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The John-Paul Lavoisier Interview – Beacon Hill

Courtesy/ABC

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

It’s been awhile since soap fans have seen John-Paul Lavoisier!  The former One Life to Live favorite where he played Rex Balsom, is now co-starring in the political soap opera Beacon Hill, which will have its online debut on March 5th.  In it JP plays Eric Preston, the son of Crystal Chappell’s Claire Preston, and brother to Alicia Minshew’s Sara Preston, and who’s Grandfather Senator Preston is played by Ron Raines!  How’s that for a family tree for starters?  Beacon Hill also reunites John-Paul with his One Life to Live sister Melissa Archer, and former on-screen love interest Jessica Morris!

As for John-Paul’s personal story, it was no secret that he, as well as many others in the cast, were devastated at the cancellation of One Life to Live by ABC.  Once the series was canned, he and then girlfriend Farah Fath (Ex-Gigi) moved out to Los Angeles, where JP began to pursue other acting career opportunities.  But many have asked: what happened to his relationship with Farah?  According to John-Paul, when he came out to Los Angles he had a hard time dealing with the change from the east coast.  He admits he was in a dark place, and he says that Farah could not deal with it.  Apparently he relates, she had a five month limit on how much she could take a depressed JP, and left him in June of 2012.  Since that time John-Paul has been single.

There had been other rumors circulating as well for over a year concerning JP.  One of which was that the popular actor was next in line to take over the role of Dillon Quartermaine on General Hospital, and another being about why he chose not to become part of Prospect Park’s online version of One Life to Live.   Well, in this candid interview with On-Air On-Soaps, John-Paul fills us in on if the rumors were true, and if anything would have brought him back to One Life to Live for a reprise of his beloved role as “Sexy Rexy”!   Plus, we learn what the heck is, “The Full Dolores” that he and best friend and former OLTL cast mate, Tuc Watkins (David) have cooked up!

One thing is for certain, John-Paul holds a very special place in the hearts of One Life to Live fans for all-time. And with that, he hopes to make new memories with his upcoming role in Crystal Chappell and company’s, Beacon Hill.  Here now, the one and only JP!

MICHAEL:

So many soap fans have missed seeing you every day!  How did you become involved in Beacon Hill?  What made you decide to be part of this project, since this is your first soap role since One Life to Live?

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

It fell into my lap.  I randomly got an email from Hillary B. Smith saying, “I have this project I am working on with Crystal Chappell, and there is a part for you that you would be perfect for.  And can I email you the script and the material?  We would love to have you.”   So, she emailed me the script and I thought, “Well, I can do this.  I want to work with you, and I miss you.”  So, it was a chance to work and to see Hillary again and to fly back east.  I had never met Crystal before, so it was a chance to meet her for the first time.  I knew Ricky Paull Goldin was involved, and I love Ricky.  He is one of the easiest guys to talk to, and one of the funniest guys to talk to.  Then, when I found out I was going to play Alicia Minshew’s brother, I was very excited.  I grew up watching All My Children, and I have grown up knowing Alicia’s work forever.  I was sort of a fan, and I would see her at soap events.  It was a chance to reconnect and sort of get to know her better, as well.  I am glad I did Beacon Hill.  It felt so good to be in cold weather in Massachusetts bundled up, and I just felt at home, because I also was with Melissa Archer.  Even though I never worked with Alicia and Crystal, it was kind of like Abbott and Costello not working together for 20 years, and then someone calling them up and saying, “Hey, can you do this part?”  It was kind of like us all falling back into the old routine.  We knew we could trust each other.  We knew it was going to be fun, and we had the same sort of work ethic.  We all came from the same place, sort of.  I knew it was going to be fun, and we were going to get it done without problems.  Everyone was so professional.  It was neat to see Hillary in producer mode, because I am used to seeing Hillary in “Hillary mode” mostly (Laughs).  Your producer Hillary!  You have your headset on and you are watching the monitor. So there was that element that was new.

MICHAEL:

Did being a part of Beacon Hill, make you miss OLTL?

JOHN-PAUL:

Oh, c’mon.  (Sighs)  I would sign a 30 year contract to be on One Life to Live if it was in front of me, right now.  It’s a no brainer.   I miss everything about it.   Everything!  I never had any complaints that whole time when I was on ABC.  I hope Beacon Hill continues, because it brought me back.   It’s sort of like we all have come together to do the same magic trick.  We know the gimmicks.  We all have this well-oiled machine.  We know how to hit our marks.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

When I interviewed Crystal Chappell (Claire Preston) about what she thought of you, she says what I have always said about you, that you are so interesting to watch and you never know what is going to happen.  I have often said that you have your own unique, very non-soap acting style, the way you delivered your material as Rex on OLTL.  So, I totally get what she is saying. 

JOHN-PAUL:

I had one scene with her, and she is really fun.  Her character is not of sound mind when my character has this interaction with her.  We had this close moment; she affected me.  I was happy and excited that Hillary threw me this bone, but when I found out I was playing Crystal’s son, I thought, “I don’t think she is old enough to do this! I hope that it’s believable and they buy I am her son, because I would sleep with her!” (Laughs)  Crystal is very good at turning on and off … I am the actress now … I am the hang out co-worker … and I am also the producer and boss … and I have to give people orders and tell them what to do, and flip that switch, just as Hillary was.

MICHAEL:

So what is the deal with the Eric Preston character you play in Beacon Hill?

JOHN-PAUL:

I have not read anything for season two, but in the first season he is basically playing this runner, wet nurse, for his grandfather.  He wants to keep the family working, and he only wants what’s best for the family.  He is probably the future heir to the family, and right now he is just the “yes” man to the grandfather.  You see him getting him tea, or answering the door, or carrying people’s luggage.  He is sort if like the family slave, and the caregiver right now. He is making sure the dust is off the counter.  I heard that he has his own plans for taking over certain things, but that is not happening yet.

MICHAEL:

So, you therefore share scenes with the amazing Ron Raines (Senator Preston)?

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: Lesley Bohm

Everything you see Eric doing is for Ron Raines’ character.  You sadly never see him with Ron Raines!  We are never face to face.  Although I am face to face with his lover, my old sister on OLTL, Melissa Archer, which was neat.

MICHAEL:

I was thinking Eric and Evelyn (Melissa Archer) would end up having a fling!

JOHN-PAUL:

We have been told that since they are closer in age, and this being a soap, that there is a sexual spark that they have to deal with soon.

MICHAEL:

So is Eric Preston a good guy?

JOHN-PAUL:

In the first season, I played him as a good guy.  I wasn’t playing that he had nefarious activities.  I was basically being truthful and honest with everything I did, except I know there was a moment where I have this moment with Crystal.  I was beat down from her, and when my grandfather yells something from the bedroom.  I give a look like, “Not again.”  I think Eric was tired of all this crap, and that he is running all the time, but he just sucks it up and does it, because he thinks, “I am family, and family comes first.   And being the political figures that they are, I have to keep everyone’s face pretty for the world.”  I am excited to see how much more of the brother and sister relationship they build between Sara and Eric.  I feel a cool bond with Alicia.  I hope that I can pull though as an actor, if they do push and something evolves between Evelyn and Eric, because it’s incredibly weird.  I have known Melissa Archer for 12 years.  I see her almost every day.  We hang out in L.A. all the time, and she is like my sister.  And the thing with me is, the less I know about you sometimes, the better I can act with you, depending on our character.  With Bob Woods (Bo) on OLTL, it was easy to work with him.  He was kind of like my dad.  With Erika Slezak (Viki), I respected her, so it was easy to respect Viki on the show.  With Melissa it was easy.  She was like my sister, and she played my sister on the show.  But if all of sudden we are bedfellows, this will definitely be the biggest challenge of my acting career; playing that I want to sleep with Melissa Archer.  I love Melissa, she is very sexy, but she is John-Paul’s sister. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It takes me back to the final scene between Natalie and Rex on OLTL, and she runs into the Buchanan’s as Rex is leaving for London to say goodbye!  I must have watched that episode back countless times and it is a five-hankie episode.

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/ABC

It was heartbreaking.  If anyone can go back and watch the same scene, I also say goodbye to Bo. And we did it in one take, and I actually flubbed one of my words because I couldn’t get it out, because I was so upset about the whole moment.  Yes, in that moment when I had to say goodbye to Natalie, I remember the line that they wrote for her was, “What am I going to do without you?”  And I think I said, “What am I going to do without you?”  Those lines made perfect sense, because at the time everyone thought that Prospect Park was continuing OLTL, and at that time I was not going to go to Prospect Park, I was leaving, and so it was her saying, “I’m staying in Llanview, what am I going to do without you?”  And John-Paul is going to stay on the west coast and Melissa is staying on the east coast.  And what are we going to do without each other?  And it was very real.  The music was great.  Sadly, it was a good episode.

MICHAEL:

How was your last day of filming One Life to Live?  Eventful … or uneventful?

JOHN-PAUL:

My last work day was November 17th, and unfortunately it is, what it is.  Things were shot out of order.  In my last scene, I was working with Terri Conn (Ex-Aubrey).  I was walking into Asa’s mansion and I was talking about Gigi (Farah Fath).  It was my last scene ever, and it was like five lines and not a big deal.  I did not get to have “And ‘Cut,’ that’s a wrap on JP!”  It was like “Cut’ moving on” (Laughs).  As soon as they yelled cut, I looked down on Asa’s desk and decided to take something with me, and it was a prop of a picture of me and Shane (Austin Williams).  And that was it.  I did not have a fond farewell.

MICHAEL:

Did you watch the new OLTL from Prospect Park?

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/TOLN

I watched the first couple episodes of the new OLTL.  I will say I enjoyed the AMC intro. I don’t think I got the OLTL intro.  The dancing was weird.  

