized that.  That’s what made them happy for me … for the future.  The last nine years were exciting.  However, when you can have a little bit more say in what you are doing on a day to day basis, that is empowering.  So, in saying, “no” to something, and saying, “Thank you, but that’s not what I am looking for right now,” that can feel good.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

It was a shame that through all the regimes that they rarely wrote any scenes between Dante and his father, Sonny.  What was Maurice Benard’s reaction when you told him you were leaving?

DOMINIC:  It has been pretty publicized that he and I were dissatisfied at the lack of  storyline, or scenes together.  Maurice asked the powers-that-be, “Why aren’t we working together more?”  We never had a clear answer as to why.  He didn’t know from one day to the next what was happening with my contract talks.  Mo saw me smiling one day and asked, “So does that smile mean you’re staying?”  And I said, “No, that smile is because I’m leaving.” (Laughs)  I said that more to mess with him, and make him sad.  He said, “As long as you are good financially, then I am all for anybody getting out of here and seeing what else is out there.” Really, Mo talks people into leaving so he can get more screen-time. (Laughs)

Let’s talk about the final airshow, and the story that came out of left field to facilitate your exit.  Was that written quickly to accommodate a shooting schedule or contract completion?  It felt rushed to the viewing audience.

DOMINIC:  Left field is right!  I still had a week and a half left of work when they found out I wasn’t going to re-sign, and within twelve hours I had six exit scenes written.  So, it wasn’t done to facilitate anything but a set (Lante’s house), I think.  My final tape date was May 18th, and Emme and I had scenes on the Wednesday or Thursday before that.  I guess they wanted my last scenes that aired to be with Emme, and that might have been the only scheduling day that worked for the set and the actors, and maybe that’s also why it felt so rushed.  All I could assume is that they didn’t think I was really going to leave so they didn’t plan for it, or they chose to protect themselves in this way, by not making a big deal about it.  I had another week of scenes in the PCPD with Chase (Josh Swickard) and Michael (Chad Duell) that was shot afterward.  But they had nothing to do with Dante’s “secret mission!”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I thought, “Wait!  Is that it?  Is this Dominic’s final show?  Dante doesn’t say goodbye to his mother… his father … or his son, Rocco?

DOMINIC:  Yeah, that was tough for me.  After 9 years you think you’re going to get a little bit better of a send off.   You also, hope they’re going to honor the character.  Dante wouldn’t leave to go to the 7-eleven without saying goodbye to his mother and kids.   Maurice and I talked about that.  He said, “I guess, they don’t want people to feel really sad.  You and me doing some goodbye scenes, people are going to be devastated.”   I agree with that.  However, I also think it’s a soap and that’s what fans want … good, ole drama.  I would have loved to have had scenes with Sonny, Olivia, and Dante’s kids, but when you make a decision like this, how you leave on-air is not up to you.  Both parties are going to handle it how it’s best for them.   I was very grateful they gave Emme and I something to seek our teeth into. 

They were very sad scenes.  You are one of those actors that can take the material and connect with it while delivering it in a very subtle and heartfelt way.  How was Emme after your final scenes?

DOMINIC:  She was kind of crying the whole time, going “Damn you! Damn you.”   I was having fun with it, because I love making Emme cry.  It’s not a very difficult thing to do.  (Laughs).  We were both pretty teary-eyed, actually.  Then, when we finished the scenes and I looked over and I saw how upset the crew was, that’s what really got me.  Barbara, one of the camera operators actually jokingly apologized; suggesting that if my last shot was blurry it was my fault!  As an actor, when you make the crew feel something it kind of gives you some extra good feels. That was always the best feeling, talking to Craig (our stage manager), or Donna (head of makeup department) after a scene to get the honest truth on how you did.  I’ll miss them.

Courtesy/ABC

Viewers, watching Dante have this flashback about the guy who was responsible for Lulu going overboard the Haunted Star a few years ago, probably needed a moment to connect the dots.  Some viewers were going, “What?  Dante is going after the guy that tried to drown Lulu from two years ago?”

DOMINIC:  When I read that in the script even I went, “What?” Who’s that?”  I had no idea, either. (Laughs)

Then there was this:  Dante was so hard on Lulu for her pursuing her dream as a journalist and how it inadvertently got Nathan killed.  Then all of a sudden in your final scenes, Dante has a line to Lulu in which he says something to the effect of: I understand now – you got to do, what you got to do.  In story, prior to these scenes it was leaning more towards Dante and Lulu were going to break-up over what had recently transpired.

DOMINIC:  Which, who knows?  If Dante had stayed in Port Charles it could have been the direction they were going in.  It certainly looked like they were building toward conflict, conflict, conflict, but with me leaving it was much sweeter to leave on the note that we left on, instead of Dante leaving, because he can’t deal with being around Lulu. This all leads me to believe that they didn’t want to do anything too permanent to give them time to make the proper decisions.

Courtesy/ABC

What was the last day of shooting like for you?  Was it hard to get through?

