Connect with us

Interviews

The Jacob Young Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Courtesy/CEG

It has been over eleven years since Daytime Emmy winner, Jacob Young, has appeared on his original daytime stomping grounds, The Bold and the Beautiful. Now, one of soaps favorite “bad boys”, (as the former JR Chandler of AMC), comes home to reprise the role of Rick Forrester! After all, who doesn’t remember all the twists and turns of the Rick and Amber relationship back in the day? In this new interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Jacob reveals “not so fast” about going back to revisit history, and that Rick has a lot to prove this time out!

Now as many longtime daytime fans know, Jacob just completed an amazing eight year as JR Chandler on All My Children. AMC had its network television conclusion on ABC last month on September 23rd. Shortly before that time, Jacob and B&B had announced that he struck a deal to come over to the international hit, and thus would not be continuing with AMC when it moves to the Internet in the early part of 2012 in its new home, The Online Network. Jacob fills us in on his difficult decision to leave Pine Valley, his thoughts on the controversial network TV finale which saw JR aiming a gun at the citizens of Pine Valley, and how he is ready to turn the page on life as a Chandler, and embrace life again as a key member of the Forrester clan.

We have always found Jacob to be one of the most endearing, honest, and refreshing actors to speak with in the genre. And so, On-Air On-Soaps is thrilled to bring this one-on-one chat with Jacob to you, as we welcome the original Rick home!

MICHAEL:

Jacob, you decided to come back to The Bold and the Beautiful instead of staying with All My Children with its move online. Why the decision to make such a BOLD move?

Courtesy/CBS

JACOB:

The issue with leaving AMC was about the uncertainty. Is there going to be a future? How serious are they about the online venture? How is it going to work? And I had just recently heard a rumor that they are actually moving all the sets out of the studio. Now I know with One Life to Live their team is signed and their people are pretty much ready and gung-ho. But I knew there was going to be a little resistance with AMC. Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing, but with The Bold and the Beautiful it was my first job. So there is this sort of romanticism about my first break into Hollywood.

MICHAEL:

I remember interviewing you back in 1997-1998, when you were first at B&B. It seems so long ago, but look at where things are now! The old adage proves true, “Never say never”!

JACOB:

It has gone full circle. I am lucky to be one of the actors in a diminishing market to have some place to go, especially now with the way the economy, and jobs, and the uncertainty of our future, and the new great depression upon us. So, it’s nice to just be able to have a job and be a wanted.

MICHAEL:

Did you talk with Brad Bell, the executive producer and head writer of B&B, about story before you decided to sign on the dotted line? B&B has proven tricky sometimes when big name actors come to the show, because of the focus on main characters and that the show is only a half-hour long … so you can only pack so much story in that amount of time.

JACOB:

Courtesy/CBS

Thirty minutes certainly does not allow that much time for storytelling, but I said, “Brad, it really does not matter to me where you want to put me right now. I just want a chance to have everybody warm back up to him, and be worked into the story somewhere so people will start seeing Rick, and becoming use to and comfortable with me again.”

MICHAEL:

Seems like an excellent plan, so Rick is not shoved down the audiences throat!

JACOB:

Right. I have totally taken a different approach on this. The writers have caught on, or are just on the same page with me. Rick is going to stand up for what he believes in, but his approach is a little more tactful. He wants a fresh start. Now, obviously all those old rivalries will pick up and probably blow up in his face, but at least Rick is making efforts to try and mend relationships with the damage he did in the past.

MICHAEL:

You are not telling On-Air On-Soaps fans that you are going to be a complete good-guy are you? Soap fans have come love you as a badass! (Laughs)

JACOB:

(Laughs) I am sure there will be a time when I go straight for the throat. I know there will be that dichotomy with Thomas, because he is fighting for his position in the family. Rick is still a little older than him and wants to make sure he settles down a bit.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Do you ever look at Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) and go, “You play my mother?”

JACOB:

Every day! (Laugh) She is my mother, but she is absolutely beautiful and dateable! She is more than dateable! I find myself stammering on myself when she is talking to me. She is being genuine and I am like, “Uh-Uh-Uh.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

And then John McCook (Eric) plays your dad! That must have been very cool for you to come back and get the opportunity to work with him again.

JACOB:

Well, I really bond with John on an almost a real father/son level. We always had that relationship even back in the days. He is the guy that takes everyone under his wing and makes everyone feel comfortable. If we could all aspire to be that kind of person and say, “hello” and embrace and hold and be friendly, I think the world would be a better place.

MICHAEL:

Rick finds out that his former flame, Amber, and Marcus had a child immediately upon arriving back on the scene!

JACOB:

Photo Credit: Gilles Toucas

Yes, that was right off the bat at the beginning of my return. Rick found that out, and he says to Marcus, “So, you and Amber are an item?” And Marcus tells him they are absolutely not together. And then there is some small talk and that opened up a little story arc that is happening with that. This was one of the things Brad and I talked about.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Rick would really forgive Amber for all she has done to him in the past?

