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As The World Turns

THE VAN HANSIS INTERVIEW – AS THE WORLD TURNS – YOUNGER ACTOR EMMY NOMINEE!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:
What scenes did you submit for Emmy contention in this year’s Younger Actor category, and why did you choose those particular episodes?

VAN:
My birthday fell in September, so I could not submit a lot of stuff I would’ve submitted, because then I was too old. (Note: 25 yrs old is the cut off in the younger Emmy acting categories) I tried to find stuff that had a varying range of me doing different things, as far as acting goes. I found a couple episodes that showcased things that I do best, and I was lucky enough to be nominated.

MICHAEL:
I read that in an interview, you had said that the reason you chose those two episodes to represent your work was because they were stand-alone shows. Is that true?

VAN:
I think I did say that. Last year when I was a judge, I found that if what you pick is so wrapped up in a story, sometimes you don’t know what was really going on, but appreciate the acting by itself. I wanted to find material that had some semblance of that.

MICHAEL:
Are you familiar with the work of the nominees in your category?

VAN:
I have seen Jesse Sofer’s (Ex-Will, “ATWT”) work and I think he is awesome. I have seen Tom Pelphrey’s (Ex-Jonathan, “GL”) work and I think he is incredible.

MICHAEL:
How have you dealt with all the controversy surrounding the amazing Gay storyline being played out on “ATWT” between your character Luke and his love interest, Noah? And, how do you feel the show is handling this subject matter?

VAN:
I like what is happening in the story right now, and some material that is coming up is good. I have always been proud of the story. I try not to get involved in whatever controversy there might be, and thinking about it does not help me do my job at all. With all that has been talked about, I have never been interviewed once about it. I think we are the wrong people to talk to about that, because we are actors who go in and say lines and do it. We don’t make any of the creative choices. So, I feel it was the right way to handle it. It’s as if you are written off a show. Do you necessarily want to be written off, or be killed? No. But you play those scenes anyway, because that’s your job. I am very proud of the story and the work that Jake and I have done. We are treated like any other soap couple, and currently what is being aired is, that they have broken up. Colonel Mayer, the sham marriage, is all good soapy stuff.

MICHAEL:
How did you feel about the abrupt ending to the Ameera storyline?

VAN:
The thing I am saddest about is having Tala gone. She was a great actress, and a good friend of both Jake and I. It was sad to see her go. I think that story was interesting, and what happens after the story. The outcome of the break up of Luke and Noah has brought their characters to a different place. That is the objective of any story; to have the characters end up different than when they began.

MICHAEL:
What happens now when you are out in public? Do people address you as ‘Luke’ and talk about the storyline with you?

VAN:
Sometimes, people scream, “Luke” at me. All the interactions I have had with fans have been really nice.

MICHAEL:
Cyndi Lauper is making a very special guest appearance on “ATWT”. We hear she will be singing “True Colors”, which has become the gay anthem all over the world.

VAN:
Yes it has, and the way they worked her in was great. Cyndi is not just a celebrity who came onto the show. She is not just there for some random reason. The way they wrote her in is really, really smart and pivotal to the story.

MICHAEL:
How was working with Cyndi?

VAN:
It was great! I had done a reading with her for the Matthew Shepherd Foundation a few years ago. I had met her at that time, and to see her perform “True Colors” was incredible. I mean, she is like an icon of my childhood and it was very cool! A glorified rock star serenaded me! That has never happened before.

MICHAEL:
So, it sounds like you were very moved during her song!

VAN:
Her energy is so fun, and as a performer, she is incredible. I was completely blown-away.

MICHAEL:
Because you have such amazing acting chops, and have such a complex character to portray, are there any types of moments that are more difficult for you to play?

VAN:
I think it’s difficult if you don’t know why your character is doing what he is doing. Your job as an actor is to figure it out, even if it has to be the natural thing the character would do. On soaps, no character learns from their mistakes. So, you will come across issues that a person did in real life and they do not make those mistakes again. But with soaps, you have to suspend that part of your brain and do what is asked of you.

MICHAEL:
How is it working with your on-screen partner, Jake Silberman (Noah)?

