Monday, January 31, 2011

Drew Garrett's "Mentalist" State: The WE LOVE SOAPS Interview, Part 1

Drew Garrett amazed the viewers of GENERAL HOSPITAL when he took on the role of troubled Michael Corinthos Jr. in 2009.  It shocked the entire industry when he was fired less than a year later.  So what happened to this prolific actor, and what is he doing now? In this exclusive new interview, Garrett discusses his upcoming guest appearance in CBS-TV's THE MENTALIST on February 17th at 10 p.m., his confusing departure from GENERAL HOSPITAL, aspirations for the future, and hard-life lessons learned along the way. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Tell me about your role on THE MENTALIST, coming up on CBS, February 17th at 10 p.m.?
Drew Garrett: This is a one episode guest star spot.  I’m playing a guy named Jeff Loomis who is the son of the victim for that episode.  It all revolves around a trailer park community who are all prospecting for gold.  I am in about four scenes and have great camera time.  It’s not like I’m in the background. It won’t be a tease.  I am early on in the episode, and then I come back in later.  Simon Baker, who plays THE MENTALIST, uses my character as a resource because I’m the son of the guy who is dead.  He needs to tap into my psyche and interview me in order to find out the background of the victim.  He basically uses myself and my father’s girlfriend to get clues, as well as some other suspects. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: So you are playing the son of a murder victim.  I imagine this will allow us to see even more of your range?
Drew Garrett: Yes, that is going to be involved in this role.  I’m feeling good about the work I did. You never really know.  It’s hard for me to leave a job and feel good about it until I see it, but I’m pleased with this. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How do you evaluate your own work?
Drew Garrett: I am my own worst critic.  But you get a gut feeling.  You can look to the director if you don’t feel satisfied and ask for one more take, or ask to try to do something else.  But sometimes I won’t be one hundred percent excited about the work I did and it ends up showing up really well.  And there are times I have thought, “Wow, that is good,” and then I will see it and think, “Whatever, that was okay.”

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Were there times on GENERAL HOSPITAL when the finished scene was a lot better than what you had thought?
Drew Garrett: Yes, that's what I’m referring to.  Sometimes I’d think, “Man, that fight scene was so good, I was so energetic!” Then I’d see it and think, “Eh, I could have done it a little bit better.”  With this episode of THE MENTALIST it is so different.  In primetime you get so many takes so it will be interesting to see what they go with.  I did several takes where there are different emotions going on inside of me.  It will be interesting to see what they compile together.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: My understanding is that you don’t get that opportunity on daytime anymore.
Drew Garrett: Exactly.  A lot of the times on GH you just do one take.  If it’s solid, you’re movin’ on.  In some cases that is great, because I’ve had some pretty heavy emotional scenes.  I nail it in one take and it’s awesome that we get to move on.  Once you peak emotionally it’s hard to get back there.  If you’re doing eight or nine takes then you have to pace yourself, be smart with it, and wait until it’s your coverage.  I felt like I was strategizing more on THE MENTALIST.  With GH you can just bring it on the first or second take and they are going to get all the angles and all the coverage they need to move on.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Which do you prefer?
Drew Garrett: They are two completely different mediums.  I liked on GENERAL HOSPITAL always knowing where I was going.  You know you’re always going to the same studio.  GH is a little more consistent and you don’t have to worry as much about direction.  But primetime is a little more fun because you get to be on location.  With THE MENTALIST there were lots of on location shoots, and that was fun.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: As Michael on GH, we saw you go to some pretty dark places that a lot of actors twice your age can’t go.  Michael was often spontaneously angry, violent, and confused.  Where does that come from?
Drew Garrett: Depending on each scene it varied what I used.  I’m not going to delve into my personal life, but I will tap into what is currently affecting me in my real life.  Usually that is the best resource that I have.  It’s active, it’s real and it’s current. Whereas if I did an “as if,” or created some kind of reality that isn’t true, then it can be a little more difficult to reach that level of intensity.  But it always changes.  I don’t find myself using one tool or method.  I’m always mixing it up.  Sometimes I will make something up and listen to music to focus in on that.  Other times I relate to something that is real.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Were there certain actors that made it easier for you to connect to yourself on that level?
Drew Garrett: Well, take Maurice Benard. It’s not like I need him to tap in.  But when you’re working with a good actor like him, he just helps to intensify that situation and sustain the pace of the scene so it doesn’t end up flat and boring.  Whenever I’m working with someone one I look up to, or someone who has been in the business for a long time, then everything is better.  You relate to that person, you look up to them.  When you’re with a professional the results are always that much better. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Did you have that on THE MENTALIST?
Drew Garrett: Yes, I was really impressed with Simon Baker.  The whole cast is awesome, but Simon Baker is the big draw.  I was really impressed with how legitimate and talented that guy is. He really knows what he is doing.  It was cool for me as a young actor to work with him, see what his method is, and what his process is for getting to where he needs to be.  He definitely did that.  I was not only having a good time but I was enjoying learning from a superior as well. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: After a year of profoundly deep work on GH you were gone.  What happened?
Drew Garrett: That’s a good question.  I keep getting asked that.  In reality I don’t exactly know what really happened or what the real truth is, and I don’t know if I ever will.  I can say that maybe they really did, for whatever reason, want an actor that plans to be on the show for a really long time.  I had no intention of leaving, but I also aspired to work on primetime and feature films. In a way for me it was a stepping stone and perhaps they recognized that.  Maybe they wanted someone who wanted to be on soaps the rest of their lives.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing whatsoever.  It’s a great career.  But I wanted to use it as a segue way for bigger and better things.  It could have been [the reason].  But I really don’t know what it was. 

In truth, it’s really good for me to see that the character of Michael really has been changed when it comes to his mentality.  That is what they told me, that they were going in a completely different direction with the character.  Initially I thought they were just saying that to make me feel better about the situation.  But it’s cool that they did in fact change this character pretty substantially. I would have felt like a punk if they were saying, “Hey, we’re going to change it up and switch this character completely,” and then get some other dude who is playing the same thing.  So that was cool to see that they really were changing him up. 

However, I’m not really sure why they just didn’t direct me in the new direction they wanted to take.  I feel one of my best qualities as an actor is taking direction.  When it comes to working on set, if a director puts me in a new direction, or gives me some notes, that I will put that in to action. That is something I feel I’m really good at.  So I don’t know.  Either way it was a great experience.  I feel I learned more in that one year than I ever had before.  It was like boot camp.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Read Part Two in which the acclaimed actor discusses lessons learned about himself and the entertainment industry.  What was it like to get nominated for an Emmy after being fired? Come back for 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," currently available at For more information about scheduling an appointment, please email him at [email protected].


  1. Really great interview - always loved Drew as Michael. He's a great young actor!

  2. Drew is a very talented young actor. I'm a bit surprised that another soap hasn't tried to hire him.

  3. I think Drew lost out when the Writers and Producers decided to tackle the current storyline for Michael. Drew looks a lot younger than Chad, and, possibly, they thought that the audience wouldn't accept the storyline with a rape victim looking so young. That may be true as far as this storyline is concerned, but it still was not fair to Drew. Everything he did in his year there showed that he deserved to keep that job.