JACOB:

I think he can forgive, but you never forget, and that I think is going to be the barrier. Amber is very supportive of Rick taking an active interest in the family.

MICHAEL:

In addition, Rick came back to town and instantly wanted to help Hope with her relationship mess with Liam.

JACOB:

Yes, absolutely. He wanted to help Hope. You see that caring side of Rick that was not there that much before. He really loves his sister. He wants her to be happy with Liam, because that’s what she wants. However, Rick thinks Liam is a dirt bag, but if his sister loves a dirt bag, then that is how it’s got to be. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

So if there is an open playing field for Rick Forrester, in terms of a romantic interest, who would you like to see him paired with on the canvas?

JACOB:

There are very few women on this show that are in my age range. Brad and I were talking a little bit about that. Maybe down the line we will recruit in someone new.

MICHAEL:

Yes! Maybe there was a woman from Rick’s past while he was away in Paris whom they need to bring in.

JACOB:

John McCook said maybe there was someone he met down in shipping and maybe she is someone who is European. That would make for an interesting storyline. We will see how the cards fall. Right now, he is really just trying to figure out if he wants to stay in town, or go back to work for the International Side of Forrester Creations.

MICHAEL:

Now Rick is going to get involved with Thorne and Taylor as they maneuver their takeover of Forrester Creations!

JACOB:

Yeah, it is sort of everyone coming together going, “OK. We have really got to make a run at this, because we are falling short as far as the fashion is concerned. We have got to put our heads together and rise above.” I think Rick’s intention is to work with Thorne and Taylor. Now it may be to stick it to the other Forresters, but I think it’s mainly about the competition and putting the brand back out there. Rick wants to be the guy to help bring that together.

MICHAEL:

What does he really do for Forrester? Do we know? Or, should we make it up? (Laughs)

JACOB:

Courtesy/ABC

(Laughs) He was running the international team from a business perspective, because Rick is not a designer, although they recently have hinted that maybe he is designing a little bit. And, I can’t draw and neither can Rick, apparently! (Laughs) I would say, Rick takes an active role internationally in sales and business, and works on some creative ideas. I think he agrees with Thorne and Taylor right now; that there has to be change and has to be a movement that happens that puts Forrester back on the map!

MICHAEL:

Will we see Ridge and Rick at odds again? Remember; while you were away from B&B there was that “balcony” drama story point.

JACOB:

Yes. absolutely. There is always this “tread lightly” kind of attitude between him and Ridge, because you know at any minute they could blow up at each other. Rick is trying to resolve that stuff and come in with a fresh slate.

MICHAEL:

OK, but would you say the fans should trust that?

JACOB:

No. Absolutely not! (Laughs) There is definitely a storm brewing.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Let’s talk about the controversial ending of All My Children and the finale episode, which has been all the buzz for the last several weeks. There you were in the closet with a gun in the final episode. And the talk is, “Did JR shoot himself? Or did he shoot somebody?” What did you think about how it ended?

JACOB:

I will tell you this, the way they had written it was not the way they had edited it. It was definitely changed in the editing and I can tell you now. Originally, JR was supposed to unload a bunch of rounds of fire. He was basically going to take out everybody he was at odds with. And then, I got a change in the script like a day before the taping, saying that there is just going to be one shot fired. So then they taped the show with my gun out as if I was shooting somebody, and there was a billow of smoke and the whole thing. So it was definitely not JR that got shot. But now with this, they could change it that JR did kill himself, especially with editing. And actually, it was one of my ideas to begin with, where I said to them, maybe we should leave it to where maybe he killed himself.

MICHAEL:

What many are speculating is, since AMC already knew you had signed at B&B before the final episode was taped, that perhaps they changed the original scripted ending because they knew you were not continuing on with the online.

JACOB:

I was already in talks with B&B, but they did not know that. I don’t know how much that has to do with the decision of the ending, because they had written that before all of this happened. But keep in mind; JR still had that plane ready to fly out of town.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Originally, ABC had been planning a two-hour finale for AMC, before it was going to continue online with Prospect Park. Did they shoot a second hour of the finale that is in the can, that would further explain what happened if that were to be put up online as the premiere episode?

JACOB:

No, unfortunately not. Now they could re-edit from that point of what we shot, where JR makes a run for it. I was not satisfied myself. I just think the ending was not clear enough. The gunshot sounded muffled and I felt like it should have rang out, but maybe if it was a close-range shot to himself… who knows? The Prospect Park team did come to me and make me an offer, and it was not the offer that I wanted. So I passed softly. But I just don’t see how the show will be the same if not everybody agrees. I know everybody is still emailing each other, and we have an email chain where we talk about the negotiations. So I have some insight on those things.