MICHAEL:

Were you hoping that if the online version of One Life to Live had taken off, and if you felt it was a successful platform, you would have eventually signed on and joined the show?

JOHN-PAUL:

I was in a wait and see mode.  There were so many unanswered questions.  They did ask me to be in the show, twice.  Because of it being the Internet, I did not know what they could put on the Internet.  I knew it wasn’t going to happen, but I still questioned things like, “Well, are we going to be doing full frontal nudity?”  Is it going to be True Blood meets daytime?  Who is Rex going to be on Prospect Park’s version?”  There were too many unanswered questions, and no answered questions.  But because Melissa Archer, and Bob Woods, and Tuc Watkins were all going with the production, I wanted too.  But at that point as soon as they announced the ABC cancellation of OLTL, I immediately made plans to pack up and move to L.A.  I could not deal with all the uncertainties of Prospect Park, and closing up and moving from New York, and to starting in L.A. and giving it a try.  I had to make a decision.   So I said, I am going to close this door. This got cancelled.  I am just going to go see what other opportunities are out there.  If right now everything worked out and they put OLTL on Showtime and offered me a contract for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t think twice about it.  It was an awesome show.  Until that day, however ….  The other thing is, and this is just being a selfish actor, and sometimes you have to be, a lot of it was going to take place during pilot season and at the time being a 31-year-old new to L.A, I kind of needed to make myself available for other opportunities.  The ten weeks they would have needed me was a crucial time for an actor to get his face known in L.A.  The timing did not work out for me to try and do other things.

MICHAEL:

Would you have done the OLTL “Brand New Start” dance sequence, if they had you in the cast?

JOHN-PAUL:

What am I dancing for?  What is my motivation?  I would dance with Shenaz (Treasury)!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

There had been so much speculation that you were going to actually come to General Hospital and be the recast Dillon Quartermaine following Scott Clifton.  Did you ever receive a call about this?

JOHN-PAUL:

I have never gotten a call from ABC.  There is no truth to this rumor.  General Hospital never called me.  I have never been out to their studio lot except for a pilot.  I have not even seen Frank Valentini since the cancellation of One Life to Live.  I honestly can’t tell you what I would say if my phone were to ring.  It’s been two years now, and I can’t imagine it ringing.

MICHAEL:

Did you meet three-time Daytime Emmy winner Sarah Brown on the shooting of Beacon Hill?  Word has it that this was her first acting experience where she had to kiss another woman!

JOHN-PAUL:

Well, apparently she did a fine job! (Laughs) Without saying too much, and I have not seen any of the footage, but the first day I arrived in Massachusetts there was girl on girl action … and where was I?  I was just sitting in the hotel with my latte!  I am kind of in the wrong place! (Laughs)  So I was at the hotel and everyone was on their way back, Sarah, Rebecca Mozo, and Ricky, and they all come flying in the door and everybody was on high.  I was like, “What is going on?” And Sarah was like, “I had a love scene and we were throwing each other around, and we were kissing, and it was fine.  It was fine.  We had a great day.”  I said, “Hi, Sarah. I’m JP.  Nice to meet you!  You did what? With who? (Laughs)”   Sarah is a dynamo.   I just sit there and listen to her, and occasionally ask a follow-up question! (Laughs) Apparently, they had a great shoot and the lesbian action was flawless … and hot!

MICHAEL:

John-Paul, you are one of the most innately funny people I know.  Would you like to do a comedy series?  

JOHN-PAUL:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

Funny, you bring that up.  I have only had a handful of sitcoms auditions since I have been out here, and honestly my feedback has been, “He’s not good enough.”  I am not going to name names, but I did meet with a woman who used to work at the same company as me.  I got to be in the same room with her and my feedback was, “He’s not multi-cam.”  I said, “OK,” and unfortunately there were no cameras in the room, so there was no proof of that.  It was just me sitting on the couch and us running lines and she said I was not multi-cam, and so that’s that.  I said, “Really?  I did multi-cam for ten years.  It just so happened that it did not have a laugh track.” (Laughs)  I am still trucking along.

MICHAEL:

Tuc Watkins (David, OLTL) is your best bud.  I hear you spend much time with the twins!

JOHN-PAUL:

I am at Tuc’s house 20 hours a day.  I house sit, and dog sit for him, when he is out of town, and take care of the twins.  I want a wife and a daughter.  I think I would be a good dad.  Right now, I am on the hunt for a wife, who wants to have a daughter! (Laughs)  Listen, I am very lucky to have Tuc in my life.  I owe my sanity to Tuc.  He is one of my best friends in the world.  There are only a few people in your life you can trust and he is one of them.  I can’t imagine having a better friend.  He is the guy I can call on when the chips are down.  I tell ya, if he did it for me, I would be the luckiest guy in the world.  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What did you think about Tuc coming forward and publicly coming out and revealing he is a gay single dad of newborn twins?

JOHN-PAUL:

He was excited when he was booked on the Marie Osmond talk show, Marie! He said, “I am doing these shows because I want the world to know these things.  It’s now time for me to talk about my life, and tell the world who Tuc is, and what’s going on with Tuc.”  We watched all his talk show appearances together.  He was very proud and happy about it.

MICHAEL:

OK, now you must tell me about “The Full Dolores”.  You and Tuc are actually starting the next exercise fad!  Fill us in!

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/JPLavoisier

Tuc Watkins and I have a new fun thing in our lives that is our bible.  We do a work out routine at Runyon Canyon called “The Full Dolores”.  It’s a 100 minute workout that is basically a 4.4 mile track, and I think we go up to an elevation of 800 feet.  Anyone is welcome to join us. If you do, and complete “The Full Dolores”, you get a t-shirt authenticated in Tuc and my handwriting.  Only four people have thus far completed her.  If you attempt “The Full Dolores” and you skip anything, you have done a “Baby Karen,” and that is not a good thing, and we don’t want to talk about. (Laughs)  If you do not complete “The Full Dolores,” but want a t-shirt, we might give you one.  It just won’t be authenticated.  So we are running and hiking all over the place, going up and down lots of hills.  At moments, you feel like you are going to die, and throw up, and that’s a good thing.  But you won’t throw up; it’s that moment where you realize, “I am OK” …that’s the moment!  We do 14 different stations where we do 26 push-ups, which come to a total of 364 push-ups, one for every day of the year, but you get your birthday off. (Laughs)  We do a 100 pull-ups and a 600 count of planks, and the whole routine ends with it being plank to failure.  The whole routine ends with the last man standing wins for the day.  Tuc always wins.  You cannot out plank Tuc!   He can go for weeks and weeks, and he kills me!  Tuc is much better shape than anyone I know.  He is so jacked, so ripped, and I am so jealous!  He went out of town to Kansas City over the summer for three and half weeks, and I house sat for him.  And during that time he came back 17 lbs heavier, and when he got back we started this “Full Dolores” routine in July and he shed those pounds instantly.  It is ridiculous how in shape he is!  I am OK, but nowhere near the shape he is in.  He owes it all to “Dolores”.  We don’t go to the gym anymore, “Dolores” is free.  We just ask that you come and have fun and talk about it.   It’s a great social thing too.  We have met people at Runyon.  And we have invited people to “Dolores “…. you get one invite.  (Laughs) You know “Dolores” is happening Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.  “Dolores” will crush you.  You never really win.  You get a little better each time.  You can sort of eat whatever you want.  I eat chocolate every day, and butter and crackers, and I don’t go to the gym, I just do “Dolores”.  It’s all I need.

MICHAEL:

In closing, with all you went through personally and professionally, is acting still your passion?  Because you are one of the most naturally gifted young actors I have seen.  Los Angeles can be tough and unforgiving, when there are so many talented people vying for roles on shows, and more often than not, its about that lucky break.

JOHN-PAUL:

Courtesy/ABC

I will say working on the soap was a huge blessing, and one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.  I was thinking about this a couple of months ago.  Everybody in my life that is important, I have met all of them because of ABC and One Life to Live. Everyone I know is an extension of someone I met at ABC or One Life to Live.  I know so many people through Tuc.  The Fumeros I see all the time.  I have reconnected with John Brotherton, and I see Billy Warlock and Julie Pinson all the time.  Plus, I got to act and do this character, and I had a great Manhattan life because of it.  I will say on the record, it was a huge curse working on One Life and on a soap.   I am having a difficult time doing non-soap work at a non-soap speed.  Everything else is slower.  I am in play rehearsal right now, and as happy as I am being in the play, the rehearsals are so slow, and it just is, what it is.  With primetime stuff, there is more money involved, so it allows you to have more time.  But with soaps, time is money. We had to do 250 shows a year.  So this is the way, I put it: “Going from soaps to anything else, is like a NASCAR driver having to drive a city bus.”  That’s the best way I can put it.  Beacon Hill was pretty close, because we did anywhere between 1 to 3 takes per scene, but again the process was still slower.  Beacon Hill is really the perfect balance between film and soap.  They want the film quality, but they did take a lot of time for set-ups, and it was very professional.  But when it came time to do the acting, we can get in one take, because we can.  Now we go into soap mode, because we are soap actors.  We are going to save you time and money now, so you can take that time and put it towards the production, or setting up for the next shot.  I still will never understand why a large percentage of this business looks down on soaps, when in fact it should be the opposite.

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Monica
Monica

At least he put it out there as honestly as he could. I wish him well and look forward to Beacon Hill.

robin fletcher
robin fletcher

Oh, how I miss this man. He was just incredible. I hope he gets a sitcom. No question he can multi-cam.

Joshua
Joshua

As long as he stays off of the four daytime soaps, I am happy.

He was THE BIGGEST PROBLEM with “One Life to Live” during it’s final four years.

