Transcript of the interview with actor
better known as Kirk Anderson on
AS THE WORLD TURNS
The interview was aired live at 9pm eastern
on Wednesday, May 29, 1996
It was conducted by Peter Anthony Holder
the evening talk show host on
CJAD 800 AM, Montreal
CJAD: As I've mentioned in the last little while, because I've been gloating about it, I had the opportunity to travel down to New York City to the set of your program
TOM: That's right...
CJAD: I had a chance to meet you, "the" Kirk Anderson. Nothing like the character, I may add.
TOM:Well, I think that's good.
CJAD: You've been playing Kirk Anderson for awhile now, haven't you?
TOM: Yeah, for about eight years now. A little over now, actually. I came on in April of 88. It's been quite an interesting ride.
CJAD: A lot of changes have taken place in the years you've been there.
TOM: Yeah, well as people who have watched the show carefully know, I went from being a fairly bad guy to then sort of being a nicer guy, then sort of drifting back into a bad guy, and now I'm somewhere in the middle, but things are going to be changing soon, I think. So I'm looking forward to some of the things that are gonna happen, some of which I can reveal, some of which I can't.
CJAD: I went on-line in two places. I went into CompuServe and I also went onto the Internet. As I'm sure you are aware, there are various soap opera forums out there for the soap fans. I mentioned to some people that you were going to be on the program and they sent me some e-mail to ask you some questions, which I will get to through the course of the hour. We also have people who would like to speak to you on the phone. You said some changes are going to be taking place. Now it just so happens that yesterday, as luck would have it.....every once in awhile, each month I have Jonathan Reiner from SOAP OPERA WEEKLY MAGAZINE on the program. He eluded to something that is happening with one of the characters on the show that may or may not affect you. Anyway, I'm going to read an e-mail from somebody sent me. It says, "I am one of the biggest Kirk and Sam fans there is." This is from somebody name Sandra. I don't know where she is though. "I enjoy their work together as a team and think they have great chemistry together. My question is I just read on AOL last night that Brooke Alexander (Sam) is being written off ATWT. Is this true? If so, I am devastated. Does Tom know anything about it or can he comment on this. I just hope it is a terrible rumour! Well.....
TOM: Well I can comment on it. It's on AOL huh? That's pretty amazing. I'm on AOL. I haven't checked in for awhile. Yeah, she is going off the show. And boy, I feel bad for fans because this has happened with me a lot, with my character. I seem to hook up with a woman. People seem to really love the chemistry and then for one reason or another the union breaks up. The first one of course was the affair that I had with...actually it was a relationship that I had with Iva Snyder. It was an amazing thing. I mean that's when chemistry just takes over. People just took to that pair amazingly. Then Ellie Snyder, Iva's sister came into the picture and the head writers sort of like the chemistry between me and Renee Props, who played the character. So we moved away from Iva and that devastated a whole slew of fans all across the country and Canada and the world I guess. So then people started liking Ellie and me together and then she left the show and that devastated a whole new of slew of fans. And now with Sam I think.....you know but I think that what keeps soap opera hopping and fresh. Unfortunately you get used to seeing people everyday, or at least every week together and you develop an affinity for a certain chemistry that two characters have. And when that has to end it is a sad thing. It's like the end of a breakup in a family or something like that.
CJAD: How did you first come to the role of Kirk Anderson on the show, and I know a lot of time when they cast people, they often cast someone who pairs well with somebody else. Was that something that was initially in your plans, or did you just get the part because that was what the character called for as opposed to his interaction with other characters in the show.
TOM: Well the truth is they were desperate, (laughter). They had been looking for an actor to play this character for a long time. I was out in Los Angeles at the time and primarily New York soaps do a lot of the casting in New York and if they have difficulty find a character they'll go out to Los Angeles. But I happened to have worked with the Executive Producer at the time in another soap opera that I'm sure many, certainly Canadian fans remember, which was TEXAS. I was also on ANOTHER WORLD, which I know has a lot of Canadian viewers. And so, I worked with this Executive Producer. He moved to ATWT and as I say, this is no lie, they were desperate. Finally we ran into each other on the street and he said, "gee would you be interested in...", and I said, "sure." I tried out for the role and the rest is history.