MICHAEL:

Talking with your former castmates, it would seem that most people on the outside truly don’t understand what they went through and the toll it took on them. The cast was moved from coast to coast, they were promised many things and were disappointed, and there were constant cancellation rumors. Right now, they don’t know who is going to be producing and writing the show …

JACOB:

…We had so many days cut back, and instead the network would air historical episodes. It was just not a good year for All My Children. We were hoping there would be enough momentum to carry us through another few years, but ABC pulled the plug. So absolutely, there is a lot to think about. Because you have to understand from the actor’s perspective if that could happen there, it could happen again with a new team as well. There is also consideration of where is all their funding coming from? How much are they going to be able to raise? How long will they keep it afloat? But, I can tell you personally for me and my career, to come to B&B was the right move. Regardless of the terms of how I left B&B years ago, Brad and I have a great relationship. He is one of those kinds of guys that I can just talk to about anything, and its vice-versa. With other executive producers, that is your boss, and you need to tiptoe a little bit. But with Brad, I can talk to him on a one-to-one level. So he is excited about it, and I am excited about it.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

So, did you come in with a laundry list of storylines for Brad Bell to consider?

JACOB:

No, I really didn’t. I knew he was going to get cracking on it and wherever it’s going to land, it’s going to land. Then, it’s really up to me now to put the emphasis on particular scenes to help control things a little bit. And, that was always my intention with JR … which was to make him emulate and become more like his father, Adam Chandler, every day. And so by manifesting and bringing it into the story, the writers had nowhere else but to go there. But it was the best thing for JR.

MICHAEL:

Five-time Daytime Emmy winner, David Canary (Adam/Stuart Chandler) came back for the final week of All My Children. He was so riveting to watch, and every time he is on-screen he commands it! It must have been such a nice button on the AMC experience to have some final scenes with him.

JACOB:

David makes other actors, better actors. He is fantastic to watch. When I found he was coming back, I welled up with tears. I was just so excited to be able to see him. You spend so much time with somebody on such an intimate level, and it’s so cliché, but it becomes family. I will tell you this … every day David Canary would compliment me. He would say out loud to people, “You know, Jacob is very talented.” I am like, “David, are you serious? You should be looking at yourself!”

MICHAEL:

What did your castmates say to you when you decided to leave AMC and come to B&B? I know AMC creator, Agnes Nixon had some very choice, but humorous words for you on that.

Courtesy/ABC

JACOB:

They were all excited for me and they said it was the right move. They were happy that I was going to an internationally successful show. Michael Knight (Tad, AMC) called me right as the story broke. He said to me, “Jacob, are you going over to B&B?” And I go, “Yeah, and it’s hard for me to let people know.” And he said, “I am so happy for you. It is the right move for you.” So that felt good coming from my peers that they had the same sentiments.

MICHAEL:

In a way, there had to be some emotion tied to your decision to leave AMC. I am sure there were moments of it being a “hard call”. What will you miss most about playing JR?

JACOB:

A lot of people feel without the Chandlers what is All My Children? So I was tossing around new title ideas, “All My New Children.” (Laughs) Some of the things I will miss most about playing JR is what came out of his mouth, and even making him a homophobe at the end! (Laughs) I would read the scripts shocked, but also at the same time, this is who he is. I will miss his spontaneity and getting a bit vulgar. I mean, there was no edit button on him. As far as his drinking at the end, that storyline seems a bit recycled. I wish he would have recovered a bit from that and been a responsible drinker.

MICHAEL:

So are you good with putting JR to rest and moving foraward to play Rick on B&B?

Courtesy/ABC

JACOB:

The only thing I was upset about was the ending of AMC and how cryptic it was. I wish there was more of a through line on that. But, I do feel like a page has turned and not to be cliché, but it has. It is behind me now. It is weird for me to be back at B&B in the sense that it has been so long, and so much has happened in between. For myself, it is about the uncertainty within my abilities to rejuvenate Rick and bring it back. But at the same time, it is challenge and I love challenges. I have different days where I feel gung-ho and other days where I feel, “I hope this is the right place.” But this is natural, and with anytime in life that you make a change, there is that transition period. They say: uncertainty is what normally brings about the right decision.

MICHAEL:

You are scheduled to meet the fans at the end of October on the east coast in the personal appearance series, A Tribute to Pine Valley. How were you able to get time off to do that while you are taping another soap? What are you going to say to people when they come up to you at the fan events and tell you how much they miss JR, and you have some very emotionally-charged moments with them? Are you going to tell them to check you out on B&B?

JACOB:

Well, that is the thing. I told production I had this previous commitment. I said, “Here’s the deal. I think it’s important number one for AMC, because it’s only a core group of actors who are doing it. And secondly, if people don’t watch CBS and want to know what I am doing, I can absolutely plug in B&B. I can also tell them that B&B is only thirty minutes, and to help them make the transition to decide to watch it. It is hard to do, but I am always proud of the decisions I make, and hopefully the fans will feel that as well. And I think if they truly care about Jacob Young and are interested in following my next career move, they will do that. Some of the soap fans network hop anyway. It was interesting. I was at a Bold and Beautiful autograph signing, and I had not even aired yet on the series. A lot of fans I saw there were the fans I see at a lot of All My Children fan events. So I think fans will move around a little bit.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

In closing, what do you want say to your fans, and fans of B&B, that they should be on the lookout for from your revitalized Rick Forrester?

