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The Ronn Moss Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Courtesy/CBS

Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Perhaps 2012 will go down as the year of the behind-the-scenes soap opera shockers, and thus far, there has been none more surprising then the sudden departure of The Bold and the Beautiful’s Ronn Moss!  After over 25 years of playing the debonair male romantic lead of the series, Ridge Forrester, Moss decided to call it quits over a month ago amidst reports of being asked to take a pay-cut that did not sit well with the popular soap star.  But there is much more to this story, as a calling to move on and try a different direction with his professional life, the ever-changing face of daytime, and more importantly the ever-changing face of The Bold and the Beautiful, all seemed to factor into his decision.

On-Air On-Soaps chatted this week with Moss, just as fans are about to see his final appearance as Ridge on today’s episode of B&B, shortly after Ridge and Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) married each other, yet again, or as they say, “One mo’ time!”  And this time, from what we understand, the happy couple go off on their honeymoon, only when Brooke does return Ridge will not be in tow, since Ronn’s decision to depart the soap had to be dealt with rather quickly by B&B’s executive producer, and head writer, Brad Bell.

So is Ronn Moss truly gone for good?  Would he consider a return to the series?  How would he feel about a recast if the show were to go down that road?  And how was it filming the emotional final scenes between him and Katherine Kelly Lang, where Bridge fans from all around the world will need their Kleenex boxes, just as much as Ronn and Katherine did?  Find out all of this and so much more in our heartfelt and farewell chat with Moss, whose departure leaves a huge hole in many fans hearts worldwide. But fear not, after you read Ronn’s parting words below, you can keep up with him via www.devronnsblog.com on all his latest projects, journeys, and upcoming travels!

MICHAEL:

Your last episode as Ridge is airing Friday on B&B, just as Ridge and Brooke said their “I do’s” for yet another time.  It’s been a little over a month since you announced your departure.  How are you feeling knowing Friday is your final airdate?

RONN:

Courtesy/CBS

I feel like 25 years has been a damn good run and I am grateful to have it with everybody. But at a certain point, you have to expand you life.  I have been meaning to do that for years.  We get comfortable with our family and our friends – and when I say family, I mean my co-workers, too.  They have been as much a part of my family as my real family for a lot of years.  But you get comfortable just being there and going along the same way.  And for me, it hit me that, “No.  I don’t want to continue under these circumstances.  It’s time to move on and start on a new road.”

MICHAEL:

Did being asked to take a significant pay cut to continue with B&B make you feel that they did not value your work … especially considering all the years that you put in, and being one of the mega-stars of the B&B brand?

RONN:

I think the way you just stated it is right.  Yes, the pay cut was definitely a part of it, but it was not everything.  But it was definitely a sign to re-evaluate what is going to be important here.  And don’t anybody bring up Jay Leno’s taking a 50% percent pay cut down to $15 million.  There is no relevance whatsoever in that.  (Laughs)  That is a different game, but when you talking a much different scale than that, it is very relevant!  And yeah, I want to feel appreciated, and I feel for what we were doing there was no reason to cut like that.  There are plenty of other ways to make those kinds of cuts.

MICHAEL:

You are iconic and synonymous with The Bold and the Beautiful worldwide!

RONN:

Does anybody think a decision like that was done rashly?  You have to take certain things in life and go, “That doesn’t sit well with me now. Something is off.”  There is a respect that all of a sudden doesn’t seem to be there.  So let’s move to a place where it is more respectful, and where I feel like I am not going to be taken so for granted.

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

MICHAEL:

You also were coming off a very bad car accident involving yourself and your wife Devon before this decision to exit B&B.  Did you feel that accident was a wake-up call?   I know I have read in other interviews that you had done that feel there were certain “signs” telling you to go in a different direction in your life, and this one of them.

