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The Sean Kanan Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

Courtesy/B&B

Courtesy/B&B

Who doesn’t love seeing badass Deacon Sharpe back on The Bold and the Beautiful? Soap survivor Sean Kanan (Deacon) has been able to navigate his daytime career through the good times and the bad, always landing on his feet! After being killed-off of General Hospital as AJ Quartermaine, which didn’t sit well with many fans of the ABC soap opera, B&B was like coming home.  And this time, when Deacon arrived back in the world of the Forresters, the Logans, and the Spencers, it was the mighty Quinn (Rena Sofer) who he first encountered.  Imagine that!  Two people that are for all intent and purposes cut from the same cloth … with some clear differences.

Now as Deacon and Quinn have schemed and maneuvered for the love and attentions of Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Bill (Don Diamont), respectively, and both seemingly have lost those two for good, where else do you turn … but to each other! Feeling jilted, recently the two shared some passionate moments! And the kicker, Quinn’s son Wyatt (Darin Brooks) is now married to Deacon’s daughter Hope (Kim Matula), and the young duo are expecting their first child! Will it be Grandpa Deacon and Grandma Quinn?

On-Air On-Soaps sat down with Sean Kanan to get his take and insights on: returning to the CBS soap opera, working with long time pal Rena Sofer, what he thinks of Deacon as a dad, and what story he would like to explore.  In addition, while B&B co-star Katherine Kelly Lang is currently a celebrity contestant on Dancing with the Stars Italy, Kanan who also appeared on the show a few years back, weighs-in on just how grueling the ballroom dance floor routines and experience can be!  But, what all his fans want to know is if Sean is happy where he is now, after his big return to GH came to quite a disappointing end.  So, here is what the always charming, always funny, and always intriguing, Mr. Kanan had to share.

MICHAEL:

So to reset the stage, all of a sudden things change at General Hospital, and you are back on The Bold and the Beautiful as Deacon.  Would you say for the most part there was an open door policy that if you were available again. and the time was right, you could return to B&B?

SEAN: 

Courtesy/ABC

I’ve always kept in touch with (B&B executive producer and head writer) Brad Bell. Brad is not only a terrific boss, but he is a great guy.  We would communicate from time to time, and at some point we had a conversation where he said, “If it looks like you’re going to be free and no longer doing General Hospital, let me know.”  I said, “I will.  I don’t know when that is going to be,” but I kept that in the back of my head.  When I had the discussions over at ABC with General Hospital, and they wanted to kill off the character of AJ, I called up Brad immediately and put the ball in motion pretty quick, and here I am.

MICHAEL:

And on your first episodes back this time, Deacon bumps into Quinn (Rena Sofer)! And of course, the two of you have worked together previously, so it has been a treat for soap aficionados!

SEAN: 

Rena and I met in 1993, and we met when we were both working on General Hospital.  Then, Rena was one of three lead actresses in my film “March”.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of Rena’s performance in the role of Quinn? And what do you think about the composition of the relationship between Quinn and Deacon … two people who have certainly entertained and executed, shall we say,  not so nice things on others to get what they want?

SEAN:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

I think it’s a terrific part for Rena.  I think there are a lot of similarities between Deacon and Quinn.  They are both survivors, and they are certainly not above scheming and a little bit of larceny to get what they need.  I think they both care a tremendous amount about their children, and they have been persona non grata for a very long time.  They are very much operating on the fringes of B&B society which is the Forresters, the Logans, and the Spencers.  They kind of orbit around that, but what is interesting is that Quinn is a beautiful and attractive woman, but at the beginning, although Deacon never misses an opportunity to appreciate a beautiful woman … he needed a place to stay! (Laughs)  The minute he realized he had something she needed, which was his relationship with Hope, he parlayed that to get a place to stay. Once he was there, I think he was also smart enough not to pursue her.  She obviously has a mercurial personality, and if she gets pissed off, she is going to throw him on the street!  I always joke that Deacon has a very expensive wardrobe, and wears a very expensive watch, but he doesn’t have pot to piss in! (Laughs)  He has no money.  Then there is the other secondary layer; that this woman could possibly be extremely dangerous.  He is like, “What am I getting myself into … and who am I sleeping down the hall from?”  It’s like you better be real careful what you do, or this chick might end up taking out a sword with your name on it! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

It seems like Quinn is one very formidable opponent for Deacon, but as we have seen where there is opposition there ends up being attraction!

