Michael Nader returned to ALL MY CHILDREN this week as Dimitri Marrick. He participated in a Q&A with the press to talk about being back in Pine Valley. Check out a transcript below:
Were you aware of the entire drama of ALL MY CHILDREN being canceled and the fans rallying to bring it back? And if so, were you wanting to be a part of the reboot, or was this kind of a whole surprise?
Michael Nader: I had no idea what status. I knew that ALL MY CHILDREN had gone off the air, but I did not know anything about this upstart of Hulu and iTunes. To make a very long story short, I got a call from my daughter, who said, "Dad, I just got an e-mail from someone named Ginger [Smith, executive producer] in regards to ALL MY CHILDREN. She wants to talk to you."
And that's how I got Ginger's number and that's how I made the call. And lo and behold, she said, "I'd been trying to find you for three weeks and I just told the writers that most likely I'm going to have to pull off of writing for you, because we couldn't find you. You've been well hidden, Mr. Michael."
So that's the first I heard of this new thing. And by the time she had gotten to me they were already into shooting. So pretty quickly I had to fly back and I was able to complete for weeks of shooting on this first venture.
We are so glad that you are back. You were amazing today. And we look forward to what the storyline holds for you.
Michael Nader: Was I on today? So you got to see my bald head?
I did. You are looking great. So thank you so much for returning.
Michael Nader: Thank you very much for all of you having me back.
I'm just curious to know, you know, obviously it's been like a minute since Dimitri was around. What does it mean to you to know that there was this much interest and excitement around seeing you back in Pine Valley, among the fans and among us who are supposed to be impartial journalists, but we're also quite excited?
Michael Nader: Gosh. I think the most charming element for me was not knowing, because the cast is all mostly new, the young people. But before I got into, the first couple days were hectic, you know, while getting fittings and all that.
And then what was too charming to me was when I got down to the set to do this first thing that was on today, I guess, each of the camera men -- it was like seeing people from, like, your four-year high school anniversary.
You know, each of the guys came up to me and I went, "Oh my god, man," you know, and again and again, and it was just such a pleasant thing to see the guys and the crew that I had worked with for over 10 years.
And, you know, it had to be -- gosh, it's got to be like 13 years ago that I was on. So that was the most - that and Ginger - the producer's kindness and excitement of having finally found me.
She did her work and finally Chris Goutman, one of the directors who was, you know, we go back a long ways -- he said, "Why don't you -- his daughter's on Facebook. Give her a holler." And that's how Ginger found me. My daughter called me and gave me the e-mail and I called Ginger and the rest is a very sweet history.
I've enjoyed myself immensely. You know, I'm the same ham I've always been and I like what they're writing. They're moving me pretty quickly into Brooke's arms.
But, you know, I've kind of gotten a new respect for Ginger's writing team, you know, it's a big job to balance the older actors with the younger ones, but she's doing a hell of a job on incorporating history with the new reality of the younger cast group. And they're all so wonderful at being worked to death.
And so it's kind of a very wonderful reunion for me and I'm very lucky and honored to have been able to come back and clean house, so to speak.
Did you feel that sort of instant -- I mean, I think we saw it, you know, when we watched the episode stream today -- the chemistry between you and Julia Barr. Was that something that you felt you stepped back into rather easily?
Michael Nader: Yes.
And as the show progresses you'll see Julia and I having a lot of fun together, which is, some of the writing becomes a little pedantic and ever-present sort of one point of view -- emotional point of view.
And both of us are having so much fun kind of rattling that cage, making it more fun than it's written. You know, to get away from some of those pitfalls of the emotionality of daytime.
This gives a little more depth, you know, and Dimitri's always been a hot flare, you know. And so with that temperament I'm bringing a - I'm trying with Julia, because she's so wonderful to work with, we're trying to just mix up some of those romantic inclinations with a bit more humor instead of trying to hit the head on the nail all the time.
I was a huge fan of Dimitri's original storyline. And as you know, ALL MY CHILDREN fans are very loyal to their couples. And Dimitri -- although he had many romances on the show, I think a lot of fans sort of associate him with (Erica) and a lot of fans are sort of rooting - associate (Brooke) and (Adam) as a couple. So is there any trepidation about being sort of - kind of an interloper or breaking out of fan expectations with this relationship?