DOMINIC:  It felt like a regular day, and my final scenes were up towards the end of the tape day. They had a cake afterwards.  Frank briefly spoke and introduced Maurice; who said a bunch of sweet words.  That meant a lot to me.  I said “goodbye” to everybody and took some photos, and that was it.  I already had my room packed up.  Once you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go.  Afterwards, I went out with Ryan Paevey (Ex-Nathan) and Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Ex-Carlos) for some beers and wings at the bar down the street.  It wasn’t until everybody came back after a two-week break that it felt real, because then I was receiving text messages from people saying, “We’re back.  Why the hell aren’t you here?”

The door has been left open for Dante to return.  Would you ever come back?

DOMINIC:  Of course, at some point.  But it might not be my choice, they might recast.  They told me they won’t, but who knows what’ll be done.  Do I think you can just recast a role?  No, I think it’s always a tough sell, but they’ve done it with bigger names/characters than mine.  I would be a little surprised, only because there hasn’t been much story for Dante in the last three years.  For me, as of now, I’ve moved on, and I’m very happy with my decision and my life.  It’s sad in other respects, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve read things that people have said on Twitter, and I want everyone to know I’ve seen it all and it means a lot to me.  People have been beautiful to me.  I’m truly overwhelmed by the love.  I thought there would be more of, “Who cares?” when fans found out I left.   I must have done something right during the years I was at GH.

Did you think when you made the decision to leave they would kill-off Dante? 

DOMINIC:  No, not at all.  I don’t think killing off Dante would be a good idea, especially after they killed Nathan, and also because of the climate we live in with police involved shootings and violence, in general.  In a perfect world as an actor, you crave the opportunity to have one last moment with the other characters that have been important to your character over the years.  That’s all I would have wanted for myself, and Dante.  I’ll take what I got though.  It was extremely meaningful because of what Emme and I had and built.  I feel we got to the heart and soul of those two characters in a pretty short amount of time in our scenes.

Courtesy/ABC

Speaking of Nathan, I think thus far those funeral scenes, which you were wonderful in, and the story arc revolving around his death, are GH’s best bet for an Emmy in the Drama Series category next year. 

DOMINIC:  I agree.  It was so well-done.  We’d all would like to go out like that!  Tragic, but it made for great TV and great soap.  It was phenomenally well-acted across the board.  Lots of Emmy reel stuff for Michelle Stafford (Nina) and Kirsten Storms (Maxie), and Kathleen Gati (Liesl), and hopefully for our directors and crew, also.  They did an amazing job bringing that to life.

This now leaves Josh Swickard as the lone cop now by default on GH.   he PCPD is notorious for being the worst cop shop in the history of soaps! (Laughs) They can’t ever solve a crime.

DOMINIC: (Laughs) I know!  What is Josh is going to do?   Maybe between Chase and Jordan (Vienssa Antoine) they will solve crimes.  Maybe, they’ll bring on a new cop.  Josh is a great guy and I enjoyed working with him.  At the beginning, we had that contentious relationship between the two guys.  That would’ve been fun if it lasted longer, where they had this continual real dislike for one another.  Who knows?  With Dante gone, maybe they will start solving some crimes! (Laughs) Maybe now the PCPD will be the greatest police unit in the USA.

Courtesy/ABC

Over your nine years at GH, would you still consider that your best storyline was coming on to the show and then having Sonny shoot Dante, only for it to turn out that he just shot his own son?

DOMINIC:  Yes, I think you have to.  That was my intro.  They had this story planned eight months before they even cast the role.  To get to that moment, was a classic soap cliffhanger.  I grew up watching soap operas with my grandparents, and if they had been alive for that scene they would have lost it, because it was something that ‘old school’ soap fans would really dig.  For me, doing that story felt so special.  ABC also pumped it with the promotion, and the promos, and the TV spots, and amped it up.  I didn’t feel it disappointed.  It was actually the audition scene that I had to perform to get the part!  Then six months later you get to say these lines that got you the part, and you hope you don’t whiff on the softball.

While putting together and producing the GH 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys, I included that moment between Sonny and Dante.  I remember watching the complete scene before editing it and the dialog was so good.  It still holds up to this day.

DOMINIC:  My manager was at the Emmys that night, and said what a great moment that was.  I meant to thank you for that, because I really appreciated it being in there.

Courtesy/ABC

Are there any other scenes that come to mind that you are most proud of?

DOMINIC:  I also really loved the scenes with Max Gail (Mike). He is a special guy.  There was so much in our scenes; where Dante finds him with Avery in the stables.  Those moments are going to stick with me for a long time.

On June 28th, the airdate of your last episode, you posted a tweet to the fans that read: “The love you guys have given me over the years and continue to give is overwhelming.  It is I that must thank YOU!”  I thought that was extremely touching and very appreciated by the fans.