RONN:

Not really a wake-up call, but I have been talking about the signs that I have been seeing that many people seem to think is too ethereal or hokey.  I know what is going on in my life.  I know what I know, and I know what I see.  I took it as it spun us around, literally! We had a wonderful business meeting before that and that basically said, “OK. You are not going in this direction. You are going in the opposite direction.”   And you have to listen to things like that, and I attached meaning to it.  Now you don’t have to do that, but I chose to do that.  It seemed to fit with a lot of other things that were going along in my life as well.  And you can discount them if you like and pretend they didn’t happen, or they don’t mean anything in the scheme of things.  However, I tend to make them mean something, as I am going in a different direction now, and I want to go on a positive and affirmative new road that I haven’t necessarily traveled.  I am looking so for to it.  But as far as the accident, we are recovering from the actual physical stuff that happened.  Devon and I are still getting through that and it has gone on a lot longer than expected. She was absolutely right when she told me, “You are going to feel the effects of this quite a bit later,” and we are.  So we deal with it.

MICHAEL:

When you made decision to leave B&B, did you and your wife, Devon, and your family sit down and talk things over and shed some tears over this big move and shift in your life?

RONN:

We had a lot of different moments.  There was not one or two specifically, or that we had a tearful sit-down.  It was all real positive and felt completely and totally right.  There was no hesitation whatsoever.  I think all the things that happen add up. And, you have to make a strong decision.  It surprised a lot of people for sure, as nobody expected me to be that bold, but I had to.  I had to for my own survival.   I know many of the fans feel I let them down, or abandoned them.  No, I have not abandoned them.  I am still with them.  I have been doing this for 25 years!  At one point am I released, so that I can go, “OK, guys?  I need a break from this!”

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Since the “official” announcement from you that you were leaving B&B, there had been everything on Twitter for you from an outpouring of love and support, to disappointment, and even some feeling that you abandoned them!

RONN:

Basically, people can’t handle change. They don’t want things to change and so they lash out at you a little bit, and this is a very small percentage of a reaction that I felt.  But I know what’s out there, and I have tried my best to dissuade it as best I can.  I would say 95%-97% of the people have been very positive, and are looking forward to the future and wishing me well, as I do for B&B. 

MICHAEL:

Will you watch your last episode Friday?

RONN:

I will probably watch it, but I don’t know if I am going to watch it live when it’s on.  I will definitely tape it.

MICHAEL:

I watched the CBS promo and I was getting all choked up watching Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) your long-time scene partner, getting all choked up looking at you during Ridge and Brooke’s wedding vows.  I have heard from Katherine that this tape day was so emotional for her.  How did you get through it?

RONN:

Oh, I wasted that day, and I don’t mean the drug-fashion. (Laughs)   The two of us were completely basket cases.  It was so hard to get through.  We could not look at each other in the eyes or we would have just lost it.  This was the culmination of so much emotional stuff that we have had.  We had to get through it, and to get through the day, but it was intense!

MICHAEL:

As viewers, we see the two of you reciting these vows and the gazes into each other’s eyes, and we realize you two have been so intertwined and integral for 25 years of daytime television!

RONN:

Courtesy/CBS

We have lived these people’s lives as alter egos to ourselves.  It has been a second life for us for all these years.  I can’t slough that off, or say that didn’t matter.  I don’t think people really know how intense living that is.  Yes, it is a character on a TV show, but it took an enormous amount of our real lives to do, and that we dedicated ourselves to.  I feel wonderful that I was a part of that, and I feel wonderful that I am now able to go and experience other aspects of my life that I have been wanting and missing.  Now is the time to do it.  Life is getting much shorter.

MICHAEL:

I think it may have been more difficult and worse if you made the announcement that you were departing the series, and then there were several months to go before your last tape date.   This way, it all happened very fast.

RONN:

Once I made the decision, I then only had a couple days left to tape.  And, I would not have said anything except for Susan Flannery (Stephanie, B&B) blurting it out on a soundstage.  She just blurted out that she and I were leaving.  And whoever was in earshot of that heard it and went, “What? What? What?”  So it was out there and people started tweeting about it.  I was going to keep it under wraps, because I had to get through those two days.  But in the end, I could not keep it a secret.

