Tyler Baker Plants His Feet

Tyler Baker plants his feet on the ground and his head in the clouds   

"I'm trying to keep the same size head I had when I came out here," says GENERAL HOSPITAL's latest hunkoid, Tyler Baker (Nikolas). Baker's probably got a good idea. The young actor had--get a load of this--virtually no acting experience when he moved to Los Angeles 18 months ago and set out on the audition trial. "No national commercials. No guest spots," Baker admits sheepishly. "Just a couple of little things that no one has seen."  Well, the acting gods must have been smiling on Baker, because he nabbed the GH role of Nikolas Cassadine, and landed plop in the middle of GHís biggest fall story, with Genie Francis (Laura) and Stephen Nichols (Stefan).  

According to Nichols, "Tyler is brand new, so he brings a guileless, childlike quality to his work that we old-timers are constantly struggling to recapture for ourselves."  Despite his youth, however, Baker seems to understand the incredible opportunity that he's been given. He hired a private instructor to help prepare his audition, and studies regularly with GH's on-set acting coach. "I got my shot and made the best of it,"  Baker says sincerely.

Nichols agrees Baker may be a newcomer, but he's approaching his job as veteran would. " He is a pro in the sense that he shows up on time and knows his lines. He's a joy to work with," says Nichols. "We really connect."  And just like the most seasoned performers, Baker has a firm handle on his character's M.O.: "Everyone sees Nikolas as such a bad guy, but I don't. And the things he's done reflect that. He saved his sister's life, after all." 

Sisters are something Baker knows a lot about. He's got two (as well as a brother), and the girls are huge GH fans. "They've always watched," he says about his Ohio-based family. "So it's even more exciting for them to see me on the show." As for Baker himself, well, he has quite a different reaction to seeing himself on national TV. "I started to watch at first to see what it was like," he admits, "but I've tuned out. It's weird. I kept thinking that I could've done things better, or in a different way. It was getting to me, so I quit."

Since he's turned the TV off, Baker spends his time either golfing with fellow GH buddies John J. York (Mac) and Steve Burton (Jason), or going to the movies. "It's not very often," he points out. "that you're in a career where you can actually go and watch someone else do what you want to do. I really like Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson and Mel Gibson. What they do seems effortless. It comes out right, and it's real. That's the point I want to get to."

Soap Opera Update -- October 1, 1996
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