Connect with us

General Hospital

The Van Hughes Interview – One Life to Live and General Hospital

Courtesy/Gsarts.net

Talk about your accidental soap star, who won over our hearts in such a short time that we were clamoring for more, as the curtain came down on the beloved town of Llanview and One Life to Live just over a month ago.  Van Hughes, the multi-talented young performer stepped into the role of Cole Thornhart after Brandon Buddy (the original Cole) had to bow out of his scheduled return to wrap up Starr and Cole’s long-standing love story.   But what no one knew, except perhaps then OLTL head writer Ron Carlivati and the shows’ then EP, Frank Valentini, was how integral Cole would be to the final episodes of the series!  Will any One Life fan ever forget the prison break and the fallout… Cole hovering between and life and death as he visited heaven… And then in the end being reunited with Starr and his child, Hope in Los Angeles?

But as One Life to Live came to a close, and Valentini and Carlivati took over as creative heads of General Hospital, one of their first orders of business was to integrate Starr Manning onto the canvas.  And this Friday, Starr (Kristen Alderson) along with Cole make their debut in Port Charles.  In this very special interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Van Hughes previews what to look for during his short visit to GH, and how he pulled off almost the impossible to make us love him as Cole Thornhart in such short order.

Currently, Van is starring in the touring company of the hit Broadway musical filled with the exhilarating and phenomenal music of Green Day, American Idiot!  And if you have not seen it, you have got to catch it live!  American Idiot puts raw emotions front and center in a highly theatrical and thoroughly satisfying rock opera that ignites the stage with hits such as 21 Guns and more.  We spoke to Van while he was in Chicago on break before his next performance of the musical, where he wows audiences nightly just like he did on our daytime television screens daily.

MICHAEL:

You are currently on tour with American Idiot.  How is it doing the show every night and stopping in different cities along the way?  And for those who don’t know, how did you come about playing your role in the musical?

VAN:

Photo Credit: Doug Hamilton

I was originally the stand-by for the three main characters, and then I ended up taking over on Broadway for two months the role that I am playing now, which is Johnny.  Then, I had the summer off.  I knew I was going to do the tour in the fall and then One Life to Live popped up, and that was strategically placed at exactly the two weeks before I started rehearsals for the tour.  So as soon as I saw you in New York, when you visited the set of OLTL, I dove right into the show again.  Now we have been doing the show for 8 weeks and the tour has a long way to go … we are just getting started!

MICHAEL:

… And you are coming to Los Angeles, March 13ththrough April 22nd performing in American Idiot at the Ahmanson Theatre.  So now many of your new soap friends will get a chance to see you live!

VAN:

Yes, we will be in Los Angeles for six weeks, and then we keep going on from there to other cities.  It’s kind of an L.A. or bust feeling in my mind.  I know there are dates in Seattle San Francisco, Dallas, Costa Mesa, and Tempe, Arizona.  I think all of those dates are after the L.A dates.

MICHAEL:

On the final broadcast date of One Life to Live (January 13th) Kristen Alderson was one of my very special guests on the Blog Talk Radio, One Life to Live Farewell Show.  She related to the audience how you stepped into the role of Cole.  She asked me what I thought of your performances, and I said, “I thought he did an amazing job.”  She told me you studied the You Tube videos of Brandon Buddy as Cole.  What was it like for you having to get in there and quickly play a beloved character, and tweak it, and make it your own?  Were you concerned that you took on the impossible?

Courtesy/ABC

VAN:

It was interesting.  It was my first time doing that.  The first step was to figure out what the hell I was talking about in all the scenes.  On soaps, you are often rehashing previous plot points in the dialog, and for me I had to reference things that happened years ago to the characters.  I was just trying to fill in the blanks!

MICHAEL:

You were probably going, “Who and what is a Marty?” (Laughs)

VAN:

Yeah exactly!  Why am I talking about my mom and dad like this?  I honestly had no idea!  They don’t really fill you in when you get cast for something like this, especially since this was such a last minute thing.  Then, I checked my Facebook page and Kristen Alderson had found me and reached out to say, “Hey, here is my phone number, and call me if you would like to get together, and talk before we start.”  So we did, and we got to know each other a little bit.  Kristen helped me out a lot with plot points.  I told her, “I know this is the end of a very huge thing for you, and I am not going to take this lightly.  It is not just a job for me; I want it to be really special for you, too.”  So we had that kind of vibe going into it, to just sort of make the best of it.  That is about all you can do, right?

MICHAEL:

Right!  And I felt like the pressure is really on for this guy.  The show was wrapping up 43 years of history, and was at the forefront of daytime television viewers mind, because it should never have been canceled in the first place.  The fans wanted to see the stories come to a satisfying conclusion, after the Prospect Park online deal fell through.  And then, Brandon Buddy was coming back to play Cole, and then he had to bow out.  But I have to say, Ron Carlivati, (then OLTL’s head writer) gave you a lot of riveting material to play and Cole had a lot to do! 

VAN:

Photo Credit: Bruce Gilkas

The greatest thing about being an actor is that people should take parts that they have no idea what they are going to do with it, because that in turn challenges you to dig down deep somewhere and pull something out of yourself.  I am kind of tired of doing stuff, where I already know what I am going to do with it.

MICHAEL:

 …. Which is what I think doing a musical every night might be like.  It has got to be tough!

