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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:

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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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Final Season of ‘EastSiders’ Starring Kit Williamson and Van Hansis Gets Premiere Date on Netflix

The fourth and final season of the much heralded LGBTQ series, EastSiders now has a premiere date of December 1st on Netflix, and fans of the show will see how things will play out for the Silver Lake duo of Cal  and Thom, who have gone through quite a lot in their relationship over the last three seasons.

EastSiders stars series creator, Kit Williamson (Cal) along with As the World Turns favorite, Van Hansis (Thom).  The last six-episodes that comprise season four will tackle questions such as… what does commitment really look like in a long-term relationship? And what unique challenges does a “gay marriage” present?

In story, Cal and Thom are back home in Los Angeles following season three’s cross-country road trip.  The guys are still trying to figure out if they are just best friends with benefits, or more, or less, than that.

Elsewhere, Douglas (Willam Belli) and Quincy (Stephen Guarino) are engaged to be married, but with very different ideas about what a gay wedding should be. Hillary (Brianna Brown) and Ian (John Halbach) are cohabiting peacefully; and Jeremy (Matthew McKelligon) and Derrick (Leith M. Burke) have taken a huge step in their relationship by fostering a child.

Deadline broke the news of the premiere date and the many special guest stars from primetime and more to look forward to this season.

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Will you be watching the final season of EastSiders? If you follow the series, how do you hope the relationship between Cal and Thom resolves itself? Do they stay together, or move on from each other once and for all? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Emmy Winner and Noted Soap Opera Head Writer; Hogan Sheffer Passes Away At 61

Over the last several hours, reports have broke that one of daytime’s most notable scribes has died.  Hogan Sheffer, who was head writer at As the World Turns, Days of our Lives and The Young and the Restless has passed away at the age of 61.

Soap Hub, first reported the news via multiple sources, however, many writers who worked with Hogan during his tenure on the soaps have taken to social media to share their condolences and their grief and remembrances.

Sheffer’s appearance on the soap scene was unexpected, especially in a genre where it is often rare for new blood to take the reins at the head writer position.  Proctor & Gamble had decided to bring in Hogan after his work as the Director of Screenplay Development for DreamWorks, not because of his writing credits for a previous network soap.  He was given trial deal as a breakdown writer for the CBS soap and 10-weeks in became the beloved town of Oakdale’s new head writer.

Hogan and his then writing team were able to turn the classic, As the World Turns around.  The show went up in the ratings and during his time with the series ‘World Turn’s’ won two Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, and he and the writing team picked up four Emmy victories all through 2000-2004.

Photo: JPI

Next, Sheffer landed in Salem as head writer of Days of our Lives along with Meg Kelly from 2006 through to the beginning of 2008.   He would later join The Young and the Restless and team up with then head writers: Maria Arena Bell and Scott Hamner, and eventually stay with the show till 2012.  During Sheffer’s time in Genoa City, Y&R also won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing in 2011.

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On Sunday, former WWE and daytime writer Tom Casiello, who was extremely close with Sheffer…  and who shared how Hogan gave him his start at writing in daytime, took to his Facebook page to pay tribute to a man who had such an impact on his life and many others.  It is worth the read here. 

Y&R writer, Sara Bibel tweeted: “Hogan Sheffer was a gamechanger for ATWT and daytime. Everyone I know who worked with him adored him. RIP”

And, iconic ATWT star, Martha Byrne (Ex-Lily) tweeted on Sheffer’s passing: “To say he was one of a kind would be a tremendous understatement. Our years at ATWT with Hogan at the helm were a rebirth for our beautiful show. Loved his writers, actors,crew. Blessed to have him on the first floor in Brooklyn ready to listen. Talented. Funny. Generous. RIP”

Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) also took to Twitter upon learning of the passing of Sheffer sharing: “I loved him, loved him, loved him… he was so good to me. Thank you for everything, Hogan. You were so loved. Especially, by me… Rest in peace…”

Michael Fairman TV will continue to bring you updates as the soap world mourns the loss of a creative force in our genre.  Share your condolences and thoughts on the death of Hogan Sheffer via the comment section below.

 

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FRIDAY: ATWT’s Larry Bryggman and AMC’s Dorothy Lyman Guest Star On ‘The Blacklist’

Two of the most revered performances ever in the world of daytime drama will be seen tomorrow night on an all-new episode of NBC’s drama series, The Blacklist. (10/9c).

In “The Pawnbrokers”, Daytime Emmy winners, Larry Bryggman (Ex-John Dixon, As the World Turns) and Dorothy Lyman (Ex-Opal Gardner, All My Children) will be seen as a criminal duo!

Bryggman and Lyman play a couple that fronts cash to criminals on the black market. In story, series star, James Spader’s Red acclimates himself to his new digs in federal prison, where he is challenged by an old rival.  Samar (Mozhan Marnò) goes undercover to stop a black market organization that fronts cash to criminals. (Enter Larry and Dorothy!)  And, Liz (Megan Boone) and Jennifer (guest star Fiona Dourif) continue their investigation into Red’s past.

Check out the promo for tomorrow night’s episode below.   Then let us know if you will be checking out Larry and Dorothy and if all of this brings back memories of their amazing performances in Oakdale and in Pine Valley in the comment section below.

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