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The Jerry verDorn Interview – One Life to Live

© JPI Studios

© JPI Studios

Is there any doubt that the best “baddie” of them all in soaps this year has turned out to be none other than Llanview’s Clint Buchanan?  The former stoic and heroic cowboy, who became a business empire mogul, took a turn to the dark side and has been the kick start for many a storyline and many characters horrific dilemmas on One Life to Live. And who is relishing this just as much as the audience at home… Clint’s portrayer, two-time Daytime Emmy winner, Jerry verDorn!

The former do-gooder, as Ross Marler on Guiding Light, verDorn took over the role of Clint Buchanan, (once played by the late Clint Ritchie) over six and half years ago and has taken the role to unexpected new heights.  But what a palette he was given by the writers! Here is just a short list of some items on Clint’s machination resume:  Switching Jessica’s and Rex’s paternity test, framing Vimal to take the fall for his demands and skullduggery in DNA labs, paying off Eddie Ford to kidnap Nora Buchanan, (and then the evil Mr. Ford almost rapes Clint’s ex-wife in the process), setting up brother Bo Buchanan with his secretary Inez Salinger by having her drug him so it appears he slept with her in an effort to break up Bo and Nora’s marriage. Then, manipulating Bo and Nora’s son, Matthew against his parents, kidnapping David Vickers on his wedding day to Dorian, and depositing him in a Moroccan prison, leaving La Mayor once again devastated at the altar.  Shall we go on?

But payback is a bitch!  And now Clint, after suffering a severe heart attack, is clinging to life and preparing to say goodbye to his beloved children and family members, unless he gets a heart transplant.  Problem is: Clint has a rare blood type and finding a donor is very difficult.  Enter Matthew Buchanan, Clint’s favorite nephew, who he thinks of as a son. After falling and hitting his head and landing up in the hospital… no thanks to Nate Salinger… Matthew appears to be brain-dead and a match for Clint’s blood type.  Will Matthews’s life become expendable to save the man who perpetrated such heinous acts against his own family?

To get some thoughts and perspective on this subject and more, On-Air On-Soaps went to the man himself, Jerry verDorn, who in our humble opinion has given the true Daytime Emmy winning Lead Actor performance of 2011!  Jerry chats about the Emmys, the cancellation of OLTL, where soaps made a wrong turn, and working with the dynamite trio of Erika Slezak (Viki), Robin Strasser (Dorian), and Kim Zimmer (Echo) as Clint’s leading ladies, In addition, he previews that there is more story to come for the Buchanan clan!  Without further ado, we are thrilled to bring you this interview with Jerry.

MICHAEL:

Clint is at the epicenter of most all the major stories playing out on One Life to Live! Now, with his heart attack and struggle to find a donor heart, do you think this was the only way to redeem Clint from his bad deeds?

JERRY:

© JPI Studios

I don’t think it was the only way, but I thought it was a good way. There is history there because his father, Asa, had heart problems, too.  And so it made sense family-wise.  I just remember when I first heard about it; I recalled an actor named Larry Gates who played H. B. on Guiding Light. And, he once told me, “When you are pretending to have a heart attack, be very careful you don’t bring on a heart attack.” (Laughs) When we were shooting those scenes, I had that firmly in mind. (Laughs)  But anyway, I thought it was brilliant.  And then unfortunately, the person who stumbled upon Clint in his misery is Dorian, who then proceeds to have a seat and take a view.  I thought it was very good, and after that happened it involved so many other people.  That is really the hallmark of great soap.  And when a soap is going good, and when a lot of people are involved, it makes for an interesting story.

MICHAEL:

Clint, being such a jackass and a bad guy has been so delicious to watch!  When you saw this turn in the character, what were your thoughts?

JERRY:

I thought it made perfect sense.  Because I think in most cases with sons and daughters, they reach a point in their lives when they look in the mirror and say, “Hi Mom or Hi Dad,” because they start to physically look like them.  And usually, they are very emotionally similar to their parent, and so I thought the turn was absolutely great!  Fans would come up to me and say, “How could you do this? This Clint has always been so nice.”  And I would say, “Well a lot of things have happened to him.”  There he is sitting in that mansion all by himself staring into the fire, and so I had no problems doing what the story required.

