Deep Soap: Pine Valley Goes Hollywood Part One

Cameron Mathison (ABC)

Cameron Mathison (ABC)

Wednesday, ‘All My Children‘ invited reporters to its new Los Angeles studios.  Tucked away behind on a mini-mall on a far from glamorous street, is Pine Valley 2.0.  The two spacious soundstages allowed plenty of room for large standing sets.  We met with the cast by the bar at ConFusion, lending a casual, festive vibe to the interviews.

Cameron Mathison (Ryan): Actor, Host, Diplomat

What’s the mood like on the set?

We had to leave our crew in New York.  That’s definitely the worst part about it.  On the flip side, there’s a rejuvenated energy here.  In some ways it feels like a new show.  There’s new faces, new cameras, everybody except most of the cast.  Sometimes change is good.  We can still keep in touch with the people that we miss.

What do you think of the new writing team?

Most importantly, the fans are really digging the change.  I definitely notice differences.  I liked a lot of what Chuck [Pratt] was doing so I don’t want to trash that, but it seemed like it needed a change.  I think they found the right people to do it. I think the show’s [moving] in the right direction.  Our numbers our better than they have been in a long time.  I notice a difference and I certainly feel like the words I’m saying aren’t more of a stretch.  I don’t have to tweak them in order to make sense anymore.  Chuck was trying some different things.  I really respected a lot of things he was trying to bring to the show.  I don’t know if it was the best fit.

A lot of fans had a strong reaction to Ryan and Erica’s relationship.  Was it challenging to play that story?

It was not tough for me to play at all.  I’ve got to tell you, I was the biggest fan of that storyline.  I really think, for a lot of reasons, it made sense.  They were really close friends.  Yeah, her character was a little older than my character.  But if it was an older man, younger woman there’d be no story.  For me, it felt meaningful to get a different angle, to break out of the box a little.  This can happen.  I know the fans had a tough time seeing these characters as anything but close friends but I dove in head first.  I was totally excited about it.  I think it made perfect sense.  I loved working with Susan [Lucci].  We work in a similar way.  She’s busy, I’m busy.  We try to get it down and do the best job we can.  She’s a talented actress.

What do you think about the twists in the Ryan/Greenlee storyline?

I like that they include the Erica factor.  That drove the initial wedge between them.  At this point, it’s the David factor that’s driving the wedge in.  I think David and Greenlee in a weird way make no sense, which is why it’s really cool.  I think it’s a really great triangle.  There’s nobody in Pine Valley that Ryan hates more than Hayward.  Who knows what’s going to happen with David and Greenlee?  It’s sort a dark, twisted pairing.

What does the departure of David Canary (Adam/Stuart) mean for the show?

Im a huge fan of David Canary’s.  From the time started on the show, he’s been my role model not just because I think he’s a great actor.  He does what we all try to do every day and that is bring our A-game.  That’s probably the hardest thing about soaps.  It’s not necessarily the lines.  It’s not necessarily the schedule.  It’s that you want to do your best every day and we have these [difficult] circumstances and you can’t.  David Canary was able to do that almost every day I’ve seen him work.The fact that he’s a family man.  The fact that he’s humble.  He’s going to be very missed. I’d like to point out that he’s not getting written out dead.  He’s basically retired but whenever he’s in L.A. he’s made it clear that he will be back on the show.

Jamie Luner (Liza)  Travels The Rocky Road

Jamie Luner

It looks like Tad and Liza’s relationship is in trouble.

It’s going to be a rocky road, and I’m not talking about the ice cream.  We’re on a drama, so we’ve got to keep it moving.  [Michael Knight and I] were not happy about it because we love working together.  As storyline goes, it propels Liza to the next stage of where she needs to go.  She’s going to get more driven in her professional career.  If she can’t get that love and validation from a man or a child that’s going away she’s going to focus all that energy into her work, money, profession.  I think that we’ll have the fans rooting for her because they see what she’s gone through recently so now hopefully they’ll be on her side.

Was it difficult stepping into a role that had been previously played by somebody else?

