Monday, April 2, 2012

INTERVIEW: Shawn Christian Talks DAYS, VENICE, ATWT and Spanners!

He was the first male spokesmodel on STAR SEARCH back in 1994, and even before that, when he was in high school, Shawn Christian stood out from the crowd—enough to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Merit. We've watched him on ONE LIFE TO LIVE and AS THE WORLD TURNS, and he is currently starring in DAYS OF OUR LIVES and VENICE. And then there's his film career.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Shawn for a few minutes, and we asked about what's in store for his DAYS character, Daniel; his favorite AS THE WORLD TURNS episodes; the new film projects he's working on, and more. We hope you enjoy this transcript of our conversation.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Could you start us off by telling us, broadly, what's coming up for Daniel? Has he changed? What can we look forward to?
Shawn Christian: Expect the unexpected, to be honest with you. I don't know specifically, but I can guarantee you it will raise the hair on the back of your neck. I'm sure.

Here's the thing about being gone: [Daniel] will be more grounded, and more humbled. Now, what he chooses to do with that is another story. They’re doing a great job of bringing back a lot of the history of the show, and that's the one thing audiences always enjoy, the history of these characters that people grew up on. So they're going to get a wonderful, wonderful taste of that. And then there are people like my character, who are on the fringe, trying to twist that up a bit.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What are your thoughts on Daniel being paired with Nicole?
Shawn Christian: They haven't fully explored it yet, but what's inherently interesting is that they share a common denominator of a long trail of battle wounds, and lost love. Her best friend was the love of my life, and that just sort of lingers in the air. Their history is inherent, you don't even need to full-on address it. The audience, who's invested in this show, clearly understands that she's been on a rough, rocky road, and he's been on a rough, rocky road, and has scars on him, and they share the common denominator of both being survivors.

So yeah, that's the one thing you can count on: these two people know each other well.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What about Jennifer? I guess there's no future there...
Shawn Christian: Look, you had the story of a woman who was willing to put the family to the test, and she had the opportunity to start a new chapter in her life--or pursue her family. For a character like Jennifer, who really believes in family, it was a wise choice. And he respectfully said, “You know what, you're willing to do that, you do your thing.” And Daniel's going to go do his thing.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Let me tell you, it's always a treat for us, when we interview actors like you, who are active in both the daytime soap and indie soap worlds, to ask about how they're similar, and how they're different? What has your experience on VENICE been like, compared to DAYS?
Shawn Christian: Well, I think Crystal [Chappell] makes no bones about it, VENICE is definitely a soap opera.  So they're very similar in the way they tell stories. It's different in that you have to wind this thing up in what feels like one movie—perhaps 150 pages, right? There's a multitude of characters to pinpoint, and push, and those stories don't always get spun out to their fullest. Yet, you do have some history, and you lay the groundwork for who these characters are, what their baseline story is--the idea being that there is more. That's what's intriguing about, say, a VENICE or any sort of web series. It gives you a taste of what you want more of.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: You may have heard about SoapClassics re-releasing select episodes of AS THE WORLD TURNS? I know you were heavily featured in the Christmas DVD collection, in particular. They've also recently started to stream entire episodes of AS THE WORLD TURNS online, from their site, with the intent of letting old and new fans, alike, watch an entire season as it originally unfolded. What do you think about that?
Shawn Christian: I think that's good for soaps! AS THE WORLD TURNS created some wonderful storytelling.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Which episodes would you like to see on DVD?
Shawn Christian: I actually think the idea of the stock car racing—because it is such a phenomenon now—and back in the day, they knew stock car racing was the up-and-coming “new football.” A Sunday sport that needed to be watched, period. If you look at the numbers on the audience, the demographics, it was a wonderful story.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I think it was also a refreshing idea?
Shawn Christian: Yeah! Because it wasn't coffee and tea and this escapist kind of environment (and we all need that, that's great) but it was grounded. He worked in a garage, you know? He lived on the other side of the tracks. And he was in love with his car! It was his life; it was his way out.

I found that to be—I thought it was so unconventional. For me. I'm sure many other people may have done things like this, but for me, I loved that story, for this genre. I really did. We had a car, and we had races, and visually it was different.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: It was something you didn't see in daytime...
Shawn Christian: ...and now it's a multimillion dollar business, stock car racing. So, to have done that back when it was, not underground by any means, but it was one of those things certain people could relate to. It's part of their lives, man, people in these towns are trying to find a way out, and they work on the cars, and the racing has a big following. And it was different from “coffee and crumpets.” It was a wonderful way to do scenes.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: In addition to DAYS and VENICE, what other projects have you been working on? I know you keep yourself busy.
Shawn Christian: I do keep myself busy, strangely enough. I'm still editing a film that I produced, but it needs so much work.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Tell me about that!
Shawn Christian: It's actually a sci-fi story, that I think--he wanted to do it as a film, and I said, “maybe it's better as a show.” Because there are so many loose ends that need to be wound up, and wrapped up, that we are really in the middle of editing it, or completing it, in my opinion.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What role do you play?
Shawn Christian: I'm the lead actor. I'm an eight-thousand-year-old immortal, I've been around for eight thousand years. I'm going to solve the mystery of my immortal brother's death. Does that make sense?

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: It certainly sounds different than DAYS or VENICE.
Shawn Christian: Completely. Listen (and I knew this going in), this character has been around for 8,000 years and has completely seen it, done it all. This much personality, to convey that, through a whole movie, is a challenge. Unless your Clint Eastwood.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: It's going to be interesting to see you in such a different capacity.
Shawn Christian: Yeah, it is interesting, and I love the guy who created it, he's done a great job, and it's spawned another independent project I'm working on.

WE LOVE SOAPS TV: I'm afraid we have to wrap things up, but I know our audience is going want to know the name of that sci-fi film?
Shawn Christian: It's called Spanners, and we'll see where it ends up going. We're on multiple edits, and I just got a message from them today, and so... And for this other independent film, a romantic comedy, I have a meeting with a really good scriptwriter, and so I think, hopefully, that will find some legs. And, I had a table read for another movie a few days ago.

I'm fortunate enough, and blessed enough, to audition for all these projects--and it's pilot season, and I do this soap, and then I do a series like VENICE. So really, the climate has changed so much, that if it appeals to me creatively--if it's painting, reading, writing, drawing,--I'll do it.


  1. What A Super-Classy, Super-Smart Renaissance Guy Shawn Christian Is.

    Go, Shawn, Go--Yes!

    Brian :-)

  2. Aww, Mike Kasnoff! Mike Kasnoff was a flawed but well intentioned character-- what more can you ask for in a soap character? Loved what Christian had to say about ATWT. And now that I think about it, the stock car racing storylines were pretty unique back then. Even into the mid 90s, ATWT had a nice cross section of families/characters across the socio-economic strata.

  3. Shawn Christian seems to be a fine person, but the character of Daniel is just a fail, and Days should have let him go. I'm annoyed that the show is making this "reset" effort on Daniel, but he seems like the same personality-less, shallow, from one woman to the next kinda guy to me. The effort should be put into rebuilding Jack and Jennifer, after the hatchet job the show did on one of the its most beloved and legendary love stories and on Jennifer's character.