CJAD: There is a lot of sly humour to Kirk Anderson. I'm wondering how much of that is Kirk Anderson, how much of that is Tom Wiggin, and how much of that are the writers?
TOM: I would say most of it...really most of it is me, (laughter). I mean, what we do...actually a lot of it started with Doug Marland. The head writer who created the role. He always gave Kirk, even when Kirk was a little more evil then he is now, he always gave him a slightly sardonic edge. Then when they kind of pulled me out of the bad guy role and made me into a nicer guy, I felt that one of the only ways that I could really keep that interesting, was by injecting as much humour as I could into the whole process. As a result, you know, everybody feeds off of everybody else in soap opera. The writers see what the actors are doing and they start writing it. The actor picks up on a direction a writer wants to go and he runs with it. The director sees the whole picture and they encourage that too, so we all basically work together to try and bring some of that humour to the character and to the show. But a lot of the stuff that you see is stuff that sort of just comes off the top of my head and I go to rehearsal and I say, "how about this?" And the director will say either yes, no, or let me ask the producer. And then maybe the producer will say, yes, no or let me ask the Executive Producer, (laughter). But usually it's "yes, go ahead and give it a try and if it works we'll keep it."
CJAD: Let's go to the phones for callers to Tom Wiggin. Sandy in Cote St. Luc, hello.
CALLER: Hi, it's a pleasure to speak to you. I don't know whether to call you Tom or Kirk.
TOM: Whatever. Just call me!
CALLER: Well, usually of I'm a great fan of this particular soap. I'm a great fan of yours and the cast actually.
TOM: Well thank you.
CALLER: And it's really a pleasure to speak to you. I never thought I would get this. I'm gloating on this one and Peter's gloating on a bigger one!
TOM: Good, here's your fifteen minutes of fame.
CALLER: I'd like to ask you some questions, but I will use the name of the characters that you play on TV, because it's easier for me.
CALLER: Okay. First of all I would like to know if Diego and Emily...what are they really up to? That's number one. What do they want, those to? And the second question being, were you involved in the plane crash?
TOM: Um, well, the first question is, I'm not sure. And I'm wondering how sure anyone is about what they want to be honest with you. I think the desire is to....I think Emily wants my job. I believe that's her motivation in all of this.
CALLER: Yes, she is a sneaky one.
TOM: Diego, I think.....I'm not sure what he wants. He's still a mystery man, and quite frankly even with my inside understanding of the story, which is another point that maybe we can talk about for a few seconds which is, sometimes we have a very good...we are told in advance what's going to happen and we are clued in on all the different elements of a story. A lot of times we're not though, and there are a couple of reason for that. One is this one right here. The writers don't want us to know a lot of things so that we don't come onto show like this and give everything away. And so sometimes they're very closed and protective of that.
CJAD: Is another reason also perhaps the fact that sometimes the writers either have the actors in the highest regard or don't and they figure if they don't tell you too much, you won't be acting the wrong way.
TOM: Well yeah, I have a real problem with that line of thinking because, if I were to play HAMLET, I don't think anybody would expect me not to read the end of the play just so I would play the beginning scenes better. You know what I mean.
TOM: As actors we are trained professionals. Part of the deal is the more we know the more we can color the character and we can distinguish between what's happening and what's going to happen. Just because we know what's going to happen doesn't mean we are not going to effectively play that we don't know what's going to happen. That's what we're paid to do, so I never liked that line of reasoning. I think the more information an actor gets the better that actor is going to portray a character and the events that the character has to go through. I just think they don't want any leaks and the easiest way is to keep things close to the vest. Another thing that happens, however, is that things always change. And that's one of the fun things about soap opera. I mean, they may have an idea for Diego. In fact they did have an idea for Diego a long time ago as to who he was and what he was all about. However, the fan response dictated that that character go in a different direction. And that's happens all the time. You know, a character will come on and he's supposed to do this, this and this, and suddenly the audience says, "we love him, he can't die in five months the way you originally had him." So then they'll change everything and they'll keep the character on. So thing change radically during the course of a character's development sometimes. And as a result, they intentionally keep things vague until they know exactly what's happening. Right now I think they have nailed down who Diego is, but for awhile they were tinkering with it. So I don't really know. To answer your question, I don't really know what his motivation is.