Esther Sue
Esther Sue

Says you, girlfriend. I adored him and miss him still.

egolf
egolf

Great interview. Beacon Hill will be awesome

Perla
Perla

Great interview and great actor, I can’t wait to see his character on Beacon Hill.

Cheryl
Cheryl

Great interview, thanks!

Margie
Margie

Love him. Miss Rex so much, and all of the Llanviewers. Damn ABC. He did a great job on The Mentalist. I hope he gets more prime time work.

rebecca1
rebecca1

I think that is one of the most honest, down-to-earth interviews I’ve ever read. It’s always nice to actually LIKE the actor whose work you admire. I loved him as Rex…he was both cute and sexy…a “bad boy” who grew up into a great guy…great friend, brother, father, boyfriend…loved his relationship with Bo…just really, really connected with his character.

Now, after reading this, he just seems as genuinely endearing as he did onscreen. (Much more so than his ex Farah…after reading a few of her tweets I’m not such a fan…think “Gigi” was a better woman for him than Farah!)

Best to you John-Paul. I’m sure you’ll be great on whatever project you take on…I look forward to falling in love with you all over again! 😉

rebecca1
rebecca1

Hahaha…after rereading my post it might look to some like he had a relationship with Bo! I just segued into that thought…just mean great father/son-type rappost
that emanated off the screen.

rebecca1
rebecca1

now again in English! LOL…meant… great rapport!

SiteAdvocate61
SiteAdvocate61

Rebecca,don’t sweat it. I totally agree with your comments. JP has always been one of my favorite actors since I began watching OLTL in mid 2006. I enjoyed how Frank and Ron made a responsible loving dad out of a smarmy playboy. Rex was more than Shane’s father,he was his best friend and you rarely see that. This show was known for displaying that side. I enjoyed JP’s down to earth interview with Michael very much.

KatieK
KatieK

JPL is the best! I really hope he finds something. I could easily see him pulling off Adam Newman on Y&R or bringing him on as Dylan on GH. But, Ill watch this new show, it has so many of my favs.

Potato hip
Potato hip

Loved this interview, disappointed to hear they don’t want him for Dillon Q., but maybe they will call him!

rebecca1
rebecca1

He would make an excellent Dillon! Could totally see him in that role.

Harry
Harry

And OF COURSE Frank Valentini never called him. Why am I not surprised to hear this?

Bennie
Bennie

I have been searching and searching to see when you would start acting again. I am very happy and you can count on me, I will be watching everything you do! Break a leg John Paul!

louisa
louisa

I loved this interview too! And I adore him. Always have, but after reading this really revealing interview, I love him even more. I miss OLTL and Rex so much!

He is too good for a sitcom. Plus, sitcoms don’t last. I would love to see him on GH as Dillon. I hope he finds a nice wife very soon.

Diane Hunsel
Diane Hunsel

Beacon Hill… please what station, time and day is it going to be on? I hope it will be on tv and not the internet, but I will watch it anyway. There is a lot of great stars from One Life To Live that I have missed.Thanks

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

GH should call him to be Dillon. He’s a shoe-in for the recast. As for the online version of OLTL, I think we all had the question of nudity, etc. Obviously it wouldn’t happen (disappointingly) since the swearing did not kick off well, due to people unwilling to get into a change. I hated Rex, but due into J.P. as an actor and would like to see him back on television.

Joe
Joe

You will see me at Big Bertha!!!! haha
I miss JP on TV. He would be great as Dillion Q! WIsh he would get the role!

heidi
heidi

Another great interview Michael and JPL… thank you!!! Miss JPL and wish he could be Dillion on GH. He could be with Maxie when she comes back… since we don’t have my fave Bradford as Spinelli!!!

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

If he’d like to do both a sitcom and play Dillion, GH would be the perfect place to do both…lol(i know im poking fun at the soap with my sitcom crack but i do like the show regardless of its sitcom silly moments and characters!!!)

ScoobyDum
ScoobyDum

If General Hospital ever wanted to do a long flashback, he could be a young Stefan Cassadine…Are you listening Cartini?

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Thank you for another great interview. I really enjoyed JPL on OLTL (my favorite soap).

Anyway, Beacon Hill looks like it has great potential. Best wishes JPL on all your future projects. We have missed you.

jbj
jbj

Thanks so much for this interview, MF! I missed him on the PP version of OLTL, because I think they let Bo, Nora and Natalie have a lot more fun than on the ABC version, and I would have enjoyed Rex’s running commentary. That said, I totally get his conflict and he has probably grown a lot more from his Hollywood experience.

This interview was also an interesting follow-up to Dirty Soap, which gave some insight into his personality and relationship with Farah Fath. I’m not at all surprised she broke up with him so soon after, because she really seemed to be in denial about his potential for homesickness from leaving his actual and work families. More than once, she out right mocked the things that seemed to make him genuinely happy. Most revealingly, the few times we saw him be really serious on DS were when FF (or one of her advocates) would bring up marriage or kids, which back then he was adamantly against. Part of him, deep down, must have known she wasn’t the one (and I don’t blame him), since he’s now thinking about staring a family.

Terri C.
Terri C.

Hi John Paul, You will always be Rex, but I wish you success and much happiness. With you looks and the person you seem to be , you are in line to find a wife and have a happily everafter with children. Bless you and welcome back to the light!

lenafreed
lenafreed

Loved JPL as Rex – I will be watching Beacon Hill and hoping it is picked up for cable TV!

Omar
Omar

Good interview and wish him all the luck..A bit taken a back with the “wanting a wife and child” comment, you can have a child and still be who you are JPL, have a loving partner and still be a father with a willing female “friend”..I look forward to BEACON HILL!!!

sandy
sandy

I love JP and would like to know where can I watch Beacon Hill

david1964
david1964

Ok, I’m really confused. He wouldn’t join the on-line version of OLTL which was already a well established show on ABC. But he did agree to join “BH” which is online, not knowing how well the show will do. Huh? That makes no sense.

Jim Reasoner
Jim Reasoner

JP, you truly are very gifted. I always looked forward to your scenes with all of your co-workers especially the ones with Robert Woods. It was obvious that you were friends on the show and in real life. Your ad lib moments cracked me up! Especially when you made movie references without caring that it didn’t matter if no one else but you and Bob got it. Not that it matters, I got it! Subtle humor is a sign of intelligence and you are swimming in it. Thanks for all the great scenes on OLTL and I look forward to watching you excell in the industry…………..Jim R.

Joan Brigham
Joan Brigham

I miss Rex (John Paul) most of all. He lit up the screen and he and Gigi (Farah) were magical together. I still won’t watch anything on ABC due to their inhumane treatment of their soap stars. Their viewership tanked after the Boycott began, and has yet to recover. I sincerely hope that John Paul will return to television soon, he makes a show worth watdhing.

Kim B
Kim B

Farah is better off, she’s happy engaged and very obviously in a much better place. I don’t think JP has done anything at all since OLTL.

General Hospital

GH’s James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin’s Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

After all his bravado, machinations and lies to keep the woman he loves, and believing he was the rightful heir to the Cassadine fortune, suddenly it all came crashing down for Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) on recent episodes of General Hospital.

Payback can be a bitch, but for Valentin; who’s past has been fraught with numerous physical and emotional tribulations since his childhood, he now finds himself at the lowest point in his life; losing Nina (Cynthia Watros) who’s now taken up with Jax (Ingo Rademacher), realizing he is the biological son of the evil Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), and not Mikkos, and having all his best laid plans and misdeeds backfire.  (Remember, he shot and “killed” Nikolas, and set up the ruse that led Sasha to pretend she was Nina’s bio-daughter.)  Now, enter Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), who could very well hold the ticket, to Valentin’s rise to wealth and power all over again.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with James Patrick Stuart to get the lowdown on: those heavy and emotional scenes opposite Constance Towers, working with Cynthia Watros as his newest Nina, if Valentin might really kill Jax the next time he thinks about it, and what about a potential relationship between Anna (Finola Hughes) and Valentin?

Not many can play bad as good as James in this industry.  He does it so effortlessly and still brings out the humanity in the guy that has t-r-o-u-b-l-e written all over him.  Here’s what James had to share about all of Valentin’s recent dramatic moments, a tease of what’s to come, and much more.

Photo: JPI

Valentin’s world has imploded at the moment.  When did you initially find out that he was going to turn out to not be a true Cassadine heir?

JAMES:  Well, there were some clues dropped by Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) back when we did the gallery auction where Helena’s portrait went up in flames.  Frank looked at me and goes, “Hey, Jack Nicholson it up.  Have some fun!  You’re not going to be feeling pretty good for a while.”  (Laughs)  I’m like, “Oh … what are the plans?”  He pulled me aside and goes, “Yeah, you’re going to lose Nina, but you’re going to try to take over ELQ.  That’s when I started to go, “Wait a minute!  That sounds to me like Valentin’s losing his money.”  (Laughs)  With the character of Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) coming back; it’s pretty great.  I think the writing was on the wall there.  I put it out on twitter the other day.  I said, “Look what they’ve done to my boy.”  Somebody chimed in, “They gave him a storyline!” (Laughs)

Who doesn’t love to see you, James Patrick Stuart, play tortured soul?  They audience loves to see you get the opportunity to go to those depths in your performances.

JAMES:  It’s been really interesting for me.  I’ve had a lifetime of playing bad guys because the line was always shorter. (Laughs)  Everybody wants to be Tom Cruise, but the Alan Rickman’s of it all, to me, were what was so interesting.  Early on, you play one dimensional kind of twisting of the mustache, tying a woman to the train tracks.  After a while, you start to watch the truly great actors.  They start to take you on a ride.  If you’re paying attention, you start to feel what it would be like to be that damaged, and that’s why you do it.  Then you start to see the vulnerability. To me, I thought, “This is a great time in my life because I’m ready to do that.” A lot of people say, “I don’t understand.  I feel like that makes no sense. because why would I root for a person who behaves like this?” and that to me, I feel is the greatest compliment of all.