VAN:

Yeah, it is, but American Idiot is my most favorite thing I have ever done.  So, I made a very personal decision for myself to say, “You know what?  I have not been on tour before.  I have not seen most of the cities we are going to be hitting on this tour, and to be able to tell this story every single night, and to look at people in the eye across the country telling them things that I believe are true, there is nothing better than that.”  So I just made a personal decision that this is what I wanted to do for these six months to just push myself, and it is hard.  It is an assault on my body, my mind and my spirit.  I am kind of drained all the time, but it is worth it for me.

MICHAEL:

What is it about playing the anti-hero Johnny in the musical that is so draining?  Is it because of the character itself, or because in the musical you are dancing and singing and running all over the place?

VAN:

Both!  I get to play guitar, which is something I have been doing since I was ten, and so that is really personal to me. When you are in musical theatre you rarely get to do something like that.  So to be in a setting that is really comfortable for me, which is the stage, and to be doing material that feels very personal to me, and especially this story which is about a kid who wants to leave his suburban town, where he thinks life is going nowhere, and finds what lies on the other side… which is kind of what I did, when I moved to New York City.  I am originally from Chesapeake, Virginia, which is near Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and so it was totally different moving to the big city.

MICHAEL:

…. And you are performing the music of Green Day, and that has to be amazing!

VAN:

Photo Credit: Doug Hamilton

Yes. The music is the main thing.  There is barely any dialog to the musical, and we are just up there singing these songs.   It almost never stops, and if you know the American Idiot album at all, it’s mostly those tunes in the show.  There are some thrown in from Green Day’s newer record, 21st Century Breakdown, like 21 Guns and Know Your Enemy.  Billie Joe Armstrong was one of my idols as a kid growing up.  So to be singing this, I did not realize how much of my performing is really influenced by him until I started doing his show.  It’s funny to read the reviews where people are saying that I am a Billie Joe look-a-like, or that I act just like him.  I was not intending to do that; I was just trying to be myself.  It’s kind of funny to me, because I never thought of it that way, like I was doing his mannerisms or anything like that.

MICHAEL:

It’s cool!  You have got to have had a pinch yourself moment!  And then, in another pinch yourself moment, what did OLTL tell you happened with the role of Cole? How did you land the part?

VAN:

It was a last minute call from my agent to get down to the studio as soon as I could that day.  I had met the people at One Life before, but it was not for this role.  I can’t even remember what role it was for!  So the reason they called me was that they had an old tape of mine from a year ago, and executive producer, Frank Valentini responded to it.  I was one of two guys that they called in for the role.  Then within 30 minutes, I was the only guy available to do it!  I had been saying “no” to every thing all summer, because I wanted to rest and take a load off before I started this tour.  But OLTL said to me, “No. It works out perfectly for you.  It’s just these two weeks.  It’s right before the tour is going to start and it’s the final episodes of One Life, and it will be this epic thing.”  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  So, I just said “yes” to it.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

It was amazing, heartbreaking, and I thought the heaven scenes with you and Luna, and all of it, worked so well!  There were the scenes where Cole was trying to decide if he should stay in heaven or go back to earth, and then the scenes with Starr in the hospital where she is crying at his bedside.  Did you realize at the time, “I think I hit a home run with the material?  This is good!”  Or, did you not really know?

VAN:

First, yeah, it was heartbreaking.  I honestly did not know how it went.  Kristen said to me, “Well, how do you feel?  How do you think it went?”  And I am like, “I have no idea.”   I mean, I am not from that world where you just do a scene once and that’s it!  It is weird.  I had been on As the World Turns years before, and I always remembered after a scene going, “Whoa. That’s it?  Really?”  There is no time, and that is the magic of the soap genre and the art form.  There is something so transitory about it and real.  You have no idea what the other person in the scene with you is going to do, and that is probably what is going to be captured for the show.  What I am used to is rehearing everything a million times and thinking about it over and over again for weeks and months.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Susan Batten (Luna, OLTL)?

VAN:

She was great.  We have some mutual friends.  She was really cool.  And I guess because Luna was friends with Marty, she was there in heaven with Cole.  Susan is a very sensitive person.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

It must have been tough being at One Life for the additional reason that the show was winding down. There was the dwindling hope that the show would continue online, and the atmosphere must have been very sad on the set.

VAN:

I only felt it being sad the very last day of taping.  I was actually seeing people crying after their scenes and hugging the crew and exchanging phone numbers, and it was like watching an end of an era.  But all the times before that, everyone was so welcoming to me and just saying, “We know they are throwing you in above your head. You just have to trust yourself and you are awesome.”  Everyone was really patting me on the back, because as soon as I got to the studio …

MICHAEL:

… Yeah, I bet they were glad!  I bet they were yelping, “Thank God, There’s a great Cole!” (Laughs)

VAN:

Bob Woods (Bo) was saying to me, “You are really helping us out, you know?” (Laughs) I felt great being there and working with the cast.  I was just trying to do the best work I could with the time that I had, and to do justice to the character of Cole and what happened before, because I did not play it before.  I kept trying to keep the history of the character always in the back of my mind.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

What was it like working with Kristen Alderson?  She is one talented young lady.

