All My Children's AJ Chandler was going to be gay, reveals portrayer Eric Nelsen

Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2020 8:25:48 AM

Producers of the Prospect Park/Hulu revival of All My Children reportedly planned to make Babe and J.R.'s son, A.J. Chandler, gay.

Fans of All My Children were robbed of a solid ending to 43 years of drama when the soap opera was canceled for the second time in 2013. Many viewers have wondered what would have happened in the lives of Pine Valley citizens had the long-running soap opera continued, and actor Eric Nelsen -- who briefly played the role of Adam Chandler's grandson, A.J., on the Prospect Park/Hulu revival of the show -- has given a small glimpse into what was planned.

In an interview with Michael Fairman, The Bay actor shared that before AMC ended, the plan was to have A.J. come out as gay. "The producers sat me down and talked through an entire storyline arc with me. Basically, Ginger Smith [ then-executive producer] and Alison [Goodman], our casting director, and one other person from the show, took me to lunch in New York. They pitched me what they wanted to do for my character and asked me if I would be comfortable with it, and they wanted my opinion, everything. It was really cool how they approached it."

Nelsen shares that he was fully supportive of the storyline direction. "I look at what Chandler Massey [ex-Will Horton] did on Days [of our Lives] and where that brought him and his storyline, and I thought, 'Yes, there's going to be so much more depth and stuff to play than just being this fun little rich kid.' At the time, there really wasn't much depth to AJ. So, I was like, 'Yes. I will be all over it. Absolutely.'"

Though Nelsen did not get the chance to play out the storyline in which A.J. was revealed to be gay, he did get the chance to play a gay character on The Bay. In fact, he thinks that it is quite possible that Daniel Garrett's sexuality was inspired by his AMC experience.

"I think I dropped a bird in [The Bay creator] Gregori Martin's ear by telling him that before All My Children ended, they were going to have my character of AJ Chandler have a storyline where he is gay," he shares. "I told Gregori that, and I don't know if he already had something in his mind or not, or if that influenced it at all, but maybe he just figured that was something that would work well, and up till that point, I guess they didn't really have that on the show... but I was really happy with my storyline and it's grown a lot since then, and in this current season especially. It's really given me an arc to play, which I've enjoyed."

Nelsen starred on AMC in 2013. His other credits include The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, NYC 22, The Black List, The Disappearing Girl, The Affair, The White Vault, and FraXtur. He also appears in the on-demand female-driven comedy film 1 Night in San Diego, which also stars Mark Lawson, who just ended his time as General Hospital's Dustin Phillips.

"While we don't work in scenes together, I did get a chance to meet [Mark] and he's a really great guy," Nelsen shares of working with Lawson in the film. "I play this off-the-wall character named Gordo, who is a real burn-out. Think Matthew McConaughey meets space cadet, which was a lot of fun to play. Gordo is a great role. I had more fun with this part than I've had in a long time. So, it was cool to throw a comedy into all of the drama I have been playing in my other projects."

For more about what would have become of All My Children had ABC not ended its network run, check out this article in which AMC alum Vincent Irizarry (ex-David Hayward) explains the business model that puts soaps like All My Children in the grave and reveals details about the unaired AMC ending that creator Agnes Nixon approved.

What do you think about AMC reportedly planning to make the character of A.J. gay? How do you think Adam, J.R., and Babe would have reacted? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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