DOMINIC:  I was thinking, “Man, I have to thank you, because I would not legitimately be here if you hadn’t liked this guy, Dante.”  It was bringing tears to my eyes reading what people were saying, and seeing how much love I was receiving.

Tell me about your role in the British-Canadian production of Tin Star?

DOMINIC:  It’s a recurring role,  I’ve been working on it since March.  It’s something very different from what I’ve been doing the last 9 years.  Can’t give much away, but I play a hired gun type of guy.  There are some great scenes and moments, and I was lucky enough to work with Christina Hendricks, John Lynch, and the legend, Tim Roth.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you feel now that you have had some time away now from GH, and have been playing another role, that the thought of playing Dante for you at this point is like: “Been there. Done that?”

DOMINIC:  I would never say Dante is done forever.  Right now for me, he is.  They left it open, hopefully they left it open for me, but every actor hopes that.  We want our cake and to eat it too!  I want to leave right now, but I want you to want me to come back some day.  No one wants their role to be recast.  But it’s an important character, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Who knows what the future holds.  I left on good terms.  Just so everyone knows; I didn’t spring something on GH on the last day of my contract.  It’s important that I let people know that I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “See ya”.  This also wasn’t about money.  Sure, we want to be paid what we believe we’re worth.  But this in no way was about me asking for the moon, or I was going to leave.  It was a very, very difficult decision.

So, what do you think about how GH wrapped up Dante’s story for Dominic’s exit? Would you like him to return to GH sooner than later?  Do you think the role of Dante was problematic to write for?  What were your favorite scenes of Dom’s during his time at GH? Let us know via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Jonathan Jackson Talks Avery’s Love Quandary, Saying Goodbye To ‘Nashville’ & If He Would Return To General Hospital

With just three weeks before the series finale of CMT’s Nashville, Avery Barkley (Jonathan Jackson) finds himself in a major conundrum.  The woman he has loved and had a child with, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panetierre) has returned home after escaping a cult compound, just as Avery has opened himself up to the start of a new relationship with Alannah (Rainee Blake).  After not hearing from Juliette, added to the many times he felt she abandoned him and their child, will a betrayed and hurt Avery want to find a way to patch up their relationship … or try to keep Alannah by his side?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with five-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jonathan Jackson to get the lowdown on what transpired over the last few episodes and how it may end for Avery, as we inch closer and closer to having to say farewell to the Music City drama.

Since Nashville wrapped its sixth and final season a few months back, General Hospital fans have been wondering and hoping, if now is the time that Jackson would return to his role as the beloved Lucky Spencer, the son of Luke (Tony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis). Jackson originated the role in 1993 and stayed with the series till 1999.  He next returned in 2009 for a few years, then left again, and was cast on Nashville.  Jonathan made a special return in 2015 to appear in a storyline that reunited him on-screen with Geary one final time, before the soap icon retired from the show.  In this interview, Jackson addresses a return, some of his favorite moments of all-time on GH, what he learned from Tony and Genie, and more.

Those that follow Jackson are aware that his talent knows no bounds.  He is also focused on his music career, and his band Enation, which has been building on its success, playing recent sold out shows in Europe, while Jackson also had been on the final Nashville tour performing with the cast.  So, buckle up!  The next step in Jackson’s career will be one to watch.  Now, check out our insightful and heartfelt conversation below.

Avery is caught in a compromising position by Juliette, when she walks in while Avery is making out with Alannah, who has just has taken her top off.   What goes on in Avery’s mind at that point?  Is it, “Oh, no! I’m busted!” (Laughs)

JONATHAN:  It’s all sorts of things.  There is the visceral reaction, and then in his mind trying to figure what to do.  It’s sort of awkward, because they are in her house and her photos are everywhere (Laughs).  However clumsily and strange it is, he is trying to move on and get a life together with someone, and yet deep down he still has feeling for Juliette, which is mixed with anger and all of that.  He is having all different confusing conflicting emotions, all at the same time, and for Alannah as well.  It’s kind of a mess!

Courtesy/CMT

By the end of this week’s episode, viewers saw Avery and Juliette start to talk, with Avery letting her know just how he feels about her leaving him, and that he has decided to move out.  All Juliette is asking is that he keeps talking to her.  As Nashville moves toward its conclusion, the big question for the character of Avery will be … who is he going to end up with, if anyone?  I would assume many longtime fans would be rooting for Avery and Juliette, because they have gone through so much together.

JONATHAN:  Yes.  However, I have been receiving messages from fans, and talking to fans on tour, and they are slightly conflicted, too.  There is a lot of love for Avery and Juliette, but there is also frustration around the whole thing, and that they want Avery to move on and be happy. 

Courtesy/CMT

Where is Avery at with his relationship with Alannah?  He was getting close to her, and now she is attempting to put distance between them since Juliette resurfaced.