MICHAEL:

How was it for you, when you packed up your dressing room and exited the CBS soundstages?

RONN:

That went as I would have anticipated it for almost 23 years.  I have always kept my dressing room the way it was, so I could just walk out.  A lot of people make it very personal and hang up a lot of pictures and bring in all their stuff from home.  I never did that.  I wanted it to be kind of a transient place, even though I lived there for half my life.  So I cleaned it out a couple of days before the final tape date, and walked out and that was it.   I was totally emotionally prepared to do that because I never emotionally invested in it that way.  I kept the dressing room that way on purpose.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/CBS

Was the fact that the show was focusing on the younger characters and not Ridge, part of your other issue with the series?  Was it that Ridge was not being given his due as one of the “core four” characters to drive story?  Or, did you feel it was a natural progression of what we unfortunately see many times in daytime when the veterans get kicked to the curb?  With Peter Reckell (Bo, DAYS) leaving, Steve Burton (Jason, GH) announcing he is departing daytime as well, and you going, I feel like Bette Midler in The Rose, saying “Where’s everybody going?”

RONN:

Well, I don’t know if that’s a natural progression.  I won’t lie and say that it wasn’t a factor, of course it was.  When you are feeling like you are less than, why stay?  But let the show do as they see fit, I am fine with it. 

MICHAEL:

So are you standing by the “This is it”, or are you going to comment, “Never say never” when the subject comes up if you would ever consider returning to B&B as Ridge?

RONN:

I have decided to subscribe to “Never say never,” but I need a break.  But I have been through enough experiences where I have to eat those words, whenever I say it’s a definite thing like that.  So, I just will leave that open.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

During your final tape day, did anybody say anything that resonated with you that will stay with you and in your heart forever?

RONN:

Everything!  Lots of it.  One of our stage managers did a little texting with me back and forth this other morning, and it was lovely.   Yeah, that continues and I think it’s just going to get more intense down the road, actually.

MICHAEL:

Now that it’s been a month since the decision was made public, was there ever a moment, now looking back, of “What the hell did I just do?”

RONN:

No. Never.  I am pretty resigned to go ahead and move forward.  As I said, I am moving forward in a positive way and it’s even getting more positive than I expected.  I can’t go in to that now, and that will be a different conversation down the road, if things materialize.  I think it’s going to be really great.

MICHAEL:

Is music a big part of this next evolution in your career, since you have been part of the band Player since the 70’s?

RONN:

Courtesy/B&Bforum

Music is definitely a big part of this.  Peter Beckett and myself have been, and are, Player.  We just released a new set of songs, which is going to be our best collection ever.  I am really looking forward to doing the tour.  We are going to form a tour beginning in Europe, and hopefully bring it back to the States.  But I am so looking forward to playing live!  Playing rock and roll live, there is nothing like it.

MICHAEL:

Is acting still something you want to pursue?

RONN:

Oh yeah!  There are acting projects and that is part of the big change that is happening.  We are formulating some movie projects right now that will be absolutely fantastic. I want to go back to doing movies.

MICHAEL:

When you have seen first-hand what is going on contract-wise in daytime, do you envision that the daytime soaps (knowing what you know and being on one for 25 years) can survive five more years, and possibly continue on after that?

RONN:

I think they will continue on.   I am just not sure if they will be on network television.  I think everything, if you are smart, will go online.  I believe cable television and online formats will be where it’s at.  Networks will eventually phase out, because people will not watch things in real time.  They will watch things at their leisure, and everything will have to accommodate for that.  There is so much of a different world out there online and a lot of different possibilities.   I think if shows grow and change that way, they can grow and continue and morph into other things.  But going along the way they are?  No. You can’t survive that way, because there is a reason that people follow programs and it’s not to just provide them with the cheapest common denominator.  When you do that, you will lose the core audience and the reason they tuned-in in the first place.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins

Have you had conversations with Susan Flannery about both your exits from The Bold and the Beautiful, and what a huge shake-up it will be for the canvas?

