- December 26, 2011
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There's a great interview out there with We Love Soaps where MA talks about his motivation for playing Jack when he was in that dark period. It looks like the fact the actors were given a lot of leeway with the writing and dialogue played into it pretty heavily as well - they were able to craft their characters rather than regurgitating dialogue that may not be consistent with what their characters would do in reaction to certain elements.
- Oct 7 2013, 12:00 AM
- Oct 6 2013, 11:35 PM
You never watched the first Jack?
Joseph Adams. He was actually pretty good. Not a bad actor at all. He had the warmth and friendliness that Jack would have needed at that point...because when he came in, he screamed "good guy."
I didn't love his Jack, because he was an obstacle for Steve and Kayla, but if he hadn't been in the interloper role, I would've been fine with him. I didn't love Matt right away either...but he was SUCH an improvement over James Acheson's version that I had to appreciate him to some extent, even though Jack was so darn inconvenient to me as a Steve and Kayla fan, LOL!
While I was fine with Joseph Adams, I often wonder if he could have pulled it off when Jack turned darker. I don't know if he could have. Certainly not with the ease that Matthew showed.
Jack #1 was gone before I had the time to watch with any regularity, so Jack #2 was my introduction to the character ... and, yeah, seriously not good. I basically remember seeing him lying there in his white hospital gown looking way too healthy to be convincing as a dying man. And giving a performance that was both stiff and plastic--like watching a Ken doll try to act.
I wonder why they recast Jack #1 if he was doing an acceptable job. A different direction for the character, perhaps? I did hear a rumor that James Acheson was canned because he was a jerk to work with.
MA's Jack had a snotty, overprivileged edge to him practically from the word "go." He wasn't immediately likable, but he certainly wasn't dull. I'm still amazed they kept the character post-rape because violating a soap heroine is usually a fast ticket to the unemployment line, but I guess the regime back then saw something in the actor and the character that was worth developing. And I imagine it helped that MA apparently got along well with SN and MBE--in spite of playing their nemesis onscreen.
The part where he specifically discusses the Steve/Kayla relationship and the rape is really interesting:
Then the extra thing I did not know was that Stephen Nichols' character was my brother. The camera obviously picks up on this intense connection between Steve and Kayla, why doesn't Jack see it? Well, that's my job as an actor. I began to do my work and chose to act that Jack did see the connection. I saw it in my heart, if not in my mind. And my mind, which is my ego, would not let me see it. They would write the endless lines of, "I love you, Kayla..." But I made sure there was a part of Jack that knew something was very, very wrong, and continued in this sadomasochistic relationship. Jack didn't know how to resolve this situation. He finally got a situation he could not ignore, which was the photos of them sleeping together. He got slapped in the face. That's what he wanted because he couldn't resolve it any other way. If he had a gun he would have killed her, but he performed a different act of violence instead.
We Love Soaps: He not only raped her but he taunted and teased her for months after. How did you rectify that with the character?
Matthew Ashford: I just thought he was in hell. I had to make his hurt so deep that he had to hurt others. When you are that out of touch, it's just about hurting. At that point I was listening a lot to Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd." That character was so dark. But because of Sondheim's artistry he was so dark and lovely, you could see how at one time Sweeney Todd had dreams and hopes and aspirations. I saw that in Jack. I would not for a moment in the darkness forget that there was something else deep inside. I was not about to call him a bad guy. And then, because of my understanding of cause and effect, I knew that every time he made a deep cut to hurt Steve or Kayla, it cut both ways.
We Love Soaps: Eventually we did see that, but it was not initially evident.
Matthew Ashford: Because in their writing, they didn't know I was capable of that. They write and they do watch. You have to show them you can do that. The initial rape scene was written as, "You are mine, woman, you will be mine!" It was gross. We got ready to do the scene. They didn't want to do it twice, and we sure didn't want to do it twice. And as I pushed her down I kept saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you..." I said it over and over. That is what he wanted. A lot of guys say that right before they kill their girlfriends, and themselves. It's a terrible, terrible thing.
We didn't need nasty cliche words. It created potential in the situation for people to look at both sides, to see it was tragedy all the way around. As an actor I try to bring my character's side of the story. Fortunately, the writers and producers eventually saw that, as were the other actors in the scene.
The part where he discusses the dialogue change in the rape scene caught my attention in particular because I always thought that was a brilliant bit of writing (expressing his "love" for Kayla in the throes of such violence). It was horrifying realistic and something about it always, ALWAYS unnerves me whenever I see that scene.