JACOB:

He is going to surprise you. He is going to bring back the core of what Rick is about and stood for back when we first knew him, but with an edge, and without being a complete jerk. He is going to be fighting for his position in the family again. He has learned a lot while he has been away working for the international side, and he is ready to put his stamp on the company. I always say there is a big main difference between JR on All My Children and Rick on B&B. Rick has nothing to prove, he came from a loving family that cared about him, and he could always talk to them, whereas JR had nobody and especially at the end! It’s going to be a very exciting time for me and the viewers over at The Bold and the Beautiful that is for sure.

Click to comment
Advertisement

avatar
Bren
Guest
Bren

This is great! I appreciate his candor. I think he made the right decision going back to B&B.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

We’re with you Jacob! can’t wait to see the original new Rick in more action.

Y&R best
Guest
Y&R best

Jacob Young is the one and only Rick Forrester. So glad to see him back. I hope we will see less Liam and the youngsters and more about Eric, Stephanie and Rick.

ellen
Guest
ellen

this was fabulous. Thank you, Michael, for taking the time to interview Jacob. I always love his interviews, and I’m enjoying him as Rick.

ethel
Guest
ethel

jacob was very candid and most of all seemed very satisfied with his decision to go back to b&b –
this was the most down to earth interview i have read from an amc actor since the online ending of amc & maybe it’s because jacob has pretty much settled somewhere else……………i was already watching b&b because i followed don diamont there y&r – lol
thanks michael for posting this interview

Marley
Guest
Marley

thanks for the great interview.
I admire Jacob’s honesty and insightfulness and I look forward to seeing more of Rick in action on B&B.
´
jacob’s comments on AMC’s ending are very interesting. I wonder if he’s still working on the documentary that he was shooting about AMC’s last days?

Nancy Wizner
Guest
Nancy Wizner

I’m sure Jacob made the right decision for himself in returning to B&B. My only question is “WHY THE RESISTANCE WITH AMC?” Millions are waiting for AMC to start up in January and now there is a rumor that it won’t? Even PP can’t stick to their word!

Nancy Wizner
Guest
Nancy Wizner

Is AMC a go with PP or not? Jacob seems to be hinting that it is not.

ethel
Guest
ethel

in what part of this interview did jacob seem to be hinting that amc is not a go with prospect park?? are you referring to the section where he talked about where pp will be getting their funding & the amount of the funding??

Nancy Wizner
Guest
Nancy Wizner

Very first question. Why did Jacob decide to go back to B&B rather than stay with AMC. He made a few statements to make me think and everyone is already wondering what’s going on with PP. Two of the cast has resigned. Haven’t heard anything lately. Only dead silence!

Ina
Guest
Ina

Kinda in aw about it watched it for 40 years off and on. Hope they all have something to do like old suzan lucci. Maybe she can revamp the show? They come and go like the rest of us. Will miss the show though

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

Does anyone know about Young just signing a short contract with B&B and then going back over to PP for AMC?

Angelmi
Guest
Angelmi

I fell in love with Jacob as Lucky on GH, and really loved him as JR on AMC, I am so excited to have him back on B&B, since I missed him the first time as Rick, he is doing a great job back there, and made the right decision not to wait for AMC on the internet.

Thanks for this interview.

annie
Guest
annie

jacob young is one of the best actors ever , he could pass for brad pitts brother, i am an avid fan, good luck mr. young

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Cady McClain & Rob Scott Wilson Talk Being Recasts, All My Children Reboot, Future of Cin & Jennifer’s Bitch-Slap

Current Days of our Lives and former All My Children reboot stars, Cady McClain (Jennifer, Days, Ex-Dixie, AMC) and Rob Scott Wilson (Ben, Days, Ex-Pete AMC) chat with Michael Fairman in an enlightening and exclusive conversation for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.

McClain, who recently took over the role of Days of our Lives beloved heroine Jennifer Horton from mainstay Melissa Reeves (who chose to stay with her family in Nashville during Covid-19 thus forcing the series to recast the role for now) talks about stepping into the key part of the Salem canvas, plus the recent Jennifer/Kate fight over Jack (Matthew Ashford), and how the legacy series is coping with production during Covid-19.

Photo: JPI

Rob, talks about landing the role of Ben; and in an emotional moment reveals how he credits the opportunity to the late producer, Lisa de Cazotte. Wilson also shares his hopes for his Salem alter-ego who is struggling to move on with his life after the supposed death of his wife, Ciara.

The actor also opens up on if DAYS decided to recast the role of Ciara, since Victoria Konefal is not presently with the NBC soap full-time, how he would feel about it and thus the future of Cin.

Photo: JPI

Both Cady and Rob first appeared together in Prospect Park’s online revival of All My Children. In this interview, they discuss how they had high hopes for the continuation of the series, how it ultimately fizzled, and what it was like to be a part of the then, groundbreaking first, for a daytime drama series along with One Life to Live.