CALLER: Is he really Umberto?
TOM: No, no he's not.
CALLER: Oh he isn't.
TOM: I don't know how. I think at some point, maybe he was supposed to be, but I don't...again, I don't know how he ties in with all of that right now. The second question, no I didn't have anything to do with the plane wreck, so we can settle that one once and for all, unless....now, if I show up in the next two weeks and I did have something to do with the plane wreck, then you'll know that I was really kept in the dark, because as of now, everything I've been told is I had nothing to do with the plane crash, and I think for the simple reason, I think anybody who did have something to do with the plane crash would probably have to go off the show if anyone found out. Because that was a pretty tragic event.
CALLER: And now I know who is off the show so I have an idea into that one. May I just say that I would like to address the audience who is listening and to yourself, that a lot of people have the idea that people who watch soap operas, watch them because they are ignorant and that they have nothing to better to do. I think you have to be quite intelligent to watch soap operas. Quite to the contrary. I just wanted to make that point.
TOM: That's a very good point and it's a point that we sometimes get a little frustrated, we the actors. Because there is a fundamental challenge...let's put it that way....in presenting daytime drama. And that is simply one of time. We're putting out five shows a week. 42 minutes of drama everyday. As a result, things aren't always as well thought out as we'd like them to be, because they can't. You know, there's just not enough time to make plots and plot twists as air tight as they might be, say if we did only a show in one week. I mean took one week to do one show. We're constantly saying to anybody who will listen, when something comes up we say the audience....maybe not everybody...but 400,000 people are going to know. Are going to notice this one little thing. They're going to notice this because they watch the show. They know it inside and out and they care about the show. So we are trying to constantly reinforce that idea that you're not dealing a bunch of people who don't know what's happening. You're not dealing with ignorant people. You're dealing with people who care about what's being shown on the screen. We owe it to our audience to bring them the most air tight logical production that we can because they are thinking along with us. Especially when there is sort of a mystery to be solved. The audience is always thinking along with us, and they're very good at that stuff, because they've solved a lot of mysteries over 40 years of Oakdale life. You have to stay one step ahead of the audience and it becomes hard to do that with you guys because you are smart.
CALLER: I just want to say in closing, that if every husband was like you in the program, to Sam, there would be no divorces in the world.
TOM: Oh, wow! That's nice to hear.
CALLER: And I'll let you go because I'm sure you have other callers.
TOM: Thank you.
CJAD: Thank you for the call. Bye-bye......You know, she brings up a point. We are seeing a nice side to Kirk with his relationship to Sam. Unfortunately that's going to end soon.
CJAD: You mentioned that you go on line. You're on AOL. You go in some of the soap forums on-line and boy, the fans are rabid about the shows they love. They can be biting. They can be nasty. They say things about the character and about the actors that I'm sure they wouldn't say to their faces, yet if you're on-line as a character or an actor yourself, you can read that stuff.
TOM: I know. It's kind of fun. I mean, there was a lot of reaction of course to my mustache and beard that I grew. Some people loved it and some people hated it and it was amusing to see. It was amusing to gauge the reaction to something like that where you can really get to see how people feel about something. They don't have to be polite.
CJAD: Do you have to worry every time the regime changes? You've gone through a situation where the show has changed Executive Producers, you've gone through head writers. Does that concern you as one of the actors, because I remember a point where we were reading that you were going to be leaving the show as an actor and working as a writer.
