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The Jonathan Jackson Interview – General Hospital

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Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Last week On-Air On-Soaps brought you Greg Vaughan’s bittersweet exit interview from his role as Lucky Spencer on General Hospital. And this week, we bring you Jonathan Jackson’s entrance interview for his much talked about return to GH after more than ten years in the role of Lucky Spencer. In what has been the soap switcheroo of the year, GH made the decision to change course with the character of Lucky, and the timing was right for three-time Daytime Emmy winner Jonathan Jackson to step back into the soaps.

Jonathan’s highly anticipated return happened on yesterday’s episode. His triumphant re-emergence and reintegration into the lives of Luke, Elizabeth and Nikolas starts this week and will carry on through November sweeps and then some! I had the opportunity to chat with Jonathan yesterday on the set of GH to set the record straight on: what went down behind the scenes that facilitated his return and Vaughan’s exit, what is the next beat in the Lucky/Elizabeth/Nikolas storyline, how he decided to come back for the opportunity to work with Tony Geary (Luke) and would love to work again with Genie Francis (Laura), and what superstardom was like at age ten playing the son of daytime’s most recognizable super couple.

Without further adieu…the original ‘cowboy’….Jonathan Jackson!

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]

MICHAEL:

You’re back on General Hospital! We heard and read things, but tell me in your own words how it came about that you came back to GH to reprise the role of Lucky Spencer?

JONATHAN:

It’s been ten years and it was a fast thing from my end. I was up in Washington state and working in different capacities, flying all over for films and doing different projects, and ABC called up out of the blue and said, “The role of Lucky is opening up again and would you be interested in coming back?” I thought about it and thought this could be interesting, because it had been ten years. I talked to my family, and I felt like it might be a fun thing to do.

MICHAEL:

How long have you been back taping at GH?

JONATHAN:

I have been back about 3 weeks.

Lucky and LizMICHAEL:

When you got back to your old digs at the studio, and got into the rhythm of how daytime soaps are done, did it feel like getting on and riding a bike?

JONATHAN:

The best way to describe it is; it feels like a paradox …very familiar, yet brand new. So, tons of people I knew are here, but there are a ton of new faces as well. So I am still learning names. They move now a little quicker than they used to, it was quick before, but it’s even faster now. But all in all, it’s been pretty smooth. In terms of working with the actors, it seems really fluid.

MICHAEL:

Had you stayed in touch with Becky Herbst (Liz)?

JONATHAN:

We got in contact here and there over the years, like when I got married. I think I saw Becky on my first day back, and it has been 10 years since I saw her! It was fun to catch up. Working with Tony Geary and Tyler Christopher (Nikolas) again has been just awesome.

MICHAEL:

I fondly remember the arguments between brothers Lucky and Nikolas, and one where you guys toppled down a flight of stairs!

Nikolas and LuckyJONATHAN:

I was a kid and Tyler was a little older. We had some good physical fights early on, and I liked that. I remember that.

MICHAEL:

So, you and Tony Geary had discussions of your returning to the role of Lucky?

JONATHAN:

We only talked after the fact of everything transitioning in terms of the character of Lucky, and that there was an opening again, and for me to come back. We kept in touch over the years. I have wanted to work with Tony again in any capacity, whether that was theatre or film or back here at GH. I am just excited to work with him in some capacity.

MICHAEL:

Will Luke be calling Lucky “cowboy” again?

JONATHAN:

I think he already did.

MICHAEL:

Genie Francis said in a recent interview in Soap Opera Weekly that she is thrilled you are back. How do you feel now about Genie, and do you wish she was here with you?

Genie FrancisJONATHAN:

Well, yeah I would love to work with Genie again. She is an amazing actress and person. I grew up working with her and Tony, so there is a real connection there. If that were to happen, to work with both of them again, that would be pretty great.

MICHAEL:

Did you ever watch GH, or get a glimpse at it, while you were away from the show? Did you ever see Greg Vaughan’s or Jacob Young’s interpretation of Lucky Spencer?