SEAN:

Courtesy/CBS

Absolutely!  However, Deacon is not a guy that shows fear easily. He has been in prison and had been around the block.  He was being cautious.  That being said, there relationship of pursuing common interests certainly has brought them closer!  We all wind up sleeping with each other on The Bold and the Beautiful!  I remember the time they put me with John McCook (Eric).  It was ugly, but damn it, we made it work! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Thus far, what has been your favorite scene with Rena?  I am assuming given the nature of your characters; you might have some good laughs on set?

SEAN:

We laugh a lot. We also fight like a brother and a sister, and in her case, a really sexy sister!  We butt heads in a loving fun way, and not in an antagonistic way.  Rena always makes interesting choices. We have a long history together, and that history builds a safety net of “let’s try some new stuff.”  We take what’s on the script which is usually terrific, and we may tweak it a little here and there, and put our own signature on it, and make it the best it can be.  We did this one scene where I ad-libbed and I called her “crazy pants”! (Laughs)  Sometimes I listen as Deacon to Quinn, and it’s such bat-crazy logic she uses, and such overkill about smothering her son.  As a character I felt obliged to go, “Did you hear yourself? You sound INSANE!”  That is sometimes the stuff that drives the scenes.

MICHAEL:

So, Deacon came back on to the canvas and set his sights on Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang).  Did Deacon really love Brooke?

SEAN:

Courtesy/Global

Yes!  I think Deacon really loved Brooke.  There is a line that Deacon has that I think is true.  He says, “Any man that has ever been with Brooke Logan still carries a torch for her.”   That is kind of the spell she casts over the men she has been with, and a couple years in prison is a longtime to think about things.  I think what is a fundamental flaw of Deacon’s life is that he has never had a sense of family.  He has had this mother who was a stripper in Vegas, and he had this abusive stepfather.  I think that the concept of having some semblance of a nuclear family anchored by Hope is extremely attractive to him.  I think he is a guy that gets caught up in the romance of that.  I think part of pursuing Brooke was creating a family with her.  Deacon thinks if he does that, it can be the springboard to fix everything else that is wrong …  if he can just fix that part of his life that was never there for him a child, psychologically.  That is my guess, anyway.  And that doesn’t work out!  Brooke wasn’t interested in that, or if she was momentarily interested in that, she then decided what she had with Bill was where she wanted to go.

MICHAEL:

Is Deacon truly OK with that?

SEAN:

Courtesy/CBS

I think Deacon has a big ego.  I think he covers, and he doesn’t show his vulnerability a lot.  I also think prison has taught him to be patient, and that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

MICHAEL:

I would love to find out just who Deacon’s bio-dad is! That would be a great story to tell!

SEAN:

This is the story; again and again I have said I would love to tell.  I think it would be very interesting to find out who his parents are, and they could be anybody!  He could be related to anybody.   He could have brothers and sisters he doesn’t know about.  I think it would be hilarious if Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R) and I were brothers… and there was a cross-over story! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How was working with Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke)?  She is now off the canvas for a bit hitting the ballroom dance floor on Dancing with the Stars Italy!

SEAN:

Courtesy/PureDWTS

I wish her luck on Dancing with the Stars!  It’s such an amazing experience to live over there in Italy … and over there like that!  It’s great when you are being whisked around and whined and dined, although the flip side of that is you’re training your ass off.  Thank God, Katherine is a triathlete.  I am sure she will do every well, because it’s physically daunting.

MICHAEL:

And now another former B&B and GH castmate of yours, Antonio Sabato Jr., is trying to stay in the ballroom dance competition on the American version of Dancing with the Stars!

