Friday, November 19, 2010

Thorsten Kaye Is Still The "Occupant" Of Our Hearts - Part One

Fan favorite Thorsten Kaye is sadly leaving his six year role on ALL MY CHILDREN this week.  But soap viewers will be thrilled to know that he had teamed up with another fan favorite, Van Hansis, to star in the new feature film Occupant. Join me for this new interview in which we discuss his new role, how he felt about working with Van Hansis, and the life-altering accident that changed the course of his career.   

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I’m so excited to speak with you.  I have enjoyed your work since your first  day on ONE LIFE TO LIVE as Patrick Thornhart and have enjoyed seeing your work evolve over the years. 
Thorsten Kaye: You need to get cable or something because there’s definitely other stuff to watch, but thank you.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Well, hopefully there’s going to be other stuff for me to watch with you in it.  We are so excited to see your new film after talking with Van Hansis last week. Tell me about your role in the film Occupant.
Thorsten Kaye: Tell me what Van said.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: He talked to us about the style of the film, that it is a psychological thriller that takes place on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.  He mentioned that what we don’t see is as scary as what we do see.
Thorsten Kaye: He’s completely right about that.  I was scared by it, I still don’t know what happened. I play the Russian doorman of the building.  You don’t really know where he’s coming from or why he’s there or how long he’s been there.  It seems like he has to grind somebody as well.

But can I just talk about Van? The guy is pretty cool.  I had seen him around at soap events for awhile and never really got to know him.  I have to tell you, he’s pretty cool, and a pretty good actor as well.  Even the way he approached the script.  I read the script once and I thought, “I don’t know who the bad guy is, I don’t know who did what.”  You really have to read it a couple of times to get what is going on there.  There are different ways of looking at it.  Even the producers and the directors had a different idea.  And that is good, that makes for a good movie.  Van’s approach was great because he just got out of the way.  He did what was asked of him, and made it his own.  I was really impressed by him. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: This is the first time I have seen him play the lead in a feature.
Thorsten Kaye: He played the lead on his soap.  I don’t know about you, but I think that is the toughest thing to do because you don’t get to read the whole script.  You know what the day is, but you don’t know what the week is, you don’t know what your story arc is.  There is nothing harder than doing soaps. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I think it must be even harder now than it was when you started ONE LIFE fifteen years ago.
Thorsten Kaye: It’s harder because it is written so fast.  It’s tough on anybody.  We’ve had actors sit there and say, “It's the writers fault, the writers did this...” Well, they don’t have time either.  They have to throw this together.  They have an outline, arc writers, and story writers, so you never really know who is in charge of anything.  They just all throw it together the best they can.  But getting back to Occupant, it was a great group effort, everyone figured it out.  It was an ego-less production - from the director, and from the other actors.   We had stuff to do and we got it done. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: When will we be able to do see it?
Thorsten Kaye: We’re still working on it.  Its still not ready to be shown.  But I just saw it the other night.  And I’ve got to tell you, it's really cool.  They’ve got this new camera called “the red.” The quality is amazing.  It looks rich,  the colors are great, the music is great.  They did this cool shot of this building pointing down. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: In the trailers your character looks very spooky, like you’re just observing everything.
Thorsten Kaye: That was the character and the actor trying to figure it out. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Does he have a name?
Thorsten Kaye: His name is Joe.  What is your favorite scary movie?

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: The first Friday the 13th film scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid.  And of course so did Poltergeist
Thorsten Kaye: Rosemary’s Baby is mine.  Nothing really gory happened in that.  It was the idea of what could happen. Occcupant is kind of like that one.  It has a similar feel to it.  I can’t wait till people watch it and say what they think.  Especially because of Van, this role could make him a star. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: And this could lead to more roles for you as well!
Thorsten Kaye: That’s neither here nor there.  I’d rather sit at home and drink beer. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Let’s look back on your career.  You started off in school as a runner.
Thorsten Kaye: I was going to be a decathlete.  But you get to a point in your career where you realize you’re only going to get slower.  I think that’s true of all athletes.  I was never that fast to begin with, so that moment came pretty early.  Like all failed athletes, I tried to become an actor.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I read that a motorcycle accident was involved in this decision as well.
Thorsten Kaye: That didn’t help.  But that was me trying to blame the elements.  I don’t know if that would have changed my career one way or another.  I lost a good year. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What happened?
Thorsten Kaye: Teach your kids: Don’t ride motorcycles in the snow when you have beers in you.   That was a long time ago.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: So you changed your focus, and then moved to the U.S.?
Thorsten Kaye: I came to San Diego on a track scholarship and then that fell through because of what I just explained.  Then I got a scholarship to be an actor.  It was a lot of fun. My roommate was Jamie Foxx.  I just talked to him the other day. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What appealed to you about drama? Did you want do television, theater, films?
Thorsten Kaye: I have a brother Patrick who is the smart one in the family.  He always read books, every time I see him he has a new book in his hand.  He would always talk about the books he was reading.  I liked the escape of it, of playing other characters and being able to be someone else and not having to go to therapy for it. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Does acting allow that for you now?
Thorsten Kaye: Yeah, it’s fun.  You get away with some stuff.  Maybe its because I can’t do anything else and get paid as well.  What about you? Is interviewing second rate actors what you wanted to do?

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: [Laughs] First of all, you are a very accomplished actor.  And second, I’m a licensed therapist in New York. 
Thorsten Kaye: You’re gonna have a lot after this interview.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Press here for Part Two in which Thorsten shares his take on daytime's first lesbian wedding on AMC, how soaps short change their viewers, as well as his stint as Patrick Thornhart on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. What political events contributed to his leaving? Find out in Part Two. 

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 [email protected]


  1. I don't know him. I'm a fan of Van's, but wow, Thorsten Kaye is hilarious!

  2. I totally love what Thorsten said about Van's talent and amazing acting! Thank you!

  3. Thorsten looks completely creepy in Occupant. Scares me every time I watch the trailer.
    Thanks for the interview. Really looking forward to seeing Occupant.
    He and Van are going to be great. They speak highly of each other's work and I'm sure that talent and shared respect benefited the film.

  4. I adore Thorsten. Always funny,complimentary of his fellow actors and hilariously self-depreciating. Can't wait for the Occupant and can't wait for part two.

  5. Thanks for the interview. I look forward to part two. I love Thorsten and am excited for this movie to be a huge success for him and Van.

    But, selfishly, I'm not ready to let go of him as Zach Slater just yet and hope to see him back on AMC and with Kendall sometime soon.

  6. I cannot wait to see Thorsten Kaye in this movie, because he is such an outstanding actor.
    Thorsten's character 'Joe' in the 3rd trailer is endearing yet sinister, which sends a chill down my spine in a scary; but GOOD way!!

  7. Thorsten is a marvelous trained classical theatre actor who clearly knows what he's doing every second.

    I'm curious to know about the beginnings of his professional connections with Dorothy Bridges, Lloyd Bridges's widow.

    Super-great interview as usual, Damon! :-)