The Nikolas He Knew
As Coltin Scott gets in character, Tyler Christopher reflects on the role he left behind.
Settle in, class. This session of Nikolas Cassadine 101 is coming to order. For Coltin Scott, the daytime rookie now playing Laura's No. 1 son, that means a banner opportunity to bone up on the history of his alter ego. And for fans of the young prince, that means a last chance to look back on his storylines so far -- with Tyler Christopher leading the way, sharing his insights into the character and his recollections about those experiences. Without further ado, please open your textbooks to...
Chapter One: New in Town Arriving in Port Charles with Uncle Stefan, Nikolas donates bone marrow to half-sister Lesley Lu and meets his mother for the first time. "It was incredibly frightening to come into a show and have your first scenes be with Tony Geary (Luke) and Genie Francis (Laura), the biggest daytime icons ever!" remembers Christopher, "And there I was, fresh off the boat from Ohio! That was intimidating at first, but after they greeted me with open arms, it was smooth sailing from then on."
Chapter Two: I Want My Mom!An ultimatum from Luke forced Laura to turn her back on Nikolas again. "That was a difficult time for Nikolas," Christopher says. "He'd finally met the person he'd been yearning for his whole life, and she was going away again. I think it became the number one goal for my character to resolve the conflict of how he was ever going to forgive his mother for leaving him twice. The show did a good job of doing that in the end.
Chapter Three: Sibling RivalryAbout to leave town, Nikolas went to say good-bye to Lesley Lu, but her protective big brother, Lucky, sent him tumbling down the stairs. "Lucky and Nikolas hated each other then, but Jonathan [Jackson, who played Lucky] and I had become such good friends that it was fun," reveals Christopher. "It was like, 'Okay, you're gonna kick my ass today, but I'll kick your ass tomorrow!' It was also the first stunt that I'd done -- they had a double for me and everything!"
Chapter Four: The CrushNikolas uses tai chi lessons as an excuse to be near Katherine. "Stephen Nichols (Stefan) and I took a six hour tai chi course that was supposed to represent 15 years of training!" Christopher marvels. "I thought that was something very cool for the character to be involved with, so I was sad when he moved on to riding horses. I was so uncomfortable in those riding pants that I literally couldn't act half the time!"
Chapter Five: First LoveNikolas falls for Liz's older sister, Sarah. "Every parent would love their son to date a girl like Sarah," ventures Christopher. "It definitely could have worked out. But I think the reason it didn't was there wasn't enough of the raw teenage conflict that today's teens have to make it interesting. People couldn't relate to [the story]."
Chapter Six: The Shot Heard Round Port CharlesAfter an evening out at Luke's Nikolas becomes the victim of Mob violence. "That was the single most challenging scene for me because I wanted to play that shot in the neck so real," Christopher asserts. "At the beginning, they had me spitting blood and spewing it from my neck, and a real doctor was on the set to take us through the steps of what a person would be doing once he was losing air. There was like 10 times more than what you really saw, but we had to cut a lot of it because it was so violent. That was my most favorite day of my three years there."
Chapter Seven: The Strong, Silent TypeAfter the shooting, Nikolas loses the ability to speak. "Nikolas had a stroke, but I wanted him to have a real stroke," says Christopher. "I went to the VA hospital and researched stroke victims. I had it down; I knew exactly how I wanted to play it. but the writers didn't want Nikolas' problems to be so severe because it would be unrealistic for him to completely recover -- obviously they wanted me to talk again. So I was disappointed. I really wanted to play a person with a disability.
Chapter Eight: One For All...Nikolas teams up with Lucky, LIz and Emily to find Liz's rapist. "I liked that storyline because I got to work with Jonathan and Amber and Becky, and the four of us were the biggest screw-offs when we had scenes together," Christopher chuckles, "All we'd do is laugh and goof off, which worked because that's what we'd do anyway in the scene. I would have liked for it to be more about Lucky and Nikolas becoming closer as brothers than just about finding the rapist. But in the end, I think they did accomplish that.
Chapter Nine: Father's Day...Nikolas confronts Stefan about being his father, not his uncle. "I think that was a real turning point in their relationship and I wanted it to be as powerful and compelling as it possibly could be," says Christopher. "Everyone thought Nikolas was going to be pissed off and would move out, and it could have gone that way, but I wanted the audience to understand that Nikolas just wants to have a real family. Even though he felt betrayed, at the same time, he finally had what he'd always dreamed of.
Chapter 10: An Adult EducationNikolas falls under Katherine's spell. "The younger man/older woman thing has been played a million times, but there was something special about this pairing," offers Christopher. "It was funny, it was sweet, and yet it was kind of scandalous. I was always the biggest supporter of this storyline - I loved it from day one!"
Chapter 11: Not So Lucky Nikolas copes with Lucky's "death." "Lucky's death was a great opportunity to spend three solid weeks doing nothing but showing why you're an artist," Christopher maintains. "Nikolas had to hold everything in for so long -- it was all about how Luke or Laura or Elizabeth were coping. When Emily finally asked how he was doing, he just exploded from holding it in so long."