Photo: TOLN

In addition, Cady gives the viewer insight on how she runs lines for both DAYS and GH at home with her real-life husband, Jon Lindstrom (Kevin and Ryan, GH), while Rob talks about his recent storyline where Ben was kidnapped and tortured by a vengeful Eve (Kassie DePavia) and much more.

Check out the full chat with Cady and Rob below. Then weigh-in: How would you feel if there was a Ciara recast? What are your hopes for the holidays for Jennifer? What did you think of the stories shared by Cady and Rob in the interview? Comment below, and if you have not done so already make sure to “subscribe” to the Michael Fairman Channel for more celebrity interviews.

Continue Reading

Interviews

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson Weighs-In On Daytime’s Wildest Storyline, The Hope Mannequin & What’s Really Going On With Thomas

If you think you’ve seen it all on daytime soap operas, think again! Over the past several weeks viewers of CBS Daytime’s The Bold and the Beautiful have been witness to fashion designer Thomas Forrester’s (Matthew Atkinson) descent into madness, or is it?

In B&B’s thriller-esque storyline, complete with tight close-ups and tilted angles of Thomas and his co-star, the Hope Mannequin – yup, you read that right, the series is taking the audience on one wild ride, something we have not seen the likes of since back in the hey day of the late head writer, James Reilly, during his tenure on Days of our Lives or Passions.

Photo: JPI

Inspired by, believe it or not, true life events, B&B’s head writer and executive producer, Brad Bell and his creative team have served up a story generated off all of the buzz the show was receiving for using mannequins as scene partners for the actors in intimate moments to adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.  B&B was the first American show back in production amid the pandemic.

 

Within this twisted tale, Thomas has the life-like version of Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle) at home with him.  Those who have stumbled upon him with the mannequin, well, he has been able to explain that away by saying that having the doll with him is helping him create some of the best designs of his career.

The problem is the mannequin is talking to Thomas, it’s eyes have often turned devil-red, and on Friday’s episode it walked!  It’s objective is to get Thomas to kill Liam (Scott Clifton) and to get Hope back to be his one and only. Throughout many of the scenes in the storyline, Thomas suffers from what appears to be severe headaches.  All of this leading the audience to believe either … he has a brain tumor … he is being drugged … he is suffering from a severe mental break and disorder, or something else.

Photo: JPI

In a very candid and often humorous conversation with Michael Fairman for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Thomas’ portrayer, Matthew Atkinson, discusses some of the craziest scenes to shoot thus far including Thomas having dinner with the mannequin!  In addition, Atkinson reveals how he and Annika Noelle tape the scenes where she is the voice of the Hope mannequin while adhering to safety protocols,  and how Liam is the only one, apparently, thinking something is off with Thomas, and so much more.

Photo: Gilles Toucas

One thing is for certain, Matthew Atkinson is sinking his teeth into the material and making it must-see daytime drama through his performances while we all wait to see what the possessed mannequin does next.

Check out the full interview with Matthew below. 

Then let us know, what do you think is happening or wrong with Thomas? Are you getting a kick out of the Hope Mannequin storyline? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

 

 

Continue Reading

Interviews

Eric Nelsen Talks Latest Film, Becoming a Tony-Nominated Producer, ‘The Bay’, and His Elizabeth Gillies & Ariana Grande Connection

You can catch All My Children reboot alum, Eric Nelsen (Ex-AJ Chandler), just about everywhere this month, and that’s hard to do given that we are all living in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, this Daytime Emmy-winning actor has his hands in a myriad of projects of late including: appearing on season six of The Bay (new episodes every Tuesday on Popstar! TV) where he continues to play Daniel’s journey after the character has come to terms with his sexuality and finds love, plus his comedic turn in the film, 1 Night in San Diego, and recently becoming a Tony-nominated producer along with his wife Sainty for the critically-acclaimed, and now 11 times nominated Broadway play, The Inheritance.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Eric to get the lowdown on his busy professional life, and we were in for some surprises along the way including: what the producers of AMC had in mind for the character of AJ that ultimately did not happen, and that Eric starred on Broadway with Elizabeth Gillies (Fallon, Dynasty) and Pop superstar, Ariana Grande – and there’s more to that story below.

 

What makes Nelsen so good at what he does on-screen is that he is a like a chameleon; adept at playing the quirky, to the troubled bad boys, to the emotional heart-tugging anti-hero. So here’s what Eric had to say in this fascinating conversation.

Photo: : Metropolitan Entertainment,

Your latest film appearance in 1 Night in San Diego is out this week on multiple streaming on-demand platforms from: Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and more. Tell me about the movie and when did you film this?

ERIC:  We filmed it near San Diego, not this past February, but last February, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a female-driven comedy.  The cast is incredible.  Alexandra Daddario, who is just epic, and Jenna Ushkowitz, and Laura Ashley Samuels, they truly bring it in this powerhouse comedy, and it’s just one of those make-you -laugh movies from beginning to end, just silly, stupid stuff happening the whole time.  General Hospital’s Mark Lawson (Dustin) is also in the film.  While we don’t work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet him and he’s a really great guy.  I play this off-the-wall character, named Gordo, who is a real burn-out, think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play.  Gordo is a great role.  I had more fun with this part than I’ve had in a long time.  So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects.

