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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


For Part #1 click here.

AWT: What was it like working with Anna Stuart (Donna)?

KB: Anna Stuart is unique. There is nobody like her, and from the moment we met we just clicked. To this day we’re still friends. During our time on the show, we spent more time together than any boyfriend and girlfriend ever did. I just think the world of her. I have the attention span of a hummingbird, and she’s got this photographic memory. Sometimes we’d be in a scene, and there wasn’t a line within eight miles of my head. I’d watch her. If she got lost, she’d pull the page up in her head, find the line and say the line. You could watch her do this, it was remarkable.

AWT: What do you think contributed to your fantastic chemistry with her?

KB: We were married in a previous life? I can’t explain it. We had freedom to play and have fun, and she was just great to play around with. You can’t write chemistry. You can try, but the fact is, chemistry will always win out. If two actors who just can’t cut it are put together, there’s no chemistry. The audience doesn’t buy it. I guess we were really lucky and I feel like it was more or less ordained in a way.

AWT: You also had a great fraternal chemistry with David Forsyth (John).

KB: Dave was like meeting an old friend that I’d never met before. He and I had a lovely connection from day one. He’s my best friend to this day. There was really a lot of love between all of us in that place; which you really need when working with each other that much. Again, you couldn’t write that chemistry. We just clicked and started laughing when we met, and we haven’t stopped laughing since.

AWT: Meanwhile, Michael was the mortal enemy of Donna’ father, Reginald, played by John Considine.

KB: This guy was just great, and the biggest laugher. He would pull stuff on camera and do stuff that would have me just wetting my pants! And I couldn’t say anything because he would always do it when the camera was on me. We just had a beautiful connection naturally.

AWT: Your had two runs as Michael on AW, the first run just recently ending on the AW episodes currently running on Hulu and YouTube.

KB: Yeah, the first time I left was after my son, Nicholas, was born. My wife at the time was working as well, and it was kind of nuts because I barely saw my son. I wanted us all to be based in the same city. So at the end of my contract I left AW and New York, and we moved to Los Angeles where we could both work.

AWT: How did your return come about?

KB: When I decided that I wanted to come back to AW (I was told that the door was always open), the producer at the time, for some baffling reason, didn’t like me at all. Even though I never met her, I was told flat-out that it wasn’t going to happen. Many months later, I get a phone call from the new Executive Producer offering me a job. Oddly enough, when Michael returned he had a son named Nicholas, and I said ‘Isn’t that amazing. Where did you come up with that name?’

AWT: What did you like best about Michael his second time around in Bay City?

KB: Michael now having a son gave more story. The second time around we did some of the best stuff I’d ever been given, because we had Jill Phelps and John Valenti by that time.

AWT: How do you feel your character differed the second time around? How did he evolve?

KB: Gray hair. I was bitching and moaning and, as everyone knows, the only person that bitches more than a non-working actor is a working actor. So I was complaining one day and my wife at the time said, ‘You never were the young buck on the show, more like the middle aged buck’ and I think what happened is that I went past the middle aged buck…. But honestly, Michael was me. I mean fundamentally what people saw for the most part – except for the situations – was me. You work so hard. In the early days, when you were working there, you’d see more of your cast-mates than your own family. We’d shoot until 2:00 or 4:00AM, sometimes all night and into the next day, and just move over into the next studio to start the new day’s schedule. Back then, they could do that and you wouldn’t really have time to think. Your character developed as you developed. As an actor, all I can really do is keep trying to improve and be more in the moment and do my own work before I got there. I don’t think there was any conscious evolution. I think if he evolved, he simply evolved through age.

AWT: What were your feelings on his exit?