SEAN:

It’s funny; Antonio and I both have a background in Martial Arts.  You would think Martial Arts would help you in dancing, but it doesn’t really, because Martial Arts tends to be in some respects more rigid than dance does, and some of the basic stances are counter-intuitive to dancing.   So, I thought this was going to really help me, but it didn’t.  Antonio is also a gymnast.  How is Antonio doing?  I have not seen him on “Dancing” yet.

MICHAEL:

The first week was rough on him. They made him dance first of all the celebrities’ right out of the gate. Antonio has gotten some harsh criticism from the judges and has had some challenges with executing some of the moves, but he is still in the competition.

SEAN:

Photo: CBurkeTwitter

The hardest part of this is: the men have to lead, and my teacher was 48th in the world, and I had to lead!  So I am having to learn the dance, and the choreography, and then lead her because she can’t lead.  But with all do respect to the women out there, the reality is two-fold!  Most little girls at some point or another, study some sort of dance, and they either study ballet, or dance, or the basics, and not all of them.  I am not trying to make generalizations, but that generalization does hold weight!  But then you have some guy like Maxim Chmerkovskiy who is phenomenal dancer, who if you are missing a step or are slow, he can literally pull you and move you around, and if you are the guy, you are … SOL man! (Laughs)  Not to digress, but the most fun part of being on Dancing with the Stars Italy was; we would wrap the show at 1AM in Rome and go out clubbing. I was on the show like four or five years ago, and I remember everyone had just watched the live show.  Then we would all show up at a club and people would go nuts!   It wasn’t for the celebrities, but more for the professional dance teachers!  We would go out there and they would make a schmuck like me look like I knew what I was doing.  (Laughs)  It was so much fun; we would dance till five in the morning.

MICHAEL:

Was there a moment when you were in the middle of Dancing with the Stars Italy that you said to yourself, “What have I gotten myself into?” (Laughs)

SEAN:

Here is what was really hard: My Italian when I did the show was not great, and my Italian now is much better. The other thing is; not to take anything away from Ronn Moss (Ex-Ridge, B&B), but he used am ear piece.  So they were feeding him what the Italian meant.  I had to listen to the judges, and had tremendous difficulty in understanding what they were saying, and I had to learn how to dance in Italian.  Now that wasn’t so bad, because I could understand that, but when they would ask a question on the live show, and a lot of it is that you are appealing to the home audience.  I had to do it in Italian.  It was very difficult and a tremendous disadvantage to me to not be able to speak English, but even so I lost after 9 weeks.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/B&B

Back to B&B, as for your on-screen daughter Kim Matula (Hope), where does Deacon sit with her current choice to be with Liam (Scott Clifton) or Wyatt (Darin Brooks)?

SEAN:

I think Deacon likes Wyatt. They cracked a bottle of scotch together and in a lot of respects they are cut from a similar cloth. Deacon sees that Wyatt has pulled himself up from his boot straps.  I think that also, Deacon recognizes Liam is a good guy.   He wants what makes his daughter happy, and Liam is a guy who follows his heart.  Deacon wants either one of those two guys to take care of her.  I also think that Wyatt had the diamond, and he is a hustler, and things like that are not lost upon Deacon.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Deacon has changed from being such a “hustler”?

SEAN:

I think Deacon has refined his game.  He’s smoother than he used to be, but at his core he’s a guy who is always looking for the angle. You know, it’s funny. I have been a guy in my own life that has been blessed with tremendous opportunities in my life.  I don’t know what it is like to grow up without certain advantages.  The only thing I could equate it to is coming out to Hollywood as young guy and making a lot of mistakes, and trying to see where the water is flowing and do what I could.  I had a safety net with my family, and I knew I had my college education, whereas a guy like Deacon had none of that.  I can’t be very judgmental of this character, because I don’t know what it is like to walk in his footsteps.  He’s a guy just doing what he has to do.

MICHAEL:

Hope finds herself pregnant! What does dad Deacon think of it?