JONATHAN:  It’s difficult to pinpoint where Avery is at right at this moment.  There is a lot going on, and a lot of it is rooted in the fact that he went to Bolivia to try and bring Juliette home, and when she refused him that was so devastating for him.  The Alannah relationship snuck up on him. In some sense his heart is still attached to Juliette, but his mind is telling him it’s over, and that she is gone.  Avery and Alannah are connected to each other on a certain level.  It surprised both of them.  I think he has genuine feelings for her, but it’s also him pushing himself to move on from Juliette, which is something he has not been able to do.

Without Alannah, the band flounders with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) and Avery, and then there is the health situation with Will (Chris Carmack).  Alannah’s presence really put a kink in Gunnar and Avery’s friendship.  She stared out with one guy, and was on her way to being with another.

JONATHAN:  Gunnar and Avery are really good friends and care about each other a lot, and it is certainly an awkward moment in their friendship.   In terms of the band, they lose Will who has been through this health crisis, and then Alannah.  The music components are kind of imploding and they are just trying to hold on to their friendship, and not have that implode along with the band.

Courtesy/CMT

Brad (Jeff Nordling) is making advances towards Alannah, and she originally tells Avery about it.  What does he think of the situation?  Now, she may do whatever Jeff wants her to do to get ahead in the music biz, since Juliette came back into Avery’s life.

JONATHAN:  I think Avery is trying to be supportive of Alannah.  It was a little bit of a blow for her to leave the band, but he generally wants to support her.  Avery has this instinct to be protective, as well.  He kind of has to hold himself back a little bit and not complain too much. He knows Alannah is an independent person, and may not want his help.  With the situation with Brad, Avery is aware of it, but she is walking into that in her own way.  It’s a moment for Avery to sort of step back and trust her that this is how she wants to go about her career.

Did you know Rainee Blake was going to be your potential love interest this season? Did you screen-test with her?

JONATHAN:  We did not screen-test together.  I think relatively earlier on I heard that this might happen, but it is one of those things were you never really know.  Often times, the writers and the producers bide their time and see how things develop as a couple, and how the audience responds to the on-screen chemistry.  You never really know if it’s going to materialize.  I actually did like how Avery and Alannah started to connect on the tour bus several episodes ago. The audience got a tease of a different side of Alannah, and Avery kind of brought that out.  Rainee was great to work with.

Courtesy/CMT

You have gotten the opportunity as Avery to tug on the heartstrings, as a dad raising his little girl, Cadence, all by himself, with a the runaway mother who never shows up.  How was the journey working with Hayden Panetierre?  You two had to battle, bicker, fight, and had to play all these ups and downs together to make the story work over many seasons of Nashville.

JONATHAN:   It was really amazing, and for me that is one of the things I will miss most about working on the show, and that is working with Hayden.  It’s such an interesting thing when you work with people for so many years, and all of the emotional ups and downs that the characters go through.  Often times, we would be doing a lot of intense and emotional scenes, but for whatever reason, we would find a way to have a lot of fun and find the humor when we are doing those.  I have a lot of love and respect for Hayden.  I think she is incredibly talented. We both started off in soap operas (Hayden was Lizzie on Guiding Light) and thus had a certain approach to our work, and our work ethic.  For me, it’s always a highlight in my career when I get to work with somebody that the scene is already great, because of the person you are working with.  We would constantly share ideas back and forth between us.  The thing about working on Nashville was the friendships we developed in the cast, especially going on tour with the cast and to experience all of that with everybody else.

Courtesy/CMT

What happened when you found out that this sixth and final season of Nashville would be its last?  Did you have any idea that this was coming down the pike when you wrapped season 5? 

JONATHAN:  No.  I don’t think anybody knew when we wrapped season 5.  We did not know till right before everybody else that this was going to be the last season.  We were in production maybe halfway through season 6.  I think that it helped having that time to adjust, and it gave us some time for reflection.  It really did help in a sense, because you know other shows they might wrap a month, or two later, and it’s over.  You don’t get to say goodbye, but we really did.  We got to say our goodbyes.

Courtesy/CMT

I can imagine that was heartbreaking.  When you think of the rollercoaster ride you and the cast had been through together which included: the cancellation by ABC, then the show coming back on CMT, only for it to be cancelled again, it’s quite a lot to deal with and not knowing if there is job security.  Do you recall your last day on the set?

JONATHAN:  I do remember it very well.  There were a lot of beautiful moments with people, and having so much love for the crew and so many amazing people that worked on the show.  We wrapped on April 10th and then we flew to the U.K. on the 12th   It was two days later that the tour started.  Even though filming was over, we were on a plane and then on a bus together, which was really good for all of us.  I know it was for me to have another ending.  In some ways, the end of the tour was even more emotional, because that really felt it was the end.

Photo Credit: CMT

Do you think there were more stories to tell on Nashville … or, do you think the series is going off the air when it should, as the stories can tend to get repetitive on any long-running series? Do you think this was the right time for Nashville to say goodbye?

JONATHAN:  I don’t know how other people’s perspectives are about it, but I know from my perspective, I think we told the story that was there to be told for these characters.  That is sort of the bittersweet reality of it.  It’s painful to say goodbye to a lot of people that I had become very close to, but at the same time, there was a sense of peace about it.  It really did feel like the right time.