Michael Nader: That's a good question.
They - the writing right now -- and you will see as you - I move along in my first shows -- she's deeply - (Brooke) is deeply dedicated to (Adam). And some of the - some of the emotional realities in the beginning are me juxtaposing my growing feelings for her from a, you know, from a sort of an isolated, you know, they're weaving the years I've been off the show as a journey of my own.
And that's been a lonely one, reality-wise and show-wise that he's very aware of those feelings, but at the same time he's staunchly allowing his emotional recovery from being 10 years out in the boondocks of some European country to - and the divorce from -- I forget what - her name at the moment, the actress -- Fiona Hughes -- her sister or something -- we broke up and for 10 years I'd been on my own.
So the - that balance of my own feelings being ignited again and of life and then the reality of that amongst the love for (Brooke) and hers for him is a - is a good story pull.
You know, I think (David) has retired somewhat from a daily appearance on the show, but I'm sure he'll be brought in at poignant moments as we move forward with this balancing act.
And, you know, how can you get by the history of that in the book? You can't. It's there. It'll always be some sort of a fulcrum with which to move emotion around.
So it's indicated it's going to be a strong storyline and then I think already, from what Ginger has told me, things will start perking even outside of that with other relationships that the audience right now doesn't know about but will be informed through Dimitri of certain realities.
So that'll be coming up if the show stays on, you know.
...would you like to reunite on camera with Susan Lucci for a day or so?
Michael Nader: Oh, you know, I don’t know what is happening with Susan or any move for her to come back into the venue.
But, you know, how can you not? We were a pretty dynamic couple during the early years on the show -- all the Yugoslavian stuff, that great three-week shoot we had in Budapest, you know, the grandeur of that love when there was still money enough to be made to create grandeur on daytime.
And so yes, the answer would be. If Susan decides to come back in whatever program she figures out, I'm sure there'll be a lot of sparks there between us.
You're interacting with the new characters on the show. What's it been like to work with these newbies, as well as reuniting with some of the veteran cast of ALL MY CHILDREN?
Michael Nader: Well the new folks on the show are just so damn good looking.
They've got women and men, you know, that -- well I'll tell you a funny quick story. I came in and the first day was hair and makeup and clothing and such, so I kept being introduced to one good looking guy after another, with these shockingly full heads of hair and beautiful acolyte features.
And then finally a guy named Thorsten Kaye came in -- one of the actors I had never met -- middle - younger middle-age actor, you know, probably about the same age when I started 20-some years ago.
And he came in, he was about 6'3, a full mane of Viking hair down to his shoulders. And I shook his hand and I said, "You have just made me make a decision." And I turned to (Ralphie) and I said, "Have (Ginger) come down -- the producer," and she came down and I said, "Ginger, I want to shave my head."
And she went, "What?" I said, "Yes," I said, "I can't compete. I've got, you know, I'm thinning. I've got a sort of a bit of a comb up, you know?" I said, "I still have hair on my head, but why compete? And since I've been gone so long I'll - I'm going to do this sort of Zen thing and do the Bruce Willis Fade Into the Night Look."
So that's why today when you saw me I had not a full bonehead, you know, I keep the hair around the sides of the ears real short, but the whole head is shaved.
And I went home that first night and I looked at myself in the mirror and I went, "Oh my god, what have I done?" You know, and I was thinking of calling (Ginger) and saying, "I made a big mistake. I have to go home. I can't do this," because I had never done it in my life, you know.
So I got used to it, but that first day I looked on camera and saw myself I said, "Hey, that's a cool choice," you know. It definitely brings me back in a visually new light. So that's the decision I made.
And now that I've worked with these folks for four weeks these kids are being, worked to death. They have so much storyline and they're so cute and so rambunctious and so much fun that I feel like the old man in the scene, you know.
I'm like "Little grasshopper, let me show you the way," you know? So we're having a ball together. I hang out with the young folks a tremendous amount of time. They're all right around me in the dressing area, so we're always talking.
End of story.
I was just curious to know if you're going to share any bit more of your back story with (Brooke). Have you and the writers or (Ginger) talked about what Dimitri's back story is a little bit? Where he's been?
Michael Nader: Not at all. But I can tell you that (Ginger) was very excited with what we have up to date. And just recently since I've been at home she called me and said, "I want you to know that you'll get an email from the two new head writers that I've brought on to write for you."
