Aiden Turner recently finished a seven and a half year run on ALL MY CHILDREN as Aidan Devane. He then moved out to Los Angeles and hit the audition circuit. He's now starring on this season's DANCING WITH THE STARS partnered with Edyta Sliwinska. The pair scored a lower than expected 15 on last week's premiere episode after doing the Cha Cha Cha. We Love Soaps caught up with Turner this afternoon as he battled a cold and prepared to dance for your votes on tonight's show.
We Love Soaps: You played an obnoxious anchorman in Manhattanites and I was so impressed with your performance. But now you've impressed me even more by joining the cast of DANCING WITH THE STARS. What made you want to do this show?
Aiden Turner: Live audiences really scare me, and I don't have any professional dance experience at all, and I thought it would be a really good challenge for me. It's something I've never done before and a good experience - being taught how to dance for free and trying to perform it on a show that's live on TV. It's kind of nerve-wracking but I thought it would be a good challenge and experience and something I would look back on and be glad I did. I was shying away from it a little bit and that made me want to do it even more. Like Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS when I chose to sing on stage [at the annual ABC/SOAPnet benefit concert], that was nerve-wracking, but I wish I had the chance to do it again and again. I only did it once. Dancing is, of course, different than singing, but I want to stay in the competition to get more experience dancing in front of a live audience and challenge myself every week.
We Love Soaps: When you saw Susan Lucci and Cameron Mathison performing on previous seasons, did you ever say to anyone at the time that you would like to be on the show someday?
Aiden Turner: I never thought I would be doing it. I thought I missed my chance or they wouldn't get another soap guy on there. I just didn't think it would come up and never expected it. So when ABC asked me if I was interested, I went in for a meeting with the producers, Conrad [Green] and Rob [Wade]. They told me how grueling it was and how people get injured, and just how hectic it is seven days a week, taking over your life. And I said I just said I would love to do it. What a great journey.
We Love Soaps: You've done quite a bit of press for the show already and I know you are rehearsing quite a bit. Do you have any free time at all these days?
Aiden Turner: I have free time when I go home at 7 or 8 o'clock at night to eat dinner. I'll maybe have a long bath and then go to bed. That's just about enough time to get a good night's sleep.
We Love Soaps: What has been the most challenging aspect of the whole process so far?
Aiden Turner: Well, first, learning a new dance in four days, which we did on the live show last week. And dancing knowing that 24 million people are watching and we have people in the audience, and you can't do take two. Once you're out there, it's as good as it is. There's no redo.
We Love Soaps: I thought you were good last week and the judges were a little harsh on you. How were you feeling after that performance?
Aiden Turner: When I finished I thought, "Wow, I got all my moves right, I was on time, I kept my hand up, everything the editor wanted me to do, I pointed my toed." I was just happy I got to the end and didn't screw up because I was so nervous. I thought when the judges said those remarks they were being a bit mean. But it just encouraged me to really work hard this week and to just give it my absolute best on tonight's live show.
We Love Soaps: Is there anything you can compare that moment to - standing there being judged like that?
Aiden Turner: I have experienced something similar, as far as the nerve aspect of it, and how nerve-wracking it is doing it in front of the studio and the people watching live - bungee jumping! When you're about to jump, it's like you're falling to your death, but it's exhilarating and scary at the same time. You get that same kind of feeling [dancing], it's exhilarating and I'm scared out of my wits. You just have to trust in your partner and trust in the hard work you've done all week.
We Love Soaps: What lessons did you learn from your time on ALL MY CHILDREN that you can apply now?
Aiden Turner: The lesson I learned from ALL MY CHILDREN that I can apply to DANCING WITH THE STARS is dealing with the grueling schedule of working on a soap - working all day at the studio, learning a new script at night, then going in the next day and doing it for the cameras. That's a great lesson I took from ALL MY CHILDREN that I'm using here. Whether you're tired or sick or injured, you just keep going. You keep working at it. You get out of something what you put into it. The harder you work, the better you are as a person.
We Love Soaps: You had roles on soaps CROSSROADS, EASTENDERS and UNDRESSED before your long run on ALL MY CHILDREN. Do you like the steady pace of soap work versus doing a few films or other projects a year? Is that your preference?
Aiden Turner: Well, it was. I gave it my best on ALL MY CHILDREN every day, and I enjoyed the steady work, and I enjoyed being in New York, and being close to London so I could fly home. I love to keep busy. But now, being out here in L.A., I look forward to auditioning for more movie roles and nighttime series like TRUE BLOOD or THE GATES. I enjoy not having a contract with a show where I can actually audition and do a comedy or primetime series or do a movie.
We Love Soaps: Several fans are asking, are you still going to be able to do the Rock the Soap cruise?
Aiden Turner: I'm still planning on it, and Edyta is planning on coming. But I'm still waiting on confirmation from the producers and production team on whether they'll allow us to leave the country.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch Aiden Turner tonight on DANCING WITH THE STARS on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/PT.