TOM: Well this is a funny thing. Yeah, things can change when those people change because they're running the show and they may not believe in your character as much as the old people did. In my instance, however, it was the exact opposite case. I was going to be written off the show and while I'n not exactly sure who wanted me to go, I'm pretty sure it was the old Executive Producer, because everybody else kept say, "we don't know why you're going off the show. We don't want you to go off the show." So as a result, the first thing that happened was, they couldn't find a Scott. And basically Scott was going to be the new Kirk in a way. They couldn't find an actor to play that character, so they just sort of threw this little story line out to occupy Brooke Alexander and me until they could find a Scott who was going to come in on a white horse and be her big love interest. Well a funny thing happened on the way to the exit. Suddenly, the storyline took off and people loved the work that Brooke and I did together. So suddenly, they were like, "okay, let's extend his contract three months." So they extended my contract for three months. Now during this whole time, I decided I wanted to fulfil a goal that I had a long time ago. I wanted to start writing. And one of the places I thought would be a good forum for me would be soap opera, because I knew it well. So I put those wheels into motion and started writing for ATWT as a dialogue writer. So I was doing both there for awhile, fully expecting to be off the show as an actor at some point, and I would just keep going on as a writer, so it all worked out fine. Well, then a funny thing happened again on the way to the exit. The Executive Producer got fired. Suddenly the new Executive Producer, John Valente, was a producer from years ago on ATWT, of whom I was very fond, and I think he was very fond of me, so we talked and he asked me if I wanted to be a writer or an actor. I said, "well, I think really right now I would like to continue acting if that's possible." So he said, "let me see what I can do", and it turned out that they decided to keep me on the show. So it kind of worked in reverse for me with a new regime came a sort of a fresh life for Kirk. As a result, because they put me back on contract as an actor, they didn't want to keep me on contract as a writer, because they feel a little uncomfortable with having an actor doing full time writing for the show. So I let that go and here I am still.
CJAD: One of the e-mail questions I had was from Ellen in York, Pennsylvania and she was asking just that about the writing aspect of it. You just answered that just now. She wanted to know if you are also involved in general storyline writing, breakdown writing or both?
TOM: No, I was never involved in breakdown or general story writing. Only involved in dialogue writing. They sort of let me do that because they noticed that I seemed to change a lot of dialogue that I was given and they kind of like the changes that I made, so they thought I would be fairly adept at that. I think I was fairly good at it, but I never did get involved in the story or in the breakdown.
CJAD: John Valente gave you a choice between writing or acting. Obviously that means that you have a liking for both of them but acting is in the lead right now. Do you foresee that changing in the future of your own volition. That you would like to write more.
TOM: Yeah, I do actually. I mean, writing is something...I don't know about writing for daytime necessarily, but I do like writing an awful lot and the thing about writing as opposed to acting, which I like, is (a) I do want to be able to tell my own stories at some point and (b) you just have a little more control over the whole thing. You don't have a lot of control in the selling of your writing, but you can write and you don't need to have other actors (laughter). I mean, as an actor it's very tough to do by yourself. You know, you can work on monologues, but even when you work on monologues you need an audience. You know it's a very dependant type of artistic endeavour. You know, you can't really do it by yourself.
CJAD: Let's go back to the lines with Tom and Lisa is in DDO.
CALLER: Hi, after Samantha leaves, who would you like to see Kirk fall in love with next.
TOM: Well, I'd be honest with you. I know that soap opera and daytime drama is often about romance, but I would like to see Kirk maybe not fall in love with anybody, but I think what would be an intriguing coupling would be Kirk and Emily. And I'll tell you why. I know a lot of people start turning up and crinkling up their faces.
CJAD: I was cringing just now just hearing that.
TOM: But these are two....despite how you see Kirk behaving with Samantha, Kirk is, let's face it, a fairly dysfunctional character. As the T-shirt says, he puts the fun in dysfunctional. Emily is a dysfunctional character too and I think it would be fun to see them together trying to have a relationship and making a mess of it, but then at some point realize that maybe they're not just cut out to have the standard type of romantic relationship that other people have. You know, let's face it. There is daytime drama romance which is usually tends to be a bit unrealistic. And then you've got real romance, where there is romance for awhile, and then a little comes some bickering and then some reproachment and then it goes back and forth. That's real life. I think we could, Kelly Menighan, who plays Emily and I, could really do an interesting job of showing how two messed up people try to make a go of a relationship. I think it could be funny. I think it could be interesting to watch. I think it could be sad also, when you see character defects flying around the room and two characters unable to really harness them and correct them as much as they'd like to. But I know one thing. It wouldn't be dull. It would be very interesting. So, we've talked about this a lot and I don't know if they are going to do anything with that, but I think you'd see an interesting side to both of our characters if we were allowed to work together and go from two characters who hate each other to two characters who are at least trying to like each other enough to try and get engaged in some kind of a romantic situation.
CJAD: Wouldn't the powers that be say, "well hold on, didn't we just do that with John and Lisa?"