VAN:

It was incredible!  From the first minute we talked on the phone, I knew this was somebody that I could relate to.  I didn’t think it was going to be hard at all, and it really wasn’t!  We had a great time those two weeks.  We shot the GH stuff and that was even more fun, because I was even more comfortable with the format and with Kristen.  The dialog was a bit lighter at first.  It was not quite starting off with the high-stakes emotional stuff.  So I am anxious to see what it looks like, because I did feel more comfortable about doing it.  I shot two episodes worth of shows.  I went to L.A. on my day off from the tour and worked.

MICHAEL:

Everyone is concerned how they are going to play this out … because they just got Starr and Cole back together at the end of OLTL, and now what is Cole going to do on GH?  Dump Starr?

VAN:

It is not anybody’s decision what happens with us.  It’s an accident, let’s put it that way.  There is something that has nothing to do with either one of us, but you know how it goes in the soap world.  People keep coming back and they are never really gone, and people are never really broken up, and so I like that prospect and the potential to play Cole Thornhart here and there.

MICHAEL:

So they are going to do something to keep you apart!  They are not going to blow you to smithereens, which often befalls residents of Port Charles?

VAN:

Well, they can’t really blow me to smithereens, or there would never be the potential for me to come back, but I like to keep my options open.  And in the context of soap operas, they always find a way.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

How was working with Frank Valentini, now that he is at the helm of GH?

VAN:

Going to GH and seeing Frank, and how he has taken over is amazing to me.  He tries to get faster days going so they can get through a lot of pages in the script.  He does that really well.  I think the actors really like him at GH.  Frank was definitely very hands-on in the scenes I was doing there.  I was impressed how he stepped into a completely new family and become the head of it, by the time I saw him next! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Did you notice the difference in size of the two studios?

VAN:

There is just so much more room in the studio in Los Angeles as compared to One Life’s in New York.  At GH, they can really spread out, and the crew is so efficient there.  It was an easy day and it was fun.

MICHAEL:

Did you work with anyone else during your short visit to GH besides Kristen?

VAN:

I can tell you, I did not work with Kassie DePaiva (Blair) or Roger Howarth (Todd).  They were not there, but I worked with the little actress who played Hope.

MICHAEL:

That must have been interesting for you too, when they said, “Oh by the way, when you come on to One Life to Live, you are also a father!”

VAN:

Courtesy/ABC

(Laughs) I know, and that was one of the biggest things with me of, “How am I going to wrap my head around this?”  The little girl has been on the show since she was 4 months old and that was interesting, because she is part of triplets, even though they mostly always use the same girl, the triplets are always there. (Laughs)  It’s kind of an interesting vibe to have these three little kids, who did not pay any attention to what I said, but in the scenes, she would say her lines at the right time and that was it. (Laughs)  I thought it looked good in the end, but when I was performing the scenes it was like, “I don’t know this kid at all and I am supposed to be embracing her!”  And the thing of it was, the kid did not know me at all, and she was just going along with it going, “Who is this guy?” and of course, she was grabbing me. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

You cry very well by the way on camera, so we were all happy!  (Laughs)

VAN:

(Laughs) That’s nice.  It was challenging and I have not done anything like that before.  I just try to get better and better the more I do stuff.  I did all kind of preparation for scenes like that, because I am not an emotional person, in general.  They said to me, “You are going to be on a soap opera.  You are going to have to change that.” (Laughs)  I started reading books about my childhood and unlocking emotions, and it really helped me a lot, and even with the material I am doing in American Idiot.

MICHAEL:

Would you do another soap opera?

VAN:

Of course, I would.  It seems like it worked.  I can’t really see myself and how it works.  I just have to get that feedback from other people.  I would love to do it, and it is very challenging and rewarding work when you wake up at 5 in the morning and are like, “I have 40 pages today. Let’s do this!”  I get that side of it and the amount of work every day is a new challenge.  I like that a lot.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

When was the point in the process of the two weeks you taped One Life, or was it after the fact, that you realized and understood that you are a part of this iconic show that was wrapping up 43 years, and you were part of the big ending of the show? 

VAN:

I guess I realized it when they first told me on a certain level, but it wasn’t until I actually watched it, and saw the whole thing coming together, because I did not know what the other scenes were.   I did not get how my story was going to fit in with the other characters arcs.  When I was in Toronto and had just opened the American Idiot tour, some of my cast mates and I would get together and watch One Life during the day.  It wasn’t until that moment where I went, “Oh my God!  This is a really epic ending. Everyone was yielding a gun!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Prior to seeing you on One Life to Live’s final weeks, I remember catching a clip of you and the touring company of American Idiot performing on a New Years Eve show in Toronto!

VAN:

Yes.  We performed on CTV in Canada on New Years Eve!  It was a spectacular and it was a Time Square-ish type of event.  It was massive.  There were tens of thousands of people who we were performing in front of who had been freezing their asses off all day!  I was standing out there at the commercial break just waiting to go on.  I was standing out there in the middle of all these people.  You can tell that they were so hungry for something, and then I would have them wave their hands and then ten thousand hands would wave back at me in an instance.  It’s a great moment that never gets old.  You think, “So many people!  So many heads!”

MICHAEL:

It’s kind of empowering though, wouldn’t you say?

Courtesy/ABC

VAN:

It is.  It is.  But it really had nothing to do with who we were, but it was about New Years Eve and about something else.  We were just there sharing the celebration with everyone.