JONATHAN:

Being honest, my personality is such that if I am not on it then I am on to something else I am working on. In retrospect I am glad, because coming back right now I don’t have any other vision or version of Lucky then what I was doing. Ten years ago growing up on this show is all I had in my head, and as an actor it’s nice to not have to battle the other versions that were going on. I heard a lot of great things about both Greg Vaughan and Jacob Young, but it’s a different sort of thing for me because I started in the role when I was ten years old.

MICHAEL:

Where are your three Daytime Emmys?

JONATHAN:

My Emmys are up north. They were in boxes for the last six years. I just pulled them out last year, because my parents were moving and they were in boxes, and my friend said “you should put them out,” and I said, “OK, I will put them up!”

MICHAEL:

Do you remember the night you won your first Daytime Emmy back in 1995?

JONATHAN:

I do remember winning the first one, and that was so special because Tony and Genie presented it to me. That was exciting! I was twelve years old and I remember getting up on stage and looking out and feeling, “What am I doing here?” I grew up in a small town, and within three months of being in LA I booked the part of Lucky on GH. A year later I was standing up on that stage and it was emotional, because it was so overwhelming.

Steve BurtonMICHAEL:

So Lucky has transitioned from a cop to a detective?

JONATHAN:

Yes. I am now a detective, which is more exciting. There have been some fun scenes already with Steve Burton (Jason) that I have been able to do, and he is so fun to work with. I mean, we did not get to work too much together when I was younger, but we are pretty good friends.

MICHAEL:

Will there be more of Lucky and Jason?

JONATHAN:

I think so. Just the nature of Lucky being a detective now, sort of gives the character freedom to roam into different storylines, which is cool.

MICHAEL:

I am worried about him becoming hooked on drugs again!

JONATHAN:

You know, they have not told me anything. I would love playing something meaty like a strung out drug addict!

MICHAEL:

I mean, you wouldn’t be back if there was not a major emotional story for Lucky?

Luke and EthanJONATHAN:

Oh, yeah! There is going to be great intense material. I don’t know long term, but I do know what the audience knows in terms of Elizabeth and Nikolas. There are only certain limited places they can go, and that will get intense at some point. I look at that as a set- up, where it can go anywhere… and the relationship between Lucky and Luke. Tony and I have had some great scenes that feel like re-establishing something. Again, I did not watch the other versions of Lucky, but for me it’s picking up where I left off ten years ago, but now as an adult. There is a lot of interesting chemistry going on there. Then there is Ethan. I have only had some group scenes with him, and there is a lot of potential for story there…and again, with him being a con man and Lucky being a detective. Lucky is Luke’s son, so he has a dangerous side to him that could potentially take him either way, when it comes to that stuff.

MICHAEL:

Have you worked with Luke’s new wife, Tracy Quartermaine… the amazing Jane Eliot? I know there must be some snarky Tracy/Lucky scene hopefully down the line.

JONATHAN:

I don’t think I have worked with her yet, but I met her and she is sweet.

MICHAEL:

You and your wife, Lisa Vultaggio (Ex-Hannah GH) met here at GH but never acted together. How did the two of you become a couple?

Lisa and JohnathanJONATHAN:

We crossed paths in the hallway of GH.
I was leaving the show and she was coming on to the show. I think it was around 1999. We said, “Hi” to each other a few times, but we had more of a conversation at the Emmys. I think it
was the 1998-1999 Emmys, but we still did not get to know each other until we were off the show. She got to know my family and friends, and she started coming to Bible study that we had at
our house. That was where the friendship grew. I knew her for two and half years in those circles, and then we developed
a friendship. After about two and half years we got engaged.

MICHAEL:

And you’re a daddy!

JONATHAN:

I have two kids: a boy and a girl. Caleb is six and Adora is four. I always felt I was going to be a young dad and I don’t know if it’s because my parents had kids when they were fairly young, but I was excited about it. It has exceeded all my expectations. It’s a lot of work, but it is great.

MICHAEL

Will you be moving to Los Angeles with the family, or commuting back and forth to Washington State?

JONATHAN:

You know, when I lived in Washington I still worked here in LA. So I will be commuting more now regularly, but I will still be going up north. I feel both are home…. LA and Washington.

MICHAEL:

If you were writing the show, and not Bob Guza (head writer, GH), what would you love to see happen to Lucky?

