One, Two and Three of our interview with the beloved Jon Lindstrom, the acclaimed actor discussed his passion for music, returning to his musical roots in The High Lonesome, as well as indelible roles as Mark on SANTA BARBARA, twins Ryan and Kevin on GENERAL HOSPITAL, highs and lows of the spin-off PORT CHARLES, and overcoming pressures as the recast of Craig on AS THE WORLD TURNS. In this final part Lindstrom discusses his approach to handling cancellations, his future career in films and television, and his insights into the future of soaps. Why do gay audiences want to check their local film festivals in 2011? Find out below!
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Where were you when you got the news that AS THE WORLD TURNS had been canceled?
Jon Lindstrom: I was at home. My phone rang, it was Chris Goutman. He had thought of me for the part [of Craig Montgomery] to begin with and had offered me the job. He had the good form to call me personally and tell me that the show had been canceled. This is after I had moved my life to New York from Los Angeles. But I felt it was coming. I remember I was offered a three year contract and thought to myself, “It is a three year offer that will only last a year and a half.” And when all was said and done, that is the time I spent on the show. It was the writing on the wall, I could see what was going on there.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How did you deal with the loss of the show?
Jon Lindstrom: I dealt with it the way I have learned to deal with all professional losses. It’s a job, it ends, every show closes. You say goodbye to everyone, you keep your good memories, you save your money, and you move on to the next one. I’ve been doing this way too long to get all upset and nostalgic about it. There were people on that show who had not done any other shows. They probably had more separation anxiety than I did. I just pull out a copy of my resume. Remember, I have been through this so many times, there is no point in saying, “Oh God how could this happen to us?” It happens to every show. Every Broadway show closes, every TV show shuts down, eventually. I’ve learned to be very realistic about it.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I often work with clients struggling with grief and loss issues. I believe that suffering comes seeking permanence in the impermanent, not from the loss itself.
Jon Lindstrom: Yes! Look, if you’re going to sign up to be an actor you’d better not sign on for one job the rest of your life. That’s not how it works. Even Don Hastings, who is the longest working actor in the history of entertainment, who hasn’t been unemployed since 1949, would look at you and say, “I always expected the job was going to end.”
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: There is nothing permanent in this world. There are things that may last a year, a decade, several decades. But nothing and no one is permanent.
Jon Lindstrom: Yes, that’s a control thing that can only lead to dissatisfaction, stress and unhappiness. I’d rather roll with it and say, “Okay, what’s next?”
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Let’s talk about what’s next. I have seen this past year that many actors from WORLD TURNS and GUIDING LIGHT are being propelled to go in new creative directions. I notice that you have been doing a lot of different types of independent features and shows this past year.
Jon Lindstrom: Yes I moved out to New York to start a new career in a lot of ways, and it’s turning out.
You Can’t Have It All.The scene on your reel (below) looks really fun.
Jon Lindstrom: It’s a really good movie. It has the tone of a mainstream romantic movie. It’s about a bachelor in his 50s who suddenly finds himself without his company, with a lot of money, and nothing but time. His sister, played by Wendie Malick, gives him a dog to keep him company and to get him out. It’s on this walk he meets a young gay man who also lives by the park and they strike up a very unlikely friendship. During the course of the movie he begins to realize that he what he told himself is happiness is actually contentment, and there is a big difference. He thought being content is happy but it’s not the same as real happiness. So he sets out to find real happiness for himself.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Okay now I really want to see it! When will I be able to see it?
Jon Lindstrom: It will be out in theaters, at least a limited run in New York and L.A. before DVD. But it will certainly be out on DVD during the year. It was a really great project to be a part of. I got to go to Philadelphia, shoot there, get to know a new city, make friends with Wendie. She had just finished the pilot for HOT IN CLEVELAND. It was just picked up, and I just got the news WORLD TURNS had been canceled.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What else is coming up?
Jon Lindstrom: I’m in an episode of BLUE BLOODS on January 19th. I play my first judge. I’ve been playing lawyers and doctors but never a judge before. I sit up there on that big chair with the robes and tell Bridget Moynahan to shut up. And, “What do you think you are doing over there Donny Wahlberg, I am the judge here!” [Laughs].
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Another film on your reel is The Double Born. What can you fell us about that?
Jon Lindstrom: The Double Born is a very claustrophobic thriller about a woman whose desperate need to replace her dead son is driving her crazy. And I happen to be married to her. That is on DVD now.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: It looks like you are playing another troubled man who is capable of violence.
Jon Lindstrom: She’s really troubled. My character is more like a guy who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders because his wife is so unstable. He’s blue collar, works the lumber railroads, so he’s gone for periods of time. He doesn’t make a whole lot of money. He has a lot he is trying to manage and she’s not making it any easier for him.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You have also written and directed several of your own short films. Can they be seen anywhere?
Jon Lindstrom: No, they are pieces I do mostly for myself. I write feature length screenplays and I do intend to direct one. You need to keep yourself sharp in that area as well so I make short films. You submit it to a festival and it appears on IMDB.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: With the decline of network television many visionaries have taken continuing stories to the Internet. Crystal Chappell, Mary Beth Evans, Matthew Ashford, are all part of this movement to create Indie Soaps. Have you ever considered developing a series or story for the Internet?
Jon Lindstrom: Sure I would do it. I saw an episode of Lisa Kudrow’s WEB THERAPY with Meryl Streep. It’s nicely produced, it looks good. But it depends on what you’re trying to do. The problem with the Internet financially is that it is not making any money. Whatever you do has to be a labor of love. Do I have any interest? Not really. It all kind of depends on the character, on the scripts. A lot of people feel it’s the future of what soaps are going to be. Personally I don’t agree unless the web becomes financially viable. Until then it’s just a place for us to try out ideas.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What do you think the future of soaps are?
Jon Lindstrom: I think soaps as we see them today are not long for this world. I think radical changes have to be made. It has everything to do with money. Every show can kill itself to do the best humanistic stories that we were talking about earlier, and that’s the first step. But the next step has to be closing the gap between production costs and advertising revenue. Until that happens, the future of the soaps is pretty grim.
Cable television has found a great way to do it. They take a show like SONS OF ANARCHY, which is really a soap opera, dress them up as bikers, and shoot them on Harleys for thirteen episodes. Then rerun them like crazy and sell DVD’s. It’s been very smart for them. PORT CHARLES considered doing a six-month-on then six-months-off production model that could have saved the show had the numbers not dropped precipitously due to all the fangs that were going around at the time. I think that might have worked. The numbers we were canceled were higher than the numbers Jay Leno gets now. Shows are renewed for a much lower number.
I don’t hold a whole lot of hope for the future of soaps as they are right now. My favorite show on the air now is BREAKING BAD and I never see enough of it because it’s only on for thirteen weeks per season. That’s basically a guy fighting for his family, how much more soap operaish can you get? It just so happens he cooks meth.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Finally, if you could go back to the beginning of your career before starting on RITUALS and give yourself a piece of advice, what would that be?
Jon Lindstrom: “Say yes to everything.”
The High Lonesome's “Collectors’ Album 1995-2010” can be downloaded at the following online retailers:
- Amazon MP3
It may be streamed at Napster.
Hard copies can only be purchased through CDBaby, which also offers download service.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist now accepting new clients in New York City. He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at Shouldless@gmail.com.