SEAN:

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

She’s married.  I don’t think he can’t go anymore, “This is my little girl!”  It’s like, “Look, I have made a lot of mistakes.  I have been in jail and around the block, and if you are willing to overlook that, and see me as the man I am today, I am not going to see you as this idealized fantasy of how you should be in my head as a daughter. This is your life. I am going to accept you as you are.”  I think Deacon is incredibly proud of her. He’s “Team Hope” and supportive of that.  He is like, “You’re happy and in love with Wyatt, I will support that. If it winds up being Liam that makes you happy, then I will support that.”

MICHAEL:

Is there someone that you have not mixed it up with on-screen at B&B this time that you would like to have story with sometime in the future?

SEAN:

I had a fun energy with Heather Tom (Katie).  For some reason, Katie has this visceral dislike of Deacon!  I don’t know where it comes from, other than the fact that Deacon had been in prison, and that’s not the most palatable thing for a woman. I get that. Deacon also tries to assert his sexuality when he can with women, and he certainly likes younger gals and older gals.  Katie is also Brooke’s sister, so she is also privy to a lot of stuff!  I think there is something interesting there, and not a romantic interesting, but I think there is an interesting give and take that I like. Heather is a terrific actress.  I would love to work with Jacob Young (Rick) too!  I have always loved working with John McCook (Eric)!  The more I watch Karla Mosley who plays Maya, she looks like this pretty little deer with those big eyes going, ”Who me?” And the character is a total bitch! (Laughs)  I love that! (Laughs)  I think Deacon and Maya would be so unlikely, but so great!   In story, I also would really be interested in seeing Deacon pull off some coup where he is able to form a financial power base and really go after Bill (Don Diamont) and do a hostile takeover of Bill’s company.

MICHAEL:

Since another one of your talent is stand-up comedy and improv, do you ever improv your lines at B&B?

SEAN:

The new thing I do when there is a last line, or ending moment in a script, is that I will ad-lib a line knowing that probably they will keep it twenty percent of the time.  Sometimes, something is a little racy that pushes the boundaries of what we are allowed to say, but I will say it so that they will have it in the editing room, and they will keep it sometimes.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/GH Pinterest

B&B has been very successful in its format with being a half hour soap compared to the other American daytime dramas.  Do you think that it helps the overall vibe when being a working actor here?

SEAN:

Having come from Y&R and GH, where between them there are 60 contract actors, you are always fighting for real estate, and you are competing with four or five other guys that are in your bracket.  I am so happy to be here.  I know I started over at GH, but I have always felt like it was home here at B&B.  It’s not just the actors, it’s the crew and it’s kind of like a family owned business with the Bells, and it’s a smaller cast. I think it just creates a little less corporate of a place. You don’t get more corporate than GH, and that show has clearly a different business paradigm, which had to stress the hell out of the executives, because they were getting breathed on all the time by ABC/Disney to keep the show alive. There is such gravitas to every single thing, and then have that trickle down from the top, it’s stressful.  The Bold and the Beautiful has such a huge presence internationally, and so I don’t feel like you are in intimate danger of being taken off the air.

MICHAEL:

It seems like you feel that you are appreciated here at The Bold and the Beautiful!

SEAN:

So appreciated!  The way this organization treats their actors, I have never encountered in my entire acting career, and I have worked with every major studio and network. B&B is fantastic, and not just for going on great trips overseas, but the day to day, in and out, of how people act here.  There is a civility and respect here that we all try to show each other.  It creates a great environment.

MICHAEL:

Now that you have been back for awhile, what are your fans saying to you on Twitter and social media?  Do they tell you they want more of Quinn and Deacon?  What feedback are you getting?