KB: Believe me, no one was more upset about Michael being killed off than I was. I had been working off contract for a few months and heard about it on set. That’s the cruel thing about soaps. I know someone who learned they were being fired by walking on set while another actor was being screen-tested for his role. The stories are apocryphal, but they’re true. I think the higher-ups believe you’re going to act out, or act like a jerk or something, and so a lot of times they’ll wait until the last second and then tell you that you just worked your last show. Anyway, I continued working for a few months when someone (God bless them) who shall remain nameless called me up and said that they just got the scripts for December and January and told me that Michael was going to die. I was so not prepared to die. So I called up the Executive Producer and went up to her office and was told that they were bringing on a different family and were phasing out the Hudsons. The writing was pretty much on the wall by then about the show’s future, it only lasted a few more years, but it’s a marathon job and when you’re wound up and ready to go and then someone says ‘Not so fast, there, Bob,” you’re not quite ready to be stopped. But you know that’s always the case. When you’re an actor there are no sure things. Afterward, I was thinking that it was still, all in all, the best experience and I was grateful that someone paid me to do the thing that I love to do…. Then at the same time I’m wrapping up at AW, I got a call from One Life to Live and they asked me if I would work off-contract and I said ‘well, sure’ because actors act. For a while I was airing on both shows at the same time, because I had already started as Sam Rappaport at OLTL while Michael was being shown in flashbacks on AW. I felt very fortunate to have another role to step into.

Come back next week for Part #3!

Friday, January 22, 2010


AWT: Do you remember your initial audition for the role of Michael Hudson?

KB: I was in Brazil doing a movie and just got back to Los Angeles. I didn’t know if I ever wanted to do a soap, not that they were knocking my door down, but all of a sudden my agent called me up and told me that I had a screen test with Deirdre Hall over at Days of Our Lives for the John Black character. So I went in and auditioned and (Deirdre) was great, really wonderful to work with, and then I didn’t hear anything, and I thought, ‘God, I know I did okay.’ I mean, not to hear anything was just odd. And then a week later, I get a phone call asking would I do a soap in New York, and I said okay. So I got on a plane and flew to New York. I tested on the sound stage with Anna Stuart (Donna). I flew in on a Monday, auditioned on that Tuesday, and was shooting on Wednesday. They actually had been shooting the back of Michael’s head while they were looking for an actor. How I got called in was that the casting director remembered me from an audition for As The World Turns about 4 or 5 years back, and so they were looking for me to audition me, but I had been in Brazil. So the first NBC knew I was back was when I came in for the DAYS test. I guess it was meant to be.

AWT: What did they tell you they were looking for in the character?

KB: Just that Michael was kind of the mysterious guy and the father of twins, and that I had been (involved with) Donna. The thing is, something like that, you’re playing the moment, so you do your work as an actor to figure out your history, and you go in and do it. I was just having fun as an actor because I thought that this would probably be thirteen weeks and I could pay off my VISA card and that would be that. So I’d go in thinking: ‘Let’s make him a shell-shocked Vietnam Vet’. I’d go in with that as my subtext and just give it a little bit of that underneath, and they started writing it. The writers were very perceptive and could see what you’re doing and take it and run with it. It was amazing.

AWT: What was it like working at Another World?

KB: The wonderful thing about Another World, bar none, is that it was always about the work, no matter what. It was like you were in a lifeboat together. You don’t choose the people who jump over with you, but now that you’re in this situation, you’re all each other have. No matter what was happening in the dressing rooms – and there was a lot! – it was always about the work. This was after teleprompters, and we’d have 12 to 15 page scenes early on, and sometimes you’d get lost in there and sometimes it became surfing. Because they’re not going to cut the cameras once you’ve got something going. We weren’t going to go back to the beginning. They didn’t call ‘cut’ unless someone came in and parked their car in the middle of the scene. So we’d ad-lib. We’d figure out our way back and it’d be like surfing with somebody else. Tommy Eplin (Jake) was great at it. It’d be like playing a symphony, and then someone would say a word that would spark something and you’d work your way back, and then I’d think ‘My God that was great!’ It really required a lot of attention and was a high adrenaline experience. It was the most fun show I’ve ever worked on, and certainly the best group of people.

Come back on Wednesday, January 27th for Part #2!


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