We Love Soaps: After being so passionately loved as the character of Duke Lavery, and so admired as the character of James Warwick, what was it like to play a role on ALL MY CHILDREN that was exactly the opposite?
Ian Buchanan: Even now there are people who come up to me and say, “We love Greg, he was so mean.” I think this is why my career has been sub-interesting. I don’t set out to be popular, that’s never been high on my list.
We Love Soaps: I have talked to actors who feel it’s very important to be liked and they are very hurt when fans are angry.
Ian Buchanan: I speak to people like that too. I look at them like maybe there’s something seriously wrong with them. It matters to me that the people that I love care about me. The rest is all entertainment. I wouldn’t know how to be popular.
We Love Soaps: Now you are in a traveling circus of “outsiders” in The Citizens Band. Tell me how that came your way.
Ian Buchanan: I was in New York doing ALL MY CHILDREN and friends of mine had started The Citizens Band. They asked if I wanted to be in the show. I was having a great time being back in New York and I wanted to get involved in other stuff. I was able to do one show, and I liked it. Then I was able to commit to the next two shows. It’s a bunch outsiders, which I really like. Nobody has been there 30 years. I’m not dealing with people who know how to play the game personally and politically and stick around their whole life. I’m not dealing with that. I’m dealing with people who if there was anything better to do they’d be doing it, and boy they would let you know that immediately [laughs]. There’s such a great strength there for me. Everyone is there for you when they are there but they may get a call for another gig and not come back that evening. And I love that.
We Love Soaps: And you sing!
Ian Buchanan: I call it more like a primal scream. And we dance. At the last show I played the MC at a 1930’s dance marathon. That’s very cool, and very dark, very nightmarish. We’re still doing that show, we might be doing in Los Angeles next.
We Love Soaps: Are there upcoming shows scheduled?
Ian Buchanan: We will be doing something. We often have Zooey Deschanel, Zoe Kravitz, and Maggie Gyllenhaal involved. Anybody who is in town jumps in, that makes it lots of fun.
We Love Soaps: What is next for you?
Ian Buchanan: Apart from Citizens Band, I have a couple of shows I’m hoping to get development. One would be with Finola, which we’ve been hoping to do for awhile. It’s a show about our friendship, our experience in business. It’s a comedy.
We Love Soaps: A lot of people who come from soaps, including Tristan Rogers, are taking their creativity and their projects to the internet. Have you considered doing that with this project?
Ian Buchanan: I would do that. I like Crystal Chappell’s work. I think when you do the internet stuff you have to shoot it like a comic strip. It has to be majorly close-up. You have to do characters. I think it needs to capture you. But who knows what the rhythm is now, I personally have no understanding of it because I’m more of a reader. I don’t have a short attention span. I can concentrate for hours, I don’t need things to be provided. You have to find what’s going to draw people in and then hold them. I don’t know what that is.
We Love Soaps: If you were ever asked or approached to be on an internet web series, would you consider it?
Ian Buchanan: Absolutely.
We Love Soaps: At We Love Soaps, we recently held the First Annual Indie Soap Awards to celebrate the creativity and wonderful efforts of so many people putting their work on the internet. To be honest with you, a lot of these web series are better than many shows on daytime now.
Ian Buchanan: Why the soap world shrank so quickly I don’t fully understand. People look at the networks carrying the O.J. Simpson trial, the family situation changing. I just think the shows became bad.
We Love Soaps: I think so too! I don’t think it has anything to do with O.J. or women going to work.
Ian Buchanan: Y&R is still great. B&B is still great. But some shows just became really bad. It’s people trying to save money, but not realizing that what is valuable about them doesn’t cost that much money.
We Love Soaps: And that is being proven now on the internet. You can do great work for very little funds.
Ian Buchanan: Unfortunately on a lot of these shows, for one person to get everything, a lot of people get nothing. I think on these new internet shows it’s not like that at all.
We Love Soaps: If you could go back to 1986, right before Duke & Anna took off, and give yourself one piece of advice, what would that be?
Ian Buchanan: Probably to pay more attention and just take it all in. Maybe enjoy it more. I didn’t start to enjoy it until later. It was too overwhelming. I didn’t enjoy it until I could reflect upon it. The process I’ve always liked, I still like it. I like being on the set, I like when everything is happening. I don’t like the work that goes into it, I’m not competitive. I don’t find that attractive when people try to beat people to get some place. But I wish I had taken it a little slower, and paid more attention. Having said that, there isn’t one person I don’t remember, one line of dialogue I have forgotten.
We Love Soaps: Are you able to take this advice now in your work in Citizens Band?
Ian Buchanan: Very much so. With Citizens Band we do the show, half the people in the audience are fairly well known. It’s amazing for Debbie Harry to come to Citizens Band and say, “I used to watch you on GENERAL HOSPITAL.” A friend of mine once said, “You’ve entered the consciousness of America.” I think it entered my consciousness so deeply. Everything I do now feels like, “Here’s Duke at fifty. Here’s Duke in the circus.” I do kind of look at it like that.
We Love Soaps: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you would like to share with our readers at We Love Soaps?
Ian Buchanan: There isn’t. I love what you guys do. I love reading your interviews. I think it’s wonderful.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He is re-imagining a world without "shoulds" at www.shouldless.com.