TOM: Well, you know, I don't know. They might say that, but the characters are different. Maybe the story arc is the same, but that was one of deception and duplicitous stuff and I don't know if that would have to be done the same way. I'm just partial to Kirk sort of being a bad guy, quite frankly, and I just see him as diametrically opposed to some of the people such as Dr. Bob or Tom Hughes or some of those good guys. I think that even though people may not see it now, when they really loved Kirk the most was when he was doing things that even though they didn't like, they said, "gee, I know somebody who does that exact same thing." And I think that was one of the things that made Kirk instantly identifiable with a lot of the viewers. They didn't particularly like him but they knew he was human. He sort of wasn't like this idealized character. I'd like to get back to some of that.
CJAD: Yet he wasn't pure evil in a James Stenbeck kind of way.
TOM: Exactly, no, but he was bad. He was self serving and there are an awful lot of self serving people in this world. Self serving people are fun to watch as long as you don't have to deal with them. That's what we offer in daytime drama.
CJAD: Okay Lisa?
CALLER: I'd just like to say that you are a great actor and you make the show really, really fun to watch.
TOM: Well thank you very much.
CJAD: Some of what you touched on was also another question I had via the Internet. Kelly in Omaha, Nebraska wanted to know if you could write your character what would you have Kirk doing in three months and six months from now.
TOM: Oh this sounds like an aspiring soap writer there. They understand the single cycle and the double cycle story arc. Let's see.....in three months I would like to try and start my own company in Oakdale. In six months, I would like my character to have lost everything and have to start from scratch. No money, no business. Nothing. Start from scratch and see how Kirk would go about doing that. I think would be an interesting thing to have happen.
CJAD: Pam in LaSalle, hello you're on the air with Tom Wiggin.
CALLER: I would like to know a couple of things, but not really about the show. I would really like to know how different it is to play a soap opera character as opposed to doing a movie or theatre.
TOM: Well that's a good question.
CJAD: You've done GREASE, right?
TOM: Oh yeah, I've done lots of stage and I've done TV movies and things like that. You know where I did GREASE, don't you?
CJAD: You were doing a national touring company.
TOM: That's right. And you know where one of the places we played?
CJAD: Was it right here?
TOM: It was the Montreal Forum, my friend. I think it was back in 1979.
CALLER: Well, I might have been there. That was a long time ago.
TOM: Yeah, we did a tour of Canada. We played some wonderful places. We played the Forum. We played Hamilton Place. And we played some other places which were fun, like Moncton, which gave us a good feel for some of the other parts of the country that we might not have seen if we were just being tourists. Yeah, so I've done GREASE and I've done it in Canada. I had a great time........In some ways, when you do a long run of a soap character and you do a long run of a theatre character, these are the ways that it's similar. One of the ways that it's similar is that you're constantly trying to refine the character and make that character as rich as possible. You never keep the character the same. You're always trying to find new things to make the character fun to watch. Of course a theatre piece stays the same, whereas a soap changes every day. I mean, our material changes. The character doesn't but the material does. In the theatre piece, it stays the same, so what you have to do with a character in a theatre piece is you just try and perfect the theatre piece. You try and make it as good as it possibly can be and then you start finding the ways to keep it fresh, because it can get very stale if you're doing the same thing over and over, and over again. But you find ways to squeeze every drop of life out of that piece if you can. Movies, is a completely different animal because there what you are trying to do is...everything gets real internal when doing a movie, because so much is done with the photography. So you really have to project what you're thinking when you are doing movies. Soap opera is kind of interesting because it's part movie and it's part stage. We do whole scenes. We don't do snippets of scenes and then put them together the way a movie does. We do a whole scene with the camera filming the whole time and switching back and forth. So in that way it's like doing a scene from a play. But on the other hand we do have cameras so when we have a closeup, we can't play for the upper circle at Hamilton Place for example, you know, or the National Theatre in Ottawa. You have to keep things much more focused and much smaller so that you don't look like Jim Carrey in THE MASK or something.
CALLER: Anyways, I just want to tell you the best of luck. It's a really good show.
TOM: I appreciate it.
CJAD: We go to Pat in Laval.
CALLER: Hi Kirk.
