Never in a million years did the friends and family of The Bold and the Beautiful's new cast member Delon de Metz think he'd be on a soap opera. After graduating from Harvard with honors in economics, he had offers to become an investment banker. But rather than spend his days crunching numbers, he instead chose to spend his days playing make believe -- which he is now doing as B&B's Zende Forrester.
So how did de Metz get on the path to acting? How did he land his brand new soap role during the middle of a global pandemic? And just who is this gorgeous young man who's been chosen to take on the role previously played by Rome Flynn and Daniel E. Smith? Soap Central spoke with the actor, who makes his debut on Wednesday, October 7, to find out!
Soap Central: There is a lot of craziness happening in the world right now, but you've got something positive going on: You'll be making your debut on The Bold and the Beautiful in just a few days!
Delon de Metz: I know, and I feel almost guilty! I'm having a blast, and everyone else is having hard times left and right, with the economy and everything, so I feel slightly guilty, because I've been having so much fun.
Soap Central: How has the filming process been going so far?
de Metz: Oh, it's great! Everyone told me to prep for this before I started, and I keep saying that the pace is very, very fast. But it makes things fun. You don't stick in one scene forever, and you're not shooting one piece of dialogue for half a day. You just keep moving and keep moving. It feels kind of like I'm doing televised theater, and it's been a joy. The cast has been extremely welcoming, and I've had a blast. I've been having a lot of fun.
Soap Central: Have you already noticed any growth in your acting, just because it's constantly go, go, go, go, go?
de Metz: You know, it's kind of funny that you frame it like that. I practiced martial arts, and I think [filming a soap] is sort of like being in a tournament every single day -- almost like an anime and you just keep powering up!
Soap Central: You must have had a really unique audition experience, auditioning on tape because of COVID. Was it really all done on tape, or did you have at least one in-person audition before you started filming?
de Metz: The whole thing was on Zoom! I have never experienced anything like this before. And it was also right in the middle of COVID, at the height of the pandemic, so I couldn't even get anyone to come over and self-tape with me, which is what I used to do before the earth exploded. So for my first audition, I ended up Facetiming with an actress I worked with on another CBS show called Zoo. We Facetimed over my laptop, and then I recorded that interaction with my cell phone on a tripod. The setup was ridiculous, and I was thinking, "Oh my God, are they going to like this tape? Because it's probably going to look ridiculous." But I happened to get a callback, which I was happy about. And then I did a Zoom with casting, and even that was a little bit funny because my tripod broke in the interim between my first and second audition, so I literally took a chair and I piled up all of my pillows that are on my sofa and then all of the pillows in my bedroom to get my computer to a reasonable height where I could stand and audition with casting while they recorded on their side. So even that seemed like, "Oh, this is probably going to look horrible. How am I ever going to get another callback?" And then surely, we had a third time, and I was like, "Oh, this seems to be working. Let me do the same thing." So I had the same ridiculous pillow setup and I was trying to make sure the laptop didn't collapse on this whole contraption that I built. [Laughs] And then I had a chemistry read with Kiara [Barnes, Zoe Buckingham], and then it worked out.
Soap Central: I love that you were such an ingenious problem solver. You just jumped in and winged it, which will get you far in soaps, I think!
de Metz: Now that I'm thinking about it, Amazon is pretty quick and I probably should have done a one-day delivery tripod, but instead I stacked a wobbling Tower of Pisa of pillows. [Laughs] I wish I had taken a photo of it for posterity. That would have been nice, because it was so ridiculous.
Soap Central: What were your first thoughts about Zende, and has your opinion changed over the weeks that you've been playing him?
de Metz: The first thing that came to mind was, "Hold on, is this a new character or is this a recast?" Because I wasn't familiar with the show, and they said, "No, this is a continuing character." So I said, "How much do I have to marry what the previous actors chose for their portrayals of the character? How much is the writing going to match what was done before? And how much liberty do I have to cut loose and do my own thing?" And I think that what's changed from the beginning to this point, is that as I've become more comfortable on set, and as I've felt like I can cut loose a little bit more, I've let those colors show. And I think that over the last couple of weeks, and hopefully it's shown on camera when everybody watches, I had an idea of what the character should be, and then the writing and the circumstances and how I feel has informed the performance to grow in a certain direction.
