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THE PAOLO SEGANTI INTERVIEW – AS THE WORLD TURNS

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One of “As the World Turns” most mysterious characters returns to the fold this coming week when Paolo Seganti makes his return as Damian Grimaldi. During his last stay in Oakdale, it found him sending his gay son, Luke, to a deprogramming camp in an attempt to change him to become straight. After that didn’t go so well, Damian left town. Now he is back with an agenda to reconnect with his son, and to turn the lives of some of the women of the town upside down. Will it be Lily, or someone else?

Paolo speaks about missing Martha Byrne but enjoying “nuLily” Noelle Beck. Also, he talks about his respect for Van Hansis, and what to look forward to from this shady guy. Are we going to be seeing a new 2.0 version of Damian? Or, will he revert back to his old tricks? Things start off rough when Damian happens to be at a Gay Rights rally that puts estranged father and son in closer proximity than
they even know.

Let the story begin…

Listen to the audio:

[display_podcast]
MICHAEL:

Paolo, it’s good to have you back on As the World Turns. Is it different coming back this time?

PAOLO:

It is different. Damian is a different person as a father, than two and half years ago, when I was here last time story-wise. Damian is coming back with a different purpose. He wants to reconcile with his son. Two and half years ago he wanted to change his son to make him straight when he found out he was gay. So, he comes back with a different perspective, and really wants to get close to his son. At least that’s what he’s saying, and he is trying to get everybody to believe, and that’s the difference.

MICHAEL:

Last time out, Damian sent Luke off to a deprogramming camp, and that was very hard to watch. Were those beats of the story hard to play?

PAOLO:

luke_hitandrun.jpgLike me, Damian grew up in a very conservative background. So, it was not too far away from the way things were when I grew up in Italy. It was difficult for a father to take that all in. I think he was confused, frustrated and grabbing at straws. It was definitely a tough story to play. I had fun going through the storyline. Basically, I am now trying to convince everybody that I “dig” who my son is, and will accept who he is no matter what, as long as he takes me back.

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MICHAEL:

When Damian first comes back, do we see him right away? Does he just mysteriously show up in Oakdale?

PAOLO:

Damian comes and goes, in and out, and does his thing. I am going to a rally that my son and his boyfriend have organized. Then, a car hits Luke and it’s a hit and run. That is the first time I see him, in the hospital. Basically, it’s about me saving him on that occasion that nobody believes. I get accused of being behind the hit and run and everything that comes after, of course, because Damian has always been shady.

MICHAEL:

But, is he there to help Luke?

PAOLO:

Well, he happens to be there and helps out.


MICHAEL:

How is working with Van Hansis (Luke) again? When I spoke with him, he told me he could not wait for you to come back to the show.

PAOLO:

It’s reciprocal. I do “dig” the guy. I asked him to do some material for a play that I would love to do with him. It’s been years that I have wanted to do it, but I had to wait for the right age for myself to do it.

martha_byrne.jpgMICHAEL:

Are you missing your Lily, Martha Byrne?

PAOLO:

I do miss Martha Byrne, but I love working with Noelle Beck (Lily). She is great actress, professional, and beautiful. Martha and I go back years and we are good buddies. I actually shot a short film she produced in California, and Paul Leyden, who played Simon on “ATWT”, wrote and directed it. Simon is a great director and writer. I do miss Martha, but Noelle is doing a great job. Things are different. Martha taught me everything I know about daytime, and it was my first job on TV. I had no clue what I was doing, so she moved me around and showed me everything. She coached me all the way, and we will always be friends.

MICHAEL:

Whenever it’s announced that Damian will be coming back to the show, fans can’t wait for him to come back. What do you attribute that to?

PAOLO:

I don’t know, but I think because I work well off of women and adore them as directors, and in general. I also think because he stirs up the pot in Oakdale.

MICHAEL:

You seem to be clicking with Noelle Beck!

noelle_beck.jpgPAOLO:

Personally, I work really well off of Noelle. I am lucky that I have my co-stars that I can click with right away. There is something really nice going on with Noelle and me. It’s been only a month, and I look forward to doing scenes with her.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Lily and Damian will reunite?

PAOLO:

Lily will always be in Damian’s heart and he still loves her, but it depends if Lily will allow it and if Holden will allow it. It’s a lot more complicated right now; if he goes there he will risk losing Luke. You can’t control these things. Your heart goes where it wants. So, if it’s going to go there, it’s going to go and cause trouble, no matter what. It’s a possibility for sure.

MICHAEL:

Did Damian know that Luke had a boyfriend? Does he know of Noah or met him?

PAOLO:

No, he found out when he came to Oakdale. He knew that his son was gay and he knew he was basically banished from Oakdale, but that did not stop him from snooping around. When I came back, I knew where Luke was at. Damian did not come back to cause trouble or deter his son from this person. Noah is the only one from the ‘get-go’ who thinks he is sincere. All he wants to do is to get closer, and make amends for the past and how he behaved. Noah is actually on Damian’s side.

damian_noah.jpgMICHAEL:

So, do you think there is a mutual respect between these two guys, yet?

