Fit For A Prince (SOD 7.22.13)
GH's Tyler Christopher Is Thrilled to Be The Last Cassadine Standing
This is the week that Tyler Christopher expects to find out whether he'll have one job or two. In June, he inked a long-term deal to continue on GH as Nikolas Cassadine, which he's played on and off since 1996. But a condition of his signing on the dotted line was that he be able to continue on as Dan Whitehorse on THE LYING GAME, the fate of which ABC Family was, at press time, on the verge of deciding.
Christopher describes himself as "anxiously awaing" the news. "It woudl be a shame for a lot of fans [were it canceled]. A show like that, which is shrouded in mystery -- I mean, the whole show is about who is the killer? How can you end a show, give fans 30 episodes and nearly three years of viewership, and yet not wrap it up? So I think that is on our side."
The actor was happily plugging away on Season 2 of the mystery series when GH reached out to him about reprising Nikolas in conjunction with the show's 50th anniversary. "I knew that it was coming around and that it was a big moment in our show's history, but I didn't expect to be a part of it," he says of the milestone. "I was off in Texas doing THE LYING GAME when they called and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. I flew to L.A. and met with [Executive Producer] Frank [Valentini]and said, 'I'd love to see what the new writers and everybody ele's interpretation of the character is.' Frank told me that Ron [Carlivati, head writer] wrote a 20-episode arc for me and I said, 'Okay! I'll be there!'"
That the 20 episodes resulted in a multiyear contract came as a surprise to Christopher. "I don't know, it just worked out," he shrugs. "the whole Liz think kind of took off quicker than people thought it would because it wasn't really well received when I left two years ago -- which I kind of knew, that that was going to be the case," he says of the controversy that swirled around Nikolas' affair with brother Lucky's wife. "But a couple of years have passed and Lucky isnt there anymore, so there isn't that visual connection of, 'Oh, my gosh, that was the love of his brother's life' I think people have forgiven Nikolas a little bit."
Reuniting with long-term co-star Rebecca Herbest (Elizabeth) has been one of the chief pleasures of Christopher's return. "We grew up together on this show. Not a lot of actors can say that. We came on as kids and now we're adults with wives and husbands and children, and we just watched each other grow up right before our eyes. I can only imagine how much more that would be so had I chosen to stay all those years that i was gone, because she never left. But even with the time that I did take off, as soon as I came back, we just picked up right where we left off. we justknewwhere we were and where we wanted to go. It's just so comforting to be able tostep in and work wiht someone who you don't have to acquaint yourelf with."
The actor appreciates that GH's new-to-him writing team has infused Nik with a new-to-him maturity. "t was just time for him to grow up and become a man man, you know what I mean? Gone are the days of us talking about when we were kids and what we did when we were all in high school," he chuckles. "With Frank and Ron, things a little different. Ron has stopped using, 'Poor me, I'm a Cassadine, I'm doomed to failure,' as an excuse. That started getting kind of pathetic." he describes Nikolas these days as "more arrogant, more confident, but underneath that is what he's always been, which is for the pinnacle of a gentleman -- kind, generous, sincere. But don't get on his bad side anymore? Before, he'd make idle threats to Helena -- 'mess with my family and I'm going to kill you!' He's not going to say that anymore unless it's going to happen. It is [welcome] because this character came on the scene as strong over the years, he lost a bit of that strength somehow. I just kind of felt that for a while there, he was letting people walk on him."
with Nik's doormat days behind him, Christopher is happily looking forward to the prince's next chapter. "peoplefeel nostalgic about Liz and Lucky, Nikolas and Emily," henotes. "I havemy own nostalgia as an actor, having been a part of this show for almost half of it's episodes. I'm honored to be back. I'm grateful for it. it's been quite a ride.
Soap Opera Digest
In Good Company
Sincereturning to GH, tyler Christopher has enjoyed a bevy of new scene partners. Here's his review:
Katie Couric (ex-Kelly): "that was great! It was a nice surprise. I'd only been there perhaps a week when they told me, 'Oh, hey, Katie's going to do a little bang-on here.' I said, "Oh, cool!' She wanted to do so well. She didn'ttake it for granted at all. She wasn't like, 'Okay, I've only got an hour, can we hurry up and do this?' She knew her lines and she had a plan of action as to how she wanted to play the character."
Jane Elliot (Tracy): I'd never worked with Jane before. We may havesaid a few words in passing, but that, too, was a pleasant surprise. She and I play so well off each other and we're really good friends off camera, as well. She's just a great lady and I have a lot of respect for her -- and just a helathy dose of reverence, too."
Lynn Herring (Lucy): "You've really got to be on your toes with her because she goes through the beats in a scene very, very quickly, and if you're not paying attention, you will get lost! But it's great to play off; you can't throw her off because she's such a great listener. If I were to get off mark a little bit or something, inadvertently tweak a line that I didn't mean to, she picks it right up and goes right along with it."
Robert Kelker-Kelly (ex-Starvos): "I was off diong other things when he came on the show, but working with him for the first time was great. He has a dream job -- he's a provae pilot for some billionaire guy!"