Soap Central: So what can viewers expect when they meet your version of Zende on Wednesday?
de Metz: What's been cool is that I didn't know -- and it's still unclear -- I don't know if the fans will be able to exactly guess where the romance storyline goes. Because you think it's going one way, and I was like, "Oh, it's totally going this way," and then I get the scripts and I'm like, "Hold on, what?" Because it's going in a completely different direction. And it's probably going to make a few other course corrections over the next couple of weeks and the next couple of months. That keeps you on your toes as an actor, and it's fun. I'm not watching it -- everyone else is going to be watching it -- but I'm still kind of like a fan going through my scripts, like, "Ooohhh, what's going to happen this week?"
Soap Central: Do you think that being away from Los Angeles and living in Paris has changed or affected Zende?
de Metz: I think that being in Europe for x amount of time, it should change you. But Zende is an international character, right? He grew up in Africa, he came to the States, so what I want to show is a broad worldview [through] his mannerisms and interactions and confrontations and flirtations. I hope that does come through. I also lived in Europe for a little bit myself as a kid. My parents are effectively Europeans, so that will probably come through, even if I don't think.
Soap Central: You mentioned that you were not familiar with B&B before you started, but did anyone in your family watch it?
de Metz: Yeah, my mom watched the show for like 20 years, and she freaked out when I told her that I was going to be on it. She was like, "Oh my God, I watched this show for so long, no way! Who are you playing? Have you met Ridge yet? Have you had scenes with Ridge's daughter?" [Laughs] She doesn't reference the actors -- she's married to the characters -- which is cool, and I think that's how the fan base is, as well. I'm learning more and more, and that's how they see you; they view you as the character, and that's how my mom is. I'm sure that at some point my mom will stop referencing me by my name and will start calling me Zende. [Laughs]
Soap Central: That's hysterical. But yes, that is how many soap fans are, because you're in their living rooms almost every day, so the characters become like family. Brace yourself for the love, because it is coming!
de Metz: It's cool, and I'm interested to see that happen. I used to have that a little bit growing up. I used to love and still sometimes watch reruns of The O.C. That was my soap, my primetime weekly soap, and I ran into the actors in Los Angeles a few times over the years. I saw Mischa Barton a few times, and I was like, "Marissa Cooper!!" But then I was like, "Wait, I can't do that. That's not how it works." [Laughs] But it is how you feel, and if I had seen that show on a daily basis over the course of decades, there's no way I wouldn't feel like they were my friends.
Soap Central: You did a guest spot on Girl Meets World, and I read that you were star-struck to be working with some of the original Boy Meets World cast members, like Ben Savage and Rider Strong. That resonated with me, because I grew up watching Boy Meets World, as well, and it must have felt so surreal to be in the same room as them.
de Metz: Yes, definitely! That was very, very trippy, doing that shoot as a guest star. I didn't know the younger cast because I hadn't watched Girl Meets World before, but if you're from the late 90s, the early 2000s, if you watched these shows or re-runs of them, it influenced how you grew up and how you perceived the world and how you thought about friendship and dating girls for the first time and all of those little things. I think those shows did that probably more back then, because now we have so many different means of consuming content, from social media and all of that. But back then, we didn't have that. You watched TGIF on ABC on Friday nights -- that was the thing. And Boy Meets World, I mean, if you were a boy meeting the world, that definitely guided you a little bit, so to be on set and to play opposite Ben Savage, and for Rider Strong to be directing the episode, and you see a bunch of other actors from the show working in a production capacity was well, that was surreal. That was a pinch-me moment for sure.
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Thanks to @samunicorn for spotting this @entertainmentweekly shot of me attempting to hold my own opposite the ridiculously talented @sabrinacarpenter and @rowanblanchard on #GirlMeetsWorld. If you grew up with me, you probably can understand when I say it was a bit surreal being on set with @bensavage, @rider.strong, and @daniellefishel - almost like getting to go back to the #90s for a bit . . . but this time, being a part of the action. Check out this season's trailer below. #TOPANGA . . . ya u know http://youtu.be/bMcYVnAxnSQ Shoutout to everyone from #HoraceMann. Miss you guys. #BoyMeetsWorld
Soap Central: Thinking back to all of those awesome 90s TGIF shows, which character do you think you were most like?
de Metz: I think everybody wanted to be a little more like Rider Strong -- everyone wants to think that they're the cool kid -- but I was probably more like Ben Savage, if we're being honest. [Laughs] I don't know if you remember, but there was a show that I think maybe lasted only one season or two seasons that I think was called Teen Angel, and the show starts with a teenager who finds an old fast food burger under his bed and he eats it and dies, and then he becomes the guardian angel of his best friend. I don't know why that just popped into my head, but I'm thinking about characters and there are probably some similarities there, even though I don't think I would have been dumb enough to do something like that. [Laughs] The 90s were a wild time for production. Can you imagine pitching that to a network? Like, "Okay, we're doing a comedy where this kid eats a hamburger and dies." They did some funny stuff back then.
