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Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Ed Fry recently returned to As The World Turns in the role of Dr. Larry McDermott, which he first played from 1990-1995. Another World Today caught up with Ed to talk about his daytime debut role, Detective Adam Cory (1986-1989).

AWT: What were you told about the role of Adam when you first auditioned for it?
EF: Just that he was a detective. That he was supposed to be very capable, very smart, sort of a big city detective who was coming to a smaller town to work on a case. As it turns out, he has family in town, so it’s not just any small town.

AWT: Do you remember your audition?
EF: My first audition was in LA. I wasn’t living out there, I was out there working. I auditioned in LA and then I came back to New York and I got another call, this time for a screen-test. There were only two or three other actors they were screen-testing. I would test and somebody else would go in, then I’d go back in, and somebody else would go in. You could feel the competition. You could also feel that they liked everyone they saw, so they didn’t quite know how to make a decision. But, when I walked on the set, there was a page calendar, and it was open to my birthday. And I said, “That’s it! This job is mine! That’s the sign! This is very auspicious!” One of the things they asked us to do was, the actress who was screen testing with us (Ed. Note: Not an AW regular), I was asked to look at her and (talk) about her face, or some feature on her face. I was very comfortable doing it, it was like doing an exercise in acting class, there was nothing scripted. I looked at her, and she had quite beautiful eyes, so I talked about that. I always thought that was what got me the job. I see the actress from time to time on TV and I think, “There she is, the actress with the pretty eyes who got me the job on the show!”

AWT: Since it was your first daytime job, how did you adjust to the pace?
EF: They were smart enough to work me in a few pages a day. Fifty pages a day would have been beyond me. I remember the very first day I was on the show. Robert Lupone was my older brother (Neal). We had this scene where we were supposed to be sneaking up on something. In the scene, he whipped around and when he did, his elbow accidentally clocked me right on the bridge of my nose. All I saw were stars. So my first day, I almost get knocked out on the set. How auspicious! My eyes were going in three different directions, but I said, “I’m fine! I’m fine!” Poor Robert, he just apologized and apologized. I really was kind of loopy that day.

AWT: So you had nowhere to go but up!
EF: I remember very early on, in the first month or so I was on the show, I was in the Cory living room and basically all the established cast was in that set. Because they were all familiar with it, they were very loose and chatty, talking it up, and because I was new to it, I had a lot more nerves. At one point, I thought: If I don’t say something, I’m going to die! So I actually had to turn to them and say, “Excuse me, I really need just a little help, if you guys could keep it down a little, I would appreciate it.” Well, they all turned and looked at me like: Who just said that? What did he say? And I thought, “Oh, shoot me now.” But I had to do it. As an actor, you have to take care of yourself, you have to ask for what you need. And I want to say that I have never, ever, ever, ever forgotten this: Connie Ford (Ada) came to me later. Now, Connie could be really gruff. She could be tough, she could be hard. She came to me later, and she pulled me aside, and she said, “Good for you! You stuck up for yourself, you asked for what you needed. That’s the right thing to do. If people are talking when they shouldn’t be talking, you just tell them to shut up! This is a professional set, we’re all professionals. Just because someone else is larking around doesn’t mean you have to. Good for you for standing up for what you need!”

AWT: It sounds like who Ada was on-screen, Constance Ford pretty much was off.
ED: After that, Connie and I got along beautifully. I think she respected my process and I came to know hers and respect hers. It was a mutual admiration society. She was tough, but the thing about Connie was, she was a very experienced actress. She worked in Hollywood, she worked in films, she worked in television, she worked with everybody, she worked high, she worked low, she’d seen it all. She wasn’t in the business of taking much from anybody. She was very clear about what she needed as a professional in the moment to be able to get the job done. I’ve actually thought about Connie on occasion recently. She was very big on rehearsal and making sure you were paying attention in rehearsal. That you had props, and the pieces of business that you needed for the scene. That you have all that in rehearsal, so that your rehearsal was meaningful. I’ve often thought about Connie in subsequent years as rehearsal has been cut away until guess what, there’s no rehearsal! Which really is a different challenge, especially for younger actors working in daytime today. It’s a very big challenge.

