INTERVIEW: Jacob Young on AMC's Alexa Havins, his crazy new talk show, and his future at B&B

Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 1:43:21 PM

Soap Central caught up with Jacob Young (Rick Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful; ex-J.R. Chandler, All My Children) to get the details on reuniting with his AMC costar Alexa Havins (ex-Babe Carey), why he decided to start a virtual talk show, and when fans can see him back on B&B.

To say Jacob Young is busy would be an understatement. In the short time since he dropped down to recurring status at The Bold and the Beautiful, where he plays the role of business mogul Rick Forrester, he has released several original songs as a country musician, filmed five different movies, and launched a virtual talk show that will serve as the anchor to many other shows on his upcoming Roku network, Stream Me. To make a long story short, the guy has a lot of irons in the fire.

One might think the Emmy-winning actor just can't stand to sit still. But, as he tells Soap Central, there is a very good reason why he is working night and day at branding himself as more than just a network television soap opera star: relevance. Young is keenly aware that in order to stay fresh in today's ever-changing entertainment sphere, one has to keep on his or her toes. So, he borrowed a page out of Rick Forrester's business playbook and is directing his career in ways he couldn't have imagined just a few years ago. And just like when characters on The Bold and the Beautiful delve deep into their working worlds, the result has been magic.

And speaking of magic, one of Young's latest projects is making All My Children fans' dreams come true. As Soap Central previously reported, the actor -- who played AMC's J.R. Chandler from 2003 to 2011 -- recently reunited with his Pine Valley love, Alexa Havins (ex-Babe Carey), for a Lifetime Movie Network film titled Killer Vacation that airs this Friday, November 23. With Young and Havins' undeniable chemistry set to illuminate the screen once more, we thought it was the perfect time to speak with the actor about the films' details as well as take a walk down Pine Valley memory lane.

Check out a brief synopsis of Killer Vacation below and keep reading for Soap Central's interview with Jacob Young, which follows.

Lindsey (Havins) and Jake (Young) have been together for two years, ever since he discovered his wife was having an affair. When Lindsey finds out she is pregnant, Jake is thrilled and tells her they will get married the day his divorce is final. He has to attend a business conference in New Mexico and invites Lindsey to join him for a romantic "babymoon."

The couple checks into an upscale resort and decides to go on a hike. When Lindsey falls behind and can't find Jake, she nearly falls to her death when the trail gives way. When they return to the resort, they find that Jake's soon-to-be ex-wife, Gwen (Avery Clyde), has arrived to surprise Jake. He insists to Lindsey that this is the perfect time to get her to sign divorce papers. He will have them drafted and make sure she signs them before they leave.

At dinner later than night, Lindsey has a freak accident that almost kills her. She is saved by Chad, the yoga instructor at the resort. Lindsey sees a woman who looks like Gwen walking away from the scene of the accident. When she confronts her, Gwen insists she is only there to warn Lindsey: there was no affair, and there will be no divorce. Jake sleeps with pretty young girls, but when they get too close, he takes them on vacation, and they never come back!

Is Gwen telling the truth or just trying to get Jake back? Is Jake trying to kill the girlfriend he never intends to marry? Whatever it is, it looks like the dream babymoon has turned from idyllic to deadly!

Soap Central: Jacob, we were so thrilled to hear about you and Alexa reuniting for Killer Vacation. It's wonderful news that is making All My Children fans' dreams come true.

Jacob Young: Well, it was such a surprise. I didn't even know, really, before I got to New Mexico that it was her that was costarring with me!

Soap Central: Really?

Young: Really. I didn't find out until I was there.

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Soap Central: Do you know if the casting was done intentionally with your guys's All My Children history in mind, or if it was purely coincidental?

Young: I think they knew what they were doing! [Laughs] To be completely honest, I think they had an idea of what they wanted, and when they were approaching Alexa about it, they were like, "Well, we definitely want to have Jacob, as well." And you know what, why not? It was really smart, a very smart casting move. And to take your words, it's making All My Children fans' dreams come true. It was really wonderful to be able to work with her again.

Soap Central: Had the two of you kept in touch since you worked together on All My Children?

Young: I think I saw her one time briefly when the show had moved to Los Angeles, and that was the last time I had seen her. So, it really had been about seven years.

Soap Central: Wow. Despite that much time passing, was it just like old times, where you're able to pick right back up where you left off?

Young: Yeah, and it was crazy because our lives are very similar. She's got a family now, I have a family now. So, we definitely have a lot in common, in this part of our lives. It was so easy. It was just like, "Wow, I can't believe how many similarities we have going on in our lives."