RONN:

Oh yeah, we have talked quite a bit and so did Katherine and John McCook (Eric, B&B). We all met and discussed a lot of things.  I think Susan and Katherine and I will get together soon and have a little pow-wow amongst all of us, and talk about future things.

MICHAEL:

If B&B were to ever re-cast Ridge, how would you feel?

RONN:

I would feel betrayed.  I would feel like my 25 years really didn’t mean anything.  I would also feel that I absolutely made the right choice.

MICHAEL:

Did Brad Bell and you leave on bad or OK terms?

RONN:

We left on great terms.  I still love him.  I am sure he thought we should just stay and continue with no change of anything, but everything had changed.

MICHAEL:

Obviously, The Bold and the Beautiful contributed highly to your huge popularity overseas!

RONN:

I think the music part of my career, as well as B&B, contributed to my success overseas.  Our music played very heavily in Australia, and Peter Beckett’s influence with being part of Little River Band was big part of it as well.  But yes, the show was a big part of it, but that was not the only thing.  But now I think I will have a closer touch with those countries and the foreign territories than I did before, because now I have time to be there.  I would totally love to come down to Australia.  We are working on doing some movies and charity functions there right now. And, Katherine and I are about to take off and go over to Italy for a week and half, too!

Courtesy/CBS

MICHAEL:

When you take a moment to reflect back, is there a Ridge or Ronn moment during your time at B&B that was a defining for you as an actor, or the character you created, or a big memory of your time there?

RONN:

The biggest memory of my time at B&B is not story-related.  It’s not even character-related.  The last day will very much be ingrained in my psyche now, from a very emotional point of that is when everything was changing.  But, my biggest memory that I will carry from B&B is how much of a family it is, and was for me for the last 25 years. It’s a huge family – between crew, actors, everybody.  And I will carry that, as that is the warmest thought I have of everybody, and seeing these people every day.  I will carry that, and for me that’s fine.  I don’t need a story point or a character element to remember that.  There are too many of those!

MICHAEL:

You have got to pinch yourself, when you think of your journey as Ridge harkening all the way back to the beginning as Ridge the playboy!  You were part of that, no matter how it ended.   It was 25 years of this role on B&B, and you became very well known to television audiences domestically and internationally.  Cool?

RONN:

It’s very cool!  And I will hold that for the rest of my life.   I feel very fortunate to have been part of this show, and part of this big family of ours. There’s the big emotion of it.

MICHAEL:

Is there something you would like to say to your fans you feel has not been communicated, or that you would like to add to what you have already said publicly?

RONN:

Courtesy/FabulousPenguinAus

Just that I hope that they keep the faith and the spirit of what hopefully I did for that long with Ridge in their lives.  And, let it be with me.  Let me take that as my memento.  But also to hang in there with me and know that I am not abandoning them, but that I am including them and taking them on what could be a far greater journey.  I hope they keep their minds and awareness open, and let’s see what the roads have to offer.

MICHAEL:

Do you think you will watch B&B in the future?  Reports are that Katherine will be getting a new love interest!  That may be odd for you to watch.

RONN:

I don’t know.  I will see.  I can’t say I wouldn’t watch it.  I have no reason not to watch it. I have so many other things I want to do.  And Michael, I wasn’t even able to watch the show when I was on it! (Laughs)  I always keep busy and I am seldom just sitting around with nothing to do.

MICHAEL:

And tell me the latest on Ronn’s Garage, the web series you have going through your website!

RONN:

It’s building and I am working on the next episode.  I am not telling people who the next guest will be, but I want it to be a huge surprise.   It’s a very fascinating person! (Laughs)  I am hoping to have it up by October 1st.  I want to get the episodes up in a more timely fashion.  The accident through me off.  My shoulder got fractured in three pieces, and that kind of set us back, but I am back on track.  I want to morph into something else, which we will talk about later, as well.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: MF Soaps, Inc.