MICHAEL:

How has your real life family reacted to seeing you play evil Clint?

JERRY:

© JPI Studios

They said, “You are really a jackass when you want to be!” (Laughs) You know, over at CBS, I was playing the pillar of the community and such a good guy for so long, even though I came on as a bad guy!  Nobody remembers that I came on GL as Roger Thorpe’s evil lawyer.  I was the black sheep of the family, but that did not last long, and then it was Mayor Marler and all that stuff.

MICHAEL:

You have given the performance of the year thus far, and it is so great to watch Clint mix-it up with Eddie Ford, Nora, Bo, Inez, and especially with Matthew.  With all signs pointing to Matthew being the donor match for Clint, it seems like Clint’s plans all went horribly awry, wouldn’t you say?

JERRY:

Being the control freak he is, Clint is very upset how these things spun out of control. Now perhaps, he is having second thoughts as in, “What have I done now?”  There is a lot of Macbeth in him, as in, “Have I gone too far?”   The sins of the father are coming to visit the sons and all of those kinds of themes, so with the culmination of all that and with all the pressure, it makes sense for him to have a heart attack. Clint had so many secrets going that he can’t even keep them straight!

MICHAEL:

Could you keep them straight? (Laughs)

JERRY:

It was difficult.  When somebody walked into the room, I had to know which baby did I switch, do they know the truth, or what I told them was the truth.  You know how politicians are, when they do something wrong instead of immediately fessing up there is this cover-up, and eventually it gets so complicated that they all get tripped up. That is where Clint is.  He is the middle of this emotional mess and he is not sure he has a handle on it anymore, and of course it involves people he loves!  He doesn’t want Viki to find out some terrible things he did and he doesn’t want his kids to know, so Clint has a lot of balls in the air.

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

Poor Jessica, split into a million pieces and multiple personalities again.  Does he feel any remorse for what he caused to happen to his daughter?  It seems to not have been addressed!

JERRY:

He does and it does come out in the future.  I have been shooting some scenes where the guilt of that for him is just enormous, and it is finally coming out.  I think the Matthew situation and Jessica splitting again are the two toughest things for him to face.

MICHAEL:

So when he is faced with the knowledge that Matthew’s heart is a match for him, Clint does not want Matthews’s heart.

JERRY:

Clint would rather die than take his heart, because Matthew is just beginning his life and Clint is an older man who has lived a long and wonderful life.  He is adamant about that, I would imagine.

MICHAEL:

Recently, one of the best scenes was between you and Erika Slezak in Clint’s hospital room discussing that he is not going to make it.  You always see with Clint that Viki is his Achilles heel.  He seems not to be able to lie to her very well, or cover his feelings in front of her.  Do you remember shooting that beautiful scene in the hospital?

JERRY:

I do remember that scene, and one of the joys of working here is looking into the eyes of Erika Slezak, because she is such a nice dance partner.  And that helps, because we no longer have any rehearsal time because we shoot things so fast.  I thought that scene was beautifully written. You are right. With the b*s* meter, Viki has got it figured out because she has known Clint for so long, and she knew Asa for so long and they shared children.  He just can’t, and does not want to see her be disappointed or look bad in her eyes, and that hurts him.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Erika got the biggest kick that you came in on your day off to be at her 40th anniversary party, at OLTL.  She told me in a recent interview, “I was surprised that Jerry was there.”  I mean back in the day at Guiding Light you knew of Erika Slezak’s work, I am sure.  Did you ever think you would be her scene partner?