So much happened recently to Valentin in one fell swoop; he overhears Nina telling Ava (Maura West) she kissed Jax, then he envisions shooting Jax and then he is drinking himself into oblivion and he gets a “visit” from Helena!  But … the scenes between Valentin and Helena really summed up the bitter truth for him, wouldn’t you say?

JAMES:  Yes.  In the “Helena” scenes, it all basically is revealed.  It all comes down in a moment where he “sees” her.  I think he realizes with the DNA test; he’s not the person he thought he was, but he certainly had no idea that he had her blood in his veins.  The truly tragic moment of the evening is when it dawns on him that he has a daughter with Helena’s blood in her veins.  Now, he would kill her a thousand times over in that moment.  He can’t do it.  He’s fighting phantoms.  That’s the bottom below the bottom, and things got worse than he ever thought they would get.

Courtesy/ABC

Does Valentin have any idea then, who his biological father could be?

JAMES:  I don’t think so.  I don’t believe so.  I know I don’t.  I think once he realizes that Helena is in fact the mother, I think he’d rather just go into oblivion.  I think at that point, he’s out of answers.  Enter Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) …which is wonderful because I think the world of Nancy, and she saves the day.   Alexis basically talks him out of hurting himself, telling him to count his blessings that he is not a Cassadine, etc, which was a really sweet moment.

I assume, when you have this kind of material to play, it must be exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time?

JAMES:  I think that’s exactly right.  As an actor, I think you want to do this stuff.  Maura West and I compare notes all the time.  I think it can be kind of emotionally draining.  You do feel it, and I felt it when I had spent a lot of time with Nina and Valentin, and when the actresses changed, and we brought Cynthia Watros in.  I worked twice as hard to make sure that Cynthia’s landing was as easy as possible, and I really grew attached to the Nina and Valentin connection.  So, when Jax steps in, Cynthia’s love life means nothing to me, I don’t care about that, but Nina’s love life means a lot to me!  And it bums me out, and I don’t know that I’ll actually be watching any future love scenes between them as much as I love them both!  I have a deep attachment to the Valentin connection to Nina.  So, the lines get burred because we just play these characters so long.

Photo: JPI

What was it like sharing those tough scenes with Constance? No one can play icy, evil villainess like her … and yet in real life, she is such a gracious and kind-hearted woman.

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JAMES:  In real life, Constance is such a sweetheart, and she’s so grateful to be there.  She was so ready to work, and rehearse, and play, and find the stuff, and she was great.  I’d been in scenes with her before.  Last time, we didn’t really talk to each other.  I was with the hump.  I was being Valentin pre-surgery.  It was some sort of moment in a graveyard, but this time we actually got to interact with each other.

You look at Valentin, and he’s not had the greatest life.  Do you bring his entire back-story into your performance; such as when he was deformed with the hump and how he had to literally reconstruct his life both in the physical and in emotional ways for many years?

JAMES:  Absolutely.  It’s the brokenness that he’s making choices from.  He was never truly and authentic person to begin with which is why his love fell apart.  He’s always been faking.  He’s always been putting on a show.  That’s not sustainable in matters of the heart.  It was unbelievably easy for Jax to swoop in, because it was inevitable that things were going to fall apart.  Of course, that anger and that brokenness were what lead him to want to kill Jax.  There’s no question.  He was prepared to do that.  If you look in the eyes in the fantasy sequence in the shooting, he just wanted to watch him die.  He wanted to watch the light go out in Jax’s eyes.  He was so furious … and even more tragic is … that was all he could think of, and somehow, he realized in that moment that wouldn’t work, because he’d lose his daughter.

Photo: JPI

Anna and Finn (Michael Easton) just kind of busted up.  Do you think Anna and Valentin will hookup? There is a connection and a history between the two of them whenever they seem to be in proximity of one another.

JAMES:  Personally, I’m waiting for that.  I hope so!  There is a finesse and elegance to that woman, and not only that, there is an effortless to the connection between Valentin and Anna, if one can say that about one’s own coupling.  I love to look at it!  I think we go together like a wink and a smile.  I just find that chemistry really great.  I think that’s mostly Finola, though.  She can probably have chemistry with most anything.

Valentin was going to leave Port Charles with Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), after Nikolas revealed all and the fallout began.  Interestingly enough, it was Anna who came to Valentin’s side and tried to talk him down from fleeing with his daughter and showed such compassion for him!

JAMES:  Wasn’t that great?  She was the one who got him.  She was the one who was able to calm the beast.  There was no one else he would have listened to.  In the moment in the police station, after Charlotte had been kidnapped, and there is that moment where Anna has that bruise, I thought it was such a tender moment.  I just said, “If I kiss my finger and touch your wound?” and she’s like, “Do it.”  It was just this moment where we had been bitter rivals and enemies for so long, but he just adores her so much it’s undeniable that he sees her wounded and wants to make it better.  It’s floating out there waiting to be done.  I know that everybody knows it.  It’s just a matter of what the right away to go about in the writing would be.

Photo: JPI

So, you’ve worked opposite two acting dynamos in the role of Nina – Michelle Stafford and now, Cynthia Watros.  Was the transition difficult for you when Cynthia came to GH?

JAMES:  It wasn’t.  It was scary because Michelle Stafford wasn’t just one in a million, I mean, she is one of a kind.  The last thing in the world that I would ever want to consider doing myself was recast that actress.  So, my deal was (and I’ve said this to Cynthia) I said, “I have no control over this.  All I can do is make the landing as easy as possible for Cynthia.”  We did a lot of photoshoots together, and I had flowers waiting for her, and I did everything possible to make sure that she knew that she had a friend and that she had somebody that was going to make it as easy as possible.  It was rough because a lot of the trolls on social media were just awful to her… just brutal, and she goes, “I have thick skin.  I can take it,” and then a week later, she goes, “I’ve closed all my social media accounts!”  (Laughs)  It’s been fun to watch those guys turn around and go, “You have a really special person.”  That wedding stuff was just incredible!  She came so prepared and she knocked it out of the park.  Cynthia has been wonderful.  I love them both.  I love her the reddest, and I love Michelle the bluest, and together I love them the purplest.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s interesting that all the women in his life such as Anna and Nina, all have a soft-spot for Valentin; even though they don’t necessarily want to be with him.  These ladies are just drawn to this dysfunctional guy.

JAMES:  Don’t you think?  Is it that you want to help him, you want to fix him, you see the potential, you want to help him despite himself?  I think that’s what it is.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Valentin’s still going to try to win Nina back, or is that done? 

JAMES:  I don’t know.  I do know that the Valentin I know will never shake Nina, and when he loves, he loves forever.  He can be simultaneously in love with Anna whenever she’s near.  I don’t believe he ever truly got over Nina hearing his story and his brokenness and still loving him twice as hard.  Years ago, there was a moment where he said to her the stuff that he’s never said, and Michelle beautifully kissed my tears away and said, “You’re beautiful” to me.   I think in that moment his fate was sealed.  I think he knew that this was his woman forever.  So, I just don’t think that that goes away.  I think he will always carry a torch for Nina, for sure.

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Do you see Valentin becoming darker and darker now that he had found out he is Helena’s offspring?

JAMES:  Well, yes and no.  I remember watching these scenes and we’ve done a lot of this stuff, and you know how easy it is to sort of go, “Let’s go dark, let’s go dark, let’s go more dark,” and after a while, I go, “You know, maybe he does learn something.  Maybe there’s hope for this guy after all.”  Of course, more bad stuff will happen to him, and he will do more bad stuff, because that’s just who he is.  A leopard can’t change his spots, and those are his survival instincts, but there are some new colors, and it’s all a direct result of all of just these horrible things that have happened to him… mostly learning that he is part Helena and he can’t undo that.

Photo: JPI

We saw that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) called and then goes to see Valentin, because she wants to sell her shares of ELQ.  So, obviously he has the potential to become really rich here which is what would give him his power back.  How do you think that will go over with the rest of the Quartermaines? (Laughs)

JAMES:  (Laughs) A lot of the Quartermaine actors have been asking me that in the hallways of General Hospital!  Isn’t that interesting how he’ll just sort of switch families? (Laughs)

Of all the people, just as Valentin’s life is in the gutter and he is at his lowest, who should show up with a sort of lifeline, Nelle! How will he go about attempting to gain control of ELQ?

JAMES:  Valentin knows he has to get the majority shares to gain a control of the company, and he has to do it fast before people see that he’s doing it.  So, that’s where Michael E. Knight (Martin Gray) has been.  He’s gallivanting the states rapidly accumulating shares.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s been so fun seeing you and Michael Knight on-screen and on a daytime soap together again, as so many remember you as Tad Martin and Will Cortlandt on All My Children.  How has it been getting the chance to work with Michael?

JAMES:  My God, are you kidding me?  He taught me!  He’s the guy who taught me.  I didn’t know how to do this.  Nobody instinctively knows… this is a very unique art form.  It’s more Jazz than anything else, and he showed me how to do it!  Walt Willey (Ex-Jack, AMC) showed me how to do my hair, and Michael Knight taught me how to break down a script!  And, what’s so funny is he is still doing it.  In a scene on GH, when he threw in that line, “From now on, you pay in advance,” I just about fell on the floor!  I thought, “There he is!  That’s the Michael I’ve always known and loved.”

Photo: JPI

Who would have thought that you guys would get to share scenes like that again on soaps?  You just never know in this life who may be wind up back in your orbit.