How does Gordo know the girls in the film?

ERIC:  One of the girls knew him back in the day, so they were in town looking to reconnect, and she’s like, “Oh, we want to party and let’s hit up Gordo,” and they do.  He has just gone completely off the rails, off the deep end with spirituality and kind of in his own world. They find themselves in quite a predicament when they come visit what they didn’t know was a commune, basically.  Gordo creates this hippie commune for a bunch of outcast musicians, (laughs) and I don’t want to give too much away, but a lot of interesting stuff happens there.

Photo: InheritancePlay

 

In addition, you are now a Tony-nominated producer for the play The Inheritance!

ERIC: That was crazy, because it’s always been a dream of mine to produce for Broadway.  That was how I got into the world of film and TV acting, which was through the theatre.  That’s where I started.  I was lucky enough to star on Broadway when I was 16 and 17, in a musical called, 13.  I started with Ariana Grande! It was so fun.

Wait, what?

ERIC:  Yeah, that was her first big show, and Elizabeth Gillies’.

Photo: AP

I think Elizabeth Gillies is terrific in Dynasty.

ERIC:  Oh yeah, and you know she and I dated for two and a half years during the whole run of the show 13.  Elizabeth is very talented.   She is amazing.  The funny part of it is, we were dating forever, and kind of had a bad breakup, and then Sainty, my wife, gets cast in her show Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, in the pilot to play Liz’s best friend on the series.  So, all of the sudden, I’m like, “Wait, wait, wait, out of all the shows, all of the things, this is who you have to get cast as best friends with?” and so they actually became really, really, close friends.  So, I’d actually come home from work or filming, and Liz would be on my couch sitting there giggling with Sainty.  I’m like, “This is just becoming too much.  This is a full-circle moment here.  I can’t deal.” (Laughs)

Now, you and Elizabeth are broken up at this point?

ERIC:  Yes.  We had been broken up at this point.  Sainty and I were actually together.  I started dating Sainty in New York and the pilot she was shooting was in New York, and she gets cast as Liz’s best friend, and I was like, “Oh, of course.”

Photo JPI

But Sainty knew you’d dated Elizabeth?

ERIC:  Yes, she did.

You must have been dying.

ERIC:  Yes, so dying.  Dying.   You know, it’s just one of those things that in a million years, you would never expect this to happen, and of course, Sainty and her had to become best friends in real life because they’re both great girls, and naturally, they would be friends, but now, I’m like this guy stuck in the middle who can’t believe what’s happening, and thought that was one chapter, and this is a different chapter, and now the chapters are combining.  It’s kind of a comedy act.

Photo: JPI

Since Ariana Grande was on Broadway with you and Liz, what was she like back then before her meteoric rise to fame?

ERIC:  Ariana was literally the sweetest, most innocent, and cutest – like my little sister.   To me, it was like, Liz and I were dating, and Ari was kind of like the little sister.  All of a sudden the show ended. Ariana got a Nickelodeon show, and after that, she became the most famous person in the world and was like this sex icon, and I couldn’t get over it.   She’s always had that talent with her voice and in 13 she was an ensemble member.  She wasn’t even one of the leads, but her voice was so incredible, even then as a young teenager.  I thought she was going to go on to have this great Broadway career as an actress and do musicals her whole life just because of her voice.  Then, all of the sudden, right after the musical, we all auditioned for the same Nickelodeon show.  I ended up going to the finals for the boyfriend role, Liz got the girlfriend role, and Ari got the funny friend on the show role.  That kind of catapulted them into the TV world, and Ari got a spinoff because of her character on that show for another Nickelodeon show, called Sam and Cat, and then after Sam and Cat, she went from this innocent, sweet, little Nickelodeon girl that I knew to being the biggest star.  It was unbelievable to me.

Photo: Broadway World

So, you started on Broadway as a teenager, and you found you always wanted to produce for the Great White Way? 

ERIC:  Yes, I did the Broadway thing, and then I got into film and TV, and then I got into film and TV producing.  As an actor, there are a lot of ups, a lot of downs.  So, in between the ups, I wanted to fill my time, so I got into producing, and I loved it.  I loved creating.  As an actor, we just show up, and everything is already done.  All we have to do is say our lines.  We get pampered, and we go home, but I wanted to know how it got to that point, like what happens before that.  So, I started producing film and found some success doing that, and it was so much fun for me.  Sainty’s and my first love, and what feels like home, is theatre.  So, I wanted to take it full circle and produce a Broadway show.  I just thought that would be such an incredible moment, and so that’s what I did.  I started emailing all of the Broadway producers who I had worked with as an actor, letting them know what I had been doing, kind of the success I had gotten from producing The Bay and some of these other things. Different shows came across my desk that I didn’t quite bite the bullet on, a couple of which I wish I would have, Dear Evan Hansen being one of them.  I would have been so rich by now!  (Laughs)

I just want to clarify for people who might not know, the word “producer” can mean different things.  There are “producers” who are putting money in … they’re backing projects or shows.  There are other people who are “producers” on the creative side of projects.  So, when you’re talking about producing a Broadway show, it is as an investor?

