INTERVIEW: The Further Adventures Of Bradford Anderson Part Two - Nielsens, Mad Men, and Maxies

In Part One of our interview with Emmy nominated Bradford Anderson, the acclaimed actor discussed his Indie Soap Award nomination for THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CUPID AND EROS, as well as ambivalence about GENERAL HOSPITAL'S future.  In Part Two we discuss disparities in the Nielsen ratings system and keeping Spinelli from going "backwards," as well as the revolving Maxie's.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Here at We Love Soaps TV we have declared 2012 “The Year Of The Soap.” Although continuing stories are changing in one form, they are continuing to grow and flourish with Indie Soaps, ABC Family Network, AMC Network, as more money is being invested in fictional serials than ever before.   
Bradford Anderson: Yes, and I am getting more familiar with the Indie Soaps.  Obviously I know my own, and I’m getting familiar with VENICE and THE BAY.  I see cable as where good scripted television has become the new gourmet.  There is something exciting about the prestige behind good scripted television now.  In the past, it seemed scripted television wasn’t celebrated because it couldn’t be done by artisans, it was about the big networks.  Now it’s like the artisan crafters of good drama are producing it on cable channels that don’t have huge budgets and don’t get huge numbers.

GH gets a larger audience than MAD MEN.  That’s one of the things that always blows my mind.  GH gets 2-3 million viewers a  day.  MAD MEN might get 1.5 million a week? It’s great that something that has less eyes can still be celebrated in the entertainment industry. But it also means, from an actor's standpoint, because it is so popular, that there is a lot more competition.  You think about actors coming from daytime soaps into the acting pool at large and then you see Dustin Hoffman doing cable.  Because there is so much prestige in cable, which would have been laughable ten years ago, you are seeing a flow of actors from all over.  That is fantastic for the audience. But as an actor it is scary.  People are still casting off lists.  They can go from celebrity to celebrity to celebrity and the fifth celebrity on the list is still clamoring to get to do anything.  

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: One of the other changes in this past year was the writing at GH.  I thought specifically about you because the characterization of Spinelli had been built fundamentally from his distinct vocabulary.  Did you have any trepidation about his words being written by Garin Wolfe instead of Bob Guza?
Bradford Anderson:  It’s been an interesting journey.  When the writing change happened, I was speaking in a different tone any way because of the Jackal P.I. story.  Then as he came out of that, some of the verbiage was simplified a bit.  So now I’m working on re-finding his quirky, without doing an injustice to the process that had led him to where he is now.

I don’t want to go backwards.  But at the same time, I need to be careful.  One of the writers has talked to me about not getting rid of the quirk completely.  So I’m going through an interesting process as these writers are changing.  I haven’t gotten new scripts from Ron.  The thing with Garin is that he was  a champion of my character even during the Guza years.  He had familiarity with my character, and made it seamless in terms of that, although we did have different scriptwriters and sometimes you could tell.  Now I don’t know how many of our scriptwriters will change with the new regime.  And we haven’t gotten any scripts yet from the new regime.  So that is something I think about.  But at the same time, I’m in flux with the character myself.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Has Kirsten Storms returned?
Bradford Anderson: Next week I believe.  Either the end of this week or next week.  [Editor's Note - it was announced the day after this interview that Kirsten would not be returning]

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How has it been for you playing against a different actress as Maxie?
Bradford Anderson: What I realized early on was that I had to just treat it like a new character in a sense.  When Jen [Lilley] first came, I thought I had to play to her the way I would play to Kirsten.  That became impossible because they are two different people.  I learned that very quick.  Jen does wonderful things, but they are different from what Kirsten does.  You can’t not react to what she’s doing and pretend someone else is there saying the lines.  You have to react to what she is doing.  So I realized I can’t be held up by how I think I should be reacting or how history would dictate I would react.  Then it wouldn’t be organic in the moment.  That’s not fair to her, it’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to the viewers.  Those scenes will be their best if they are honest.  You have to play it as it is instead of how it might have been. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You have to allow yourself to be in the present with Jen. 
Bradford Anderson: Yes.  And I thought it was my responsibility to tell her about the history between these characters and how things would go.  Then it occurred to me: it’s okay if it’s different.  It will be different.  That’s okay, it can be great.  I think she did an unbelievable job. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Have you been in touch with Kirsten during her absence?
Bradford Anderson: I got a text from her recently telling me she’s coming back soon.  We tried to arrange a play date for my daughter and her brother’s baby.  We didn’t talk much about work, she just said she’s coming back soon.  She sounds healthy, happy, I couldn’t be more thrilled for her. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How old is your baby now?
Bradford Anderson: Six months now.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Is fatherhood everything you hoped and feared?
Bradford Anderson: Absolutely.  I feel like a full fledged adult now.  There is no way around it.  There are such joys, such trepidation, such work.  It’s a new career.  There is nothing like it. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Between Indie Soaps, changes on daytime, and becoming a father, it has been a year of such change for you.  It seems like you have really embraced the evolution and growth that comes from change.
Bradford Anderson:  I am really lucky to be where I am and doing what I’m doing.  Even years are good to me.  I mean, I’ve never had a bad year, and certainly last year was not a bad year. But I have a great feeling about this year. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Last year I asked you what Spinelli’s special name would be for Bradford Anderson, and you replied “The Sincere One.”  Would he have the same name for Bradford Anderson now?
Bradford Anderson:  “The Tired One.”

Editor's Note: Thank you for reading! Please enjoy Indie Soap nominated work on THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CUPID AND EROS.  A limited number of seats are now available to the public for The Third Annual Indie Soap Awards.  Press here if you are interested in attending the ceremony on Tuesday, February 21st, in New York City.

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Therapist in New York City who specializes in treating grief/loss, depression, stress management, anger management, addiction, and bullying. He is also the author of the popular book "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve," currently available at Amazon.com. For more information about scheduling a speaking engagement, please email him at Shouldless@gmail.com, or check out www.shouldless.com

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