TOM: Hi Pat, how are you?
CALLER: It's a pleasure to talk to you. I watch your program. That's my only soap and I really enjoy it.
TOM: Oh good.
CALLER: What I would like to ask you, is Umberto the same person that we saw a long time ago with Barbara Ryan? I mean he is in a different form but, did we ever see him before.
TOM: You know, I haven't, but I believe that Umberto did make an appearance at some point. Have you been listening to the whole show?
TOM: Okay, well here's a perfect example of what I was talking about with a previous caller. I guess Sandy, who was saying that soap audiences are not ignorant they are smart. Now we were talking about this not too long ago on the set. Because Martha Byrne, who plays Lily was saying, "you know, I have met Umberto." And because we have new head writers, they are trying to catch up and find out what's gone on before them. But you're exactly right. So here's a perfect example of an audience member remember something.......
CALLER: It's rather confusing at this point.
CALLER: He's a real hunk, though.
TOM: Well, yes he is. And I'll tell you one thing about the show. We're going to be getting more hunks on the show.
CALLER: Oh, that's why....if you do that, maybe you'll get some awards. Not now you're not.
TOM: Do you believe that?
CALLER: I think so.
TOM: Uh huh, okay, well that's the direction we're headed in, so maybe we will.
CALLER: Will Lily ever get together with Umberto or Mike?
TOM: I think Mike is going to come into the picture.
CALLER: That's what I thought.
TOM: What do you think about that?
CALLER: I think so. It looks like it because he likes kids.....
TOM: Would you like that?
CALLER: Oh yes. That would be cute.
CJAD: Well Pat, you brought up a point about the Umberto situation. That he's been on before and there is a situation with continuity. Maybe I missed something. I don't know if you saw this, Pat, but for the last couple of days, Carly, who is now leaving, has been saying to Mike, "why don't you come to Hong Kong with me......
CALLER: I think he's going to go.
CJAD: Well he's not going.
CALLER: I think he will go eventually.
CJAD: But I have a question. Isn't he on parole?
CALLER: That's right! I thought of that same thing today.
CJAD: Can't he not leave the country at all.
CALLER: That's right!
TOM: Well there's an easy answer to all of this. Carly is ignorant! (laughter). She doesn't know what's happening. Our audience knows what's happening and everybody else does but Carly doesn't.
CALLER: Talk about ignorance. Why would Lisa, my husband asked me this question because he sneaks a peak once in awhile, why would Lisa carry that package from Hong Kong knowing....I mean, she's supposed to be a smart woman, a business woman. My husband says even I wouldn't do that.
TOM: I take the fifth on that one.
CALLER: And then her son was looking under the chocolates. You know that was really!........
CJAD: Thank you for the call Pat.
CJAD: We are talking with Tom Wiggin from ATWT. Let's go back to the lines. Lori in Westmount.
CALLER: Hi, I'm enjoying your program. I just came in rather late, so I'm sorry if I'm repeating earlier comments. One thing is I enjoy your character very much. One thing I do miss...one of the few things I miss, is social issue storylines. I don't know if you talked about that, but ATWT was always wonderful. I guess that had to do with the earlier writing teams, but I talk mainly of Angel's incest, Margo's AIDS. These new storylines are great but soap operas tend to also have an interesting role to play in social issue areas.
TOM: I agree.
CALLER: For example, I would love to see someone like Lucinda, a powerful character come down with some sort of social issue, you know, instead of all the business stuff, which is great, don't get me wrong. But when you're in a small town of Oakdale, there is only so much business related activity you can do.
TOM: I agree. I think that what we're seeing here.....and I'm not exactly sure about this, because I haven't been privy to story discussions in the executive offices, but what I think the show is going through now....we have a new Executive Producer, we have a new writing team, and I think the show is going to sort of revamp its approach to a certain degree. That means a number of new characters are going to be introduced, and I think for now the emphasis is going to be on romance for awhile to try and get our show back to a foundation that most of daytime drama revolves around. From that then we can branch off into a social issue story. I think you're absolutely right. Those took place though, when we had a head writer who had been on the show for quite awhile and knew that the basic foundation of the show was solid, so that we could get experimental. When you do something like that most people are going to say, "hey that's great to see." Some people are going to say, "hey, that's horrible, I don't tune in to watch this kind of stuff." I personally agree with you though. I think this is a great forum for that kind of story line and I hope we will do something like that.