MICHAEL:

Did you ever hear from Brandon Buddy after you were selected to be his replacement on OLTL?

VAN:

No, I never did, but I know he is in touch with Kristen Alderson.  I know she told me the other day when we were talking, that he said something like, “Mad props to Van”.   I think he hadn’t watched the episodes yet, but was glad it got done.  But I have no connection to Brandon, except watching him on You Tube as the original Cole.

MICHAEL:

Since you are a musician and a singer, do you want to record an album?

VAN:

I have always been into music.  It was either acting or music to go full force on.  I realized I had studied theatre and acting more than I had studied music.  So it made more sense that I do this for college and enter theatre.  But the thing about the music business right now is that it is kind of sad.  What is really happening with it at all?  I don’t want to get my hopes up in that aspect, but I have been songwriting a lot, and there is a musical I have been writing with some guys in New York.  So, when I get back, hopefully, we can try to get that up off the ground.  It features a kind of modern hipster rock music of today, not your normal musical.

Photo Credit: Babylon & Beyond photo

MICHAEL:

So we will get to see you this week on GH!

VAN:

This Friday, I will be on General Hospital.  My first episode is Kristen’s first episode on the show, too.  Cole and Starr are beginning their new life, and something will happen, yes!

MICHAEL:

I can’t wait to find out how Starr and Cole, of all things. wind up in Port Charles!

VAN:

Yeah, it’s a dozy.  It’s explained.  I guess I am on the show to explain why we are in Port Charles. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Many fans were singing your praises after your performances as Cole in the final weeks of OLTL.  Did you receive viewer feedback, and did fans reach out to you after your episodes aired?

VAN:

Courtesy/IMDB

I do have a personal Facebook account, and people were messaging me on there.  They were saying they had watched One Life to Live for a very long time and connected with me.  Then some people that I knew, that I didn’t know were One Life fans, were really excited to see that I was on the show and enjoyed it.  Then, Kristen told me that the fans she was in touch with on Twitter, as well as her mom, told me that fans were very complimentary and supportive of the new “Sole”, as they were called.  And actually, that made me feel really good, because I, at first, did not know what to think of it.

MICHAEL:

You did great!  And we were all basket cases, (myself included) as One Life came to a close.  As you know, I covered the show for so many years, and it was so hard the day I visited the set and saw you, and had to say goodbye to everybody.  I think you touched a lot of people’s hearts in a very short time.  When I got back from the trip and then watched everything play out on the air shows I thought, “This is really good.”  So, very special kudos go to you!

 

Click to comment
Advertisement

Leave a Reply

avatar
MEG
MEG

I really enjoyed Van as Cole .I didn’t like COLE B4 ,BUT I COULD HAVE LIKED HIM IF VAN WAS PLAYING HIM. AND I LOVED THAT CLIP FROM AMERICAN IDIOT.

Amanda
Amanda

I just caught Van on a Royal Pains episode and honestly thought he was related to the Jackson kids! He looks so similiar to Joshua Jackson (older brother to Jonathan Jackson, GH) maybe even twins or something! Google it!! It’s crazy!!!

kara anderson
kara anderson

they are mot twins

Jo
Jo

This lovely guy could play Jonathan Jackson’s younger brother in something. He looks so much like Jonathan IMO. He did a great job as Cole on OLTL. I don’t think he will have any problems getting more acting work.

kara anderson
kara anderson

there are good

andrea
andrea

I hope Sonny kills Gole. I do want to see vans musical.

Jan
Jan

You have no idea what wish to say, or maybe you do.

DEE
DEE

Someone is going to end up at the HOSPITAL wonder which one COLE OR STARR?

Megan
Megan

I was such a huge Sole fan. At first I was disappointed when hearing Brandon wouldn’t return, and as much as I would have loved that, Van did an impeccable job taking his place. Seeing how much effort he put into it and wanting to get it right is just incredible. Thanks Van <3

CTwildheart
CTwildheart

I agree with Megan…I really wanted to see Brandon come back as Cole. BUT, Van did a fantastic job! I look forward to seeing him in many more things.

Hummingbird
Hummingbird

Thank you so much Michael again for providing this interview for us. I wasn’t a BIG Sole fan, until Van stepped into the role. The man was absolutely FANTASTIC! I can not wait to see him again on GH. I was alittle nervous about what Van/Cole’s exit would actually involve something final. After reading your interview, I’m feeling much better about it. Starr & Michael will obviously happen in the aftermath, but in the end I think Cole will return to Starr & Hope someday. Soul mates on soaps often have the beauty do that, right? Love that 😉

Jan
Jan

First of all hes really not Cole BUt I can live wth it because I want Sole together.

Sheryl
Sheryl

Thank you michael for another great interview, I think Van did a great job and I’m looking forward toseeing him and everyone else fromOLTL on GH. Lot’s of luck to all of you.