Jonathan Jackson as LuckyJONATHAN:

That’s a great question.
In some ways I have not allowed myself to think that way with a lot of freedom, because I don’t write for
the show. I don’t know… just explore all the intensities that Lucky has.
I am excited about all the tension of him being Luke and Laura’s son, which is what I think is exciting to me about Lucky. He has this wildness and danger of Luke, but he has this purity of Laura, and there is always the contradiction with him. So I always feel like you can take those things to the extremes, and whatever is going to happen between Lucky and Elizabeth is going to be fascinating to me. Building that whole romance years ago and seeing the audience’s connection with it, and it is such a pure love story, but it’s hard right now. Becky and I are tapping into some of those roots that they have, but also you are dealing with ten years of story that they had. So, I am curious how that is going to go down. Sure, drug addictions….

MICHAEL:

Yeah, drug addictions! I am all for that, anything that puts you in misery I am all for. (Laughs) Greg Vaughan was let-go to pave the way for your return. How does that make you feel? Is it bittersweet in some way?

JONATHAN:

For me, it was a tough situation. I was not under any sort of headspace that someone was losing their job; it was that the role was opening up. So I was going to be able to come back into it. It sort of has been confusing how things have been getting out there. I think I met Greg once or twice, and for what I know, he is an absolutely amazing person. So obviously, that is not a very fun angle for me. I wish him the best and that part of this has not been very fun. But it was more of a confusing thing for me coming back and not knowing exactly what was going on, on the other end of things.

Genie and TonyMICHAEL:

Do you feel the pressure from the network and the show, that high expectations are put on you to drive ratings up for the show with your return, and that your caliber of work must be at such a high level to justify them bringing you back?

JONATHAN:

No, actually I don’t. Part of that is I kept my headspace out of the whole thing. I have not watched the show for ten years and so I am not in that realm of it. I think also it was a blessing coming in at ten years old as Luke and Laura’s son. That was the biggest thing in daytime soaps you could possibly be thrown into, and I was too young to understand it, which was great. I would have people coming up to me going, “Do you have any idea? Do you have any idea?” and I would say, “No I don’t.” But for me, I was working with this person named Tony and this person named Genie. They are the best people I ever met and they are incredible. I just grew up working and focusing on all the acting and all of that. Coming back feels like a similar thing. You know, I was doing The Sarah Connor Chronicles recently and I was playing Kyle Reese, which was an iconic character from the Terminator films, and it was sort of like the same issue: “How do you fill those shoes?” You don’t. The films are the films and you are not going to fill in Michael Biehn’s take on the character. He made the role. So you focus on putting your own spin on it. For me, I am just really focusing on what is happening right now. I do feel people are excited to have me back as Lucky and to see what that is.

MICHAEL:

James Franco is coming to GH! Will you get to work with him?

Lucky returnsJONATHAN:

Yeah, I will have a chance to work with him and I am excited about it. I have seen his work and he is great.

MICHAEL:

If we were to give a good closing teaser for Lucky’s return and upcoming story, what would you say to your fans?

JONATHAN:

Look forward to Lucky finding out about Nikolas and Elizabeth. I am sure that is going to happen, but I don’t know when. But when it does it’s going to be very intense, I am sure.

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DebiDeeAndyfawnrescueDoe Recent comment authors
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Doe
Doe

I liked your interview with Lucky and I happy he has returned to GH. He looks great and was very honest with you. As I have been watching the show forever, it’s like seeing your little boy grow into a man. I like his style of acting plus he brings a sensitivity and sweetness to the role. Great interview!

fawnrescue
fawnrescue

I AM SOO EXCITED THE BEST lUCKY IS bACK!!

Dee
Dee

I seriously enjoyed this interview and I cannot possibly express how thrilled I am that Jonathan has returned to this role. I have waited a decade, literally a DECADE for Lucky Spencer to be recognizable to me again…and now he is. On October 27, 2009, Lucas Lorenzo Spencer, Jr. came home. Jonathan puts a unique stamp on the character that cannot be duplicated because, he doesn’t just “play” Lucky, he BECOMES Lucky.

Thank you, Michael, for doing this interview and thank you, Jonathan, for returning. You have been sorely missed.

