Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spend Valentine's Day With Bradford Anderson's "Cupid" - Part Two

In Part One of our interview, the beloved Bradford Anderson spoke about his exciting new role as "Achilles" on the indie soap THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CUPID AND EROS, as well as "Spinelli's" new book coming out this April.  In Part Two he discusses the Spinelli/Maxie phenomenon, handling his sudden rise to fame, as well as the messages he delivered at his high school when he returned.  How does he keep his "small town" identity in check in a big city? Find out below!  

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Damian Spinelli was originally written to be on for a short term.  We have talked in previous interviews about his appeal to viewers as an outsider.  But what do you think made his pairing with Maxie so popular?
Bradford Anderson: I think it was just about opposites-attract.  One of the things that makes Spinelli useful in Port Charles is how he affects other people.  Clearly that is what made the pairing with Jason so enjoyable, you saw a different side of Jason.  I think through that Spinelli/Maxie pairing, Maxie blossomed into a captivating multifaceted flawed and lovable character.  They brought out things in each other that hadn’t been seen yet.  Because Kirsten created this character in Maxie, and I was lucky to have this interesting character in Spinelli, there were so many ways we could play romance, longing, disappointment, and heartbreak.  We were lucky to play these characters that could experience these every day things you see on a soap opera, but to play them in a different way.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You two are able to seamlessly cross the line from drama to comedy. 
Bradford Anderson: That was part of it.  We could see things in a light hearted way, which is not something you always see on daytime.  I don’t want to say it was new and groundbreaking, but it was certainly different from the norm. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: It was a new thing for each character, it was a point of emotional growth for both. However, many of us feel Maxie treated Spinelli quite badly this past year.
Bradford Anderson: Yes.  But happiness only goes so long in these stories.  They have found themselves quite far apart these days.  Who knows if that was done so they could have a reuniting.  The choices are made above me.  I don’t claim to know any of the reasons, but I also don’t claim to think any of those reasons are wrong necessarily.  I just don’t know anything about them. 

But I do miss her.  I miss Spinelli having those experiences and having the opportunity to feel like that.  I think my character has been more interesting at other points than now, but that’s how it goes.  At this point, with the way things are, especially with recent developments, I’m so lucky to still have a job.  There are so many ways you can look at things.  For me, thankfully, I’ve been able to keep in the head space of being grateful.  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: When the pairing of Maxie and Spinelli took off in 2008, you went into a new stratosphere of fandom and attention from fans and press. What was that like for you?
Bradford Anderson: It’s always nice to feel like the work you’re putting in is getting a response.  The shock for me as an actor as and as a person came at the very beginning of my role in 2006, and during the Metro Court story in 2007, when Spinelli became very popular and they wanted to sign me to a contract.  When I was working with Steve [Burton] every day people would take notice. That’s when my life really changed.  So when the stuff with Maxie happened, that was just gratifying.  We were doing the P.I. fantasy stuff, some people may have had to acquire a taste for it.  It was more off-center than normal.  But we invested in it, we had fun with it.  To see people reacting positively and appreciating it was really gratifying.  At the same time, you think you’re helping the show, you’re being a team player, helping the family, pulling your own weight.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Has there been any downside to this level of fame?
Bradford Anderson: In truth, out here in L.A., we live very anonymous lives.  I don’t consider myself a  celebrity by any means.  I realize my life is more public than most, I have to watch what I do and say in public.  Not that I have instincts to do terrible things in public.  But my life in L.A. is pretty normal.  When we do go out of town to mix with viewers we are prepared for it.  Like when I go on the Soap Cruise, I’m prepared for it.  Rarely do I find that I’m in an airport somewhere being chased down by mobs of people.  There is no paparazzi following me.

So it’s been a change, but not such a change that I’ve had to change who I am.  I’d like to think that even it did get that way that I would not change.  I think I’m lucky because of where and when these things happened.  When I graduated college I lived in New York for three or four years doing theater and keeping my nose to the grindstone.  I was working for peanuts, struggling, but enjoying every minute of it.  So when I came to L.A. and booked this job, I think I was far enough along in my life that I knew who I was and what my priorities were.  When GH came into my life it didn’t affect those things.  Maybe if this had happened when I was twenty-one it might have. 

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I have seen you over the years use your position to contribute to the causes that are important to you.  You have remained dedicated to fighting HIV, supporting Habitat For Humanity, speaking out for animal rights.
Bradford Anderson: We have a very passionate cast when it comes to causes.  Everyone has multiple causes they believe in.  We are a pretty tight-knit group, and also Disney introduces us to these opportunities as well.  We find ourselves having the opportunities to do these things.  Thankfully we have the time and inclination to carry them out.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: In 2008 you returned to your high school in New Hampshire to give a graduation speech. What did you tell them?
Bradford Anderson: I was so honored they asked me to do that.  I grew up in a very small town in central New Hampshire.  I didn’t think of it as a special place when I was growing up.  It wasn’t until I left that I could see it for what it was.  I think that’s hard for a young person growing up in a small town.  Your family is there, your comfort zone is there.

So my speech was about being proud to be from a small town.  Always be from a small town, but be a worldly person.  Even if you decide that town is where you need to be the rest of your life, go live in New York for a year, live abroad for a year, have another experience.  You won’t appreciate it as much if you don’t experience something else.  Have a worldly mind even if you’re in a small town.  If you never leave, you might resent it.  It was important for me to tell them they are from a special place, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other special places.  Have as many experiences as you can, make the best decision for you.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Do you find that larger cities make it hard for someone from a small town to maintain that special quality?
Bradford Anderson: Not necessarily.  Experiencing diversity in all forms will inform what you already know.  For someone like me, moving from a small town to a big city,  was a transition.  The great thing for me about New York is that it is a big city comprised of communities.  There are ten thousands small towns that make up New York City.  You can find a community there and that’s one of the reasons it’s so special.  I can attest that not all cities are like that.  L.A. is not a town of little communities.

In a small town everyone looks out for each other and has a sense of pride as to who they are, where they are from, and how people treat other people.  It’s not utopia necessarily, but there are small town values that are human values.  It’s about personal responsibility.  In a big city it’s easy to forget personal responsibility.  You think, “What can I do amongst this massive group of people?” Once you lose sight of that, things can do down pretty quickly.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Come back on Valentine's Day for the final part of our interview as we discuss Anderson's future on prime-time, hopes for Spinelli's future, and reflections on his celebrated career.  Until then don't forget to catch-up on the slings and arrows at THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF EROS AND CUPID.  

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].

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