JERRY:

No, I never did, for a lot of reasons.  One of which was I thought I was going to be staying at CBS.  But in terms of that one particular day, I would not have missed that for anything.  Frank Valentini, our executive producer, had asked me to say something to her and I did not want to miss that: the opportunity to say something to her in public that I feel in my heart.  And by the way, that is what a lot of people in the cast feel about Erika for this great accomplishment of hers.  So it was no problem coming in for that day. When I got the role of Clint six and half years ago it was like a gift from heaven, because this show had so much history. With Clint Ritchie having done such a wonderful job at creating this character, I felt enough time had passed with the character being on-screen and coming back again was perfect.  Audiences hate recasts, at least they usually do. (Laughs)  I think my decision was to not base everything off of what Clint Ritchie did when he was doing the role, but I based everything on Phillip Carey (Asa).  I just wanted to walk like him, sound like him, be like him, instead of copying what Clint was doing. And in terms of who I am acting with, Oh, my Goodness! (Laughs) I mean one day I am working with Erika, and then one day I am working with Robin Strasser and Bree Williamson (Jessica) and Melissa Archer (Natalie)!  It’s amazing!

MICHAEL:

What about Bob Woods as your brother Bo?  The showdown scenes in the stable were classic soap!

JERRY:

He is another one, and in real life we are almost like brothers, in that we knew each other in passing over the years, but we kind of bookended each other in our soap careers.  We both started in 1979, he on One Life and me on Guiding Light.  When I came here, I had never acted with him, but it was just so easy to do.  We have some awfully good material and we have a head writer in Ron Carlivati who respected the history and wanted to spring new story out of history, which audiences always like.  It has been really nice.

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

So what do you think has been the most ridiculous moment of all of Clint’s plotting or machinations?

JERRY:

I think when he had a little too much bourbon and reached for the shotgun and he brings it out in public and brings it into the church.  I read that and went, “Well, at least they had him a little tooted with too much bourbon!” (Laughs)  That was over-the-top. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

On Friday’s episode, Clint reveals to Natalie and Joey he does not have long to live.  Can you give us a preview of what goes down?

JERRY:

Clint is very much just facing facts.  He has a very rare blood type and the donor is difficult to find.  He is not first on the list, even though he owns half the hospital.  Those lists are very sacred and even soap operas will not alter that.  So he is down on the list with a hard to match donor profile.  He decides to gather the family and lay out the facts and enjoy his time and let them know what is happening to him.  They do not want anything to do with this.  And I think Natalie has a line that says, “If the roles were reversed and you were standing watching me in bed, would you be telling me to give up and saying that it’s OK?”   So those are the things that go down and Tom Degnan ((Joey) was terrific.  We actually got to rehearse these scenes, and they were so well-written.  It was a very good day and it was partly about what do you do when someone is on their last days.  Do you support that or tell them to keep fighting?  It is one of those main issues that people have with right to die issues. You will see terrific performances… I will tell you that!

MICHAEL:

Is it easy to just lie around in a hospital bed in scenes and watch people cry all around you?  Or, is it difficult for you?

JERRY:

It’s not easy, and it’s actually very disturbing to me because of my personal history.  I have spent a lot of time in hospitals being a 19-year cancer survivor, and every now and then I have to go back to the hospital to get check-ups.  I am in my fifth week of coming to the set and putting on pajamas and flopping into bed and being hooked up to medical devices, and it’s just too close to what I sometimes go through myself.   I have to watch myself and I am very careful with this, that when the show is over, the show is over, and I leave it all at the studio and go home and live life.

© JPI Studios

MICHAEL:

As you are aware many of us in the industry, including myself, thought you were most deserving of a Daytime Emmy this year and you did not get nominated.  What did you submit?

JERRY:

Well, I think most of my material that you are referring to was after January 1, so it was not eligible.  I went with something I had with Tuc Watkins (David), because that was all I had.  It was one of the early Moroccan prison scenes, and that was the only thing I had where the scenes where actually driven by me, but it was semi-comedic.  So I did not know how that would fly.  I did not have any of the confrontations with Bo to choose from.  And so the fact of the matter is, I think several people from our show will be nominated next year when the show is not on, just like what happened this year with As the World Turns.  It does not really matter to me about the nomination, but I would have liked to get some publicity for the show.  Brian Kerwin, (Charlie) has some awfully good scenes with Erika this past year and I am really glad he got nominated.