VAN:
Jake is hands-down my best friend on the show. Honestly, I could not have asked for a better person to act opposite. He is incredibly talented. We get along really well, and he has an awesome sense of humor. He is very smart and an all around good guy.

MICHAEL:
Were you involved in the casting process for the role of Noah, since he would be acting opposite you?

VAN:
Noah is not a contract character; it was the same when I started. Luke was not a contract player. The way it’s done is that you are in the rehearsal hall and they have a camera up. By the time I came into it, they had narrowed it down to six or seven. Each would come in and quickly do the scene once. Chris Goutman (exec prod, “ATWT”) was there and the casting people were there. Chris made his decision.

MICHAEL:
What do you think Jake would say about working with you, if I asked him?

VAN:
Knowing Jake, he would say really nice things, because he is a really nice guy. He would not talk about all the times that I tried to sabotage every scene that I was in. And, he would not talk about the time I pulled a Tonya Harding on him, and tried to hit his knee with a crowbar. He would not talk about it. He would be very polite and not talk about the evil things that I have done. (He laughs)

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MICHAEL:
With Luke and Noah being the premiere gay male couple on daytime… well, the only couple… have you done many interviews with the gay press? You are so vitally important now to so many people who watch “ATWT” because you represent their voices.

VAN:
I have done interviews with the gay press. I think the story resonates with a lot of people. It would be stupid to say that part of our audience wasn’t gay. People are finally seeing a representation of themselves, in a medium where there hasn’t been any. I think it’s very important for the gay community. I think Jake and I are very proud to be telling this story and representing people that have been marginalized.

MICHAEL:
Have there been a few performances you can tell us about, where you felt you just ‘knocked it out of the park’?

VAN:
There are a couple. I think one has not aired yet. There are some scenes with Jake and I that we both felt awesome about. You have these episodes once in awhile, when you go, “Oh, yes. This is why I love to act.” It’s cathartic in a way, and I am not one of those actors who use acting as therapy. I don’t think that’s really healthy, but if you are in the moment, and have a really good script and you are clicking, it’s an amazing feeling that I have had nowhere else but acting. I have had a couple like that. The one coming up is when Noah is moving out of the cottage and we had a good whole day of good scenes. I remember feeling that way when Luke was confronting Damian in the airport. Last winter, I had these scenes with Lucinda at the diner. They were not really big scenes, but I felt those scenes where Luke and Lucinda were just talking about their lives were wonderful. I really like scenes like that.

MICHAEL:
Do you know what you are going to wear to the Emmys?

VAN:
Not yet. I should really get on top of that. I like just going and buying something and leaving. I don’t like spending a lot of time fussing about it. I will probably wear a suit.

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MICHAEL:
Now that Noelle Beck has taken over the role from the recently departed Martha Byrne, in the pivotal role of your on-screen mother, Lily Snyder, how has the transition been for you?

VAN:
Noelle is wonderful, and of course, Martha’s leaving was incredibly, incredibly sad. Martha will always have a special place in my heart, because I do feel I learned a lot of what I am doing on the show is because of her. Her humor and warmth are just one of a kind, but Noelle does not have an easy job. She has to step into a role that has been played by someone else for 20 years. She is doing a phenomenal job. She is such a kind, warm person and I love working with her. I feel she is clicking with the cast very easily, and she is a very generous actor.

MICHAEL:
What can we tell Luke fans to look forward to in the coming months… that you can give away?

VAN:
Luke is contacted from someone in his past who he may not want to be contacted by, but it happens, and that befalls the next storyline. That is what I think fans will have to look forward to.

MICHAEL:
Can we assure your fans, and fans of your story, that Luke and Noah will be on “ATWT” for quite some time to come?

VAN:
As of now, I am pretty sure we will be around for quite awhile.

MICHAEL:
Finally, if your name is called on Emmy night, will you have a speech prepared?

VAN:
I will not have something prepared. I will probably go up there and babble incoherently. I don’t think I want to prepare something, because I don’t like it when people get up there and open up their piece of paper that has been all thought out. I think it will be very spur of the moment. I will go out there and spend a minute and half not making any sense at all.

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