JAMES:  It’s incredible.  That’s what we say all of the time… “Who would have thought?”  You could never plan something like this and that we’d still be doing it at this point.

Now with Lulu (Emme Rylan) learning that Valentin is not a Cassadine, and Nina apparently moving on to a relationship with Jax, what do you think it will mean for their relationship in raising their daughter, Charlotte?

JAMES:  I think in the short-term, Valentin’s shelved any ideas of getting her out of Charlotte’s life.  He’s sort of putting out the fires in his own personal life.  Charlotte needs a mother in her life, and he’s quite willing to share custody as they always have been.  She seems to be looking at this as an opportunity to paint him as an unfit father, and she wants full-time custody.  So, we’re back to that again.  It looks to me like Lulu is kicking Valentin while he’s down.

Photo: JPI

It was so nice to see you, and some of your GH co-stars such as: Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) show up for Y&R’s Eric Braeden’s (Victor Newman) 40th anniversary on set celebration at CBS.  It was quite the event; speakers galore, and so many from our industry and beyond in attendance.

JAMES:  It was pretty profound.  Eric has always been kind to me.  I only worked with him on one movie, a western, called The Man Who Came Back, and that was probably 12 years ago.  He has been so complimentary of me in interviews and in his book.  So, if he does that with me, I can only imagine how many dear, dear friendships he has.  So, the fact that everybody showed up like that from the president of CBS Entertainment to local councilmen, and that they were willing to do be there for 2 hours was really proof of how much they love him.  Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I don’t even think was working that day, came in for it and spoke at the event. There was so much respect shown for Eric and what he has meant to this medium.

Photo: JPI

Your album The Apple Tree was so well-received, and everyone always loves seeing you get the opportunity to sing on General Hospital as well.  Will you continue to put out more music in 2020?

JAMES:  Yeah, that’s the plan.  I have another one that I’m working on.  I have a bunch of songs.  I’m in no rush to get it out.  Unfortunately, I lost Glen Roven, who wrote the cello part for Book of Love, passed away right after the Nurses’ Ball where I played Book of Love, which is really heartbreaking, and then, Michael Sherwood, who helped me with a number of songs on the record passed away right after The Apple Tree came out.  So, I’m a little gun-shy.  But, I’m planning on having something out by December for Christmas.

In closing, what would you say the fans should look forward to in the weeks ahead from Valentin?

JAMES: Look forward to that moment where Valentin is so low that there’s nowhere to go but up!  The comeback is going to be one for the books.

So, what do you think of how Valentin’s life hit rock bottom?  Do you think he will ever win Nina back? Do you think he will takeover ELQ? Share your thoughts on James’ recent performances and his thoughts contained in this interview via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Wally Kurth Talks DAYS Dramatic Twists That Gave Justin a Heartbreaking Story, a New Romance, and Unforgettable Moments

If you have been watching recent episodes of Days of our Lives, soap opera vet, Wally Kurth has been turning out the performances of his daytime career.  In one of the most heartbreaking weeks we can remember, DAYS took us back to ‘Mother’s Day’ one year ago, prior to their time jump, to show us how Justin’s wife, Adrienne (Judi Evans) died following a car crash, it’s aftermath, and assorted other key plots for the characters of Salem.

For decades, Wally Kurth along with Daytime Emmy winner, Judi Evans created the on-screen love story of Justin and Adrienne on DAYS, and while they were off the canvas for quite some time, they remained one of the most popular duos in the history of the show.  Saying goodbye to one daytime love story opened the door for another, and now Kurth has been paired with another Daytine Emmy winner, Mary Beth Evans (Kayla).  The romance of Justin and Kayla is really going to be tested with the recent return of Stephen Nichols who seems to have Steve’s body overtaken by the mind and soul of Stefano DiMera.   What will happen if, and when Steve, Kayla, and Justin enter into a romantic triangle?

But as daytime viewers know, Wally is not only recognizable for his role as DAYS Justin but that of General Hospital’s Ned Quartermaine.  Kurth has the distinction of being on two separate soaps (sometimes even airing on them at the same time), playing two different fan favorite roles.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Wally about: being handed the ball in the emotional storyline on DAYS that has had him acting his heart out alongside Chandler Massey (Will) and Freddie Smith (Sonny) that could just land him a Daytime Emmy nomination in just a few months.  Plus, giving us a glimpse of what is was like to tape all of those tear-filled scenes, his reaction to his latest romantic pairing, and having the gift of acting on two soaps at this stage of his career.  Here’s what Wally shared.

Photo: JPI

Let me just say; I’m all cried out watching your performances now.  I can’t cry anymore. (Laughs)  Did you watch everything back from the week-long flashback to Mother’s Day that changed the course of so many lives in Salem, and in particular, with the death of Adrienne?

WALLY:  Oh, yeah.  It was hard to watch.  It was interesting because the show must have been long as there were a couple of scenes that I was actually looking forward to seeing and they didn’t air.  One was on the Thursday episode and the other was on the Friday episode.  I remember seeing something about Matt Ashford (Jack) not having his scene air with Jack and Adrienne, and I wanted to tell him: “Hey, it was all around.”  It was probably just a little too much material to get it all in.

What do you remember doing that didn’t air?  Was Justin in even more tears?  (Laughs)

WALLY:  If you can believe it! (Laughs)  There was one scene with Sonny at her gurney that I really broke down.   There was a scene on Friday after Will leaves.  It’s a scene between Sonny and Justin talking about what Will had done that I thought was pretty intense, but that’s alright.  It’s part of the deal.  Shows run long and they’ve got to make decisions.  It’s all good.

Photo: JPI

What do you remember about the day you had to shoot those death scenes with Judi Evans?

WALLY:  It’s interesting.  I made a decision that I’m not going to go about those scenes with the normal method: thinking about something really, truly terrible in my life because first of all, I’ve never lost a woman I’ve been with for 30 years.  So, I decided just to use my imagination and use the words in the script, and just go there.  It was certainly a lot more fun.  I didn’t second-guess myself.  The words were beautifully written, and I just sort of played the scene; rather than try to regurgitate some kind of past memory and/or try to imagine one of my children dying or my wife dying.

You didn’t do “substitution”!

WALLY:  Yeah, I didn’t substitute.  I guess for people who don’t understand this kind of method in acting; you can substitute things in your real life, your personal life to help you feel something called upon to do in a script, and I’ve done that before.  I’ve done that a lot, actually.  I did that when I was first on the show with Judi.  But, on that day when Adrienne died, I didn’t.

Photos: NBC

It was so sad, and when they had the clip of a young Wally as Justin, meeting Adrienne for the first time, it was a sweet moment.  Justin sees her crying and is apparently smitten.  Did you see that flashback?  

WALLY:  It’s a famous one!  We got to talk about it, and the handkerchief in the scenes when she died.  I think in the scene that was cut, there was more about the handkerchief and that I gave her the handkerchief and that I needed a handkerchief now and Sonny gave me his handkerchief.  Years ago, I remember Al Rabin (Ex-director, DAYS) saying, “When you see her, she’s unlike anybody you’ve ever seen before.  That’s it,” and I went, “What?” and he said, “Yeah.  That’s it.”  So, I said, “Okay, she’s the one,” and I went in and just played that.  Like, “I don’t know who this woman is.  She’s crying on the bench.  She looks pretty miserable, but I’ll just try to talk to her” and that was Justin and Adrienne’s love story: coming in like a white knight and rescuing her.

You and Judi had worked together as Justin and Adrienne on and off for decades.  So, is there any sadness in saying goodbye to that on-screen relationship?

WALLY:  Yes, but in between it all we took like a 19-year break.  So, it’s not like John (Drake Hogestyn) and Marlena (Deidre Hall) who have been on continuously.  We fell back into that very comfortably.  It was 1987 when we were doing that scene at the park where she is crying.  Hello! That was 33 years ago!  And … oh, my God … the leather tie, the hair.  I had serious hair.  I remember that. (Laughs)

You had serious hair.  But … we all did!

WALLY:  It took longer just blowing my hair out than getting on make-up to hit the set.  I remember that little tweed jacket, and the black leather shoes.

Photo: JPI

What were we all thinking back then!? (Laughs)  It must have been hard for Judi on the day while you were grieving over her body?

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WALLY:  I remember Judi told me it was really hard for her, and I can understand it.  She’s such a good actress who really listens, so she’s always really affected.  We can be running lines in the makeup room, and if it’s an emotional scene, she can start crying.  So, she’s obviously really in touch with her emotions.  It was really hard for her to listen to Freddie, and me, and Matt and Mary Beth, and everyone tell her how much they’re going to miss Adrienne.  She was so good and professional.  She just kept her eyes closed all the way through the breaks.  She didn’t sit there and talk to us in between.  Probably, in her mind, she’s just trying to play dead.

She told me in the interview feature that I did for the DOOL app, that she intentionally didn’t want to see you and Freddie before those scenes.  

WALLY:  Yeah, that’s true.  I’m just thinking about that, and it really did help because we could just stay in that place and she never jumped up and went, “Hey!”   That’s just her professionalism.

Photo: JPI

When you originally found out that DAYS was going to kill-off Adrienne, and that they were going to do a time jump which paired Justin and Kayla, romantically, what was your reaction to all of that?  Was it like, “Oh, story for me!?” and/or did it make you feel bad about the character casualty in order to make that happen?

