An Exclusive Exchange with the Elusive Lane Davies
It's finally time to meet one of daytime's most elusive starts. Lane Davies, whose moving portrayal of Mason Capwell on SANTA BARBARA has placed him high on Daytime TV's Readers' Poll each month, finally speaks out. Thanks to Sharon Adams and Sharon Holley, editors of the Lane Davies Newsletter, we have this exclusive two-part interview. Part of this interview was conducted by Sharon Adams and Sharon Holley as they sat on Lane's deck in California. The other part was taken from a question and answer session at the Lane Davies Luncheon held in Georgia. The fans covered topics, including how Lane feels about Mason, Julia, Mary, his costars, directing and Shakespeare. This month we explore Lane and his character of Mason Capwell.
How do you define chemistry and how quickly do you become aware of it?
Lane: It can vary immensely. Nancy and I didn't sense any real chemistry in the early scenes we had when she first came on the show. It wasn't until we started working together that we discovered it.
Can chemistry be created?
Lane: Not really. It's either there or it's not. I think that one of the reasons it never developed with Kristen (Meadows) and me is that Kristen had just done the storyline with Cruz, and mine had just been hopelessly in love with Mary. Then all of a sudden they wanted us to be in love. Well, they started me up with Nancy and that romance started building. Then they immediately wanted a turn around. The original story was me and Kristen with Nancy as the obstacle. It just worked the other way around because Kristen and I were both resisting the storyline with each other for different reasons - none of them personal between me and Kristen.
How did you convince the show to go with Mason and Julia?
Lane: We didn't - the audience did. We had put stuff between the lines that wasn't there. We had a couple of directors and a producer that helped us, so it became impossible fo the writers to ignore that storyline because that's what the audience wanted.
How would you describe Mason and Julia's relationship?
Lane: Love-hate in a nut shell.
There is so much controversy about Mason/Mary vs. Mason/Julia. Could you tell us your opinion and which storyline you like best?
Lane: This is the hard question. It's very hard to choose between them because I adored Harley Kozak and loved working with her. I liked most of that storyline. I didn't like the fact that I was always chasing her. That got on my nerves after a while. I kind of like the sparks in the Mason/Julia storyline better, but they're both wonderful people.
What was your favorite love scene between Julia and Mason?
Lane: That's more like what was your favorite. The cave was a good one. I had fun in the cave. Of course you don't really enjoy those love scenes, you're so busy worrying about the camera. It's very hard to be intimate when there's 35 people watching you.
You describe Mason and Julia's relationship as love-hate. Why?
Lane: They're just really different. They view the world differently and are psychologically different. He's much more practical; she's more emotional. He's rational, whereas she tends to be irrational.
Mason has had so many leading ladies. Who do you think worked the best with the character?
Lane: To date, as far as bringing out all of his various colors, I think Julia would have to win - with Harley (Kozak, as Mary) running a close second. It may well be that the character of Mary was the love of his life and Julia will be fighting the ghost for some time to come. It's something the writers and I haven't really decided yet. As far as sparks go, Julia brings out more of his character than Mary did.
What did they tell you about the character of Mason when SB first aired?
Lane: I can't remember. I have the character sketch somewhere. He was originally called Martin for one thing. The first time I read for it, in fact, he was named Martin and then they changed it to Mason. If he'd been Martin, he probably wouldn't have lasted three shows. That's funny how those things work.
Would you ever want to play any other character on the show?
Is there any character on another soap that you'd like to have a try at?
Lane: No, not really. I'm pretty happy with Mason. There are other actors I wouldn't mind working with on shows like Ben Hendrickson (ATWT). I like Charlie Shaughnessy and Steve Nichols (Days).
On one of your thank you cards in the return address you put LHD. What does the 'H' stand for?
Lane: Somebody knows my penmanship. It stand for Hunt, which is my grandmother's third husband's name. Most people think it stands for Hamilton, which is my mother's maiden name, but it's actually for Hunt. I never met the man, but I got his name.
If you could place an item in a time capsule that would capture Lane Davies, what would it be?
Lane: It would probably be a film or tape of one of my stage performances, and I'm not sure which one. For future generations, I'm not sure how I'd want to be remembered.
You once stated that you would have liked to play Jesus. If you could possess one of his attributes, which would it be and why, and what would you do with it?
Lane: It would be nice to be able to walk on water. Then I just could thumb my way to France and save a lot of money.
Did you ever wish to write a script for stage or screen?
Lane: I have. I'm not really a writer, but I do have a script that's been optioned bu Double Helix Films that we hope to put into production within a year.
Now that you've directed a play, do you think you'd want to direct SB?
Lane: Actually, I'm not sure. I'm still talking to the producer Jill Phelps about it. If we were a half hour show, I'd be more likely to want to, but getting 75 pages of an hour show down every day is frantic, it's just too high stress for me. Not that I don't thrive on stress.
What's your favorite style of music?
Lane: Most of the music I like is about 20 years old, I'm afraid. I tend to lean heavily toward the old folk-rock artists like James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot and Dan Fogelberg.