Crystal
Crystal

I love Van, I preferred his Cole over the orginial and probably would have grew to like Cole again if he had been cast as Cole months again instead of towards the end but I’m going to be angry at RC if he brings Cole back to reunite with Starr especially if the show does end this fall because a OLTL couple should not get a happy ending on GH. It’s not fair to GH viewers who never watched OLTL especially the ones who will become fans of Starr’s GH pairing. It would be one thing if Cole was going to be a long term character but since he’s not, his love story with Starr needs to be resolved for good.

jessica
jessica

I really like sole and hope . the were the best. the were my favorite story line. i hope they stay togerther. I miss the other cole. I can”t wait to see on gh. It should be a good one

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Thanks for another great interview! I thought Van did a great job as Cole. I am a fan of “Sole” and Brandon Buddy’s version of Cole, but I was very pleased with the way the storyline played out and the talented actors involved.

I would love to see him in American Idiot. It is my favorite album of all time. And that’s saying alot, because I love music even more than soaps!

Nia
Nia

Great interview! I was not a fan of the original Sole, but Van really knocked it out of the park for me at the end of OLTL. He is a talented young man and hope to see his star(no pun intended) to continue to shine bright.

jeff
jeff

Never seen him quit watching OLTL but he killed with stars lil girl in his frist show on gh so is this a storyline for star and micheal together on gh with todd going after sonny and micheal and star in the middle of it all ????

Paul
Paul

good interview right here.

General Hospital

Ingo Rademacher Returns As GH’s Jax Beginning In May

Things will get more interesting in the lives of Josslyn (Eden McCoy), Carly (Laura Wright), Sonny (Maurice Benard) and many others on the GH canvas with the arrival back in Port Charles of Jasper Jacks.  That’s because as previously announced, Ingo Rademacher is headed back to the ABC daytime drama series to reprise his signature role.

Circle May 7th for when you will see Jax back in action.  According to EW.com. “He’s back to see his daughter Josslyn and ex-wife Carly”   Jax will also share scenes with Steve Burton (Jason) and of course Maurice Benard (Sonny).

Looks like Jax may be back to help out Josslyn in her time of need as her boyfriend Oscar’s (Garren Stitt) final days seem to be drawing near, or does something else also bring his attention back to Port Charles?

It’s been a bit since Ingo played Jax on GH having last appeared on the soap in April of 2017.  Ingo eventually landed the role as the recast Thorne Forrester on CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful, a part he played till December of 2018.

Back in March, the actor originally from down under shared on his Instagram account: “Won’t be long now.  Just had my fitting. All new look for Jax. Start shooting next week. No air date yet. Stay tuned. Can’t wait!”

So, excited for some Jax on GH? What do you think will bring him back? What do you think will keep him in town? Comment below.

 

Continue Reading

General Hospital

GH’s Coby Ryan McLaughlin Talks: Shiloh’s ‘Dawn Of Day’ Followers, Playing A Cult Leader, And His Co-Stars

Ever since the arrival in Port Charles of the mysterious “David Henry Archer” (Hank) now better known now as “Shiloh” (Coby Ryan McLaughlin), the minds of several members of the community have been revealed to, or have fallen under his spell.

For Shiloh is the cult leader of the group “Dawn of Day”.  He wields his manipulative skills to entrap unsuspecting people in his quest for power and control.   And make no mistake about it … he certainly has a target for Sam (Kelly Monaco), and an ax to grind with her.   For in her past, “the con-artist” Sam apparently swindled Shiloh’s father leaving him with next to nothing.  In addition to that, it has been noted, that Shiloh shared combat time in Afghanistan with Drew Cain (Billy Miller), before changing his name and coming to the town, where says he owes Drew for saving his life.

In story, one of his most loyal followers, Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) was to be initiated in the inner-circle of the cult, and after drinking from the cup as part of the ritual which drugged her, she was saved by Jason (Steve Burton ) who got her out of the “Dawn of Day” house and to a secret location, leaving Shiloh infuriated and needing to cover his tracks.  As the story has played out, we learn that Brad (Parry Shen) has also been bitten by the “Dawn of Day” bug and believes in Shiloh’s musing.  So much so that he wiped the evidence from the cup Krisina drank out of that Jason provided to Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) for testing in the hospital.  The GH audience has also learned that Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) was one of Shiloh’s favorite former members of the cult.  She has revealed she had a child with the guy (the baby she thinks is being raised by Brad) and needs to make sure he never finds out.  But, does Shiloh secretly know?

When we last saw Shiloh on Thursday’s episode of GH, he went into the files of the “Dawn of Day” followers and found Kristina’s.  He opened it, and we finally learn her “pledge” – a deep rooted secret from her past that one must share as part of the journey with the cult.  It revealed, that Shiloh knows that Kristina was abused by her former boyfriend Kiefer and that her mother, Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) ran him down and killed him with her car.  Kristina knows about it first-hand, because she saw it happen as she was in the car with Alexis.  What will Shiloh eventually do with this Intel?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Coby Ryan McLaughlin, who has been the catalyst for much of the latest trouble brewing on-screen on GH about: the complexities of playing such a dynamic, and yet terrifying character, what has it been like mixing it up with the stellar cast of the ABC daytime drama series, and what he thinks Shiloh’s next move might be.  Here’s what Coby had to say about all and more!

What do you think about the reaction of the GH audience to Shiloh?  Is it what you expected?

COBY:  I’ve never really played a bad guy like this.  It’s interesting playing a villain because they love to hate you.  I’ll go on Instagram every now and then and throw elbows at the fans.  It’s really a trip.  The thing I like about this guy is that he’s not completely diabolical.  There are other things going on with this guy; he has other agendas as well.  It’s interesting seeing people react to what it is that I am doing while I have a storyline that is playing out.