MICHAEL:

How are you doing now with the news of the cancellation of One Life to Live? And how is everyone doing over at the studio?

JERRY:

The atmosphere has been as positive as it possibly could be, and we have a long time before we go off, so that gives the writers a way to end it properly, if indeed, it is going to end.  I am fine with it, but I am 62.  The people I am not fine with are the people who are the tech people who are in their early 40’s and they have kids in grade school and that kind of thing, and knowing that there is hardly any scripted television in New York, and those are the people I am worried about.  I am not so worried about the kids, they don’t have kids of their own or real estate yet, so they can bounce around in show business, which happens all the time, but to be caught in the middle is tough.  There are, I would say, 100 like that on AMC, and 100 like that on OLTL.  It’s difficult and that is what hurts me.

MICHAEL:

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Having gone through a major cancellation and disruption with Guiding Light previously, does it leave you at all better equipped to handle it a second time, only this time at OLTL?

JERRY:

Over at Guiding Light, I was sort of a pseudo-producer.  I spoke publicly when producers did not want to, so I was privy to falling numbers.  But, I also thought this medium got into trouble when they started worrying about production values.  I don’t think there is one soap opera fan that tuned in to see how well we would blow something up.  They tune in for one thing, and that is story.  We could do this in front of a black screen and it would be fine.  The special effects we should worry about are: ladies gowns, perhaps, and some perfectly romantic lighting.  But setting a major fire or having an earthquake, and a lot of gunplay, the fans don’t care about that.  They care about what Viki feels after the earthquake is over and are the children okay, and all that kind of stuff.  And those shows wasted just oodles of money, in my mind!

MICHAEL:

I agree!

JERRY:

Years ago, I thought they were doing it not for the audience, but for one executive producer to ‘wow’ another executive producer with, “Whoa, how did they do that?”  I promise you Michael, that those confrontation scenes between Bo and Clint at the stable, that is what people tune in to soaps for, and that is what a good cliffhanger is on a Friday episode, with Clint looking at Bo and Bo looking at Clint.  And, there is a gun in the room and a lot of things to talk about, and that is what will bring people back on Monday. We don’t need the stable to catch fire.  So in my mind, our audience gave us a huge artistic license that the producers did not take full advantage of.

MICHAEL:

Right now, OLTL has never been better and the ratings even reflect it.  For the last several weeks, they have been at number 3!

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JERRY:

Isn’t that ironic!?

MICHAEL:

I know, isn’t it ironic!  It’s the most kick-ass show on the air right now.

JERRY:

I am looking up at the screen right now, and Bo and Nora are having this discussion about Matthew’s heart and what to do with Matthew since he is in such a dire situation, and I can’t stop watching!  They are kicking it, and I think the show is in very good artistic shape.  If we have to go down, at least we are going to go down in good shape.

MICHAEL:

If Clint survives his medical crisis, do you have a wish list of how you would like to see the story wrap up in the end for Clint?  Erika Slezak had told me she would like to see Viki and Clint back together.

JERRY:

I would not mind having Viki and Clint back together, too.  That would be a good way, but ultimately, I would like to see Clint and the tent pole characters be what they should be and be with who they should be with.  In Clint’s case, he should be happy and revel in his children, but I think the last image of the show better be Erika’s! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

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How has it been working with John-Paul Lavoisier as Clint’s shocker of a son, Rex?

JERRY:

It has been terrific, and it finally gives some closure to his character, who was running around going, “You’re my dad?  No, you’re my dad?”  Rex was going through that for years, and then finally the irony of it is that Clint is Rex’s dad.  And then there is that loveliness of having his mother come on his show who was on the show before, and every time he sees Rex, Clint sees Echo, who happened to be Kim Zimmer, and that was just perfect.  I had never worked with JP before, and so the awkwardness we played as father and son was just terrific.

MICHAEL:

If you were to sum up what lies ahead for Rex and Clint, would you say there is more heavy-duty drama to come?