So she's saying that in the next segment when I come back -- I think its in middle of August -- we will be cranking up more of the back story and starting to involve a bunch of the younger people, which I can not reveal right now, possibly the interaction with Dimitri into a couple of their storylines.
Oh, that's great. I think it would be good to see Dimitri with some of the younger cast. And also I want to know what was like a shooting day like for you? I imagine it was a lot - was it everything you expected, or was it a lot harder than you expected -- like, an average shooting day?
Michael Nader: It's funny because you think that a new format of a half hour would lighten the mode, but the fact is is they're shooting maybe three to five shows a day -- segments of it.
So how they keep all that straight, I don't know. But in that context, the actors -- our day is as long as they used to be at the hour show, because we're shooting that much material each day.
Even though it's not one show from beginning to end, it's parts and parcels. And many years ago when I first came on ALL MY CHILDREN, my negotiations took so long that we were in a 17-show backlog.
So I'm quite experienced at shooting segments of shows forever, you know. I think I lost about 10 pounds when I was first cast on ALL MY CHILDREN catching up. And at that time, Dimitri was in like three layers of coats and ascots and, you know, vests and everything.
So I was like boiling and losing weight in those first three weeks. So -- you bet.
What is your television watching experience like? Did you ever watch television on Hulu?
Michael Nader: No. In fact, I was so unknowledgeable about any of this that the gentleman that handled my contract for me said, "Do you realize, Mike, that 70% of the new pilots in Los Angeles are going straight to the Internet?"
I went, "Really?" He says, "Yes. The format of introducing and getting a new source of advertising dollars I guess is - they're moving that way very strongly."
In fact, the two guys that put this all together the night of the premier of the two shows in New York down at the college there -- they said that this idea came to them a number of years ago and it's taken this long, you know, after the demise in L.A. of the show -- it's taken that long.
They were on it immediately, but it took that long to get this going. And they said that night at the premier, "We hope that we were very inventive, or now after two years we might see that we were very stupid."
And from what I hear, One Life to Live is doing pretty well in the context of that. I don't know how going down to two days and four days has affected that, because I'm so out of the loop.
In fact, I thought I wasn't on until the 17th, so here you go. I'm on today. I'll have to go look at it and see how my bald head looked.
(Brooke) brought Dimitri in to pretty much undermine J.R. And Dimitri hasn't really been around since J.R.'s been an adult at all. Does he have the same kind of wariness of J.R. as everybody else?
Michael Nader: Well as a guy, you know, just as me as an actor coming on the show with not knowing J.R.'s history, the actor and his history is so evident in everything he does.
He is so dysfunctional. So the character that - Dimitri immediately has a point of view and one that is trying to support (Brooke) like, "I know, you know, this is some sort of (unintelligible) your extended family, but this guy is a, you know, this guy is a, you know, he's not wrapped too tight."
So I'm sort of the balancing act of how to allow, you know, (Brooke) is allowing herself to give him leeway. And so far in my first thing, the first big leeway is totally screwed up. We don't know that it was sabotage.
We actually think at the moment that he's just, you know, done another doofus move, but in fact something more complicated behind the scenes is happening, which will probably be discovered when we get back in the next segment of shooting.
But so this guy is good. He's - has real a real likeable thing, but he has a -- a likeable personality -- but he's found this sort of like a schizophrenic thing that he busts into where he just loses his temper constantly.
So I've warned him already that he can take himself down but he's not taking (Brooke) down with him.
And so Dimitri is pretty much solidly in (Brooke's) corner and he's just going to be backing her up for whatever she needs.
Michael Nader: Yes. You know, I mean, you know, we'll see if, you know, I mean, right now the argument of coming back as you see in the short future will be his emotional stability being brought alive again -- Dimitri's -- and (Brooke)'s paying and loss of or perceived loss of Adam.
You know, that dynamic will rule how he backs her up or doesn't back her up. When I say doesn't back her up, it'll be sort of pushing his emotional needs instead of his business acumen, you know.
So that's the - that's the sort of little balance there that'll be taking place, I'm sure, in the - in the near future. You know, because we left -- I told another interviewer that one of the most dynamic moments was when I took an unorthodox step to cement my kiss, you know.
And that spoke volumes for where I'm at and, you know?