Soap Central: Everyone is used to seeing you guys as J.R. and Babe. Is your pairing in this film somewhat similar, or is it really not comparable?

Young: The characters are obviously different, but in a lot of ways, it's similar. In Lifetime movies, if you're a guy, you're definitely an adulterer or you're a murderer or contemplating murder. [Laughs] I mean, there are really great things for a guy to be in a Lifetime movie, and it's fun, don't get me wrong, but your character is likely not a great guy. And if you go back in time and you think about J.R., he definitely had some bad moments, of course. Especially with Babe. It parallels it in a very similar way, but not the same.

Soap Central: One of the cool things about the film is that you don't know who's the bad guy and who's the good guy.

Young: Yeah, they spin it for a while, and you don't really know. He definitely tells her that his wife is not great and his wife is always threatening him and he wants out of the relationship, and he definitely pulls her in.

Soap Central: Do you prefer one over the other, playing the good guy or the bad guy?

Young: I have always loved playing bad guys. It is just so much more rewarding to be always contemplating [your next move], and navigating waters you wouldn't normally navigate in real life. And I find it's a lot more dynamic, the characters, especially when you're a good guy and you all of a sudden turn. It becomes a little stale, for me anyway, when I'm always a good guy.

Soap Central: The best is when you have a bad guy with a good heart, if that makes sense. The bad guy who does the wrong things for the right reasons.

Young: Right! The next film that I have coming out, it was called Faithfully but they recently changed the name to A Wedding to Die For, that one is absolutely like that. In my opinion, unless they do some fancy editing, I played it in a way that you don't know really who's in the wrong, and it's up to the audience to decide. I always think that's a lot more fun, when it's like, "Well, was she the bad person? Or is he the bad person?" And it's up to the audience to figure it out.

Soap Central: When it comes to chemistry, do you think it's more actor-based or character-based? And I ask that because you and Alexa had such undeniable chemistry as J.R. and Babe. So was the chemistry as strong when you were playing different characters?

Young: Well, you know, we know each other so well, and it was clear when we were playing opposite each other that that chemistry built. And that didn't happen over years -- it happened pretty immediately. You have a comfort zone with that person, and I always felt that with Alexa. But if you're asking me, it can truly be both ways. In this situation, we have such a history that it was really easy to start working together again. We were working really fast and there are changes happening to the script pretty rapidly. In these sorts of scenarios, in these Lifetime films, they're shot in 15 days, there is a quick turnaround on them, so there are a lot of hurdles to get through. And, of course, our daytime acting chops definitely came into play, making those changes on a dime.

Soap Central: What attracted to you to the film and made you say yes to the project?

Young: I loved the fact that it was shooting in New Mexico. I think that made for an interesting location. Most Lifetime films, as you know, are shot up in Canada. To be able to [be in a] production outside of that box and to shoot in the States in a really beautiful place like New Mexico, that really appealed to me, number one.

Soap Central: And the character, did you say, "Oh, I've got to sink my teeth into this guy!"

Young: Yeah, well once I read the script, without intentionally realizing it, he was similar to other characters I've played in the past. Without giving anything away, he is a bit of a manipulator.

Soap Central: Funny you say that. When I spoke with Alexa, she said that before they had cast the role, she thought you would be perfect for it. She even told her husband, Justin [Bruening, ex-Jamie Martin, AMC] that she had a feeling you would end up in the part.

Young: Well, I'm glad everybody seems to think that I'm a good manipulator! [Laughs]

Soap Central: Do you think about All My Children from time to time on your own, or only when these encounters with your former costars happen?

Young: No, I think about it a lot because all the other shows that I've been on have never been quite the same. We all went to dinner together, and we all really hung out with each other, we all enjoyed each other's company. And I feel like most of these other shows that I know, the other shows I've been on, it's show up, go to work, go home. And other than socializing with people while you're at work, you don't really do too much outside of work -- unless it's a special function that's related to the show. Other than that, everybody keeps to themselves. And maybe that's because these shows have been off the air and there's a bigger air of competition? People are really vying for spots, because there are so few spots, because there are only four shows available? I don't really know, but there definitely has been a big switch that I've noticed. In those days, [the All My Children days], we were all carefree, and I loved it. It was wonderful.

Soap Central: Speaking of reuniting with AMC costars for films, I see you also did Christmas Made to Order with Jonathan Bennett, who also played J.R. on All My Children. What was that experience like?

Young: Well, two J.R.'s on one set? That's a lot of J.R. to go around!

Soap Central: True -- but we can never get enough J.R., so it's probably perfect!