I have to tell you, personally, I was sad when you announced your departure from B&B.  But then I was so happy about it!  I was like “Good for you.”  You have always been a friend of mine throughout the years we have done interviews together, and our time together in this genre.   So I had all of those emotions going on.   It was very bittersweet.

RONN:

Good and thank you.  Michael, you as well have been part of this.  We have a big respect for what you do and the way you have done it. You have always been right on the money, very fair and very honest.  No b***s that I can discern for anything you have done, so bless you for that!

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Michael
Michael

I watched the Thursday, September 13th episode where Ridge and Brooke got married. Then tune in on Friday only to be completely disappointed with the episode all together. Brad Bell cheated Ronn Moss out of a proper farewell after 25+ years on B&B and I have to think that Brad was punching Ronn in the gut by not giving him his proper due. What really should have happened is this:

The wedding should have aired today, the 14th and at the end of the episode, Ridge and Brooke walk out the front door only to have Ronn Moss turn around and have one last look around before walking off camera for the last time.

Thanks Brad for cheating the fans out of a proper send off for Ronn.

e johnson
e johnson

Hated to see Ridge leave, but I never like Brook. So Ridge I wish you well.

Mike
Mike

I agree with you on hating to see Ridge leave. He played a big role on the series, however I disagree with you about Brooke. I was always hoping that Ridge and Brooke would always remain together. I am going to miss that.

Claire Churnac
Claire Churnac

Don’t thank that jerk (Brad Bell) for anything. I wish I knew that was his (Ridge) last day..or maybe not… I think I would have cried-me-a-river..and then I wouldn’t have enjoyed their wedding.

LJ
LJ

betrayed? after he held out for more money? some of us are starving out here and he can’t act for anything (did he have lessons?) so he should count his flippin blessings.

LLM
LLM

I think every actor has the right to leave the medium and make choices that are right for them. Some may do it for money, some may do it for variety, some may do it because they are burnt out. And shows have the right to offer what they want/are willing to pay and actors have the right to say no. But NO actor has a permanent lock or right to any character in soap opera. Recasts are a major part of the medium. Whether it’s Ronn Moss stating that a recast would be a betrayal or Vanessa Marcil stating that if GH ever recast Brenda then it would be the one thing that would guarantee she would never return–all while chipperly saying she’d support the show doing what it had to do, but… It bothers me because no show exists to meet the whims of one actor no matter how much they do for the show or the ratings. Shows and producers might be stupid in their choices, and may pay down the line, but they should never be held hostage–nor should the show or future story options–to a single actor or star. It’s that simple. Something like 97% of actors will never have a regular, paying professional acting job. Others get one on a soap and get recast two weeks later because they didn’t “click.” Recasts are a part of soap life and they often hurt the feelings of the person who was replaced/not asked to return/not willing to return. And Moss and Marcil, especially, have no right to emotionally blackmail their shows or seek to turn the audience against the producer or show in the sympathy arena, as both of them voluntarily left their shows. Now they both had their reasons, and they may very well be legitimate for them, but both could have stayed if their claim on the role was the single most important thing to them. Once they vacate the role, the role is there to be recast, killed off, or treated however the show sees fit to serve the show and story. And while they might think it’s a mistake, and it may very well be, they have no right to claim betrayal.

LJ
LJ

Even Susan Lucci was recastable.

Sheryl Postin
Sheryl Postin

Good luck Ronn, you ill be missed, your a great actor and we will probably see you soon somewhere else.