SEAN:

Courtesy/CBS

I think people like Quinn and Deacon together in whatever capacity that is.  It is a compliment that people like what we are doing together, which means there will then be more of it, usually. The fans are happy I’m back, which is really nice.  I am back this time and I am back on contract, which is different, so that hopefully I will be sticking around for quite awhile.  I think it allows me to invest a little more, and of course any job I have I am going to invest him, but when you are not on contract you’re always keeping an eye out, and thinking, “What am I going to do next if this winds up ending? “ It allows you to breathe a little and to start looking a couple miles down the road.  At this part of my life, there are a lot of things I want to do, but at B&B we have plenty of tine off per year.  So being at B&B allows me to think to myself: “If I am going to be here for awhile which I like at this point in my life, God willing if they want to keep me, I would like to stay here for awhile.”   I am not looking for something else.  If something else comes, and it fits into the schedule, that’s great.  But when I was 25, you are always looking for … when is that call from Spielberg?  And you know what?  I am really happy here. It has given me an amazing life. I have a career in Italy too.  It really doesn’t get a whole lot better.

 

 

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dmrLiaRobinTimmmNat9 Recent comment authors
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B&B Fan
Guest
B&B Fan

I love Deacon & Quinn together.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Oh, yes…me, too!!!!!

harry
Guest
harry

Michael Fairman, I don’t know you, but I love you. Thank you for this wonderful review. It helps alleviate the pain I feel abou tAJ’s unfair, unfortunate and horrible demise from this dark world that is GH.
I don’t know Deacon either but would like to think, based on your description of him, that he is the Phoenix (rhymes with Deacon) rising from the ashes that was once AJ.
I love Heather Tom and could see Kate with Deacon–easily.
I am happy to hear Sean is doing so well and is with people who appreciate what a gem he is.

harry
Guest
harry

Forgive me–I seem to have gotten carried away. Deacon doesn’t rhyme with Phoenix. At its best, it is a case of assonance–the first syllable of the word is something with which I am well versed on.

louisa
Guest
louisa

Love him. The GH insight was interesting. I still can’t believe they killed off AJ. So disappointed in GH.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

AWESOME INTERVIEW!!!!! As usual, Sean Kanan TRULY ROCKS!!!!! Thanks for the AWESOME INTERVIEW, Mr. Fairman!!!!!!

Peace.

Silo
Guest
Silo

Thank you! As horrible as that SL was, KKL and SK had AMAZING chemistry. I am currently rooting for BRILL. But ultimately, I just want Brooke to be happy, FAR AWAY from Ridge! Even Deacon would be better than Ridge.

sarah
Guest
sarah

I wish they would bring back Adrienne frantz because amber and deacon had crazy chemistry I know they had a really sucky storyline with them on Y&R but on B&B they were amazing

elm51
Guest
elm51

what a down to earth interview!! sean seems so happy & content now that is on b&b – i am happy for him as he certainly deserves it………………

brenda
Guest
brenda

I’m still pissed at GH for killing off AJ. Stupid move. That being said I love Deacon and am glad he is back on BB. Too many newbies on GH.

janet
Guest
janet

This was a great interview. I am very happy to hear he is happy. Funny a lot of people mentioned are actors the GH iic were not smart enough to keep. Heather Thom is a very talented actress ,and I am sure after he has his fun with Quinn, they would be terrific on screen. I hope BB ‘S ratings stay up, with what he says about the writing and the actors are happy. Great. I was really sorry ,but not really surprised at AJ’s death the show “s being written by six grade mean girls .I expect nothing more.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Guest
Scott (ATWT Fan)

B&B definitely are handling Sean and Deacon better than GH ever did with his return as AJ; GH obviously wanted him to reprise AJ to make up for the loss of Jason, and once they knew they could get Jason back, then AJ was expendable. I am liking Deacon the most this time around, despite always hating the character, so I hope his return to B&B is long worth the while.

k/kay
Guest
k/kay

Always loved SK as bad boy Deacon but Brad forgot I guess that Deacon is a alcoholic. Like we forgot Brooke is a grandmother and we forgot that Ridge was happily married to Taylor and had three kids.

