Fans of The Bold and the Beautiful are ecstatic about having a fresh face on the canvas, especially one as super sexy as Tanner Novlan, who has stepped into the role of brand-new character Dr. John "Finn" Finnegan. But while Finn is wooing viewers with his dashing smile and white doctor's coat, Novlan is doing so with his charming personality -- a perfect mix of boy next door meets Hollywood rascal with a dash of adorable humor thrown in for good measure.
Time will tell if those qualities will come out on-screen via Finn, who is set to sweep Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) off her feet in the weeks ahead. For now, fans can get a taste of the actor's lovable personality in the interview below, where he opens up about being a Canadian who jumped through hoops to move to the U.S.; the bold way he won over his wife, B&B alum Kayla Ewell (ex-Caitlin Ramirez); the hobby that might leave him and Finn with a black eye; and much, much more.
Soap Central: Hi, Tanner! How are you?
Tanner Novlan: I'm good! I'm doing really well.
Soap Central: I'll bet! This must be such an exciting time for you, now that you've been airing for a couple of weeks and everything is real.
Novlan: Very much so, yeah. It's been really fun to see how well Finn and "hashtag Finn" are coming to life. [Laughs] It's been really exciting.
Soap Central: I heard that you had to wait a really long time to tell anybody that you landed this role, which must have been absolute torture. I mean, news like that is something you want to scream from the rooftops!
Novlan: Absolutely. I found out that [I was going to be] on The Bold and the Beautiful in March, and I had to wait a long time, and I had to keep it from my family.
Soap Central: Really?!
Novlan: Yeah, I had to keep it from my mom, who is such a huge fan. I kept it from her because I could see her accidentally tweeting something or making a Twitter account and leaking it because she would be so excited, so I had to keep it on the down low.
Soap Central: That's hilarious. Did she understand in the end?
Novlan: Totally! She understood in the end, and she's very excited. Our family dog's name was Thorne, named after Thorne Forrester from the show, so she's going to be very excited to come to set, I'm sure. When we get a hold on the pandemic, of course.
Soap Central: I'm definitely going to get into Finn and your experience playing him so far, but I'd love for you to take me back to the beginning, when you first decided you wanted to become an actor. You grew up in Canada, right? Where I imagine it's not the typical career path!
Novlan: You know, acting really kind of found me, in a sense. You're right, where I grew up, there wasn't a lot of filming at that time. Even in Vancouver, nothing was really happening there yet. But I always really loved movies and stories and storytelling, and in school, we would edit together snowboard videos and stuff like that, so I've always really liked that sort of aspect. But I was in a hotel in the city of Calgary, and a print job opportunity showed up, so I started doing some print modeling and then found acting and fell in love, and that's when I got the bug. And then it really took moving to Los Angeles [to get it going]. I stayed with some family friends with my green card; my mom is from Sacramento originally, so she's American, and I was able to get my green card through her, which was one of the many obstacles. But that's how it all came together.
Soap Central: I listened to an interview where you revealed that you actually worked construction when you first came to the U.S. So, like, were you building houses?!
Novlan: [Laughs] No, I actually worked on construction equipment. I grew up on a family farm, and a lot of the tractors and all of the construction equipment is pretty much the same, so I started servicing all sorts of different construction equipment. And then I would drive an hour and a half to acting class and back while my [green card] papers were being processed and everything like that. And that's when I really fell in love with acting.
Soap Central: Look at that, you went from a construction worker to a full-fledged doctor. Your parents must be so proud!
Novlan: Yes! [Laughs] And it's interesting because I play a lot of white-collar roles, but I am very much a blue-collar guy.
Soap Central: You grew up on a farm -- how could you not be?
Novlan: Exactly! I still go back all the time, because all of my family is still in Saskatchewan. It's really nice to go back, and with my daughter now, being able to have both life experiences.
Soap Central: Speaking of your family, were they supportive of your decision to go into acting? Because it can be a very turbulent and unpredictable industry.
Novlan: Absolutely, and I'm very lucky that they were supportive. I really kind of went into the whole career with the attitude, "Hey, we'll see what happens." There was no pressure, and it has taken a long time. I had to learn a lot of the lessons you learn early as an actor, and I just slowly kept working. I was always able to work a little bit, enough to keep me going in the right direction.
Soap Central: Did you purposefully set out to be on a soap opera, or did that just sort of happen, and you thought it would be fun?
Novlan: I didn't necessarily set out to be on a soap opera. I'm open to all roles and all different types of genres. You never know what you can play or dive into, and how a new perspective might [influence something]. Even with my background, playing Dr. Finn, I might give him a unique or different spin than another actor with a medical background might play a doctor.
Soap Central: How did the B&B audition process go for you? It all started before the pandemic, right?
Novlan: Yeah, so I screen tested and did a chemistry read with Jacqui I believe March 11 or 12, literally the day before all of the sports organizations like the NHL and the NBA and all of those seasons got canceled, when the pandemic really took a turn. It was literally the day before, so it was a pretty normal experience. It was really cool to meet Jacqui and play with her in the chemistry read and go back and forth.
Soap Central: What was your first impression of her?
Novlan: Well, we both have young little babies, so we bonded over that immediately -- and how tired we are! [Laughs] But no, Jacqui is remarkable. She's also Canadian, which is fun. But she's very giving as an actor, which is amazing. When you come onto a show that is as established as The Bold and the Beautiful, I think as any actor, you just want to come into it and not rock anything too much, and she definitely has shown me the ropes, which is great.