PAOLO:

I like the guy. I think he is a really cool kid. Look, it’s all new for Damian as he goes slowly down this path. Noah is a cool kid and he believes Damian, and says, “You mean what you say.” Noah is trying to convince Luke that Damian is not a bad guy and that, “He wants
to get close to you again, and
get to know you better and
allow you to know him better.”

MICHAEL:

Is Luke conflicted on how he feels?

PAOLO:

I think he is more angry. His instinct is that he would like to get it out and talk; why Damian did certain things, and why he left him and he has so much pride in him, and does not want to give Damian the satisfaction. He just doesn’t think I am that person, but I am back. It’s difficult for him to go there.

paolo_mysteryman.jpgMICHAEL:

Do you think the audience will trust Damian?

PAOLO:

I don’t know. He really means it when says he loves his son. When he tried to de-program Luke, it was because he loved his son and it was not because a Grimaldi cannot be gay.
He was looking out for
him, and seeing it from Damian’s perspective, and how he was raised and his
background, he was not
all that wrong. He meant
well. But he was wrong.
You cannot change
somebody’s being.

MICHAEL:

Are we going to see Damian mix it up with some other people in Oakdale, other than Lily?

PAOLO:

I think so. But, I am not going to tell you who. (He laughs)

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MICHAEL:

Is there anything, or part of a story you did over the years as Damian, where you thought, “I was really good,” or “I hit it out of the park?”

PAOLO:

When I first came on the show I barely spoke English. I enjoyed the beginning so much, and then I didn’t. I was doing theatre and kind of burnt out, and then I started enjoying it again. I remember in the beginninsnyders.jpgg, having a great time with Martha and Nick Coster and Liz Hubbard (Lucinda). That was good and fun. Back in those days, we had more time to shoot and mess around between scenes and unwind, so you could do your best. Now it’s faster. I think the best stuff was the last couple of times I came to the show, because at the beginning, I was just learning. Two and half years ago, and before that, six years ago with the storylines, I was becoming a more experienced actor. I would say probably the last time I was here at “ATWT” with Luke was great. Working off of Van is great. He was such a generous actor. On the right day, I am that way, too. We had a good time, and I am so looking forward to working with him again.

MICHAEL:

Are you living in Italy, too?

PAOLO:

No, but I have a house in Tuscany. I live in Los Angeles. I love it there and it took me awhile to get used to LA, but now I love it. It took me having a couple of kids, and if you are an actor not working in LA, you are miserable. I missed the seasons in New York, and after three weeks here, I am complaining and I am thinking, “Hmmm, maybe LA is not that bad.” LA is just so far away from Italy and France. I have been doing a lot of projects in Europe over the past few years. I had lived in New York for 11 years, and by the end of it, I was so burnt out. But then, after a few months in LA, I said, “Oh, My God. I want to go back”. But honestly, I like LA. When I was in New York before, I was a bachelor, and had more time on my hands. Now, I have four kids and a beautiful wife. I am looking forward to going back home, but it’s so far away.

MICHAEL:

Will you be staying around Oakdale for awhile?

PAOLO:

paolo_google.jpgYes, I am definitely here for awhile. There are some very exciting stories for Damian that will keep him very busy.

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MICHAEL:

In closing, what can we look forward to from Damian coming up?

PAOLO:

He is going to create some problems all around. That’s usually what he does, even if he means well. Holden is in the way and jealous, and everything Damian does is scrutinized. He can’t make a step without everyone watching him. His main intention is really being close to his son; understanding him and to get to know who he is, and stay by his side. He wants to make amends and make it up to him.

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A really nice interview!!! He s a good exemple for all the italien people!! Also a good father and husband!!! Very good!

As The World Turns

ATWT and ‘Vampire Diaries’ Alum, Zach Roerig Arrested For DUI

Another actor has been arrested for a DUI, and this one happened over Memorial Day Weekend.

News out of TMZ is that former As the World Turns actor, Zach Roerig (Ex-Casey), who went to appear in CW’s Vampire Diaries was taken in by the cops.

According to the report: “Zach was busted Sunday around 2:30 AM in Montpelier, Ohio. Police tell us, officers noticed Zach’s pickup truck did not have a front license plate, so they pulled him over.”

Apparently when the officer went up to the driver’s side window they noticed that Zach’s slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and say he, “reeked of booze”.

Roerig was arrested for  for a misdemeanor and was held overnight in a holding cell.  He was later released.

Photo: JPI

Zach’s arraignment is set as of now for June 4th.

ATWT fans will remember Zach as part of the younger set in Oakdale comprised of: multi-Daytime Emmy winner Jennifer Landon (Ex-Gwen), Jesse Sofer (Ex-Will) and Alexandra Chando (Ex-Maddie), all who went on to primetime fame during their careers.