The Fresh Prince of Port Charles
Although 2013 has been a fantastic year for GENERAL HOSPITAL fans, it's been a tough year to be a Cassadine! Even as fan favorites were returning left and right for the show's 50th anniversary, both Helena and Stavros wound up biting the dust, leaving Nikolas as the only remaining full-blooded member of his clan. "he's lost his whole family, says his portrayer, Tyler Christopher. "He's lost his grandmother, his father, his uncle. he's grieving over what could have been, had they been better people."
Back to The Future
Just as the lopping off of several branches of the family tree has cleared the way for Nikolas to start anew, Christopher says that his latest return has seen a rejuvenation of his alter ego. "he's learned," the actor says "He is getting back to how he was originally written."
"In the beginning, I liked his confidence," he adds, noting that for too long, Nikolas seemed to sue the past as a crutch. "He's no longer using the 'Poor me, I'm a Cassadine!' excse. He knows what he wants, and he's willing to do anything to go out and get it. Hisattitude has shifted from dealing with the demons that come with being a Cassadine to directly focusing on getting the newe love of his life."
Wach out, A.J.!
In other words, A.J. might want to brace himself for battle,because Nikolas has every intention of reclaiming his former lover, Elizabeth. And while the first pairing of Nik and Liz was met in many quarters by outraged fans furious that the lovers were betraying Lucky, things are much different this time around. Although Liz has been dating A.J. there's no denying the sparks that fly anytime she's around Nikolas! So what exactly has changed? Under the previous regime, Becky [Herbst, Liz] and I were trying to play against what they were trying to make it," admis Christopher, "which was that their relationship was just physical. I think that, in large part, contributed to why people were so angry. How could he betray his brother, and how could she betray the love of her life' over a physical relationship?
"So we were trying to play that it was more than physical," hecontinues. "Otherwise, we wouldn't do tht to Lucky. Now, however, Lucky's no longer an obstacle. "Lucky's not here, and it doesn't look like he's coming back," Christopher points out. "So what does Elizabeth want to do? Does she want to keep playing this charade that we don't care for each other? Does she want us to stay away frome ach other just to satisfy a person that's not around anymore?
Another thing that'schanged is Nikolas' parenting abilities! "When I left, it was a running joke that every time Nikolas spoke of Spencer, it was, 'O, he's with his nanny'' Christopher laughs. "But he's learned to be a better parent. Right now, it's about forming a relationship with his son for the audience to see."
Christopher is also pleased that his alter ego is no longer a loner, as much an island as the piece of land upon which Wyndemere sits. "Nikolas has always been the outsie in a lot of ways," he muses, "but this time around, I think people are seeing him in a different light. I had been asked to do a 20-episode stint, but those first few days really took off with viewwers, and it was all positive."
And what does the future hold? "[Executive producer] Frank Valentini asked me to stick around unti...until I'm not here anymore," Christopher laughes. "So that's what I'm doing!"
Gold Star (SID 6.10.13)
Whether for business or for pleasure, when GENERAL'S HOSPITAL Nikolas Cassadine wants something, he stops at nothing until he gets it. Armed with a boatload of money, royal clout and a rock solid physique, the Russian prince was determined to rekindle the fire Elizabeth once sparked. The fact that A.J. was in the way was no big deal. Squishing him would be child's play!
In these scenes, Tyler Christopher's alter ego came off more confident, more powerful and, yes, more attractive than ever!
Nikolas' Sexy Proposition!
In an attempt to humiliate A.J. on national television, Nikolas and Tracy followed him to New York City where he was booked to promote Pickel-Lila on THE CHEW. Nikolas intentionally took a room in the same hotel where A.J. was staying to keep an eye on Elizabeth, his rival's travelling companion. After Nikolas settled in his room, Liz arrived. When she approached her hotel room door and opened it, there stood a shirtless Nikolas, using his six pack abs to his advantage!
He stepped behind her, slid her purse off her arm and seductively stroked her shoulders. "It's not fair for you to tease me like this!" she said, scurrying to the other side of the room and out the door. Though he was foiled, Nikolas took comfort in at least knowing she wasn't spending the night in A.J.'s room.
A Declaration of War!
The following morning, there was a bang at Nikolas' door, and he rushed to it wearing nothing but a towel. He opened it to find Liz, furious that he wouldn't back off of A.J. "You're absolutely right," he shouted back. "I agreed to partner with Tracy just to stick it to A.J." Nikolas didn't want A.J. to succeed on any level, not at ELQ and most definitely not with her.
Getting shot recently -- resulting in his heart stopping twice -- changed Nikolas. If he had died, his only regrets would have been leaving his son behind and the time he lost with Liz. "I'm alive. I'm here. And I don't want to waste the chance to get what I want. And, God, I want you," he said softly, gaving into his former sister-in-law's eyes.
Elizabeth's Struggle To Resit Temptation!
List fought not to fall for Nikolas. "Would you please look at me? I want you to feel how much I love you," he said, inching closer. But Liz's defenses were up. It wasn't going to happen. Not today.
However, since Christopher's returned to his old role, we've fallen in love with him all over again. With swagger to spare, the actor's in fine form!
Soaps In Depth
June 10, 2013 Issue