Michael Park on the importance of soap opera family ties

Posted Thursday, November 05, 2009 2:26:38 PM
Michael Park on the importance of soap opera family ties

During a recent visit to Philadelphia, Emmy-nominated Michael Park chatted with Soap Central about a wide range of topics, including the future of soap operas and what types of stories should be told to keep viewers interested. The actor also had kind words for his co-stars and fans.

As the World Turns moved production of its show to Philadelphia for a day, bringing with it some of the show's big-name stars: Cady McClain (Rosanna Cabot), Maura West (Carly Tenney), Jon Lindstrom (Craig Montgomery), and Michael Park (Jack Snyder). [For exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the on-location shoot, click here.]

During a break from hanging out on the ledge of City Hall, Park took some time out to talk to Soap Central about Philadelphia architecture, his co-stars, the future of soap operas, and more.

Park was overjoyed to once again be in the company of former As the World Turns star Peter Parros (Ben Harris), who hasn't been seen on-screen in more than four years.

"The guy is... Peter Parros is a gorgeous man," Park gushes as Parros gives an interview to the local CBS affiliate. "Can I just say that? And he's strong! He manhandles me! He is rock-flippin' solid in body and in mind."

Park is equally enthusiastic about the fans of As the World Turns.

"The show has just an amazing following and so did Guiding Light," Park beams. "We receive so much support from the fans... and I think you saw that here today. This would not be possible without them."

When asked if soap operas are doomed because critics claim that they've told just about every story imaginable -- several times over, Park becomes slightly indignant.

"With that logic, any show that I could work on -- whether it's a new show or an old show -- I guess you can say that every story ever has been told," Park responds with a trace of growl. "Every story?"

"I think we've told the Romeo and Juliet story about a million times," Park continues. "Does that make the Romeo and Juliet story any less poignant? It's about telling it again with a new twist... finding that new twist and staying true to the Romeo and Juliet story. With the advent of the Internet and cell phones, everything changed. Now you can't say that the phone line was cut. You have to change your dialogue to say something like, 'I can't get any bars up here.' The idea, though, that there are no new stories to tell just isn't true. We've got a lot more to tell."

When asked what those stories might be and what fans want to see, Park is quick to offer a reply.

"They want fantasy. They want to see love. They want to see happiness. They want to exit their own daily drama," he states confidently. "They want to turn on the TV and enter our world. But it can't be all humdrum and boring and 'whose baby is it?' stories."

"I want to see more Henry!" Park chuckles. "I want to see more of happiness and zaniness, but at the same time balanced with what makes [the Brad's death] story so important: family. Without the family ties, we've got nothing to grasp on to."

If the cast and crew were hoping to settle in for a nice quiet evening in Philadelphia, they picked the wrong night. The ensemble arrived on the night that the Philadelphia Phillies clinched the National League title, and jubilant fans lined the streets outside their hotel. Still, Park said that he enjoyed some Philly fare at a local restaurant and loved another aspect of the city -- something few people even notice.

"I've loved Philadelphia. This is an amazing place. You guys have some incredible architecture here," Park says, offering praise. "I just read The Lost Symbol, so I'm looking around for all these free masonry things. The guy who played Ben Franklin had a Mason's ring on, and I said, 'You're a Mason just like the real Ben Franklin and George Washington and just about every one of our Founding Fathers.'"

Park perks up when he's told of some of the nearby free masonry projects, but unfortunately it's time for him to head back to New York. He'll have to wait until his next visit to continue his adventure.


Photo: Dan J Kroll/Soap Central

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