AWT: Does that force the actors to rely more on themselves or on their directors?
EF: There were two AW directors that I absolutely remember, Don Scardino (ex-Chris, now with 30 Rock) and Chris Goutman (now ATWT’s EP). Both of them, because they’d worked as actors, knew how to direct actors. Instead of moving you from point A to point B, a director who has been an actor will understand what the question is for the actor, in order to make him do that well. How will you move from point A to point B and why you move from point A to point B, that’s what makes it interesting. One good question from a director can open four or five new questions in my own mind. That’s always of value, and ultimately it ends up better work on the screen.

AWT: So the writers create the words and story, and the director moves you from point A to point B, what do actors bring to a scene, to make it all gel together?
EF: That really has to do with individual actors, both their professionalism and their personal disposition. Some actors have a natural ease and flow about them, which makes working with them just the simplest thing in the world, so natural and easy. And other actors… don’t. As a professional, you have to look and find something that will help open doors, as opposed to just being an obstacle. The thing that always makes it interesting to watch is the chemistry between two actors. And I’m not saying that the chemistry always has to be good. I’ve worked with actors that I have terrible chemistry with, but that terrible chemistry is very alive and very interesting and very useful. I’m not saying there always has to be good chemistry, there just has to be something you can use to bring the material to life and tell the story. ‘Cause that’s what we’re doing, we’re telling stories.

AWT: Do you have a memorable story from your time on AW?
EF: Well, there was the story that never seemed to end! It was the serial killer story. It was supposed to be for four months, and it ended up being a nine month story. I think it killed half the cast. I was supposed to be the really smart cop who was going to catch the serial killer, except I never could. As the story progressed, I had longer and longer days and longer and longer weeks. It just became internal insanity. I had 150 pages a week. So I was doing 30 or 40 pages a day, all just chatting, chatting, chatting. When you’re working five days a week, by the time you get through five looooong days, you’re exhausted. I would go home and sleep for a full day. Which was a problem, because I was already at that point in deficit for learning scripts for the next week. Plus, my mother was quite ill during this period, so it wasn’t just the show, I was having to fly back and forth to Iowa every three weeks and look after her and the house. It was insane.

AWT: How did you survive?
EF: I survived because, personally, when the going gets tough, I have an ability to just put my head down and go. I just focus and get through. That’s really all I did, just push through it. It was a very challenging two and a half years that I was on the show. Very rewarding, but very challenging. I still have friends from that show. I just went to a birthday party with Kale Brown (Michael). And I see David Forsyth (John) and Larry Lau (Jamie).

AWT: Did you and Larry manage to cross paths on ATWT while he was playing Brian?
EF: No. But I actually had an Another World flashback there recently. One of the sets that I was working on at ATWT, a piece of it had an old AW stamp on the back of it. I guess they recycled a piece of the set. It was the top set piece of somebody’s office. The bottom was all new, and then the top they’d recycled and brought in. When you walk around behind the set, you can see what’s new and what isn’t and the piece on top actually said, CORY-AW-22. That reminded me of my AW audition.

AWT: In addition to your return as Larry, what else have you been doing?
EF: I do a lot of writing. My wife and I have things we work on together. I have to say, for all the occasional insecurity of it -- everyone who works in this industry faces the unknowable. You have to deal with insecurity; if you can’t, then this is not for you -- I have to say I have a really interesting life. I have no (serious) complaints. I consider myself a really fortunate individual. I have to work hard, I’m not sitting around, but my life is full of interesting, meaningful responsibilities and people and events, and I am so grateful for it.

Check the PGP Classic Soaps Blog next week for more from Ed about his ATWT role, and how his personal life has changed since Bay City.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

we were surprised to see Ed Fry back on AW for a day or two but not as Adam Cory. It was a shock because he was so well known as Adam Cory, but it was great to see him again.

November 12, 2009 at 11:36 AM  

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