WALLY:  I guess, selfishly, you’re only thinking of yourself – when you’re selfish, and I did think like, “Wow.  That sounds like an amazing story,” and then I’m like, “Oh, well that sucks for Judi, and that’s going to be kind of crazy,” but then I also realized quickly (because I know Judi, and I know how much she loved playing Bonnie) that if they choose to bring her back, they could bring her back as Bonnie.  But yes, I thought about that as well, but mainly, I thought that this is something new.  As an actor and as an artist, you want a new challenge.  For Judi and me, we were just sort of playing the two greatest parents to Sonny.  Pretty much, that was our role.  We were happily married.  We hadn’t really had a story in about a year.  I mean, I’m mister lawyer in town.   At least for me, and it turns out, this has been an amazing story to play.  I have to say; never in a million years did I imagine Justin with Kayla.  So, it wasn’t like I was campaigning for it.

I know in daytime that sometimes actors campaign to be paired with certain actors on their respective soaps,

WALLY:  Yeah, so I think we were both surprised.  I worked with Mary Beth on General Hospital and of course, we are dear friends off set.  We thought that was probably going to be the hardest part, because we’ve been friends for so long, and it’s kind of nice that when you do a love story that you do have to kind of go there, and feel comfortable, and be excited, and it worked out.  I thought we both brought out qualities in our characters that really conveyed that a really good friendship morphed into a true love.  Justin and Kayla helped each other through this difficult, difficult time, and then…

… Then Stevano shows up in Salem!

WALLY:  Yup!   People fall in love.  That’s what happened, and then of course Stephen Nichols comes back, and all hell breaks loose.  I have to say, the audience is in for a really fun 6 months coming up.

Photo: JPI

What have you thought of Stephen Nichols portrayal as Stefano?

WALLY:  He has been amazing!   I told Stephen, and he appreciates it.   I don’t think anyone could do it as well as Stephen’s doing it.  I mean, when he blew up the other day in front of Anna (Leann Hunley), he sounded like Stefano.  He sounded like Joe Mascolo (Ex-Stefano)!  I think he’s done a really good job of pulling it off.  Only a really gifted actor could pull it off, and I believe it when he plays it.

You made a comment on Twitter to me about “the boys” (Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey), after I named the three of you Power Performance of the Week.  What can you say about Freddie in the scenes where he has to say goodbye to his mother, Adrienne, and then Chandler for his scenes with both Freddie and you in the aftermath, where he tells Sonny and Justin he was the responsible party that caused the crash that took Adrienne’s life?

WALLY:  Freddie went for it, and you have to.  He did, and I was so proud of him.   When Will tells Sonny that he was driving the car and he caused it, they were so in the moment.  They didn’t rush their emotions.  They took their time, and it was just totally believable, and not a false move, and then when I came in, it was just a really nice scene between the three of us, because I was checking in with Sonny, and then I was checking in with Will, and things took turn from there and it felt really solid.  I was very proud of it.

Courtesy/NBC

Then, when Justin tears into Will for the death of his wife, and Will goes, “I wish it would’ve been me.”  It was so intense; everyone was good in that scene.

WALLY:  I wanted to send out a tweet to everybody from that episode who were                       wonderful in it including: Stacy Haiduk (Kristen), Eric Martsolf (Brady), Paul Telfer (Paul), and Casey Moss (JJ)…

Oh, my Gosh, and then Casey was so heartbreaking learning of Haley’s (Thia Megia) death!

WALLY:  Good lord.  Three deaths in one day!

You’ve been on soap operas for a long time.   It was a lot to take in as the viewer, but it made for a riveting and can’t-miss week of episodes.

WALLY:  It was amazing that the show pulled it off.  It could have been really too much.  I thought that the production pulled it out.  It wasn’t too much.  That’s probably why scenes were cut, too.  It might have just been too much; all of that just grieving over dead bodies.

What is the reaction you’re seeing to all of this on social media?  The fans have been very favorable to the performances.  You’re in such an interesting position, because you’re on two soaps (DAYS and GH) and you’re able to have these two distinct and different characters to play. What’s that been like that you’ve been able to bounce back and forth for so long in your career from Salem to Port Charles, and back again?

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WALLY:  I couldn’t have planned it, obviously.  It just worked out that way; having created both roles, one 33 years ago and one 29 years ago.  I’m sort of integral on General Hospital because I’m sort of the lone patriarchal Quartermaine, and they want to keep that family going. So, that has been really kind of cool that I can keep breathing air into that legacy, and they’re recently brought in Amanda Setton as Ned’s daughter, Brook Lynn, too.  Then of course, with Days of Our Lives, they brought me back on as an attorney in 2009, and that was really out of the blue.  I hadn’t been on the show in 19 years.  So, to get a call to come back and be an attorney in town was just great, and at the time, I needed a job.  I kind of have to say, I owe Ken Corday (executive producer, DAYS) twice in my lifetime. He hired me as an actor when honestly; I could really use a job.  My first job was Days of Our Lives, and I was driving around in a moped then.

Photo: JPI

Speaking of Amanda Setton (Ex-Kimberly, One Life to Live) how do you think she is doing with the part of GH’s Brook Lynn?

WALLY:  She’s great.  She’s experienced, and nowadays you really have to be experienced on soaps.  We go so fast.  Unfortunately, the newbies take some time and have to get on track, but it’s a world of one takes and we go so quickly.  It really helps to have an actor who has done it before and isn’t daunted by the speed.

Speaking of keeping the legacy of the Q’s going, the one and only Jane Elliot recently came back to GH to reprise her role of Tracy Quartermaine. What was it like having her back on set to work with?  

WALLY:  It was great!  I hope she’ll make some future returns.  She had a good time.  The show is really much better with her.  I was just thrilled.

Photo: JPI

You must be grateful that Justin and Ned are still alive and kicking!

WALLY:  I love working on Days, and I love the crew.  I love the cast.  Both casts and crews from both soaps are fantastic.  I feel like the luckiest actor in town.  I don’t complain, and I won’t complain.  It’s interesting, when I was an actor on one show, I would complain, and I hear other actors on shows complaining about one thing or another.  I just don’t have a right to complain.  On my days off, I used to be the guy who would look at my lines the day before.  I probably could still do that, but I don’t want to.  I like spending a heck of a lot of time with my scripts so that when I go in there, I really know it.  I have a lot of different ways to play with it, and I get to be creative with it, and I pick that.  I don’t take that for granted.  So, every day when I get to work, I’m excited to be there, and I put a lot into it.

Photo: JPI

So, do you think we can foreshadow you winning a Daytime Emmy this year, or next year, or both for the performances we have seen and those yet to come?

WALLY:  (Laughs) I feel like I’ve already won an Emmy by having two jobs.  Honestly, I’m having the time of my life.

Do you think the audience will see Justin grieving still for Adrienne? With the time jump, in theory, we missed a year of that part of the mourning process.

WALLY:  You will see it.  But yes, you’re right.  You don’t see Justin the first three months, or the week after, or the weeks after.  However, more comes up for him that I think  will be very satisfying to the audience.  I know it’s been very shocking to the audience to see where Justin is at.  Most of the complaints I get are like, “Really?  It’s been three months, and you’re already making out with Kayla?”  People were kind of offended by that.  By the way, my wife is also offended by that.  (Laughs)  She was like, “You’d better wait longer than three months!

Photo: JPI

Did your wife watch your scenes when Adrienne died?

WALLY:  Yes, she did.   She liked them.   But she would say something like, “It’s hard to see you crying over another woman.”  I know she doesn’t really enjoy me making out with another woman and saying how much I love her.  I don’t usually show her all of the really romantic stuff, but I thought she’d be okay with the death scenes, and she was, but I am sure it was kind of strange for her.  She is a lawyer, not an actor.

Since she’s a lawyer, does she ever give you legalese tips for when you have courtroom scenes on DAYS?

WALLY:  She does, and I’m usually like, “Is there anything I can cut here?” and she usually goes, “Honestly, no.  You’d better say it.  I think it’s honestly pretty well-written.  You’d better say it as written. It’s pretty accurate.”

Courtesy/NBC

The other moment I wanted to bring up to you that was like the “perfect scene” is when Justin visited Will in prison and told Will to not give up on life. I think that was such a beautiful scene and performance.  I hope that is in your Emmy submission.

WALLY:  Thank you.  I was very proud of that.  I appreciate that, Michael.  I know you watch a lot of these, and, it is in my Emmy submissionIt was beautifully written.  I think the writers have really handed me just some wonderful stories to tell, and wonderful dialogue, and I used every word of it, and I feel very blessed.  As actors … you can work your ass off, but you really do also need stories to sometimes shine, you know?  I thought the writers really gave me a lot of great material to work with.

Photo: JPI

If they keep giving you more material like this every week you’ll be named the Power Performance of the Week, and then everyone will think something corrupt is going down! (Laughs) 

WALLY: They’ll think I’m paying you off, Michael! (Laughs)

So, what have you thought of Wally’s performances? Were you surprised at the Justin and Kayla pairing? Were you shocked at Adrienne’s death and what went down? Comment below.

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Eastsiders

Van Hansis and Kit Williamson Talk The Final Season of ‘EastSiders’, Their Journey As Thom and Cal, & The Impact The Series Has Made

It captivated the LGBTQ audience, expanded from there, and was a passion project and labor of love for series creator, Kit Williamson (Cal) along with his husband and co-producer, John Halbach as they tirelessly brought the digital drama EastSiders to life.  Over 4 seasons (and 7 years in and of production) fans of the series were brought: riveting characters, real, witty, and intelligent writing, and beautiful performances that leave you either crying, laughing, or just plain in awe of their depth.

Williamson brought in As the World Turns favorite, Van Hansis (Ex-Luke, ATWT), from the beginning of the creation of EastSiders, to play his on-screen other half, Thom, and over four seasons we have seen Cal and Thom’s relationship grow apart, come together, have a very open sexual relationship, deal with addiction issues, and anxiety in the day and age we live in; while giving us a glimpse of a set of characters who all are struggling with something … or trying to love someone, or just trying to love themselves.