Courtesy/ABC

It’s is a bit of a trip as you say; because you have to, in many ways, be subtle in the manipulation as a cult leader would do.  Did you do any research on cult leaders before stepping into Shiloh’s shoes?

COBY:  I didn’t do much when I initially got the part, because I actually know some people like this.  I think as actors, one of the most interesting parts of our jobs is that we just get to sit back and observe things about people’s behaviors.  There are certain people who I have come across where my “Spidey senses” start tingling, and you think, “Well, I’m not going to get involved with this person, but what a fascinating individual.  This behavior is so fascinating.”  However, once I started this gig, yes, I did do research.   I’ll tell you, the one thing that a lot of these guys have in common is that they are extraordinarily exuberant.  They have just this energy about them, and they are seemingly humble.  They have these grandiose visions and these delusions of grandeur, but they do it in a way where you’re like, “Huh.  That almost seems kind of normal.”  In order to get a large number of people to follow you, you’ve got to be charismatic, you’ve got to be saying something that people really tap into and want to hear.  The behavior and psychology behind it are really interesting.  I watched this one documentary and these people literally had no idea … until they did.  They literally had no idea that they were in a cult until they woke up, and they were like, “Holy s**t.  This isn’t right.  This doesn’t feel right.”   Shiloh is an interesting role to play, and it’s written so straight down the line that I really don’t have to push anything, because the guy is written as what he is.   It’s really cool to be able to find all of the little things in that character, so I try to make him a whole bunch of different things to different people.

Did you know from the beginning that Shiloh would turn out to be this cult leader in the “Dawn of Day” storyline?  Who did you screen-test with that landed you the part?

COBY:  No, I didn’t know what he was going to be in the beginning.  I knew that he had an agenda, and when Mark Teschner (casting director, GH) told me that he was going to be a cult leader, I was like, “Oh, okay.  I know what I want to do.”   I have always had the opinion that cult leaders don’t come off bad… they’ve got to be likable.  You have to be able to relate to them in a way.  You have to be able to look at them and be like, “Ah well, maybe in certain circumstances what this guy is doing is okay.”  You have to be able to almost justify some of the behavior until you can’t anymore.  I screen tested with Laura Wright (Carly), and she is really fantastic.  We sit in the makeup chair and shoot the breeze all the time.

Courtesy/ABC

So, is Shiloh infatuated with Sam?   What does he ultimately want from her?

COBY:  Yes, but he wants a lot. (Laughs) There’s a lot of backstory to him and what really brought him to Port Charles.  Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and I have conversations all of the time about what this guy really is, and what his ultimate goals are, and that may change.  I think that Shiloh is a guy who has come to find his power, and the more powerful he gets, the more he wants.   You know, I’ve become a fan of General Hospital now.  I never watched the show before I got this gig.  I was a Days of our Lives guy years ago.  Don’t tell anybody. (Laughs).

Okay… we will not tell. (Laughs) Ah, sorry!  That’s got to be in the interview! (Laughs)

COBY:  All of  sudden, I will get a message from HR saying, “You’ve been great, but…” (Laughs)   But as to what Shiloh wants with Sam, you know I will read the scripts in advance, and I’ll start creating certain these things for myself in my own mind, such as: “What if he wanted to screw over Sam because of what she did to his father?”  What if it started like that, but all of the sudden he’s coming into some prominence and he wants to go after Sonny’s empire, and what if he wants to run the whole town and screw everybody…?”  I go through this whole thing.  It could literally go anywhere at any time, which is so cool about the soap world.

Without revealing what it is, do you have an idea of what the endgame is for Shiloh, or do you not?

COBY:  No, I don’t.  I think that it changes.  This is a really malleable medium, I’m coming to discover.  I think that nothing is set in stone.  I ultimately know what I want… just because I ultimately think that the foundation of the whole thing is rooted deep within this individual’s character: his emotional makeup, and how he was treated.  There is a lot of revenge going on with this guy, but there is a lot more than that.  He’s not just motivated by revenge.

Courtesy/ABC

Something had to have happened to him, of course, because you know how it works in soap operas!?  If you’re completely evil or bad, and even if you do horrendous things, and they want to keep you on the show, they have to find a way to humanize the character.  Otherwise, you’re there to cause trouble for a time, and you’re killed-off.  Shiloh’s tentacles seem more far-reaching then viewers first suspected.  He has this thing for Willow, who used to be in the cult, and now he’s got Brad under this thumb. What did you think about how much Shiloh is intertwined with and affecting the Port Charles canvas right now?

COBY:  I think that he is an apex predator.  I think that he sees certain people, and he knows how to utilize them for what he wants.  It’s kind of like a chess game.  He knows where Brad is.  He’s always wanted Willow, because it’s the one that got away, so there are certain things he uses as a means to an end, and there are certain things that I think he wants just for himself.  I think the relationships that he creates with this “higher-ups” in the town are because he knows he can utilize them, and there are some personal relationships that he keeps personal.  Shiloh has his own reasons for doing what he does, especially with Willow.  I think he was grooming her to be something.  Just the fact that she left him … really bothers him.

Photo: ABC

He doesn’t know that Willow had his child, or does he … hmmm? 

COBY:  No, not as far as we know.

