GH'S Tyler ChristopherTyler Christopher wants to make one thing perfectly clear: Leaving General Hospital and his role of Nikolas Cassadine after three years "has nothing to do with my life here. I've always been happy here -- happy with the work, challenged by the work, and pleased with the results. It's just an instinctual feeling that I felt I had to obey."
Not that deciding to exit Gh was easy, mind you. "This show has been my security, my job, that I could have had for many years to come," Christopher says. "It's scary to have the whole world in your hands like that and to just give that up, hand it over to someone else without knowing what lies behind the next door. Yet, there's something inspiring about it, too." Christopher cites fiancee Vanessa Marcil as the person who most supports his moving on. "Vanessa has always said that she's believed in me since the first time she saw me on the show," he notes. "She hasn't been like, 'You have to leave.' She's said, 'If you want to stay, it's a great place to be and spend your life. But if you want to go, I believe 110 percent that you can go and be whatever it is you want to be.'"
Among the many things Christopher will miss is working with Stephen Nichols (Stefan). "He's been a true father figure to me. We care a lot about each other, other than just our work. I'm going to miss that intimate relationship that we had, as much as with everyone else I worked with. Jonathan Jackson and I became close last year. Becky Herbst and I were just starting to get close. We were just about to work together for a long time. I know we could have made it work," Christopher says of their characters' impending romance. "We have great chemistry together. I'm sad not to be able to see that story play out." Christopher is also sad to leave behind TV-mother Genie Francis. "I've learned so much from her about acting and about life," he says. "My feeling about her and Tony Geary is that they are two of the best actors in the business. Their work is flawless. I would just sit and watch them sometimes and go, 'If I can strive to be that good, then I'm going to be OK.'"
As for the acting highlights of his stay on GH, Christopher cites his character's shooting at Luke's club. "What you saw on-screen was only a fraction of what I was really doing," he says. "It ended up being too graphic. People were telling me they had to look away, because it felt too real to them. But that's what I wanted to show. I wanted to make it real and honest."Another challenge was the day "Nikolas approach Stefan about being his father," Christopher says. "I have a tape of that episode that I'm going to keep forever."