In four seasons, EastSiders went from a show on YouTube to now a popular series streaming on Netflix.  And as season four of the series was finally released back in December of last year, fans of the show were clamoring to know if Thom and Cal will have their happily ever after? Well, if you saw the emotional final episode, you kind of know the answer to that, or do we? But just when you thought EastSiders was a fait accompli, Williamson and company released a behind-the-scenes documentary of the season that is also a must-see! (Check it out below).  And this week, EastSiders scored nominations in the Queerties Awards for the Best in LGBTQ media and culture. Van Hansis scored a nod in the Digital Performance category along with EastSiders cast member, Stephen Guarino, and the series is nominated in the Digital Series category. You can vote for the Queerties now through February 21st here.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Van and Kit in a full circle moment for all of us.  We conducted the first interview these two talented gents ever did to publicize the series seven years ago, and we couldn’t let EastSiders go without one last look, one last goodbye, and to talk to the heart and soul of the story itself.  So here, we put a bow on it, and chat it up with Van and Kit in this very special EastSiders wrap-up.

Photo: EastSiders

So, 7 years ago, the three of us met at a coffee shop in West Hollywood, California and you had this little show called Eastsiders, and we do your first interview ever about the show.  Now, 7 years later it’s grown into what it has become.  What did you think of this whole journey from the beginning to the end?  Did you have any idea that EastSiders would take off like this, and did it exceed your hopes and dreams?

KIT:  Personally, I had no idea that the show could have this many lives.  I really just set out to make something cool and to put it on the internet.  At every stage of this, I wondered, “Is this it?” and it’s been wild to see how it’s grown.  As I’m thinking back on it, you are right! It was the very first interview that we did with the show … period.

VAN:  I was thinking the exact same thing.  It was!

Photo: EastSiders

When artists in any field create something, you never know how it’s going to be perceived by the public.  I think your perseverance and how you went about it was so smart that you garnered an audience worldwide.  So, what are your thoughts about how the series wrapped up with season four?  Because I had heard, Kit, that you extended the storylines.  Is that true that the season was longer than what you intended it to be?  

KIT:  So, we ended up having the penultimate episode be an hour long because I just kept writing new scenes for people and discovering things on set, and I think that kind of speaks to all of our desire to not say goodbye to the characters.  It’s a very long goodbye, you know?  Also, I can’t imagine getting to the second to last episode of a series that I was watching, and if I loved it, wanting the episodes to go by quicker.  So, it felt like something that I could tactically do at the end there.  Van, what about you?  I know in the behind-the-scenes documentary that we filmed, stuff like, not even knowing what a web series even was when we first started doing this, came up! (Laughs)

VAN:  Oh, yeah! (Laughs) When we started I was sent the script from an acting teacher.  I loved the script.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it no matter what. I had no idea what it would be.  To see what it’s become is amazing, and to be a part of what it’s become is amazing, and that is literally all mostly Kit.  He has done so much with this, and he’s put so much of himself into it.  I feel fortunate to see some of the behind the scenes stuff that sometimes you don’t get to see as an actor on a show.  We need more Kit Williamson’s in our lives, because it takes someone like that to make this happen and to make it go worldwide from literally YouTube.  So, as far as the ending …  I love where it ends off and where all of the characters sort of end up.

Photo: EastSiders

Kit, are you ready to do an EastSiders reboot?  Are we coming back to visit Thom and Cal 5 years later?

KIT:  I have said that I don’t know that I’m done with these characters yet.  Van and I have had conversations about that.  I think that the show is definitely finished is this format.  Trying to shoot and independently produce, 6 half-hour, ensemble events like this, and to do it right, and to keep growing and scaling it, is just not really sustainable, but it’s been a hell of a ride.  I’m glad that we went on it.  To speak to what Van was just talking about; I really think it’s just alchemy.  It’s a set of perfect circumstances coming together that we all met at the right times in our lives, and Van Hansis, in particular, is the spark that ignites the show.  I don’t think that the show would have had the success that it did if: we hadn’t had the chemistry that we had, and if Van’s fan base hadn’t gotten so excited about the show. To be able to kind of grow and create something that people are excited to see is really empowering.  Knowing that there is somebody out there who wants it, who is waiting for it, is gratifying.

Photo: EastSiders

Van, what did you think about Thom’s journey throughout season four?  The audience is like, “Please ask him already.  Pop the question,” and Thom is holding onto that ring!  Do you think he realized that he had what he wanted all along in Cal?  

VAN:  I think in the end he does, but I also think he doesn’t know where that journey is going to go.  Very much like … he knows that what he has is something golden and precious, but I think that he doesn’t know how to hold onto something like that.  Throughout the series, with Thom and Cal especially, they know that they love each other, but they don’t really know how to love each other in the best way.  I don’t know if that story is fully finished yet, but I think that they’re really very much on their way to figuring out what it means … and what it means especially to them.  I think especially as queer people, you don’t have a set of outliers that are given to you, especially, queer people our age.  I think the whole series has been not just about Thom and Cal, but every character in the show figuring out what is their relationship and to be able to create their own, and not give a care about what society thinks of them, which is really kind of fun.

KIT:  One of the most recurring themes of the show in terms of motif is cartography: drawing the map of the world together as a couple.  We had that Daniel Zaitchik song at the end of season 2, Map of the World, that also reprises this season.  There’s a lot of discussion of directions and destinations that I think is something I really wanted to get at because I think as queer people, we often don’t have the benefit of being able to just go down the road laid out for us by our parents.  We have to chart our own course.

Photo” EastSiders

I was watching all the comments on social media, and do you realize how many people said (including myself) that they were in tears and needed hankies at the ending of EastSiders? They just were a ball of mess at the conclusion of the show; which speaks to the investment we all had with the characters.  Did you see how people were so emotional and how they were reaching back to you? 

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KIT:  It’s been so cool.  I’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of messages.

VAN:  Yes!  I also want to go back to Kit.  That’s his writing.  There are so many amazing shows that go out with a whimper.  I have followed so many shows that I absolutely love, and the final episode comes about, and I’m like, “Wait.  That’s it?  That’s what we get?”  Glen Weldon on Pop Culture Happy Hour, which is a podcast I follow, he talked about how well it stuck the landing.  Everybody gets a sense of an ending.  Most of them are happy, or all of them are happy actually, and for these characters, you’ve stuck around with them since we were on YouTube, and the audience deserves to see their favorite character have some sort of hope.

KIT:  Yeah!  I like to say happy with an asterisk.  An Eastsiders happy ending is a little different from a traditional happy ending.   They all have things that they still need to work through, but I didn’t want to leave any character in a sense of uncertainty.  I wanted to make sure that all of the loose ends of the story we’ve been telling the last 7 years were tied up.  I do think that there is definitely more story there, but I do think that’s life.  Everybody’s story continues past what you are allowed to see.

Was your final scene together that you taped the proposal in the club, or was this shot out of order?

KIT:  Van’s last scene was actually the scene with Richard (Bryan Batt) in episode 5, when they’re reflecting on everything.

VAN:  That’s a good last scene to film.  I had to come back last January to film just the material with him and with Traci Lords. So, no, our last scene together was not the proposal, it was the scene at the restaurant together towards the end,

KIT:  Yeah, the restaurant itself.  We did that out of order.  We had to shoot the bathroom scene where our characters have our big come to Jesus moment.

Those scenes were great.  Traci Lords was wonderful, by the way.

VAN:  Oh, she’s so good.  I love her.

KiT:  The scene that really gets me the most this season was Cal and his mother in the bed, and the discussion they had between them.

Photo: Eastsiders

When you watched back the ending with the proposal, what did you think?

VAN:  I thought it was great.  I posted something on Instagram like, “I get to be in a romcom!”

KIT:  It’s your Drew Barrymore moment!

VAN:  It was!  That’s what I wrote!  It’s my Drew Barrymore moment.  I’ve never gotten to do something that joyful.  Kit, I have a question for you.  Was some of that confetti in the final scene CGI or was all of that there?

KIT:  It was all there!

VAN:  Really!?  I don’t remember.  I was just so deep into your eyes that I don’t remember all of that confetti falling on my face.  It looks amazing.

KIT:  It was at the end of the night.   We only got one shot at that scene.  That was one take, and it ended up perfect.

Photo: EastSiders

 

In season four, you really expanded Jeremy’s role.  Matthew McKelligon was wonderful in the story you provided him.

KIT:  Yeah!  I really have tried with all of the characters to subvert expectations.  With Willam Belli (Douglas) and Stephen Guarino’s (Quincy) characters, their introduced as kind of the commedia clowns and then revealed to be the lovers, and with Matt’s character, he’s introduced as the “other woman”.  He’s literally called “Jezebel” all throughout the first season and then starting in season 2.  I think a lot of people were probably surprised that we are still following this character.  Jeremy doesn’t just disappear from the story when he stops sleeping with Cal and Thom.  I think to be able to follow his trajectory as he’s going on a radically different path than I think he even expected was really fun for me … and for Matt.

Photo: EaatSiders

Kit, a moment I recall on your social media posts, was when you said you’d just watched the sex scenes you were in and you were like, “I hope my mother doesn’t see this.”  Were you really embarrassed?

KIT:  Yeah, I did a reaction video when I watched it.   I will be honest.  You disassociate when you’re editing something because you’re looking at it as a frame-to-frame perspective, and then I had a little distance from it and watched it on Netflix for the first time, and that was the first time it really sunk in that I was like, “Oh, that’s a sex montage starring me.”

Van, when you were seeing the story of EastSiders progress through the years, and how Thom and Cal were sleeping around and with multiple partners, did you ever have a moment of, “What’s happening here?” Or, were you like, “Oh … cool!?”