If he was to know, what do you think he would do?

COBY:  Well …  you’re just going to have to watch and find out.

So, when you found out that there was this major initiation going on which included: the drugging of Kristina, the huge payment she made to be in Shiloh’s inner-circle, and how he was preying on her vulnerability, were you like, “Oh my, God! They’re really going all the way with this cult thing?”

COBY:  No.  We kind of alluded to it, and it has to go all the way.   I wasn’t surprised when I read that in the script.  This is this guy’s MO.  He gets what he wants.

Courtesy/ABC

Shiloh’s s really upset that Kristina is missing and has figured that Jason kidnapped her.  He wants her back in the fold, correct?

COBY:  He does want her back, but he wants her back for a variety of reasons … and not just the fact that she reminds him of Willow.  That’s part of it, but I personally believe that he wants her back, because as I mentioned earlier it’s all about chess pieces for him.  He sets up the prominent people in his organization, so he can set them up to expand his means and to expand his agenda … to motivate his agenda, because there is a bigger picture to all of this.  Kristina is a Corinthos and she is part of the most powerful family in Port Charles, so there is that as well.  He wants to be able to have that power hold over that towns that he is in.

Many in the audience are wondering if Shiloh having sex with Kristina was a key part of his plan.  Is that part of his ritual?  Having sex with women upon initiation into his “inner circle”… or is that a grey area?

COBY:  Here is the thing, everything is consensual with him … that’s where his charm comes into play, that’s where sense of power comes into play.  So, with these women, nothing is forced.  There is not coercion …  at all!   So, yes, its alluded that he sleeps with them, but we don’t necessarily know if that is true for all of them … or…. if it is just for the ones that he takes a liking to.   The other thing we know; is that this guy is also a megalomaniac, so it’s also an exertion of power as well.  What I tried to do with it was not make it so completely overt.   He is a bit of a jerk, but I don’t want it to overstep that boundary of being tasteless.  I think you can go too far with it, so that is one of the reasons that we alluded to the fact that it was always consensual, and people what to be with him for one reason, or another.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s why there was an important conversation written into the script with Jason, Sam, and Michael (Chad Duell) about how there is no way to nail Shiloh for a crime because he is so cagey with every move he makes.

COBY:  Yeah, you could say cagey, I say smart.

Now, Jason is his target.  Would you say there are even more underlying reasons that the obvious of why he dislikes Jason so much? Does he really have an axe to grind with him?

COBY:  I think he likes messing with people, and I think if he is unable to exert his power, or his will, or his control, over somebody, it really annoys him.  The stuff with Steve Burton is rather fun!  Shiloh can’t manipulate Jason like he can manipulate these girls, or the way he manipulates Brad, because Jason just operates on a whole different level.  I think that Shiloh finds it fascinating that he can’t get to him.   Shiloh also wants to get him out of the way, because he can’t out-muscle him.  Even if I could, the writers wouldn’t allow it. (Laughs) So, that’s never going to happen.  As Shiloh, I have to out-think him, because I want him out of the picture.   Shiloh sees Jason as an obstacle and he wants him out of the way, and he will do it by any means necessary, via him or with his kids… anyway that he can, because he can’t get at him on his level, because the playing field isn’t equal.

Courtesy/ABC

What about Shiloh’s relationship with Drew (Billy Miller)?  What does he truly feel about him? 

COBY:  I have this conversation with Frank Valentini all the time.  I think the relationship I have with Drew might be the only true relationship I have with anybody.  I think that Drew really did what Shiloh said that he did.  I think Drew really saved his life, and he does really want to pay that debt back.  I think therein really lies the contradiction with this guy.  It makes it difficult for him to operate.  I think he is conflicted on some levels because he is one guy to Drew, and he is a different guy to everybody else.  I think the way Shiloh is with Drew is real.  In his past, I think that Shiloh was completely fatalistic and reckless and didn’t care if he lived or died, and Drew did save his life, and he gave him a purpose.  However, I also think that he is such a damaged individual.  He needs that feeling of safety by exuding his power and control over others.  The writers have alluded to the fact that he has this other life, and that he was a broken individual, and turned his life around and came back from the brink of dying, of killing myself, of not caring.  So, with Drew, I don’t want to manipulate him.  I don’t want to use him.  I am truly just grateful for the fact that he allowed me another chance at life.  I love working with Billy, because that’s when I get to be human.  I’m not trying to gaslight him.  I’m not trying to get something from him – well, I’ll take that back, because I am trying to get something from him.  I’m just not trying to do it in a way that I go about it with the other characters.  There is a huge amount of respect between the two of us.

Unfortunately, Drew doesn’t remember anything about their past, which puts “pause” in believing Shiloh’s war stories.

COBY:  Yet.  (Laughs). Well, we’ve been alluding to the fact of, “What if he did this? What if he went back into his memories?  What if he were able to remember?  There are a lot of “What if’s …”  So, they keep a lot of balls in the air with this relationship.

Photo: ABC

What has it been like working with Lexi Ainsworth in this story, because she has been the main character so far drawn into the cult? 

COBY:  She’s great.  I love Lexi.  She is so easy, fun, and safe, and just a really nice person.  We sit and chat all of the time and talk about what it is that we want from each other in the scene and how it’s going to work.   Everyone is great.   Kaetlyn MacMullan is so much fun as well as Willow.  As an actor, it’s really fun when you get people who really want to play and want to go.

