Monday, March 1, 2010

Ian Buchanan - The WLS Interview, Part Four

In Parts One, Two, and Three, the outspoken and talented Ian Buchanan recalled anecdotes from his early modeling days, his experience as Duke Lavery on GH, and his Emmy winning stint on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.  In this part, Ian Buchanan speaks about life as an "outsider", his botched guest appearance on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and fun as the vampire leader on PORT CHARLES.  And for first time ever, he discusses his ill-fated role as Dr. Greg Madden on ALL MY CHILDREN.  

We Love Soaps: When you went outside after winning the Emmy, and the fans called for Maurice Benard, was this the kind of thing you might have reacted to explosively in the past?
Ian Buchanan: I may have done.  But getting that Emmy, it was the first time in my life I didn’t feel anger.  For weeks and weeks, I had no anger and no angst.  I felt like, “Wow, they finally let you in.  You’re in.”

We Love Soaps: “In” what?
Ian Buchanan: I’ve always thought of myself as not belonging and being an outsider.  And that had always worked for me, but it gets a little tiresome as you get older.  But then suddenly I realized, wow, here I am.  I didn’t do the Sally Field thing, but that’s how I felt.  Like, these people like me?  They really actually like me.

We Love Soaps: Do you still feel you are an outsider?
Ian Buchanan: Yes, and I still quite like that.  I’m not a team player.  I isolate sometimes.  I don’t really like being influenced about things by other people, I much prefer to view things for myself and have my own experience. 

We Love Soaps: When you won the Soap Opera Digest Award in 1999, you said in your acceptance speech, “I appreciate this a lot more than you know.”  What did that mean?
Ian Buchanan: I think I had just been let go from B&B. 

We Love Soaps: How did that feel to be let go after nearly six years?
Ian Buchanan: I was disappointed.  The character was still a great character, and it seemed like he could have had more story to tell.  But I guess it was done.  I was very sad to leave there.  But I was very glad to leave too.  I left on good terms.  I had seen other people come and go, I realized it was just my time to go.  If I hadn’t been let go I wouldn’t have done PORT CHARLES which was the most fun ever.

We Love Soaps: Before PORT CHARLES came your way, you had a four day stint on DAYS OF OUR LIVES [in 2001].
Ian Buchanan: That’s kind of a blur to me.   If I write a book there will be a very interesting chapter on that four day stint. 

We Love Soaps: Anything you can preview to us?
Ian Buchanan: No, it wouldn’t be fair to people that are still living.  But there are some very interesting situations there.  I had a great time working with Lesley-Anne Down.  We had a ball at the ball. 

We Love Soaps: It did seem bizarre from a viewer’s point-of-view that they did nothing with such rich talent, such as you, Lesley-Anne Down, Maeve Kinkead, David Forsyth...
Ian Buchanan: It was all the idea of David Sperber who was doing P.R. for the show.  It was a great idea, that they would fill the ball with these great people.  But I don’t think it was executed very well for anybody.  It was like, “We’ve got all of these people here.  Instead of paying extras, why don’t we pay them to be extras as well?”  That’s when everything got a little messy around late Thursday night. 

We Love Soaps: I’m sure looking forward to that book.
Ian Buchanan: At least two people have to die before I write it.

We Love Soaps: Okay then!  Now tell me about your character of Joshua on PORT CHARLES.
Ian Buchanan: First, when Julie Carruthers and Hope Smith described him, I said, “He sounds like a butler.” They said, “Well, no.”  Of course they knew the whole story and didn’t want to tell me.  I said, “If you promise he’ll become more interesting I’ll do it.”  I ended up loving it.  I love doing two shows a day.  I loved all the kids on that show.  I loved the chaos, very little rehearsal, going straight to tape.  I loved the writing.  I had never seen it until recently, someone started posting it on YouTube.  It looks brilliant.  I wish it was on the air right now.  It might be what they need on daytime. 

We Love Soaps: Did you like the short-term story arc? 
Ian Buchanan: I loved it.  I was there for six months months during which we did a year of shows.  It was as good as those nighttime vampire shows. 

We Love Soaps: And then Joshua went from pouring drinks...
Ian Buchanan: He became the head vampire.  I don’t think I was that good though, I think I was a half-assed vampire ruler.

We Love Soaps: Why do you say that?
Ian Buchanan: I got so caught up in the power that I didn’t pay attention to it.  I as an actor got so caught up in playing a mustached-twisting fang-filing vampire.  But I loved it. Julie Carruthers did such a great job with that show. 

We Love Soaps: Okay, so here comes the not-so-pleasant questions.  Julie Hanan Carruthers invited you to come onto ALL MY CHILDREN as Greg Madden, the doctor responsible for Erica Kane’s unabortion.  What the f--k were you thinking?
Ian Buchanan: Julie offered that to me.  They were very enthusiastic about the character initially. 

We Love Soaps: What were you told about him initially?
Ian Buchanan: I was told this was the character who had performed Erica Kane’s abortion, and couldn’t have children of his own.  So he decided to take the fetus and implant it into his wife and raise the child. 

We Love Soaps: So you knew that much about him.
Ian Buchanan: Yeah, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

We Love Soaps: Did you have any idea that longterm fans would have such a negative reaction?
Ian Buchanan: It really wasn’t my concern, it wasn’t my interest, it wasn’t my responsibility.  I was telling a story that someone else was writing.  The only thing I had to do with it was when it didn’t seem like it was turning out to be such a juicy role to play.  I said to Megan McTavish, “Can you make him a little dirty.” So I ended up being buried alive with dirt.  That was not what I had in mind.  She’s a very literal person.  I remember lying there in the coffin with mud and dirt thinking, “Be careful what you ask for, and who you ask.”

We Love Soaps: Your character was in the mud and dirt buried alive for weeks!
Ian Buchanan: It was great, I didn’t have to deal with anybody else.  It was just me and the crew at the end of the day and it was perfect. 

We Love Soaps: Knowing what you now about how the character of Greg turned out would you do it again?
Ian Buchanan: Yes of course I would. I have no control over that, I wouldn’t have wanted control.  I never would have gone to anybody and said, “Please don’t write that.”  That’s not my job. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please press here for the final part in which Ian discusses his involvement in The Citizen’s Band,  thoughts on indie soaps, and life lessons learned. 

Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He is re-imagining a world without "shoulds" at


  1. At least two people have to die before I write it.

    Oh, that's fabulous!

    This was the f$%kery that also was originally supposed to involve Victoria Wyndham, if I remember correctly.

  2. Holy wow, that b/w pic is amazing!

    I love his wit and candor. He is honest without being cruel or gratuitous and it is refreshing.

    Thanks again for this terrific interview.