ERIC:  So for theatre, unless you’re the head producer who kind of gets creative control, every other producer listed in the credits is basically helping raise finances and is also very heavily involved in the process of everything else along the way, which is also what makes it special.  So finally, The Inheritance came across our desk, and it checked every single box.  It was just an epic play.  It’s a two-part play, and it’s just hours and hours and hours long.  You see it in multiple days or in multiple shows.  I remember reading the script and not stopping until I finished.  I was like, “This is amazing,” and it had just come off of a huge commercial successful run in London.  It won the Olivier Award for “Best New Play” and just about every other award you could win, and so I was like, “This is the one.  This is incredible.  I love the piece, love the message, and pulled the trigger,” and I would have done it all over again if we could.

Photo: Broadway World

The Inheritance is a generational piece centering on gay men during the AIDS crisis.  What can you say about it to those who don’t know about it, or have not seen it yet?

ERIC:  It takes place in the past, and then it fasts forward to the future.  You see two generations of gay men in New York City, and it’s all about the AIDS crisis, and so you’re bawling crying, and then you’re laughing throughout it.  It’s just one of those epic plays that pulls at every single emotion and you feel like you’re watching a movie.

It seems reminiscent of Angels In America, but different.   

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s definitely its own thing.  It’s actually an adaptation of Howard’s End, the novel by Forster, definitely different from Angels in America, but the two-part show is kind of what I was meaning by that.  People have said it is kind of our generation’s Angel’s in America in tone and subject matter.  It was just a dream come true, and like all other theatre that was open during our season, it had to close because of the pandemic, and it will have life after Broadway.  We are already slated for the Geffen Playhouse in LA, so I’m very excited for all of my LA friends and the public to get to see it.

Courtesy/ENelsen

And you get nominated in the year that the coronavirus pandemic shut down live theatre! But it is my understanding we still do not have a date for handing out this year’s Tony Awards.

ERIC:  No, we do not.  They finally announced that they were going to announce nominations, and for a while we didn’t even know that they were going to do that.  We received 11 nominations, which is incredible.  We were so excited.  I truly thought the American Theatre Wing and the Tony committee were not going to do the Tonys at all, and so we were just like, “I can’t believe the one year we pull the trigger on the show, this isn’t going to happen for us,” but then thank God, they came to their senses.  There were plenty of shows that opened and needed to be recognized.

How long was it open on Broadway?

ERIC:  We were open from September 2019 through February or March.  So, as long as your submission was open on Broadway before Covid-19 and had at least all of its previews and an opening night before Covid-19 hit, then you could qualify, and then in the play category, there were like 10 plays that had opened last year that were contenders.  So, that was definitely the hardest category.   It will be interesting to see what happens after all of this.  The only good thing I know that is going to come from this is the amount of creatives who have had so much time sitting at home to create and write, that there will be so many new scripts and plays and musicals that are going to come from this.  I think it’s’ going to be the biggest boom that we’ve probably ever seen in theatre, just because there’s been so much time to develop stuff.  At the same time, it’s piggybacking on the darkest time that theatre has ever seen.

Throughout the pandemic, I always stream all of the Broadway Actor’s Fund events.  It’s really sad.  It’s just a difficult time, those in the arts are struggling and especially in the live theatre and also musicians who can’t tour or play gigs in front of an audience. I know they said Broadway is closed through May 31, 2021.

ERIC:  It is really hard.  I’m happy that we are able to find other ways like streaming shows.  I’m actually producing a big benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS that will be airing on World AIDS Day, December 1st.  It’s a show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.  The cast we have is everybody from Nathan Lane, to Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons.  It’s insane.  It will be streaming online on the Broadway HD network.  It is a huge list of Broadway stars and a lot of movie and TV stars as well that are participating.  We’ve got people from all over the map.

And … Ariana Grande? (Laughs)

ERIC:  (Laughs)  Ari is not in it, actually!

Photo: Prospect Park

So, in this week’s latest episode of The Bay, your character of Daniel Garrett makes his final choice for love between Caleb (Mike Manning) and Matthew (Randy Wayne).  When you came to the show, did you know that this part was going to wind-up being a gay character?

ERIC:  No, I did not.  I think I dropped a bird in Gregori Martin’s (creator, The Bay) ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay.  The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me.  Basically, Ginger Smith (ex-executive producer, All My Children) and Alison, our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character, and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything.  It was really cool how they approached it, and I was like, “100% completely.”  I look at what Chandler Massey (Ex-Will Horton) did on Days and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, “Yes, there’s going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.”  At the time, there really wasn’t much depth to AJ.  So, I was like, “Yes.  I will be all over it.  Absolutely.”  So, I told Gregori that, and I don’t know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn’t really have that on the show.  Regardless, no, I wasn’t aware that that was the direction it was going in, but I was really happy with my storyline and it’s grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially.  It’s really given me an arc to play, which I’ve enjoyed.