Barbara Hall
Barbara Hall

Do not like Thornston Kaye as Ridge….too scruffy looking.

ethel
ethel

what a sincere interview & i applaud ronn in the decision he made to leave – i feel that b&b threw him under the bus & have no respect or consideration for his 25 years on the show – soaps are just like any other part of corporate america believing that younger is better & the mature folks need to step aside – i started watching soaps almost 50 years ago because they were about life but now all soaps want to show is life revolving around only the 20 somethings and life includes all ages………

Prunhild
Prunhild

Even for me, a NO-BRidge-fan, i was shocked and disgusted, how bell wrote the last episode as a total BROOKE-episode! The way he wrote this laughable words, that stephanie loves brooke and the boring “to-many-times-repeat-BRidge-wedding-scenes” was to much for me. i turned of before episode was finished. maybe i will watch again on dvd, but i tell you guys: this will now become a KKL & JY- show! And as for STEPHANIE portrayer Susan: i spent 25 years adoring you and beeing big fan of your character. But as a BROOKElover you are now, i am fine with STEPHANIE out, too! This show is now only a oneside LOganshow. My life is to much worth to spent longer on a show, that celebrates a whore and her disgustings bunch of coakroaches….

bc
bc

Bravo to B&B for cutting Moss. Daytime soaps are not lucrative machines. Jay Leno is a good example. He should have taken the pay cut. Actors are paid too much when all an actor does is blocking and saying the lines. That’s pretty much all there is to acting. Whether an actor is good is subjective. I refuse to even read recaps of B&B anymore and 60 something Moss’s complaints are more reasons to stay away from this soap.

Deborah Kallus
Deborah Kallus

As an actor….all I can say is I would like to buy him for what he is truly worth and sell him for what he thinks he is worth….Then I would be sitting on easy street.

I say Good Bye and Good Riddance….

Therese Dunphy
Therese Dunphy

Ronn Moss and the rest of the core four are what made B&B worth watching. In his bid to capture a new generation of viewers, the show has turned into an endless teeney bopper video that holds absolutelly no appeal. Ridge and Brooke were one of soap’s great love stories, and Ronn earned every cent he’s made over the years. Thanks for all the great years of entertainment Ronn!

Lisa
Lisa

wish you well in all you do.

marciaSYDNEY.Australia
marciaSYDNEY.Australia

Family and friends laugh at the fact I’ve watched B&B since the very first episode, but to me, its not just because of the soap itself that I continue to show my loyalty. It’s because of the pure nostalgia it has created in my life. I basically grew up with Ridge and Brooke, and remember my first born child singing along to the opening theme song of Bold from its earliest episodes. So, to see Ridge leave this love story is emotional, not because I naively live vicariously thru BRIDGE, but rather, because it feels like a friend who has been on my screen thru some of the best and worst ties of my life, us also leaving my life in a strange way. Ron Moss and KKL had undeniable chemistry on screen, and I find it hard to believe that Bell will successfully be able to emulate or even somewhat match this chemistry with a new “faux Ridge” in Rons absence. Will I still be a loyal viewer I think I will, but for now I sit back cautiously awaiting the changes upcoming with great hesitation, all the while looking to see how, in heaven, Bell can recover from such an iconic character to the show, the glue that binds B&)! Here’s to change fellow Bolders…

marciaSYDNEY.Australia
marciaSYDNEY.Australia

@RonnMoss: true fans don’t need to be convinced that a future “faux Ridge” will somehow be able to emulate ur onscreen chemistry with KKL, as u will always be the glue that binds B&B

Kim lynn
Kim lynn

Thank you Ronn moss for a wonderful ridge. I wish you had a better ending and I’m very sad with the way soaps are headed…

Marilyn
Marilyn

In this economy, these people should feel grateful to have jobs; when so many don’t. In my opinion, there’s a lot of arrogance going on here. Very few people in this world feel that they are paid what they deserve, but they don’t just walk away. So be it. I’m sorry to see him go, but he’s made his choice. If he later regrets it, so be that too.

vfocused
vfocused

Just finally read this interview and want to say. I really hope Ron can get pay to come back at least for one more episode. Susan will be leaving and hopefully Ron will work something out with Bell just to return to send Stephanie off. I respect Ron Moss if no one else does. 25 years is a long time to leave due to these circumstances but I do respect his decision as Hunter Tylo said and understand it. I really do wish you the best Ron but pray that you try to return for one episode of the celebration of life party for Stephanie. It will not work without you! IF YOU CANT DO IT FOR B&B –DO IT FOR YOURSELF AND FOR ME! (LOL) I am a true B&B fan and YOU were the reason. Please come back Ron just one more time due to Susan Flannery leaving and to bring closure to the both of you leaving around the same time almost! I hope they extend the invitation or you offer to RETURN FOR THAT EPISODE SAKE AND FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR FANS! I really understand about moving on just dont do it this way! I WANT TO SEE YOU AT THAT PARTY!