Apparently from other people’s perspectives, but not mine, because I’d never watched the show before.  I didn’t really know who I was replacing.  I just knew they hired me to do what I do.  I guess the fan feedback was, “You’re not the Liza we know. It’s different.”  I go, “You’re right.  It is different.  Hang on and see if you like it.”  So the feedback has been really positive.  I’m glad about that.

What do you think about the show’s change in head writers?

It was hard for me because Chuck Pratt brought me into the show.  He’s a good friend and it was a little hard to see that change.  But they were looking for a certain thing.  He did a lot more situational things.  This is a lot more emotional and character situations.  We’re all really happy with it.  They’ve got an incredible team and I certainly hope to work with Chuck again in the future but we’re in really good hands.  I find the writing now it’s just very conversational.  They throw in these soapy camp phrases now and then which you love to hear but it’s not all the time.

What’s the vibe on the set right now?

Now that we’ve all figured out how to get to the stage from our dressing rooms, we’re really happy.  It’s exciting and new.  When it was announced that we were moving, there was this dread.  Everybody was stressed.  A lot of our friends on the crew lost work.  We were going into the holidays.  We’re dealing with people uprooting themselves.  It’s almost symbolic.  A lot of our sets are new and shiny and bright.  That’s how our energy is.

Adam Mayfield’s (Scott) Revealing Blooper

Adam Mayfield

How do you feel about your TV father and uncle, David Canary’s decision to retire?

It’s very bittersweet.  I don’t want to see him go.  He’s one of my favorite people that I work with around here.  But I know it’s what he wants and I know it’s what’s going to make him happy.  So I wish him all the best, but I hate to see him go.

You’ve worked with him as both Adam and Stuart.

That was hard enough knowing that I couldn’t work with him as Stuart anymore because, well, he’s dead.  But to not work with him at all, it’s unfortunate for me, for us.  His roots are with his home, with his family in Connecticut.  That’s where he wants to be.  We respect that.

Was there any difference in working with him when he was Adam and Stuart?

I actually preferred working with him as Stuart because he reminded me so much of my grandfather who was my hero growing up.  There were so many feelings of warmth and comfort and love whenever I would do scenes with him as Stuart.

You’ve got a bit of a twang in your voice that Scott doesn’t have.  Where are you from?  Was it tough losing your accent for acting?

I’m from Houston, Texas.  I started taking what you could call budget diction lessons about two years ago when I realized my accent was getting in the way of getting jobs sometimes.  People suggested speech therapy or dialect coaches.  I took a short cut.  I went to one and I said, “Tell me which consonants and which vowels I need to work on.”  So she circled them.  And then I went out and got this tape on how to speak standard American dialect.  So I would circle all the track numbers that pertained to what this dialect coach told me and then I would drive around in my truck practicing over and over again until I got it down.

How are you liking life in Los Angeles?

I lived here for a few years before they cast me in New York only to find out six months later that they were moving the show to L.A.  I had a nice nine month vacation in New York.

Scott and Annie have an interesting relationship.  What’s going to be happening there?

I have no idea.  I’d like to see them hook up.  I think Scott understands Annie despite his disapproval of her actions.  I think a lot of times Annie does and says what Scott only thinks.  So I think there might be a little envy there as well which I think would make for a very interesting dynamic in a relationship.

What would be your dream storyline for Scott?

Head of Chandler Enterprises, working with J.R. of course because I love Jacob [Young], and possibly married to Marissa.  That would cause a little tension.  Scott’s got to give somewhere.  He is talking about wanting Chandler Enterprises, wanting J.R. to work with him, but at the same time coveting his wife.  I think secretly deep down he’s always had a soft spot in his heart for Marissa even if he’s let that go now because he has to.

What is the funniest blooper that’s every happened when you were taping a scene?

Probably when I had to run in from the pool stark naked wearing only a flesh colored felt codpiece around my member.  At one point there was some blocking involved and it came off.  I had no idea.  I probably went for at least another ten seconds in the scene before realizing that I was exposed.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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