Soap Central: Hey, now that you're on a soap opera, you might get some funny stuff like that, too! I mean, B&B doesn't usually go that out there, but you never know! Is there any crazy soap staple that you'd love to play some day?
de Metz: I don't know what I can give away or not give away, but there is some mannequin business going on, which I think has been in the press a little bit, so people can assume there are some funny things happening... But for me, I'd love to explore something where maybe Zende just goes completely off the rails at some point. I really like the slice of life storylines, because they're relatable and you've been through this stuff and you know what it's like -- humans can relate to these circumstances -- but when things go kind of left, that is interesting to me, those screwy kind of storylines. I think those would be really fun to play.
Soap Central: One thing we know is that Zende will be sharing a lot of scenes with Zoe, and of course, you had your chemistry read with Kiara Barnes, so what has it been like to work with her?
de Metz: She's fantastic, she really is. She's the ultimate professional, she's on it in every single scene, and she was really welcoming. She kind of showed me the ropes, because again, this is my first time doing daytime, working under the soap format, so I've definitely leaned on her to ease me into the process and show me the ins and outs. And if you watch the soap, she's extremely charismatic, she's a fantastic talent, and I think probably, I lean on her -- I'm there, and she carries the scene, if we're going to be honest. [Laughs] She carries the scene, and I look at her and things come out of my mouth. But she really sets a lot of the tone, and she's just a really fantastic actress.
Soap Central: Is there anyone else from the cast that you previously admired that you're super thrilled to be working with now?
de Metz: Well, I had a big crush on Denise [Richards, Shauna Fulton], which is something that I've been pretty open about. Growing up, again, if we're talking 90s stuff, I think everyone had a crush on Denise Richards. Honestly, the first time that I saw her, I was in line to do our bi-weekly COVID check, and it was my first time on the premises of the studio, and I was rolling out of bed, I was in sweatpants and a hat -- I think I was wearing a fedora -- and I was basically still wiping the sleep out of my eyes and just turning up to get the test done, and right behind me was Denise Richards. I was like, "Uh, uh, uh, uh..." and didn't even say a word, which is not really me! I'm usually cool when it comes to introducing myself, but I felt like, "There's no way in hell that I'm going to meet Denise Richards for the first time like this!" [Laughs] I met her subsequently and had a proper introduction, but I was definitely a little bit stupefied seeing her that day. I didn't realize that she was on the show until after the fact. I googled it afterward and was like, "Huh?!" So that was pretty exciting.
Soap Central: Normally new cast members have opportunities to get to know their co-stars and bond, which helps with the onscreen connections. But obviously safety protocols have prevented that and you're not able to get to know people as usual. So how have you handled the challenge of making sure that Zende's connections and bonds come across on screen?
de Metz: You know, that has been a little bit tough. I will say that you typically have enough time on the day of rehearsal to chit chat a little bit, and I've definitely tried to take the time to get to know the other actors -- and not just my scene partners, but everyone else on the cast... I've also asked a bunch of the other actors, "Hey, do want to hang for a minute?" Katrina [Bowden (Flo Fulton)] and I went for a smoothie and talked for an hour or so, just to get to know each other. And that kind of stuff I'd love to get to do as much as possible. But you're right, we have to be safe and maintain distance and protocols. But it's something that I look forward to delving into deeper hopefully as the situation gets better. I think in the old days, we would all probably have been to lunch together already or had drinks and stuff! It's just a little bit challenging right now, and all of that interaction has to take place on the phone or during rehearsal.
Soap Central: I'm going to segue just a little bit here to ask about the fact that you went to Harvard and graduated with honors in economics, which you don't find every day in the soap world! Where along the line did you decide to pursue acting rather than go into a more traditional field?