What can you say tease about how Nashville concludes? The series finale airs on July 26.

JONATHAN:  One of the hardest things about being in a long form series; whether it be in the primetime format, or the daytime format, is often times the lack of resolution that takes place. You are pertually in Act 2 and in all the drama.  So, knowing that the show was over, allowed the writers to approach everything from the perspective of the end, and Act 3.  Certain storylines have resolution, and others are left open-ended.  There is a good overall balance from the writers of what the audience is going to experience with the end of the show.

Courtesy/ABC

I produced the General Hospital 55th anniversary tribute package for this year’s Daytime Emmys.  I remember looking at some of your storylines and touching performances all over again that still hold up to this day.  One in particular was Lucky pulling tough love on Luke (Tony Geary) during his father’s intervention.  Lucky is such a valuable character on the canvas.  Would you consider going back to GH? 

JONATHAN:  My perspective on that is; I don’t really put that off the table.  I really don’t have plans to do that, because after coming off six years on a series, that is a lot.  I am definitely looking for other projects that have an Act 1, 2, and 3, that happen a little sooner than Nashville did.  I always have going back to GH on the table, because it’s like a family for me.  I have always said that that even when I left in the 90’s; that GH would be something I would come back to.  But, I am very committed and excited about what is happening with Enation, and excited about some other projects that are out there on the acting front. I don’t see going back to GH in the near future, but I never write it off.

When you last returned you did come back to be part of Tony Geary’s exit.

JONATHAN: Yes, yes, which I was really happy to be a part of.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Still years later, when you think of all the stories you portrayed as Lucky, is there one, or two that stand out to you among the rest?

JONATHAN:   There are many.  There were a lot of stories, and the writers wrote so much material, and that is a double-edged sword.  It’s great to have, but it was so much that I really couldn’t continue. (Laughs)

Photo Credit: ABC

I remember saying to you years ago, “You cry so well on camera. They are going to keep expecting you to cry, and they will be throwing scripts like that to you every day!”

JONATHAN:  And that is exactly what happened!   But for me, it’s the moments with the co-stars that I will always carry with me.  There are endless ones in my memory with Tony Geary. “The intervention” was certainly one of those moments.  I had those moments as well with Tyler Christopher (Ex-Nikolas, now Stefan, DAYS), and Becky Herbst (Elizabeth).  I remember having these scenes with Maurice Benard (Sonny) when scenes on the soaps were much longer.  And of course, earlier on, with Genie Francis (Laura) as well.  I feel like as an artist, I was really formed by Tony and Genie’s presence and observing them and watching how they worked.  I asked so many questions to them as I really wanted to learn.  They really protected me in so many ways, and yet gave me the freedom to try to find my own way through a whole process as well.  Those are the things that really jump out at me, as well as working through the scenes prior to filming, especially with Tony.  He and I would go pretty deep with what we were trying to figure out; what the scenes were, and what they were about, and how to approach it.  That part of the process was really memorable to me.  The unique thing I think in this industry for me was that I started at 11-years-old and got to come back to the show in my mid-20’s, and got to have that connection with another actor, and explore this father and son relationship.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

I don’t think, and I really mean this, that there has been a father/son relationship on television like Luke and Lucky’s.   It was so multi-faceted.   Have you stayed in touch with Tony?

JONATHAN:  We definitely stay in touch.  Again, when I left General Hospital, I did not know if anything like that would happen again in my career where I would form sort of long-lasting friendships with people.  Most of the time you do a film and you get to know some people, and you go your separate ways, and that’s just how it is.  So I was really grateful for Nashville, because I feel like we were able to have those long-lasting relationships. I can’t really put into words my relationship with Tony.  It’s just a lot of love and gratitude, and respect that I have for him.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagram

Meanwhile, your music career is very exciting of late.  Last month, you played the Royal Albert Hall in London with your band, Enation.  How was that experience?

JONATHAN:  It was amazing.  I went overseas with the Nashville tour and then Enation did a couple of shows, and then we opened for Echo & the Bunnymen.  The last gig on that tour was at Royal Albert Hall.  I have loved Echo & the Bunnymen for such a long time, and so this was wonderful for us.

Will Enation be touring more coming up?  

JONATHAN:  We are looking to go back to Europe later this year, or the spring of next year, and are working out those details.  We are going to be touring in the United States later on this year.

Photo: JJacksonInstagram

Did your wife Lisa (Ex-Hannah, GH) meet up with you on this recent European tour?

JONATHAN: The Nashville tour ended in Ireland, and then my wife and kids came over for the last two shows there. Then, got to go around Ireland for a couple of weeks and drive around, and it was fun.

Did you notice a difference between the European music fans of Nashville as opposed to those in the U.S.?