And, what are your thoughts on working with GH favorite, Kelly Monaco, who is key in your storyline?

COBY:  Kelly is rad.  We talk about being able to “play jazz” all of the time, which means being able to go into a scene and just riff and have a good time, because there is so much dialog that you have to learn.  I mean, that dialogue is nuts, and sometimes you forget halfway through a page-long monologue when you are at 27 pages in.  That’s when it’s wonderful to have a really good dance partner who can pick you up.  There are times where I get so off script, and I’m like, “Holy s**t!  Where am I going with this?” (Laughs) I have got really good people like Lexi, Katelyn, or Kelly who have my back and that just makes it fun.

Courtesy/ABC

Some actors like to watch back their work, while others don’t.  Do you check out your performances on GH?

COBY:  Yeah.  Somebody on Instagram, this wonderful fan, will take all of the Shiloh’s scenes and post them!  Shockingly, I don’t own a television, so I don’t watch the show that way.

Do you make changes or adjustments once you see your work?

COBY:  Not really.  I made a decision to keep it real low-key with this, and just try to play everything real.   The other thing is I had never done anything like this before in my career.  I was so intimated by this whole thing, that it was like, “Alright man.  Just get in and listen.  Listen to what your scene partners are saying to you.”  In my approach, I am trying to be as still as I can possibly be and let whatever that person is saying motivate my responses and my actions.  If I watch my work, I’m like, “Yeah, that makes sense to me; I like that.  That’s something that this individual would do.”  Shiloh controls every situation that he is in, and even when he is introduced to new characters, he doesn’t wait to be introduced, he’ll just walk up and say, “Hi, I’m Shiloh!  What’s new with you?  How’s it going?” (Laughs) He kind of disarms them in every scene he is in.

Photo: IMDB

Soap fans first saw you on The Young and the Restless in your stint as Andrew working alongside Eileen Davidson (Ashley).  How was that experience for you?

COBY:  Eileen was unreal.  She was really cool, because none of this phased her.  She had been doing daytime so long that it was just a thing to her.  I’d sit there and read my scripts over and over and over again, but she just knew how to do it.  It was so easy for her, that it made it easy for me.

In a broad stroke, what would you tells the fans to look forward to with Shiloh?

COBY:  Well, Shiloh is going to continue his agenda.  He is going to have to go about it in a different way.  There are things going down right now (and I won’t spoil it) that are going to change the way he operates, and he is going to have to get what he wants in a different way.  Some of the people who you would have thought that he trusted, have turned against him.  It just all makes it more fun for him because this is a huge game.  Even the stuff with Sam, you may think that you know where it is going, but it may not be.  So, as much as he is enamored by Sam, he has an agenda with her.

So, what do you think will be Shiloh’s next move?  Will he blackmail Alexis to get Kristina back at “Dawn of Day”? What is his plan for Sam? Is Shiloh connected to a key family in Port Charles, but it has yet to be revealed? Who else do you think might wind up in the cult? Finally, are you enjoying Coby’s performance on GH? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below!

Continue Reading

Breaking News

Cynthia Watros Replaces Michelle Stafford As GH’s Nina Reeves

Another big name is headed to the cast of General Hospital on the heels of the upcoming departure of Michelle Stafford.  Daytime Emmy winner, Cynthia Watros had been cast as the the new Nina Reeves.  Fans of Guiding Light remember her star turn as Annie Dutton, and she was last see on on daytime in the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless (2013-2014).

As previously reported, Daytime Emmy winner, Michelle Stafford is headed back to her old stomping grounds of The Young and the Restless to play her signature soap role of Phyllis Summer.  She will replace her own recast, Daytime Emmy winner, Gina Tognoni.  Both actresses are said to be finishing taping their current runs on their respective shows in May. Watros will begin her GH run in Port Charles in June,

GH’s EP Frank Valentini tweeted on today’s casting news: “It’s a bittersweet day. I love @TheRealStafford and wish her all the best. I’m also really excited about @watroswatros joining the #GH family and continuing Nina’s legacy.”

PEOPLE.com broke the casting change.  Stafford has been with GH since 2014.  As for Watros, she opted to leave her role on Y&R to join the cast of MTV’s Finding Carter.  She is also known for her run on the hit ABC drama, Lost and other notable primetime series and films.

Michelle Stafford’s on-screen GH love interest, James Patrick Stuart, tweeted on the news: “Cynthia Watros … Big fan.”

So, what do you think of the casting of Cynthia Watros as the new Nina Reeves? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Video du Jour

GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

The Michael Channel

Recent Comments

  • su000: “Hi Patrick, how yah doing? OK- We'll have fisticuffs round LOL I luv Franco and Finn.. Manly…
  • Molly: “Oh gosh yes I’ll be watching. Watching and crying. The promo was heartbreaking already.
  • Celia: “Love your comment, Tani. This storyline may very well be a testament to human struggles, albeit Summer's persona is…
  • Celia: “I think you may be right, Soapqueenforever....I feel the same way. After all his layers are stripped to the…
  • Kay: “All I see is pain in his eyes I wish he had found an answer
Advertisement

Power Performance

Kin Shriner as Scott

General Hospital

Airdate: 4-2-2019

Advertisement

Popular