Photo: LANYEntertainment

So for those who may not know let’s do a re-set.  Where is the character of Daniel at? It seems like he is at crossroads, and is making some important decisions, or trying to.

ERIC:  So Daniel was a wild party boy in the beginning, just head in the clouds, lives life with thinking there’s no repercussions and just doing what you want to do all of the time, and that got him into a lot of trouble with drugs and alcohol. Then, we realize why Daniel has been the way he is, and why he acts out, and why he has been so all over the place, and it’s because he hasn’t been able to come to terms with who he is.  Then, he admits it to himself and for the first time to somebody else – who happens to be his priest in a catholic church, ironically –  that he is gay and this is what he has been battling with.  For the first time (and I don’t know where on television it has depicted it this way), but the catholic priest looks at Daniel, and he’s like, “What’s your sin?  You haven’t sinned.  This is perfectly fine.”  So, I love that Gregori made that the outlet for which Daniel was able to basically come to terms with who he was, because he grew up in the church, and so he was always told that it was wrong.  Obviously, it’s not wrong, or obviously the church needs to change their mindset, but on The Bay, he chose that to be the outlet through which he came out, which I thought was really powerful.  Through that, Daniel experimented with other boys and such to figure out where he wanted to land, and then in this newest season, I can’t say much that gives anything away, but for the first time, we really see Daniel’s growth, and he’s making decisions, and the most mature we’ve ever seen him, and it’s been really cool to see that come full circle.  He’s making commitments to himself.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

In story, Daniel chooses Caleb.  Why so?

ERIC:  Obviously, that’s who it works with,  Caleb is a teacher and a great guy.

… And Matthew is not a great guy?

ERIC:  He is… he’s just not the great guy for him.

Photo: LANY Entertaiment

This season of The Bay is heavily steeped with social issues of our time.  Covid-19 has come to Bay City and the Black Lives Matter movement also plays prominently.

ERIC:  Yes.  It’s kind of the beginning of the pandemic in The Bay and within all of the intense drama that Daniel has been having, he is still, for all intent and purposes the comedic relief of the show, and so there is a funny scene where I’m carrying like 28,000 rolls of toilet paper like, “Come on, guys.  We’ve got to stock up!”  We all remember those days, don’t we?

Photo: JPI

How do you feel about this season of the show and your work in it? You’ve previously won a Daytime Emmy for your performances on The Bay.

ERIC:  This season is more cemented in a character that has truly grounded himself.  So, the first Emmy I won was for a storyline of coming out and uncertainty and struggle and pain, whereas this season Daniel knows what he wants and is going for it.  There is much more passion and love in this season for Daniel, as opposed to struggle and heartache.

The cast and crew of The Bay all went away and quarantined at this ranch this past summer to get the new season completed.  What was that like?

ERIC:  We were actually in Santa Barbara, and filmed on this epic ranch up there.  It’s like this 500-acre ranch that we all quarantined on.  We had to do the testing, and temperatures three times a day, and the whole thing.  So, it was really structured, tough to pull off, but we were all so grateful that we were able to do this.  Luckily, we had this incredible kind of bubble of a ranch to live and work on while we were shooting.  They were really good about block shooting it all, so we’d kind of shoot one person’s character, then the next, so we wouldn’t have to ever be leaving the ranch before we were done.

Courtesy/ENelsen

Finally, how is being a dad?

ERIC:  Oh, it’s amazing.  I just can’t believe how fast the time is flying by because of it.  We just had Molly’s first birthday on October 1st, and I feel like yesterday she was born.  I sound like my parents when I say this, but it’s like the time keeps getting faster, but it’s so true.  She’s awesome.  We play Broadway musical soundtracks to her all day, and she sings.  She sits at the piano with me when I play, and she kind of plunks notes out next to me.  She loves music, and we’ve introduced it to her from day one.  We always joke that she won’t be able to watch any of daddy’s stuff until she’s 18 probably, but Sainty is a voice-over actress.  She has done parts for animated films and TV shows such as Trolls, and Barbie, and Boss Baby, so everything from the first part of my daughter’s life is all going to be Mommy’s stuff, and then, in the later part of life she can start watching Daddy’s stuff.

Right, she can’t watch anything that you do!  (Laughs) So, basically forget that!

ERIC:  (Laughs) Yep!

Check out the trailer for 1 Night in San Diego below.  Then share your thoughts on Eric’s current role on The Bay, if you hope he wins a Tony to go with his Daytime Emmy, the six degrees of separation between him, Elizabeth Gillies and his wife, and that the All My Children reboot considered making the character of AJ Chandler gay via the comment section below.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

B&B’s Matthew Atkinson chats with Michael Fairman about the wild ride of the Thomas/Hope Mamnequin storyline currently on The Bold and the Beautiful.Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Power Performance

William deVry as Julian

General Hospital

Airdate: 11-20-2020

Advertisement

Popular