JONATHAN:  Yes, and no.  One of the things I have noticed playing over there is that the distinction in musical genres isn’t quite as a sharp as it is in the U.S.  Over there, the radio seems to play a lot different kinds of music.  So, it was a pretty seamless transition for a lot of the people that came to the Nashville show.   We see a slight difference in the music fan base, and it mainly has to do with that they may go to a country show one week, and a couple of weeks later go to a rock concert, and not think twice about the genre.  It’s just they are looking for good music.

Courtesy/JJacksonInstagramm

Hard to believe we are turning the page on another great character played by Jonathan Jackson as Nashville heads towards its finale.  What would you like to say to the fans, the #Nashies, who have loved, and have stuck with show every step of the way?

JONATHAN:  Just a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the support, especially when the show was cancelled.  CMT saw the enthusiasm and support from the fans here and internationally, and that was a huge part for us to be able to get the last few seasons.  It has really meant a lot to us creatively to write that 3rd act, sort of speak, and have that sense of closure. I also would just say to the fans that have come out to the Nashville concerts as well, that it has meant so much.  We feel like we have had some beautiful moments with everybody, and so I am very grateful for that.

So, what do you think will happen to Avery at the end of Nashville?  Do you want him to end up with Juliette, Alannah, or by himself? Should GH try to lure Jonathan back to the his role as Lucky Spencer? Comment below!

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Interviews

Y&R’s Peter Bergman Talks On: Jack Finding His True Biological Father, His Co-Stars, And If He Would Like A New Love Interest

On The Young and the Restless turns out Ashley (Eileen Davidson) is not the only child raised as an Abbott; whose father is not John.  As viewers learned back at the end of March, Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman) is not the biological son of the Abbott patriarch, either!  This has sent Jack on a pursuit to find out who he truly is, and who he truly belongs to, because being John Abbott’s (Jerry Douglas) son meant everything to him.

Once again, this story has given multi-Daytime Emmy winner, Peter Bergman an opportunity to play the complex layers of one of daytime’s best characters.  Recently, Jack had gone through his mother Dina’s (Marla Adams) old diary, where there was a key page missing out of it.  He then located a photo, which led him to believe that none other than late Phillip Chancellor II (played by the late Donnelly Rhodes) is his real father.  Is Jack a Chancellor?

Hell-bent on exhuming the body for DNA proof, Jack is getting massive pushback from just about everyone on Genoa City.  It is not helping the situation that Dina is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her recollections of what transpired years ago when she had an affair, may not be accurate.  Now this week, Jack has a plan that may backfire and ends up involving his son, Kyle (Michael Mealor) in the process.  Will these two work together to get the proof of the truth?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with the actor’s actor, Peter Bergman to get his take on: the surprise story twist he never saw coming, if Jack has the purest of intentions, or if he is just chomping at the bit get his hands on Chancellor Industries, if he would like to see Jack have a new love interest, and more.  It’s always a treat to speak with Peter.  Here is what he had to say about Jack’s latest inner-turmoil.

Jack is not John’s Abbott’s son.  He is searching for the answer of who is his biological father.  Now, Jack believes he has found the answer in the photo he found that included Phillip Chancellor II, and then went to Dina to confirm the answer, even knowing his mother is battling Alzheimer’s disease.  Don’t you think he jumped on this notion of Phillip being his dad all too son?

PETER:  Jack has stumbled upon evidence that this is for real with the photo he found.  He went to Dina on what was a very lucid day for her, and she was pretty damn clear.  So, therefore it wasn’t just the ramblings of a lost woman.  Jack is very eager for an answer.  Could it be argued that he jumped on this as a possibility? Yes, and for a number of reasons.  First, he feels somewhat utter-less and needs to be connected to something, but he also knows his family, and the history of this family, and “Oh, my God” could that be a way out of this untethered feeling that he had.  So he is really grabbing on to this pretty quickly.  Second, it is not lost on Jack that part of inheriting all of Phillip’s traits might also bring him part of the Chancellor estate, which would belong to Jack and perhaps he could pick-up at the corporate level where he left off.  So that is exciting, but certainly not central to his thinking.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Everyone thinks from Cane (Daniel Goddard) to Jill (Jess Walton), to Billy (Jason Thompson) , that all Jack truly wants is to stake claim as an heir and to try to take control of Chancellor Industries.  Are they that far off from the truth?

PETER:  How honest is Jack being with himself?  We will find out!  He would want to stake his claim … and maybe a little bit more!