JERRY:

There is a lot of drama coming up between Rex and Clint, and he almost brings on a second heart attack at the hospital!  So yeah, JP has had a lot of heavy story to do and he did it well.  I can tell you there is some good story in the pipeline.  Then Viki finds out conclusively, that Rex is indeed being treated this way by Clint, and she just goes into the, “Are you kidding me, Clint,” mode. “Clint Buchanan, who says, ‘family is everything?’”  Those are good scenes, too.  I am telling you, in the pipeline there is some good soap ahead.

MICHAEL:

Can we expect more scenes between Echo and Clint?

Courtesy/ABC

JERRY:

I believe so, and we have taped some stuff that has not aired.  It was so weird working with Kim, because we would see each other at Guiding Light and we would cross paths there, but nothing with any serious story.  It has been so much fun to have scenes about Echo and Clint’s relationship, and Kim is just terrific fun.

MICHAEL:

So this heart story seems far from over!

JERRY:

There is no abrupt ending and it involves all the children, and what I like about it is it involves all the different generations of characters.  Sometimes on soaps characters get compartmentalized such as: here is the younger storyline, here is the old people’s storyline, and here are the people in the mid 40-s storyline and they don’t come together like families.  But these stories have brought actors of all ages together, and I think that is neat.

MICHAEL:

We have got to get you out of the hospital set…STAT!

JERRY:

Courtesy/ABC

(Laughs) They are looking for a compatible donor and I am still there.  A lot of people that come up to me on the street tell me they believe that Clint is not going to make it.

MICHAEL:

Of all the horrible acts of Clint, what were some of your most favorite moments to play so far this year? And, do you think we have not even seen the tip of the iceberg?

JERRY:

Well, the Bo showdown in the barn is one and some scenes when revealing to Bo and Nora, to just go ahead with this and let Clint take the rap for Eddie Ford’s murder.  Clint is like, “You don’t want to know about the killing of Eddie Ford, because it’s not for my sake, but for your sakes.”   I think those were well-written scenes, and they were acted well and shot well.  I did like the heart attack.  I remembered the advice I took that I told you about. (Laughs) I have been so lucky to have so many good acting partners, and I think I am going to have a lot more great scenes before November.  I think Ron Carlivati is on fire.

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Brian
Guest
Brian

Jerry is absolutely wonderful! 🙂

Terry
Guest
Terry

Great interview. I love this guy! And I can’t wait to see more of the Buchanan family!

Dinah
Guest
Dinah

Thank you for the wonderful interview. I just love Jerry VerDorn as Clint!

guilty pleasure
Guest
guilty pleasure

How come you haven’t asked JVD how Clint is going to get the Buchanan mansion back from Cutter? When is that going to happen? Geat interview as usual, BTW!!!!

Nancy Gomez
Guest
Nancy Gomez

THIS INTERVIEW WAS GREAT!!!!!!
I WANT CLINT AND VICKI BACK TOGETHER TOO.
THE PEOPLE OF OLTL ARE JUST LIKE MY FAMILY MEMBERS.
IT WILL BE A TERRIBLE DEATH OF ALL THESE CHARACTERS

Samantha
Guest
Samantha

Great interview. Jerry verDorn is such a class act. Can’t wait to see what he does with the Clint character in the coming months!

Doe
Guest
Doe

I loved this interview, Michael. You asked all the right questions to Jerry, and he gave you terrific answers. He seemed very relaxed in talking with you and he made me appreciate him as a man who happens to be a great actor. His evil switch of character was subtle, conniving, and done with precision, as only an actor of his caliber could deliver. I certinly don’t want him to die and go to Neverland. Bravo, Jerry…well done…

Jim
Guest
Jim

It was a great interview. I think Jerry is a great actor and get the impression an honorable. and outright nice fellow. if the show does go off the air sure will miss it.

Waltina
Guest
Waltina

I wonder if Clint is planning to recognize Rex as his son? I must admit that I could care less if he didn’t, I have never liked the character of Rex. I would like to see him and Viki together and their family. Please don’t let Ford be a part of this family.