So, what do you think about the latest past or present soap star receiving a DUI? Remember Zach on ATWT? Comment below.

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Michael Swan and Margaret Reed Set For ATWT Reunion

More As the World Turns former cast members come forth during the COVID-19 pandemic to participate in Alan Locher;’s weekly ‘Locher Room’ virtual chats.

Newly announced on Thursday are former on-screen lovebirds, Michael Swan (Ex-Duncan) and Margaret Reed (Ex-Shannon).

Look for the twosome to appear on the upcoming Thursday June 4th edition of the reunion series, at 2 p.m. ET/11 a. m. PT.

To log on for the time of the conversation click here.

Remember Duncan and Shannon’s ATWT love story? Looking forward to seeing Michael and Margaret? Comment below.

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ABC and PEOPLE’s ‘The Story of Soaps’: What Was Your Review Of It?

Tuesday’s night airing of ABC and PEOPLE’s two-hour special The Story of Soaps featured many notable daytime and primetime soap stars, past and present, clips from backstage to classic memorable moments, and some participants who were providing commentary on the erosion of the daytime soaps in our culture.  Still others, maintained and realized that everything today is serialized from the news we watch, to some of Netflix’s most binge-watchable series, and of course, the birth of reality-programming.

Throughout the airing of the special, The Story of Soaps was trending on Twitter and social media either at the #2, #3 or #4 spots for the entire duration of the broadcast presentation, and the cancelled and beloved All My Children was also at one point trending.

However, known soap writers, journalists, ardent fans, and actors of the genre, were all on Twitter last night live-tweeting their thoughts as the special went down, and there was definitely mixed reactions and reviews, when all was said and done.

What the special did not shy away from, but tackled, was Luke’s rape of Laura at the campus disco on General Hospital. and how that moment now, as Genie Francis (Laura), so eloquently put, would be considered as ‘date rape’ in our culture.  The series even included a pivotal moment where Laura addresses Luke (Tony Geary) about the rape years later, after helping Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) through her rape ordeal.

John Stamos (Ex-Blackie Parrish, GH) got a bevy of “Right On’s!” for his comment that the soaps do not get the credit that they deserve and clearly came through as one of the soaps greatest supporters, as did former The Doctors and Knots Landing star, Alec Baldwin.

However, throughout the two-hours, Andy Cohen’s commentary was thread throughout; mostly citing soap’s demise and the creation of reality-programming and his “Real Housewives” franchise, that the special touted as the new soap operas.  It continued on the narrative that people preferred to see real-life drama then made-up drama on a fictional soap.  And while, that has been a trend in American culture for decades, the commentary came off as often out of place in a celebration of the soaps; and bringing in a lot of negativity to the special that soap fans were tired of hearing.

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In a lighting rod moment, Cohen stated: “I know Susan Lucci doesn’t agree with me, but I think that the Housewives have replaced soap operas because truth is stranger than fiction. Soaps became kind of unnecessary because you could do it with real people, and they’re writing the drama themselves.”

The special did also address the cancellations of All My Children and One Life to Live, (which many were not sure they were going to do – given this special was airing on ABC), where One Life’s leading lady and six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak (Ex-Viki) said what we all wanted to sa ywhen the ax fell on the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, “People were horrified”.

Clearly, OJ Simpson and his murder trial and reality-programming were also given a chunk of time to show where the once mighty landscape of daytime soaps which once had 13 shows on the air, dwindled town to 4.  But, it would have been nice to see more time spent on how in this day and age, the people in this current landscape of the genre work so hard to get episodes done at an unbelievable pace, and how in that climate the performers still deliver gut-wrenching performances.

Photo: ABC

Former Loving, OLTL and Breaking Bad star, Bryan Cranston, did point out how the once powerful soaps, just don’t have the dollars they used to, and need to, to help with production costs and their taping schedule.

Viewers were reminded of soaps’ socially relevant storylines including hankie-inducing moments from: Robin (Kimberly McCullough) and Stone’s (Michael Sutton) HIV/AIDS storyline on General Hospital, to Billy Douglas being a gay teen coming out on One Life to Live, played by a young Ryan Phillippe.

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There also did not seem time spent on the contributions of William J. Bell; one of the most prominent writers of the soap genre of all-time.

For many commenting on social media last night, there seemed to be a feeling of some glaring omissions of participants who could speak on this genre, who have been in the trenches as soap producers, soap writers, pundits, actors, and more, who were not included in the special.

So, what was your review of The Story of Soaps? How would you grade it? Do you feel it accurately reflected the history of the genre?  Were you happily surprised,  or when it came to the end where you over it, or somewhere in between? Sound off in the comment section below.  Below are some tweets from notables who have worked as an actor, a writer, and a journalist in the soaps.  

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