Sheila
Sheila

vfocused hits this on the nail for me, I concur, and would like to see Ridge Forester as (Ronn Moss) celebrate Stephanie’s life, and come on back this last time. Maybe silently visiting Momma Stephanie’s grave and visiting his children on the set for closure, I remember the phone call when Stephanie asked him not to come home, on one of the episodes, where she was in her final stage of cancer, that relapased, however, the oldest son paying tribute to his mother on the set would be just loving and bold and beautiful!! Bless you, Ridge.

k/kay
k/kay

If you ar a fan or not a fan of Ronn Moss check out Ronns garage on the web it really is quite fun and a totally different side to him. A girlfriend of mine who still lives in California turned me on to it it really is clever. He really looks like he is having fun it is a nice change of pace. Pure fun check it out!

Mike
Mike

I am hoping that Ronn Moss comes back. He is a great actor. Ronn Moss & Katherine Kelly Lang were my 2 favorites on the series. That will make my day when he returns.

lynn
lynn

Ridge was always one of my favorites Brook I really didn’t like she stayed to much with the family men I will truly miss Ron Moss .I wish him all the happiness and success .There should never be another Ridge played by anyone else it will never be the same. I enjoyed watching you.

Gina
Gina

Ridge and Brooke were the best! I have watched B&B since the beginning and I was shocked that he was leaving and certainly wished the farewell was different. It was so fake…Brooke and Ridge to have split up over a text from Deacon! Money should have never been the issue because the high ratings for all of these years were so much because of the role of Ronn Moss. I hope he finds all of the happiness and peace he truly deserves.

Debbie
Debbie

Ronn deserved a hell of a better send off than that! Hate how Brooke became Stephanie’s new best friend after all her and Taylor have been through!

The writers are sinking their own battleship!!!

patrick
patrick

never did like Ridge as an actor or lack of being an actor.

joyce davis
joyce davis

i hated to see ridge leave. he was brooks rock and i have always loved them together. the attraction was awesome. now taylor ruined her looks with all of the botox and glad to see her leave. she looks stupid with eric. and i pray hope finally finds happiness with liam. stephy and taylor need to take a pernmanent break. . i would love to see brook back witth eric. guess we will see. but bye bye talor and stephy!!!!!

tina jones
tina jones

Ridge please come back I hate the way brooms is treating katie cause she has been with every man on the show an katie is the one with the good heart please come back an teach bill a lesson

Elizabeth Harrison
Elizabeth Harrison

My oh my some are biting him in the but while others are praising him. I have watched the show sense it’s conception . And I have always been a fan or Ronn’s I will always remain a fan. Yes they recast him with the old zac from All My Children which i will always see him as zac. But that is not the point. The point is that he maid a decision to change things for his personal self he gave all of the fans 25 dedicated yrs of his life. He basically grew his life on the show. I will miss him more than i can tell him. I shall always remember the wonderful years he was able to join me in my living room and in the last years on the internet. I did some looking around and when watching my other favorite soap General Hospital just this past monday . Too my delight was Ronn Moss and the band player singing as a cameo appearance at the nurses ball i had so forgot the past and that he has always been that rock star all my yrs growing up i listened to their music. And the wonderful reminder of that is i can still have him in my world just this time it will be in music and he is so talented i do not feel i have lost anything. Thank you My dear friend for Ronn Moss you are now and always will remain so big apart of my life thanks for all you love to us the fans. And personally me. Elisabeth D Harrison of Lakewood WA. age yep 54.

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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