MBmomof3
Guest
MBmomof3

The interview I’ve been waiting for! I miss Sean Kanan’s AJ so much. He is just as awesome as Deacon Sharpe. I’m not a regular B&B viewer, but I’m watching it more now because of Sean Kanan. I love his chemistry with Rena Sofer’s Quinn. Brilliant casting on B&B’s part. Deacon makes Hope tolerable (to a point). lol. GH…you can’t see the talent you have because you’re always looking for the next big thing. Letting SK go and killing AJ was unforgivable for this viewer. Even worse were RC’s constant digs at the actor and character. I had been a… Read more »

knighthawk
Guest
knighthawk

I love Deacon but I really want him to be a good dad for Hope. I think Deacon and Katie would be interesting. There were a couple of scenes with them and the dialogue crackled, there was chemistry. It would be fun if Katie and Bill were still together and Deacon came between them, because Don Diamont and Sean make great adversaries.

Nat9
Guest
Nat9

Katie and Ridge are better together.

Timmm
Guest
Timmm

I met Sean before and he was one of the nicest guys ever! At the time he was on Y&R and I asked him if he would ever consider going back to GH and play AJ again. He said never say never. Well, he ended back at GH after he was done at Y&R and GH screwed him royally! Not only did they lose a great actor, they killed off ANOTHER Q!

Robin
Guest
Robin

Micheal:
Another excellent interview. You asked the questions I would have 🙂 I too would love to see Amber back and where’s “Little D”? Ready too to bring back Jack Wagner (Nick) and Bridget ( hmmm she and Deacon had a past too) so many interesting options. You rock as always. And I do know you! Xo

Lia
Guest
Lia

I’m glad he’s back where he and his work are appreciated. B&B is a great show, because it’s written well. The acting is top notch, and I too love that their international fans adore the show just as much as we do. I miss Sean on GH because I love AJ Quartermaine, but the team over there never appreciated the character, so he’s lost to us. Thank God Brad Bell loves Sean and Deacon. Lol I don’t want him with Quinn however. I would like to see Deacon mix it up with bad girl Alison.

dmr
Guest
dmr

Such a wasted opportunity for General Hospital to bring back a good, kind, loving AJ and to resurrect the Quartermain Family. I’ve always loved Sean Kanan as AJ Quartermaine-thought Billy Warlock was awful in the role. I hate what the writers have done to AJ over the years. I was beginning to like AJ and Elizabeth together, too. Best of luck to Sean. He’s very handsome and very talented.

Interviews

B&B’s Scott Clifton and Don Diamont Talk on the Plight of Liam & Bill and Their Cover-Up of Vinny’s Death

If you are watching current episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful then you know that Scott Clifton (Liam) and his on-screen father, Don Diamont (Bill Spencer) have been spending plenty of time together in scenes in very dramatic and intense fashion.

In story, Liam is guilt-ridden over running down Vinny Carter (Joe LoCicero) by accident when he was driving Bill’s car.  Since the moment that Vinny was killed, Bill leapt into action, destroying any evidence tying the two to the scene of the crime and continually demanding that Liam let this go and move on with his life, or the implications for the both of them could certainly be a long jail sentence, or worse.

Photo: JPI

Now as Liam is finally making headway in a reconciliation with Hope (remember his last secret – sleeping with Steffy – was quite the doozy), this new secret of what he has done, and hiding, could up the stakes even more and take him away from his family for good … or would Hope (Annika Noelle) after finding out what Liam did be the nail in his coffin that ends their relationship once and for all and kicks him to the curb?

Courtesy/CBS

Both, Scott Clifton and Don Diamont chatted virtually with Michael Fairman exclusively for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel to offer up for viewers and fans of The Bold and the Beautiful: an inside look at what goes on when they tape their scenes, how they see their characters motivations, and they serve up a preview of what may lie ahead in this tangled web that Bill and Liam have unfortunately weaved.

Photo: JPI

Check out the humorous, candid, and enlightening conversation with two of the leads and mainstays of this CBS Daytime drama series below.

Then let us know; how do you think Liam and Bill can get out of the mess they find themselves in? Will Liam crumble and spill the beans? Will everyone in town get on to them and figure out the secret they have been keeping? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section after taking a look at the virtual conversation.

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Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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