It was a great interview with a great actor. I have enjoyed him as Clint more that Bo.

red and vanessa forever
Guest
red and vanessa forever

can’t wait for clint and viki reunion

ethel
Guest
ethel

excellent interview!!!
i really like jerry’s version of clint!

annette
Guest
annette

What a great guy. I also like how he said “if” the show doesnt continue. I think he acknowledges all that the fans are doing to save it. THANKS

todd
Guest
todd

Can Clint and Viki move to Port Charles?

Suzi
Guest
Suzi

Amen, Todd!! Maybe all of the cast should. I have watched this for so flipping many years (don’t want to date my old self), I truly hope that somehow the show will never end! JVD was right when he said the show has been excellent for the last few years, and it is ironic that it would end at it’s epitome of brilliance! Can SoapNet keep it going?? Oh how I wish!

Todd
Guest
Todd

I have been watching since 87 and I am still rushing to get home every day. Rex, gigi, and shane blew me awY the last few days.

Tom Peterson
Guest
Tom Peterson

I remember way back in 1973 when I played Thomas Bolin and Jerry was Henry VIII in “Anne of the Thousand Days” back at Moorhead State … best to you Jerry, very glad for your sucess

Tom Peterson
Guest
Tom Peterson

Interesting tidbit about that production on “Anne” … not only featured Jerry as Henry, but also Kristin Rudrüd as Anne Bolyn – she was the kidmapped wife in the movie “Fargo”

D. Bennett
Guest
D. Bennett

what is Jerry’s plans now that OLTL if over?

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.

 

 

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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.

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Days Of Our Lives

Peter Reckell Reflects On His Time As DAYS Iconic Bo Brady, Life In New Zealand & Christmas Music Project

Last week, Days of our Lives  turned 55-years young, and the historic long-running NBC daytime drama series has been home to some of the most memorable stars and characters of the soap opera genre, perhaps none more so than anti-hero Bo Brady played by Peter Reckell.

Reckell who appeared on the show for several runs that lasted over four decades, premiered as Bo back in 1983.  He then stayed through 1987, came back from 1990 to 1992, again from 1995 to 2012, and back again in 2015 during DAYS 50th anniversary and to wrap his run as Bo, when the character was killed-off, after Reckell made it clear that he wanted to give the audience closure for the character.  He later made another return in 2016 to help the character of Hope (Kristian Alfonso) move on with her life.  Hard to believe for all of those heart-tugging performances, Peter was nominated only once for a Daytime Emmy.

Photo: JPI

In this candid, deeply personal and enlightening new interview for the Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Reckell opens up as to: what led to many of the decisions he made throughout his time as Bo, how he helped craft the role from the start, the accident that almost took his life, how he handled all the fame that came his way as part of the Bo and Hope supercouple pairing, and how two women in the cast; the late Frances Reid (Alice) and Peggy McCay (Caroline) made lasting impressions on him that he will carrying with him for the rest of his life.

Photo: JPI

What would Peter say if somehow DAYS wanted him back and Bo was actually alive and well?  Find out as Peter weighs-in and wishes his former show a happy anniversary  In addition, he even shares how he felt when Robert Kelker-Kelly took over the role of Bo when he decided to leave the show at one point, and his time playing Johnny on primetime’s Knots Landing.

Photo: JPI

Reckell has moved his family to New Zealand, and this conversation was conducted from his home.  Peter is married to singer/songwriter/producer Kelly Moneymaker and the couple have a daughter, Loden.   It was not wanting to miss the moments of his daughter’s life growing up that has been much of the impetus for some of Peter’s career choices.

Photo: BlueAeris

With Christmastime approaching, Kelly and Peter are part of a brand new Christmas LP entitled Joy.  The album is now available for download on Spotify, Apple Music and major music streaming platforms.

In an exclusive during the interview, we give fans a sneak peek of Peter’s new music video for “Under the Mistletoe”, the song he sings that appears on Joy, which was written by his wife.  For more on the album project visit BlueAegis.com

Photo: BlueAegis

Now, check out the interview with Peter direct from New Zealand below! Then share your thoughts on Peter, Bo, and more via the comment section.

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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

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