Extreme Closeup: Tyler Baker

EXTREME CLOSEUP:   Tyler Baker

The Cassadines are back in Port Charles and General Hospital has some major stuff planned for the folks in town and the recent additions of Stephen Nichols as Stefan Cassadine and Tyler Baker as Nikolas, his nephew and the son of Laura (GENIE FRANCIS) and Stavros will be the root of the drama that's about to unfold. Since this is Tyler's first major role, the actor is sinking his teeth into the part and having fun bringing him to life and also learning from some of daytime's biggest names. Playing Laura's son, who recently descended on Port Charles to save his little sister's life, has been great for the actor and our West Coast Editor, Bill Libengood, recently sat down and talked with Tyler about what it's been like so far and what lies ahead.

SON: Did you watch General Hospital back when the Cassadines hit Port Charles?
TB:No. I was only like twelve years old at the time. Actually, that was back in the early eighties so that would have made me nine (laughing). I didn't get into soaps too much when I was that age. I was always too busy doing other things.

SON: What were you told about Nikolas when you joined?
TB: That he was a part of that storyline. He is a self-assured teenager who comes from a rich background. I read up on it a little bit so I knew somewhat what has happened going into it. The basic thing I was told was that he is the son of Laura and Stavros Cassadine from way back when. That was basically all I knew.

SON:How do you plan to handle Nikolas?
TB: I just try to do the role as any kid would with no father or mother. I try to take it like that. How would I feel if I were in that situation? I don't try to take it any further past that. I'm trying to make it my own character from that and see what happens.

SON: Do you see Nikolas as a villain or just misguided growing up without the love of a mother and father? TB: That's it exactly. I don't see him as a villain at all. So far, he has saved a little girl's life. I would consider that a hero rather than a villain of any sort. He just grew up without his parents, so that has a lot of possibilities.

SON: This is your first major daytime role. How does it feel to be tossed into a major storyline like this?
TB: It was pretty overwhelming at first. It hasn't really taken root yet. I'm sure the best or the worst is hits me I'm sure I'll know.

SON: What has been the best part of working on General Hospital so far?
TB: Definitely, the people I work with. Genie Francis and Tony Geary have been here longer than anybody. Even if you don't watch General Hospital, everybody knows who they are. Their names, Luke and Laura, are synonymous with the show. For me, it was like, wow - I get to work with two of the best people on the show right off the bat. That was really exciting for me.

SON: Who do you watch and learn from on the show?
TB: I like Stephen Nichols. I learn a lot from him because he is so cool and smooth. Since we have pretty much an on-screen relationship that has to work, I watch him. I think he's really great so I try to play off of him.

SON: What other acting have you done before this?
TB:: This is my first role. I haven't done anything that people would say, "Oh, I remember that." I just studied really hard and it just paid off when I got this role.

SON: Have you heard from the fans yet?
TB A few. Slowly, but surely, you get fan mail from people across the country. That's the weirdest part. Like someone in a town in New Jersey writes to me and knows who I am - it's really weird.

SON: What's the response been so far?
TB: So far, people who watch the show all the time think of me as a bad guy and everyone wants to know if I am going to be a part of Luke and Laura's family. I write back to them and tell them that I have no idea. Everyone knows as much as I do. I haven't been told where they plan to take him or what he will be doing down the road.

SON:What can we look forward to with Nikolas?
TB: I think after the whole family thing settles down, Nikolas has the possibility to do so many things because he is such a deep rooted character. He could go anywhere. They haven't told me where he is going to go because it is so concentrated on where the story is right now and there is no room for anything else. I really don't know where I'm going to take it or where they are going to take

Soap Opera NOW! -- August 9, 1996
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