CALLER: Two other quick comments. First I really enjoyed the time when you and Connor had something. You two seemed to have such a great on screen chemistry.
TOM: Well, I know, and we just never understood why they dropped the ball on that.
CJAD: Well, let me interject here. I have one more question from cyberspace. A lady writes, " I have watched ATWT since it first began. First Tom, I want to tell you that I really enjoy your work on ATWT and think you are a very talented actor. I loved when you and Iva were a couple. Question: When does you son arrive in Oakdale and do you think you and Connor might work together again in an office as co-workers. It think you two work very well together in that setting. Good luck in the future Tom. Maryann from Vermont.
TOM: Hmm. Interesting. Well, we did. We worked together very well and we were ready. Actually, interestingly enough, when Alison Rice-Taylor auditioned for the role, I screen tested with her. So it was my understanding that she was going to be a love interest for Kirk. They kind of developed that and then they just dropped the ball and we never understood that, because we thought we had good chemistry. We thought that the audience could......but then they did that whole storyline about taking over Walsh and then my stabbing her in the back and I guess there was sort of irreparable harm done to the relationship. But I agree with you. I don't think that's going to happen in the future because they sort of feel sort of struck gold with her and Mark.
CALLER: Well my final quick comment is in terms of core families. The Snyders came and left. They definitely had an imprint on Oakdale. We see that the Kasnoffs will be coming in. As an actor on a soap, how long does it usually take for a family to be recognized as a core family, and secondly, just in terms of the whole dynamic, speaking of the Snyders, how much of a loss do you think that was to the show that all the Snyders left like that. I think that they were very important.
TOM: I think that they were very important too. The problem was that the Snyders were the brainchild of Douglas Marland, whose real name was Marland Snyder. Those were his people from where he came from in upstate New York. He patterned that whole clan after his family. THe problem is that John Valente, our Executive Producer said, "look, Doug Marland was a fabulous writer. There will never be anybody like him again, so we have to stop trying to be like him. In order to do that we have free up our writers to bring their own vision and their own inspiration to the show." And so, they felt that they had to kind of make a break. The Snyders were one way to make a break with the ghost of Douglas Marland so that the show could move on. It's going to take a period of readjustment. There's no doubt about it. I mentioned early in the show that these are family members to our audience and when they leave it's as if your best friend moved out of town. It does take a period of readjustment especially to come up with something that's as good, and that's going to take time.
CJAD: Okay Lori, thank you for the call. Touching on one of the questions I got from cyberspace, Maryanne from Vermont was asking about the question of your son.
TOM: I don't think he is going to come back. At one point they were discussing that, but know I don't think there are any plans to bring my son into the storyline at any time in the near future.
CJAD: Because I had read somewhere myself that they were going to bring him in and he was going to be the love interest of one of those two teens.
TOM: Yeah, and that's been changed. There is a young character coming on. I believe he's going to be attached to the Hughes clan.
CJAD: Again, when a lot of the shows come on, especially when they are ranking them, ATWT sometimes get the label of being a show that attracts an older crowd. How do you feel about that.
TOM: Well I think that's true and I think that while it would be nice to try and attract a young crowd, I don't think we can forsake our older crowd. They've been with us from the beginning and I think that they are truly a devoted part of our audience. I think it's a mistake if we sacrifice that audience for a younger audience. I think there is a way we can keep everybody happy and still attract a new audience, and I think that's what we should try and do. New audience that can be old or young. It doesn't matter what the ages are. You just have to make sure that they care about the show and the characters and the story.
CJAD: There have been some actors who have been on the show for 40 years, 35 years, 30 years. You've been on it now for eight. Do you see yourself being around on ATWT in the next 20 years?
TOM: Hard to say. I don't think so, to be honest, but I don't try to project. I take it as it comes. So far it's been a good run and we'll see what happens.
CJAD: Well speaking as a fan, I hope we get to watch you for awhile.
TOM: Yes, that would be great.
CJAD: Thanks for talking with us Tom.
TOM: Okay, Peter, take care. Bye-bye.