What was your reaction when you learned that Jack would be revealed to be the son of Phillip Chancellor II, when for decades you have been playing so much of what drives your character that he is the son of John Abbott?  Were you like, “What!??” (Laughs)

PETER:  I have been doing this much too long, to go “Why?”  I, quite frankly ask, “Where do you want to go with this?  Where do you want to take me?” The things that I have done in the past that I have fought the most have usually been the things that really led me somewhere.  I tell the story all the time of John Abbott dying.  They decided to bring him back as Jack’s conscious, and he would appear in scenes with Jack and talk to him.  I thought “C’mon. This is The Young and the Restless, and I am doing a ‘ghost’ storyline?”  I fought it and I didn’t like it, and I was wrong.  It was fantastic, and it worked great, and the audience liked it.  I learned from it.   I don’t go, “Whaaat?” that much anymore.  There have been a few of those including: the whole doppelganger story, while it confused me at times, and I thought this had gone a few steps too far, but it led us to Billy/Phyllis/Jack story. It was a direct line to that, and one of the most dynamic storylines I have ever been in.  So, I see this current story, and I go, “That is an interesting turn.”  Then, as an actor, I dig into it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack wants to exhume Phillip’s body and everybody from Jill to Cane is objecting.  Esther (Kate Linder) is worried Mrs. C. will roll over in her grave if he does this move.  As we will see, Jack does not take “no” for answer.

PETER:  Jack eventually all but gives up, but then a door opens slightly for him to look at this a different way   Jack reluctantly walks through that door.

Do you think Jack has ever thought of the possibility of: “What if I am the son of someone from the circus … or the former pool boy at the country club?”

PETER:  I have thought it’s amusing when I have met people who have explored their past lives. They have always been a prince or a princess. They were never menial laborers.  I think he looks back and is kind of curious.  I think Jill points it out to him that he is not at all suspicious that he is the pool boy, or the golf pro’s offspring?  He knows the tryst happened at the country club, and so the first person you think of is one of the elite of the country club. 

Courtesy/CBS

It would be such a huge devastating fall for Jack if something like that turned out to be true!  Jack so wants to belong to a family that has wealth and prestige that goes along with their name.  I wonder what it would be like if he had to say, “Yes. It’s true.  I am the pool boy’s son!” (Laughs)

PETER:  I don’t know how that would fit Jack.

How is working with the latest Kyle, you’re on-screen son, played by Michael Mealor? The part had been recast multiple times and the actor didn’t stick.

PETER:  I cannot say enough good things about Michael.  This is an extremely disciplined, very talented, and very professional guy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.  I think he is doing a great job.  Michael gets looser every show.  He likes to take big chances and try a lot of things.  We have had a lot of young actors on the show and what they do is try to project that they are cool.  They don’t go outside of the, “I’m going to be cool, and honest, and real.”  They say, “I am going to be solid, and make simple choices.”  Michael takes big chances doing large stuff, and going overboard  That’s scary do to as an actor, but I watch him in scenes with Hunter King (Summer) where he is trying to appear cool, but just her physical prescience gets to him.  You can see it in his performances and it’s wonderful to watch.   It’s lovely to see in a 26-year-old and it’s fantastic.  I have high hopes for Michael.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

This version of Kyle seems to be a bit of a chip-off-the-old-block.  He can play dirty just like his dad!

PETER:  As far as where Kyle is at … he is like Jack Abbott.  He is not a good guy, nor a bad guy.  Kyle is a bit of an opportunist with a heart, who wants to feel a part of things, but he also takes advantage of the situation, in a way that sometimes works against that. 

We saw Jack stumble and drink again as he fights his addiction when learning the news that John is not is biological father.  Do you see him stumbling again, and going back to popping pills and booze, if Phillip Chancellor II were not to wind up being his dad?

PETER:  I don’t know if he will see him spiraling, but it is worth saying for someone who is a constant and has a had guiding light of  ‘what’s right, and what’s wrong” and that now has been taken away from him essentially when John Abbot goes “Jack!”, that is a game-changer.  What we can expect from Jack now may change.  Jack isn’t as bound by “what would dad do” as he once was.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

So, we may be surprised with a turn in attitude from Jack?

PETER:  You may be surprised.  So much of his life, and certainly so much of what I play is that Jack has spent his whole life trying to be like John Abbott, because John Abbott is his father.   Now that is not so. So, how much effort should Jack be putting in to being like John Abbott?

Good point!

PETER:  It will be interesting to see where that goes!

We have seen many actors in the soaps portray drug and alcohol addiction. When Jack’s played itself out originally, it was one of the most harrowing to watch.

PETER:  He got to a dark place very fast.  It was out of control.  It was an important part of the Phyllis (Gina Tognoni) and Jack story, because he honestly did not have the strength to do it by himself, and he had somebody to help him through it   As it turned out, it was a formative experience for Jack and for Phyllis; one that they carry with them for the rest of their lives. They know things about each other that the rest of the world does not know.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Billy recently read Jack the riot act, when Jack told his brother about being Phillip Chancellor’s son.  Having had it with Jack, Billy threw him out of his office.  Where do you think the relationship stands between the brothers at this point?

PETER:  It’s really hard for Jack.  He is still on the board at Jabot.  He has family ties there, and he still gets the checks, but it feels so weird for him, it really does.  He is trying to be a bigger man and let Billy do what Billy is going to do.  Deep down inside Jack has known Billy for a really long time, and when Billy sort of combusts, boy, does he go! Jack hates that Billy is holding the reins of Jabot, if things fall apart for Billy.

