THE C&E INTERVIEW: BRADFORD ANDERSON
On december 19th, the fine folks at We Love Soaps announced the nominees for their 3rd annual Indie Soap Awards. We were thrilled to find out that our own Bradford Anderson was nominated in the "Best Guest Appearance (comedy)" category for his portrayal of Achilles in episodes 7-9.
Most C&E fans know that Bradford and I have been friends since freshman year at NYU. In fact, he's the only person that's been attached to the project longer than our original core crew (Andy, Jo Bozarth, Erin Connarn, and Jefferson Loftfield). I first came up with the concept and wrote the initial treatment while living with Bradford in NYC! So, as you can imagine, I was really happy that he's getting some much deserved recognition for his performance. And so, in honor of his nomination (and hopefully win) at the Indie Soap Awards we thought it'd be a great oppurtunity to chat with Brad about C&E, his training as an actor, and all the other projects on his plate.
Check out our interview after the jump!
AVI:Bradford, you and I met while at Tisch School of the Arts. What was your training as an actor there like? What were the things you focused on?
BRADFORD: My training started at CAP 21 the musical theater training program at NYU (formally of NYU--it's independent now). I did 3 years singing and dancing and trying to fit a certain mold, then spent my last year in the Experimental Theater Wing, basically exploring everything my body and voice could do, not just the [things that are] pleasant to look at or hear.
A:I think a lot of people would picture Cap 21 and Musical Theater as vastly different from ETW, and all of that as different from the work you've done in TV and Film. But do you find that to be true? Do find yourself using very different parts of your training depending on the project?
B: CAP 21 gave me very honed skills. ETW taught to me to own those skills. Basically ETW took away my own filter of what was acceptable, and allowed what I did to just be honest. I think the combination was perfect for me. To trust my voice and body to do whatever it deems fit, but knowing that it will be safe and controlled is perfect for the kind of work I do, especially on GH. The physical comedy that sometimes I'm required to do requires skill but also abandon. I feel safe knowing that I can basically do anything I want to, and that my technique will protect me.
A: One of the things fans may not realize (in fact I didn't even realize it until I sat down to write these questions) is that while we talked about the fact that I wanted you to play Achilles in these episodes... I don't think I really gave you any real indication of what I had in mind until I handed you the script. Do you remember what your first thoughts were when you read the script?
B: I remember thinking that it was going to be hard to believe myself as someone who has had a military background. But if the director thought I could do it, I'd certainly give it a try!!
A: You and I talked about how I saw Achilles, but I'm curious what you found in him that helped solidify the character for you? Were there particular things you focused on in crafting your performance?
B: I think the idea of someone who had lost hope, but all of a sudden had the chance to find some, was interesting to me. The hard part was finding an organic starting point to begin the process. From there it was just identifying what this character wanted.
A: I'm not sure that most people realize the sheer amount of material actors who work on soaps cover in any given work week. It's pretty astounding. You're often given scenes only the day before and your page counts are often well above what a scripted show is doing. Has working on GH changed the way you approach all your acting work? If so how?
B: The effect has been both good and bad. I am comfortable making quick decisions, and am confident in my ability to do good work with limited time. The downside, is that because of that confidence, I may not do as much preparation as I should when I have the time to do it. I'm likely to wait until the last minute, just because I can!
A: In my mind, your training in musical theater made you an ideal person to cast in a role that was going to require learning some complex fight choreography with limited time. Did you find the process similar to learning steps for a musical number?
B: Absolutely. Almost identical, except that they have different vocabularies.
A: Did you enjoy the fight scenes? Is that sort of action something you'd like to do more of in the future?
B: I did enjoy the fight scenes. Having a great partner like Taryn (O'Neill), and an excellent instructor in Sean (Fitzgeral) made it easy to enjoy! I don't think I'll ever be an action hero, but I'd be thrilled to have the opportunity to do more!
A: I've always felt that one of your strengths is you versatility as an actor--I think it's safe to say that Achilles and Spinelli are pretty different guys-- are there other types of roles you're itching to do in the future?
B: I want to play a villain so badly!!! I'm ready to be bad...
A: You've spent a good deal of time in 2011 doing shows and recording with your fellow GHers in Port Chuck. What do you guys have planned for 2012?
B: More tours, another album, shows in CA, the east coast, the midwest, the south, and maybe more! People can go to PortChuck.com for details.
A: And of course your biggest news in 2011 was welcoming Juna. Obviously being a father changes the way you look at the world, but I'm curious if you find that it changes the way you think about your work at all?
B: Yeah, it makes me think I need more of it! More work. Have to pay for college somehow! Having a child ups the stakes in your life. Things matter more, you feel things deeper and in different ways. That life experience is incredibly instructive to an actor I think.
A: Web creators like myself often try to reach out to fans of daytime soaps because we see there being a lot of common ground between us in the types of shows we're creating. What would you say to people that are fans of Web Series but who maybe have never thought of giving Soaps a try?
B: The content never ends! You'll find characters you like, storylines you like, and they will be there for you 5 times a week. Enough of this information as entertainment... Scripted shows during the day! Amazing! As far as our show goes, GH has new leadership, and is heading in a great direction.
A: Lastly, what do you have coming up, on on GH or elsewhere, that fans of your work in C&E should know about?
B: Between GH, Port Chuck, and hopefully producing something of my own this year, it's going to be a busy year! I have a guest star airing later this year on one of TNT's new shows, Perception.. I get to play a fanatical cult member (kind of bad, but not as bad as I want to be.)
Also, I started an exciting process to get myself in my best shape! Along with some of my GH pals, I started on the 90 day challenge, and am really enjoying it so far. Many have joined up with me, and we're having a great time getting in our best shape. If anyone out there has a weight loss goal, or just wants to feel better and live a healthier life, join us! People can learn more and sign up at http://takeitoffwithbradford.com
Bradford can be seen portraying Damian Spinelli on General Hospital, weekdays on ABC. You can follow him on Twitter @bfordanderson and get updates on on all his projects and goings on at his official Facebook page.
Well that's it for this go around. The Indie Soap Awards will be help in NYC on Feb 21st 2012... You can see a full list of nominees here. And be sure to keep your fingers cross for Bradford!