VAN:  That started in the 2nd season, but I wasn’t like scandalized or anything by it.  What I love about the show, and what I love about the 4th season especially is that there are basically 4 narratives of gay male relationships, like queer all encompassing, but specifically looking at gay men.  Each one is different, and I think if you are in this community, I think you’ve seen these types of relationships, and you fall into one, or you don’t, or you fall between them.  So, I wasn’t like, “Oh, my God, you’re having a sex montage in the 2nd season,” no.  I’m not like some Victorian lady who is fainting on a chaise when someone is shirtless.  The thing that’s funny to me is that this isn’t shown more.

Photo: JPI

Van, you know from portraying Luke Snyder on As the World Turns, on a daytime soap, that as a gay character they often tap dance around so much in the writing!

VAN:  Yeah, I do.  I lived that, and that’s what honestly pisses me off.  That this program is afraid to show something.  It’s because they’ve probably done tests of what people are comfortable with, so it’s like, “Okay, we live in this society where people are uncomfortable with X and X and X and X,” and really, why?  People just need to live their lives.

Kit, do you have a favorite scene that you’ve written in this entire 7 years of the creative lifespan of EastSiders?

KIT:  I would say season 3 episode 5, the “What do you see when you look down?” conversation between me and Van as Cal and Thom.  To set the scene a little bit: it’s the culmination of days of talking on the road trip when you run out of frivolous things to say to each other and the real stuff comes out.  My character is asleep, and he wakes up to find that Thom is kind of drinking by himself in the camper, and they have this conversation to really get to the heart of what both of them are most afraid of, not just in their relationships, but in their lives. You sort of get to realize that this fear has been shaping their decisions from the very first season, that they have been leading with fear, and that is something that maybe they can work through as a couple, that they can maybe address together.  I think that moment for me is the moment that I knew that Thom and Cal were meant to be together.

Photo: EastSiders

That was the scene where you both were in tears inside the camper?

VAN:  Yep.  That scene is on my reel.  That is one of my favorite scenes that Kit has written also.  I would say for me, my favorite full-on episode is probably the first episode of season 3.  The bottle episode in Palm Springs.

KIT:  I love that episode, too.

VAN:  I think that what you do so beautifully is that it is just so funny and uplifting, but you do get those undercurrents of the reality in the relationship with Quincy and Douglas. I think that is where we see them go from sort of the clowns into the lovers, and I love the way that you put that.  We see them get a little bit more grounded.  So, that’s my favorite episode, but I love that scene in season 3, but I love so much from the series!  In season four, I love the scene with Jeremy’s foster daughter.  It’s not like a huge deep scene or anything, but the stuff that you brought out of that little girl … she is just incredible.

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KIT:  Scout was just so brilliant.  If she wants one, that kid has a career ahead of her.  I have every confidence that her family is supporting her in whatever she wants to do because they’re just incredible.

Kit, in EastSiders, you wore so many hats within it.  Would you ultimately want your next projects to just be acting in front of the camera, and not worrying about producing and writing it?  Did you like doing it all?  It’s a lot to take on.

KIT:  Yeah, they’re different itches to scratch.  I would like to have less responsibilities as a producer in terms of the day-to-day responsibilities and nuts and bolts of things.  I would love to never print a set of sides or stock ‘crafty’ ever again.  I would love to have those sorts of things taken off of my plate, but ultimately, my goal is to be a showrunner, and that means that I want the buck to stop with me.  I want to be the person who is ultimately responsible for not just the creative vision, but the execution of that vision from concepts to finished product.  But, I want to do all of it.  I find it really empowering to wear fewer hats.  I think a great career model that’s emerged for me in recent years is Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  I love everything that she does.  I love that she is creating shows that she’s not acting in, she’s acting in shows that she’s writing, she’s punching up the new Bond movie, and she is acting in projects that she has nothing to do with as a writer.

How do you feel the door had been opened for you because of the series?

KIT:  Oh man, I’m getting a lot of opportunities, and I’m really, really grateful for it.

In the LGBTQ community, what do the guys say to you, and how EastSiders has impacted them? Do they ever say, “Thom and Cal showed me this?” or “I’m so glad this was portrayed?” 

VAN:  Yeah.  I got something on Instagram about a week or so ago from a guy who was really freaking out about being in an open relationship, and he was like, “Thank God for this show.”

KIT:  Definitely anytime I’ve been outside of New York or LA and in a gay bar or a gay space, somebody has come up to me, and I definitely love it because the whole point of this is to get people to engage with your work.  That’s the reward; is knowing that people are watching.  I actually have a “gratitude folder” on my computer where I save some messages that people have sent to me.  It’s something I started recently, and I wish I’d been doing it since the beginning, because I always try to write back to everybody that writes to me about the show, and if I missed some, I’m so sorry.  It was an accident.  I can read you a few.  One says, “I live in a very conservative family, in a developing country, El Salvador.  Thanks to EastSiders, I understood that discovering my sexuality wasn’t something to be ashamed of and that all expressions of love are equally worth it.  You guys basically saved my life since I thought about suicide many times.”  In other messages, many people told me that the show gave them the confidence to come out to their friends or family, or that it made them feel less alone in countries where being gay is illegal.  I have a message from someone in Saudi Arabia, someone from Iran, Nigeria, Mississippi, where I’m from.  I get a lot of messages from Mississippi, because I’m so outspoken about how coming from the south shaped me.  It’s just really overwhelmingly satisfying.  As a kid there weren’t any openly gay people around me, so the first gay people I ever met were characters on TV, and it made me feel, like maybe, I could have a life worth putting on a screen someday.

Photo: Eastsiders

Let’s go back in time. Van, what was your first impression of Kit when you met him?

VAN:  I feel like I met him through his writing first, because I had never met him when I got the script.  I remember we met at a coffee shop in Los Feliz in Los Angeles.  Kit was very professional, and I remember there was a question if I was going to play Thom or was I going to play Jeremy? I think I was sort of gravitating towards Jeremy at that point, but you were like, “No, you’re a Thom,” so I was like, “Okay.”  (Laughs) I remember leaving. feeling that it was very much like a business meeting, but that went away really quickly when we just got to know each other.  You came across as a lot more serious than I thought whoever wrote the script would be.

KIT:  Oh.  Cool.  I love that.

Kit, what did you think of Van when you first met him? 

KIT:  Well, I was super nervous, and I definitely wanted to convey that this was something that I took really seriously.

VAN: (Laughs)

KIT:  So, I’m glad he got that.

Photo: JPI

I get that you wanted to come across very professional.

KIT:  Yeah, because it was my first time directing so I wanted to come ready, and the first thing I thought when I met Van was, “That’s Thom.”  Literally a sentence comes out of his mouth, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah.  Absolutely.  This is absolutely correct.  Thank God.  We have our lead.”

VAN:  I love the role of Jeremy, but I’m so glad I played Thom.

KIT:  Honestly, a lot of people were almost a lot of different people in this thing.   At one point, John Halbach, was going to be Thom.  John, at one point, was going to be Jeremy.  We didn’t have a casting director.  I was in grad school.  I had no clue what I was doing, and I keep on coming back to the idea of alchemy.  We accidentally made gold because we did not know what we were doing.

How did you know about Van?

KIT:  Through a mutual acting teacher in Los Angeles, and of course, I was familiar with As the World Turns and all of that, but I didn’t know him, and it never would have occurred to me that I could even reach out to somebody at his career level.  So, it was very, very fortuitous that we were connected.

Photo: Instagram

Kit, you have a gazillion followers on Instagram.  Do you ever have a moment with yourself like, “God, I have to do another post today to keep this going?”  

KIT:  It’s a hustle, and it’s a balance that John and I are both constantly doing our best to navigate, because we started it to bring attention to the show, and now, sometimes people will recognize us from Instagram and not from the series, and that’s not what we are going for. (Laughs)

You’re Instagram stars!

KIT:  It’s a balance that we are trying to navigate.  You know, how many shirtless selfies is too many shirtless selfies?  At what percentage of shirtless-ness will you no longer be taken seriously?  But as Van pointed out, I’m a serious MF with a master’s degree and multiple Emmy nominations. (Laughs)  So, I take myself way too seriously, but I know that you have to play the internet like a video game.  You have to do certain things and get a certain response, and attention begets attention, and a lot of people have told me that they found the show by following me on Instagram.  So, it’s mission accomplished I suppose, but it’s something that we have to be really careful about especially as I’m moving into phase two of my career.

Did you guys submit yourselves for contention in the upcoming Daytime Emmys?

KIT:  Yes.  Absolutely.

Photo: EastSiders

You both gave two of the most memorable performances of the year in Eastsiders and within the digital drama space.  So, we’ll see how it plays out for you when the nominations are revealed.

KIT:  Thank you.  It’s really interesting because historically it seems like the Daytime Emmys have gone with more traditional soap narratives, and ours is definitely the weird kid on the block, but I’m really hopeful that this season we will have a good showing because I really believe in Van’s performance.  I believe in all of the actors.  I believe that they’re all operating at their series best … to put it that way.  I think everybody is just sitting in their power and owning their characters in a way that was really, really cool for me as a writer to see.

It was amazing.  Congratulations.  I guess this is our wrap-up interview for Eastsiders … for now.

KIT:  Who knows… maybe this isn’t the end.  We’ll see.

So, will you miss seeing the journey of Thom and Cal on EastSiders?  If you watched the four seasons. did you have a favorite moment within it?  Share your thoughts on our conversation with Van and Kit via the comment section below.  Then check out the documentary of the “making of” EastSiders.

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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

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Power Performance

Sharon Case as Sharon

The Young and the Restless

Airdates: 2-7-2020

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