Viewers are seeing Billy turning to gambling again.  What would Jack do if he finds out what is happening to his brother?

PETER:  I don’t know what he could do.  I am not sure what he could do to stop the CEO of the company as things currently stand.  It’s hard for Jack to relax around Billy. It’s not a promising situation.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Do you think the Jack and Bill will ultimately be there for each other when the chips are down moving forward?

PETER:  Jack has a soft place in his heart for addicts for reasons we both know, and a soft spot for family.  It will be interesting to see how well Jack’s patience holds up, if Billy should go down that particular rabbit hole.

Do you think Jack might visit Chancellor Park and have a chat with the late Katherine about the revelation about Phillip and Dina?

PETER:  I think Jack is really trying to be realistic about all of this.  It could clearly be proven, but he is impatient.  He could wait for Chance and Phillip III to come back from their Himalayan trip, but he does not want to wait.  It’s just so easy if everyone would be practical about this, and get some fragment of Phillip’s remains, and there would be a DNA test.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Jack’s nemesis, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) is having a lot of issues, too.  This includes his mysterious health diagnosis …

PETER:  Oh, damn! (Laughs)

How does Jack feel about Victor these days and the plight that he is in?

PETER:  Jack has such contempt for Victor.  However, Jack can occasionally see that Victor is important to some people, but Victor to Jack is everything that is wrong in the world.  As to the fact that he is struggling right now, does Jack wish bad physical health on him, or anybody?  No. However, if things didn’t go easily for Victor, Jack would not lose any sleep over it.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Don’t you think it’s time for Jack to have a real, honest-to-goodness, love interest?

PETER:  Jack should have a new love interest.  I think the writers and the producers of The Young and the Restless are paying me a lot for half of what I do.

Jack should find true love.  Someone who will be with him and whom he loves with all his heart, and someone who loves him back, flaws and all.  A romance where he is not manipulating her, or she is not manipulating him, for financial or corporate gain.   Do you think at this point that is even possible?

PETER:  I think that would be a swell thing, but that would be a daytime show investing in an actress that is over 40-years-old.  They have done it, but it’s a rare thing.  But yes, I do feel like we are seeing two-thirds of Jack.  There is another third of him that is completely unexplored and that’s a shame.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

We saw those heartbreaking scenes that aired last year where Jack had to admit to Ashley that his mother has Alzheimer’s.  How is he going to continue in his relationship with Dina knowing she has had multiple affairs throughout her life, and when married to John?

PETER:  This is a real difficult place for Jack.  Obviously, he has his mother back in his life in one sense, but his mother has been responsible for pretty much everything that has gone wrong in his life over the last two years.  It’s just one thing after another.  Had his mother been faithful to John, Jack would not be in this situation.  Had his mother not returned, we could have gone on with life as it was, and now all this mess is in part Dina’s doing.  Now, Jack has moved out of the house and so his mother is slipping away by the minute, and Jack is not around for it.  He keeps visiting, and he keeps stopping by, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough.  Jack struggles with that a lot.  He should be more in Dina’s life and be around for that, but being around for that means being in the Abbott house.  Everywhere he looks are reminders that he is not who he told himself he is for his entire life.

One of the more endearing moments came at this year’s Daytime Emmys, after Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R) took to the stage to accept her award for Outstanding Lead Actress.  She thanked you while you were in the audience.

PETER:  This is in keeping with my new plan for the Emmys each year,  What I do is: I try to get a nomination so that I can sit in the audience after I have lost and hear the winner for Lead Actress thank me personally. (Laughs)  I am two for two in the last two years! (Laughs) Gina Tognoni had won that category the year prior.  Eileen Davidson is the greatest, and she has been for all intent and purposes my leading lady on Y&R.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Now, Eileen Davidson has announced, and made the decision to leave her role as Ashley.

PETER:   I can’t say enough things about her.  I adore her … I adored working with her. She is every bit as good as everybody thinks she is.  She comes to work prepared   She never needs hand- holding or spoon-feeding.  Eileen is the real deal; had she been one of Jack’s lovers that would have been over a long time ago.  The fact that she is his sister is fantastic.  Now with her exiting the show, I will miss her terribly.

In closing, viewers should watch for Jack’s next move?

PETER:  Jack is not leaving any stone unturned.  He has to figure out who he is, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

So, do you think Phillip Chancellor II is truly Jack’s biological father?  If not, who do you think is?  What have you thought of Peter Bergman’s performance in the storyline? Would you like to see Jack have a new love interest?  If so, who would you like to see the series bring onto the show to play opposite him? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Video du Jour

This week on Y&R, Nick reveals himself to Victor as the one who has been masquerading at J.T.! Meanwhile, Lily and Hilary are involved in a terrible car crash, and Mariah and Tessa reconnect. What did you think of Nick’s revenge plot on Victor? Watch the latest promo from CBS below, then let us know. Leave A Comment

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