Soap Central: You get an idea of a character when you do an audition, obviously, so what about Finn made you say yes to the role?
Novlan: Well, he's an outsider, which I thought was really interesting. A lot of times, there's ties to the family or the canvas, and we'll see where this goes, but he offers a new perspective for Steffy, and I thought that was interesting, that he's a new character coming on who will have a different set of values or a different outlook on what his life has been, because he hasn't been in this world. So, to give a fresh perspective on that, I thought was really intriguing.
Soap Central: What a very, very subtle tease! But I know you can't give too much away.
Novlan: Yeah, I know -- I'm walking a line here! [Laughs]
Soap Central: We know he's a doctor, so obviously he is not afraid of commitment, having dedicated many years of his life to medical school. So, outside of being committed and dedicated, how else would you describe Finn?
Novlan: He's definitely someone who wants to help. He has an enormous heart, and he cares for his patients. Obviously, he's a doctor, so he needs to, you know? And I think he really does have other people's best interests in mind, although that can sometimes get cloudy when his big heart gets him in trouble.
Soap Central: Could you see yourself being a doctor in real life? Do you think you could do that job?
Novlan: Yeah, I could see myself being a doctor, why not? [Laughs] I think I have a similar care for people, and I think that's what a true good doctor needs. I understand that it's a lot of work and a lot of pressure, but I think I could handle it. The schooling would be tricky, though! That is a lot of school. [Laughs]
Soap Central: Why do you think Finn is attracted to Steffy? Like, what qualities in her have pulled him in -- or will pull him in?
Novlan: I think he's slowly learning more and more about her, because, at first, he is very professional and very clinical. But as he sees the dynamics of the family, and he's able to observe the relationships that are around her, and he learns how amazing she is, and of course, how beautiful and intriguing and interesting a woman she is, how could you not get sucked in?
Soap Central: And a strong woman, too. That's a big thing about Steffy.
Novlan: Yes! Oh, my gosh, absolutely, strong. A little too strong sometimes! [Laughs] She's very strong-willed.
Soap Central: To sort of segue to your real-life romance, fans are super psyched about the fact that you are married to a former B&B cast member. I'm assuming you and Kayla met after her stint on the show, though, right?
Novlan: Yeah, she was on the show awhile ago. We actually met how every normal couple meets: on a music video! [Laughs] It was for an Australian band, and we were on a music video together. We were very professional on set, and afterward, I took her sunglasses [that she'd left behind] in the makeup department. I scooped them up, and I said, "I'll get these back to her." And so, I texted her, "Lunch? And I have your sunglasses," and yeah, that was that.
Soap Central: Smooth move right there!
Novlan: Yeah, I know. She must have really needed those Ray-Bans back! The poor girl.
Soap Central: Have you always had that kind of confidence when it comes to dating and women?
Novlan: No! [Laughs] We were very slow. It took me a long time to make the moves with her. I usually like to take things slow.
Soap Central: Considering her history with B&B, has she helped you in any way with the role? Either with the audition or preparing for scenes?
Novlan: Oh, my gosh, yes! She has absolutely been beneficial. Shooting a soap opera is a lot different than shooting other shows, just the amount of dialogue and the speed in which the show shoots, so she was able to give me a heads up and what minor things happen, so hopefully it would be an easy first day. And the B&B family is so amazing and giving in the sense of making everyone feel comfortable, so it's not too hard, but I had a little jump start, having Kayla.
Soap Central: Did she help fill you in on the family histories and who is who?
Novlan: A little bit, yeah, which was really fun to explore. It's quite the web! But with Finn being not related to anyone and coming at this world from a new perspective, I also wanted to keep that kind of fresh and discover that with the character.
Soap Central: We've talked about romance, and that is a huge part of B&B. But the show is also known for tackling hard-hitting social issue storylines, as well. What are your thoughts on perhaps being asked to jump into a more serious storyline down the road? Would you welcome such a challenge?
Novlan: Oh, absolutely! B&B has been one of the frontrunners in the sense of pushing storylines and things that wouldn't necessarily be covered by other shows; they were always kind of one of the first ones to do it, whether it be a gay storyline or different social injustices that are happening. And, yes, I would definitely be open to that. I think that's what makes the show so great.
Soap Central: We recently did an interview with Brad Bell, and he said he had some stuff up his sleeve with storylines that sort of mirror our current culture, which is why I asked. You never know what might be down the road!
Novlan: Yeah, I'm excited to see where everything goes.
Soap Central: This is totally off topic, but I heard that you are a really big hockey fan. Did you ever dream of becoming a professional hockey player?
Novlan: Well, being from Canada, everyone wants to be a hockey player. [Laughs] So it's definitely something that's in your blood, and I did play hockey for a very long time. I played junior hockey in Canada, which is kind of similar to college [level]. And then I injured my knee, so that was all done. But I still play for fun. A lot of different retired players and actors, we all get together on Sunday nights and play some intense pick-up games. So, I always keep it going. It's really fun, and it's a great way to work out.
Soap Central: Are you not worried that a hockey puck will like, smack you in the eye, and you can't be on camera?!
Novlan: And Dr. Finn would have to give himself stitches? [Laughs] No, I definitely am more cautious in the way that I play now than how I used to play. Now I protect the moneymaker with a full mask so we don't lose any more teeth!
What do you think about our interview with Tanner Novlan? What are your first impressions of Finn? How do you feel about the upcoming pairing between the doctor and his patient, Steffy? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.