de Metz: Yeah, it's a little bit of a funny scenario. When I was in high school, my mom, her good girlfriend and my godmother, who was a big model in New York in the 80s and 90s, she was studying with a fairly well-known at the time famous acting coach named Susan Batson. I think she probably said something along the lines of, "Oh, Delon needs to go and see Susan at some point. It will change his life." And my mom pitched it to me as early preparation for college interviews. That's really how she saw it! And this will give you a sense of what my household was like: I was probably a sophomore in high school, and my mom was thinking, "He needs to loosen up for college interviews." [Laughs] So she sent me to this acting coach, Susan, and I had one session, and I was like, "Hold on, this is pretty interesting!" We didn't just do scene work -- we talked about my life and got deep and tried to peel back all of these layers. It was an interesting emotional experience and I told my mom, "Hey, this is really cool. I want to do this as a career." And she basically said, "You get into Harvard or I'll break your legs. Then you can whatever you want -- whatever the expletive you want," really. [Laughs] And that was the deal. But it was already a little bit [in my mind]. I kind of knew I wanted to act, but my rational brain was like, hey, I worked all these finance internships and studied economics at Harvard, and you think you'll just go down the business path.
Soap Central: I think a lot of people would feel that way! So when did you start taking acting classes?
de Metz: Unfortunately, drama wasn't offered as a major or I think even a minor at the time, so I took classes at the American Repertory Theater here and there on campus. But I'll tell you, by the end of my senior year I had essentially blocked my schedule so that my mandatory classes [at Harvard], the smaller class discussions, I would have them only on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then on Wednesday I would either take the train or try to find a cheap Jet Blue flight for $90 or something like that to go back to New York from Cambridge and be in acting class for four or five days. I'd spend the weekend, have a little bit of fun, and come back to school on a Tuesday. I kept thinking, "I want to be able to get out of here. I'm going to be continuing with drama school, and I need to be able to have this weight when I step into auditions." And that was kind of the process. At the end of it, I sat my parents down and I said, "Listen, I have some offers to essentially be an investment banker, but if I don't give this a shot, even if I'm old and super successful and super wealthy, I'm going to have some regret." And that was it. I told them I wanted to go down this path, and regardless of what happens, that this is what I want to do. And luckily, it has turned out pretty well so far.
Soap Central: Do you think that acting is something that you'll do long-term, or could you see yourself one day becoming an investment banker? I mean, Ronald Reagan was an actor but became President!
de Metz: I'll tell you, a lot of these things have been on my mind, and I'm definitely interested in a number of fields. I still do business stuff -- it's not like that just went away -- and definitely starting out as an actor, I don't know how many different jobs I jumped from. There's always something interesting in technology and finance and in the startup world, but my passion is acting. I love it. Every time I show up on set at B&B, it's like I'm at camp. It's really what it feels like. Some actors that I've been around, especially if they got lucky and started working consistently right out of the gate, I think that the framing and the mindset is a little different. If you've really been through it and you've had office jobs and you've had to live in Excel and Powerpoint for twelve-hour or fourteen-hour days and you know what that life is like, but then you get to earn a good income going to set and playing around, your mind explodes! To be honest, I feel a little bit fortunate that I saw what both tracks and both paths look like, because it makes me appreciate being here so much more. It's just so much fun, so I definitely want to do this forever. But I'm also a curious guy and would like to explore all these other things. I think technology is cool, I think science is cool, I'm interested in politics. So any of these could happen down the line. We'll have to wait and see.
Soap Central: Eva Longoria got her start on The Young and the Restless, and she recently shared that she was doing a second job from her dressing room. So maybe that's what you can do -- you can be trading stocks in between scenes at B&B!
de Metz: Listen, I have some ideas that have to come out. I write, as well! Sometimes I'll have an idea for a screenplay, a spec pilot, something, that nags at me so much, that I'm like, "This has to get down. I need to put it on paper, regardless of whether or not it gets made." And there are a few things that are on the top of my mind in the business arena that are also nagging at me every day... so I'm going to have to look at Eva and see how she pulled it off. [Laughs] But yes, anything is possible.
Soap Central: Speaking of your other talents, you teased on Instagram that you have an EP coming soon. Are you also a musician?
De Metz: No, it was just an inside joke. Now that I'm on a show like this, I probably shouldn't make so many inside jokes with my friends on Instagram! [Laughs] But no, a friend of mine wanted to shoot some content for fun and she wanted me to wear these ridiculous vampire grills, and it started looking like I was a rapper so I just said I had an EP coming out. But no, that was just a joke. I mean, again, who knows! But for now, that is not in the works.
Watch for Delon de Metz's first appearance as The Bold and the Beautiful's Zende Forrester on Wednesday, October 7.
Photo of Delon de Metz by Sonja Flemming/CBSPhoto
What do you think about our interview with Delon de Metz? How do you think Zende will fit onto the canvas when the character returns to the screen? Which B&B character do you think Zende will be linked to romantically? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.