Brian Gaskill is a passionate, smoldering actor so it’s no surprise that he would choose a venue like the Old Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax Avenue to hold what could very well be his last fan event at the Port Charles and General Hospital Fan Club Luncheon. I arrived extremely early to this event since I took a bus all the way from Malibu. Brian’s representatives and friends were very gracious to allow me to come inside and sit down in the theater to wait for the event to begin.
If you’ve never been to the Silent Movie Theater, it’s very much worth a trip, especially if you’re a movie buff. The lighting is low, large pictures of Hollywood’s finest like Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin blown up in exaggerated poses grace the walls. Brian enters, of course, with very little fanfare and sprints down the aisle to his manager asking in a booming voice, “What can I do?” Most Hollywood actors, even soap stars, leave it completely up to their representatives and fan club managers to “manage” the event while they wait cordoned off from their fans until they make their big entrance. An hour before his event starts Brian is already making the rounds with a few other members of the press (I have sense enough to leave him alone for now since we’re already getting a half hour alone with him before the event starts ;-) and answering questions that he really can’t answer or explaining his love for animals, his fans, and the magic of silent film.
By the time our mini press conference is scheduled to begin I have to call Katrina just to hear her voice and calm my nerves. I don’t tell her, since Brian’s just three feet away from me, but I’m shaking in my boots! Even though I’m armed with my press pass and haven’t announced to anyone that I’m from EOS so they look at me with a certain air of mystery and respect, my hands are shaking and I don’t trust my voice in my throat! Katrina must think I’m crazy as I casually speak to her about what else is going on that day and take about three minutes to answer her when she asks me questions because I can’t form a thought in my head! Eventually though I take a deep breath, make my way to the couch and sit down with only four other interviewers and Brian takes a seat on a stool in front of us. He must feel my nervousness coming off me in waves because he looks at me deliberately and flashes one of those killer smiles at me and says “Hello” as though he were anyone else in the world and I wasn’t there just to bask in his glow.
The first words out of his mouth to all of us are that he doesn’t want to feel like the “President of the United States” so we should just talk, and boy does he talk. Brian listens carefully to each question and then takes a moment to truly contemplate it before answering. The standard questions are thrown his way about the show coming to an end and how he feels about the Emmy nominations and losses and what it’s like to be on a new show on a different network.
A Brand New Day
The news that Port Charles would come to an end was actually a relief to Brian. He got the call early one morning and said to himself, “Yes! Now I can move on with my life.” According to the actor, being in limbo and never being certain of the show’s fate was beginning to take a toll on the show’s cast. It took Gaskill a few days but eventually the tears did come and he began to mourn the character that he’d spent two years developing. Gaskill recalls his work with Lynn Herring with the most warmth. He confides that Lynn’s presence on the show often kept up the spirits of the other actors because she always believed in the material and took a chance when others may have been more reluctant.
Erin Hershey recalls the last day on set when the entire cast waited for everyone to finish taping so they could leave the set together one last time. Once the door finally did close on Port Charles, Brian wanted some time off to think and perhaps pursue other avenues of the entertainment business, like directing and producing but other roles started coming his way almost immediately. When he first received offers from All My Children and the Bold and the Beautiful—the only two shows that Brian tells us actually made him an offer despite conflicting internet rumors—he turned them both down flat. ABC and CBS had a mini tug of war over the actor and eventually CBS won out.
A World Apart From “Rafe”
According to Brian, “Oscar” on CBS’ the Bold and the Beautiful is a far cry from Rafe’s angelic roots. A distant relative to Massimo Marone (Joseph Mascolo), Oscar will have a Jersey accent (at Brian’s suggestion) and will know his way around a poker table. As far as we can tell, Bridget Forrestor (multiple Emmy-winner Jennifer Finnegan) will be Oscar’s love interest, but thanks to B&B’s amorous pairings and on again off again relationships Brian tells us that the romantic possibilities for his character are endless.
Further expanding on his new bold and beautiful experience, Brian responds to the question in several fans’ minds—why B&B over All My Children, where he has a history and a juicy story just waiting to happen with one of the show’s hottest couples “Maria” and “Edmund” (Eva La Rue and John Callahan). The answer is simple—he wanted to stay on the West coast and there is something about the Bold and the Beautiful that, according to Brian, was similar to his experience at Port Charles—the cast and crew just don’t take themselves too seriously. Having spent some time on the Bold and the Beautiful set earlier this week myself I know what he means. There is a lightheartedness to the production, a friendly atmosphere that certainly doesn’t exist on a certain ABC show affectionately known to some as a “man soap” that will go nameless. Brian is fitting in easily and is excited about the prospects of a new show and a new character. A lot of Oscar’s nuances will come from Brian himself, another reason why he chose his new CBS digs. For better of worse, while Brian admits he’ll miss his cast and crew, Lynn Herring most of all, he is anxious to see what a new role and a new show can bring to his life.
Gone, but Not Forgotten
Though most of the cast and crew of Port Charles have already moved on to other projects and most of his closest friends on the set (Erin and Brian Presley among them) are set to move to the east coast to join All My Children and One Life to Live, Brian will never forget the friendships he made on the show, which is why Emmy night is still a bit of a sore spot with the actor. When asked how he feels about the nominations and subsequent losses he takes a moment, biting his lower lip and obviously wrestling with how candid he should be. Honesty wins out and with more emotion than we have seen from him thus far, Brian reveals that not only did he want his show and costars to win, he fully expected it! (Erin Hershey Presley confesses that the cast and crew had gathered their purses and were preparing to stand when As the World Turns’ name was called). Unlike Presley though, Brian doesn’t believe that an Emmy win, even for Best Daytime Series would have changed the show’s fate. Taking yet another moment to decide how he really feels about it all, Brian determines that even though he feels the show had a little life in it, sometimes things come to their natural conclusion, and as hard as it was for those involved with the making of Port Charles, it was time to let go.
After the interview we are escorted downstairs to take a peek at Brian’s short film called “Higher Grounds. The short film is a glimpse into director Diane Duarte’s own heart and mind. The main character, played by Ann Cusack is at her breaking point after the death of her father. Brian’s character comes back to her as an angel to try and help her see the value of life and love. By the film’s end, it is revealed that these two have an even deeper and lasting connection. Though the film was produced a few years before Brian joined the cast of Port Charles, it is obvious that the movie and its message about the interconnectedness of humans and our animals is still very much with him. The film is charming and funny but edgy at the same time. Brian is thoughtful and soulful as Cusack’s guardian angel and Duarte makes an excellent foray into film.
We may have seen the last of Rafe but we certainly haven’t seen the last of Brian Gaskill. I look forward to watching him stir things up on the Bold and the Beautiful in the coming months. Brian commented that he’ll miss the innocence of Rafe and so will I. There’s a depth and emotion that exists in Rafe that is missing in several daytime characters. He wears his heart on his sleeve, isn’t afraid to shout from the rooftops that Alison has his heart and through it all, he’s a major player in the fight between good and evil which of course makes us love him all the more. I wish Brian all the success and luck the world has to offer. He has a gift and an extreme talent for finding the heart and soul of entertainment and sharing it with all of us. My hat is off to you, Brian, you don’t need any luck.
*For more on my interview with Brian Gaskill, the PC Dinner and Brian and Erin Hershey Presley’s Ice Cream Social, read my recap of the GH/PC Weekend.