What age did your interest in the theater begin?
Lane: Around age 14 whem mother would drag me down to work on sets for the little theatre. I just decided it would be easier to be onstage than backstage because the director couldn't make me work as hard as my mother made me work.
What made you become so interested in Shakespeare?
Lane: I saw a film in English class that showed the rapier and dagger fight between Hamlet and Laertes when I was 17. I though 'well, that looks like fun to do.' I'd always liked toy swords and that sort of thing, so I decided to do it for a living.
What changes would you like to see in Mason?
Lane: Lately, he's been reacting to situations, whereas I used to be much more active. I used to instigate events and circumstances and maninpulate them as opposed to reacting to them. I'd like to get back to that. I don't like him being a victim of circumstance. I don't think that's the character at all. We've been having problems and a lot of talks about getting the character closer to what he used to be. Not that he shouldn't have grown, but lately the character hasn't had enough strength. They've been writing him as a victim of circumstance, which he's not.
Have you ever refused to do a storyline or scene?
Lane: I've gotten out of some storylines quicker than they had intended me to. I've sort of helped put an end to stories that I didn't like.
What was your least favorite storyline?
Lane: Lily Light probably. They had originally envisioned that Mason would be enthralled by this evangelist. It was ridiculous for Mason, but there was too much story planned for her. The story went on without it being a romance.
How do you work out differences with the writers?
Lane: I speak more with the producers than I do the writers themselves. They try to keep an eye out for chemistry and I try to keep an eye out for it too, and for lack of it. Because if there's a lack of chemistry, great writing won't make it work. If there is great chemistry, then not so great writing will work.
Which member of Mason's family does he feel closest to?
Lane: That would be difficult to say, probably his father oddly enough. It's spread pretty equally over the three or four siblings. I'd like to see them develop the Jeffrey-Mason relationship a little bit more because I think Ross is a very good actor.
Are you and Julia ever going to get married?
Lane: Marriage has a tendency to make you boring and both Nancy and I are terribly afraid of that. I think it would be great fun if we did, if they could keep the sparks between us. Soaps tend to think that once you're married, that's it. We don't want to lose that sort of chemistry that we have that keeps us at odds much of the time. It is so much more fun to play than the 'kitchygoopoo' stuff which is what I'm always accusing A and Marcy of doing. I used to do 40 pages of drunken speeches and have to memorize them all, and they'd have one scene at the end of the show where they went 'kitchygoopee' and they'd get the tag of the show.
What is the real reason Mason agreed to father Julia's baby?
Lane: (Laughter) I think he just liked the idea of going to bed with Julia, and he had no idea of the complications that would result from it. I think it's positive in a way, that we've shown people the repercussions of surrogate mother and fatherhood. It just happened to time out when there were a number of famous cases breaking. It's been an interesting story.
If you had a choice of any daytime actress for a leading lady, whom would you pick?
Lane: I might get quoted, so I'd better say Nancy Grahn. She'd kill me otherwise. No, I truly enjoy working with Nancy and I hadn't really thought of working with anybody else. There have been other people I've enjoyed working with - Suzanne Rogers. I liked working with Kristen Meadows a great deal. It's just poor Victoria and Mason never quite got it together, but Kristen and I got along fine.
Describe Lane Davies in one word?
Lane: In one word! They just get harder and harder! Tired? Hopeful.
Do you watch any other soaps?
Lane: I occasionally watch a little of DAYS rehearsing because we can get them on the monitor. It's fun to watch them sort of messing up.
What actor on SB do you have the best rapport with?
Lane: I probably have the bes actor to actor rapport with A Martinez. We have always wished they'd write more for us together because we have a funny sort of contentious relationship, but mutual respect for each other - the characters do. And A and I have enormous respect for each other.
How do you like working with Samantha? It comes out that you like children. It looks like you would be a good father.
Lane: (Lane falls over laughing) I like children a great deal and I like the little girl, Danielle, that plays Samantha - unfortunately she can't stand the sight of me. Have you noticed in how many scenes I'm doing a monologue and then they cut to pictures of her in the cradle? That's because if I come into the room and she sees me, she starts crying. She's very shy when she's away from her mother, but she gets along well with Nancy. It's men she's not comfortable with. It's very tough to do this affectionate monologue to someone who's screaming her lungs out.
Do you ever watch yourself as Mason? If so, what is the first thing you notice about your performance?
Lane: I always look at the wrong things if I watch the show, so I don't watch very often. It makes me self-conscious because I worry about the way I look, the way I move and silly things.
What are your plans for the future?
Lane: I'd like to do more films and theater. Basically, I just want to keep working on whatever level I can. I want to play Mason a good while longer. I'm not tired of him yet. I probably won't for the rest of my life, but I'm enjoying it now, so I don't see any reason to change.
If Mason were ever to be recast, whom would you chose?
Lane: (No one! In unison from the audience!) Good answer, good answer. Actually, I like Benjamin Hendrickson a lot, but he's got a job (as Hal Munson on AS THE WORLD TURNS). He did Romeo to my Tybalt many years ago. We do the same sorts of things pretty well.