Andy
Andy

I think JJ is a fine actor, but I can’t even look at him without thinking of the shameful way General Hospital treated Greg Vaughan.

Dee
Dee

I revisit this interview every so often and, after Jon’s recent scenes this past Monday and Tuesday, I decided to do so again.

No disrespect to Greg Vaughan, but I do not think of him at all when I see Jonathan onscreen. I’m too busy falling in love with Lucky Spencer again.

Greg Vaughan was NEVER Lucky to me. That’s not a criticism. It’s simply the way I felt. He played a character named Lucky, but as far as being Lucky Spencer and all that meant? No. Never. He NEVER embodied the character. He NEVER made the character his own. He read the lines and played the scenes, but he never went deeper than that.

Only Jonathan has cracked Lucky’s psyche and knows what makes this character tick. Lucky Spencer was tailor made for him and he wears that character like a second skin. When I look at Jonathan, I see Lucky. I see the boy I fell in love with and the man I always imagined he’d become.

I am so glad to have Lucky Spencer back and I will be eternally grateful to Jonathan Jackson for bringing him back to me…for bringing him back to all of us. Always.

Debi
Debi

Thank you so much for this wonderful interview with Jonathan. I enjoyed it very much.

I am a long time GH fan (I started watching it in 1965!), and have had many favorite characters, (Jessie Brewer is one of the many), and Lucky Spencer. I thank the lucky stars above for bringing Jonathan Jackson back to where he belongs! I appreciated what Greg Vaughn and Jacob Young tried to do with the character, but for me, there was always something missing from their performances.
Now that Jonathan is back, I can see what what was lacking before. Commitment to the passion and intensity that IS Lucky. It’s one thing to just say the lines, but another thing to actually FEEL what your saying, and in turn convey that feeling to the viewers.

“I do feel people are excited to have me back as Lucky and to see what that is.”

Welcome back JJ, welcome back!!

General Hospital

GH Preview – Week of July 16, 2018

This week on General Hospital the fallout from Michael (Chad Duell) and Nelle’s (Chloe Lanier) nuptials will change the course of several lives including Carly’s (Laura Wright), who has come to bust up of the wedding, by busting out of Ferncliff!

Meanwhile, after those close to Drew (Billy Miller) encourage him to try to date again after his divorce from Sam (Kelly Monaco), he ends up in a surprise encounter with Marqaux (Elizabeth Hendrickson).  Will sparks fly?

Check out these other teasers for this week’s GH below, and you can watch the tease for Monday’s episode here.

Let us know in the comment section below what storyline has you most intrigued.

MONDAY JULY 16

Michael is torn.

TUESDAY JULY 17

Valentin puts two and two together.

WEDNESDAY JULY 18, 2018  

Curtis offers Liz an explanation.  

THURSDAY JULY 19, 2018 

Carly faces the consequences of her actions.

 FRIDAY JULY 20, 2018

Obrecht encounters an obstacle.

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Breaking News

GH’s Vinessa Antoine Lands Primetime Series Will Make Canadian TV History!

Fantastic news for General Hospital favorite, Vinessa Antoine (Jordan)! The talented actress had landed the leading role in the primetime Canadian series, Diggstown!

The legal drama is scheduled to air this fall.  In Diggstown, Antoine will play Marcie Diggs, a top corporate lawyer who decides to dedicate herself to a legal aid office in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

This casting news will make Vinessa a part of Canadian TV history as the first Black Canadian actress to star in a prime-time drama on legacy network television, CBC.

Antoine spoke to the Toronto Star about her starring role, “When I first read the script I was really attracted to the notion that she was a corporate lawyer and she believed in the system. And when that crashed for her, life nudged her to do something extraordinary. And because I’m a woman of color, so many things connected. She’s complex, not stereotypical, and that’s refreshing.”

However as suspected, and according to the Toronto Star: “General Hospital fans will not be happy to learn that Antoine, who has been with the show since 2014, will no longer be a series regular when she starts shooting Diggstown in August.”

So, excited to hear Vinessa has been cast in a leading primetime series?  Comment below!

Continue Reading

General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

Courtesy/ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

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

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

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

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