Young: So, that film came about because I live in Utah now, and I have an agent locally because there is a lot of work that shoots in Utah, and I saw that this Hallmark movie was shooting here... so I doubled down, and I auditioned two roles on this: one playing Jonathan Bennett's boss, and then another character. And when they saw me, they were like, "Wait, wait, wait. We don't need to cast that character that we were thinking about in Los Angeles; we want to give it to this guy." So, basically, I play Jonathan's brother-in-law. It's a real family ensemble movie. Even though Alexa PenaVega and him are the leads, I have a sub-story with my [fictional] wife, and we really were on set almost every day that this movie was shooting. So, it was really an ensemble cast. And it was a real pleasure and a lot of fun to be able to shoot locally and drive home afterward instead of catching a plane! And it was nice to see the Hallmark Christmas movie magic. It was a lot of fun.

Soap Central: Did you and Jonathan talk about the irony of you both having played J.R.?

Young: Oh, yeah. I've known Jonathan for many years. The last time I'd seen him was several years ago in New York, but yeah, we knew each other, and he found out that I'd been cast on this, so we caught up about All My Children days. I have a talk show that I do on YouTube, and now I've actually created a network that will be on Roku, and I have multiple shows that are under me now, and that's getting ready to launch soon: it's called Stream Me. So, anyway, I interviewed him for my talk show [episode shown below], and that was before I changed it from Daytime After Dark to The Jacob Young Show.

Soap Central: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about that name change.

Young: There are reasons behind it. When I started to deal with Roku, apparently, when the sponsors are getting ready to pay, they do a very in-depth look at the names, and the name with "After Dark" in it, it was related to porn. [Laughs] And so I had already been thinking about changing it over, anyway, because people were misconstruing it and thinking I was doing soap follow-ups on storylines that are happening, and that wasn't the case. I was just playing it on the fact that I'd been in daytime for so long, and we do it after dark; it was just a fun play on words. But I feel a lot better that it has been changed over to The Jacob Young Show. It's very clear now, what people are going to be able to expect. So, Jonathan very kindly did an interview with me, and we talked about everything from playing J.R. to his new cookbook that's out, which I'm actually giving away -- a signed version of it -- on my next talk show this Wednesday.

Soap Central: What made you decide to start doing an online talk show?

Young: I think 15 years ago or even ten years ago, you couldn't brand yourself in other directions. Film actors were just barely becoming TV stars and vice versa. And what really triggered with me -- and it was a sad moment, but it became a big realization -- back in the early 2000s, there pretty much wasn't anywhere that I could go where I wasn't recognized or people recognized me from the show. And more recently, and this happened on more than a few different occasions, maybe somebody would introduce me to their daughter or somebody like that in their early 20s, and they'd be like, "Yeah, he's on TV," and they'd say, "Oh, what are you on?" And I would tell them, "The Bold and the Beautiful," and they would say, "I've never heard of it before." A network television show! And then I watched the primetime Emmys, and I realized that only one network show was actually nominated. So that told me that the platforms that are being seen, especially by the newer, younger demographics that are coming in, are resourcing it obviously -- we do, too -- from Netflix, Amazon. But they're also watching programming on YouTube, and they're watching it on Roku. They're getting their information and their TV from other places. So that was a big revelation that I had, and I said, "Well, if I want to stay in touch with this demographic, then I need to go and be a part of that demographic and offer what I have to offer as an artist, a host, an entertainer, my knowledge, and connect with them on a different level."

Soap Central: Now that you're conducting the interviews, what's more fun for you? Doing the interviews or giving the interviews?

Young: I actually enjoy doing the interviews. In fact, my team out of New York, my branding/sponsoring team, they said, "Wow, you're really good at doing that!" And I don't know why -- maybe it's because I've been interviewed so many times? But it's actually a lot easier to ask the questions than it is to answer the questions! [Laughs] When the pressure is not on me, man, it feels a lot easier. But I can see that there's pressure from the other side. But what I do is I ask ten questions, and I make sure that I get a synopsis, and I make sure than we're hitting on everything that is relevant. My interviews literally are 15 minutes, and I do them live; I don't edit them, I make sure if something goes crazy or haywire, then that's there. And I think the audience really appreciates that, that we're not trying to Band-Aid something up. It's like watching a live news feed and something happens, and they're like, "Well, we'll have to get back to them later" because the sound has dropped or something. [Laughs] I think that's what's fun about going live, and that's what my show is: it's live. It's not pre-recorded. A lot of people on YouTube [have material] that is pre-recorded and then edited, and they make it all super fancy. I do my interviews live, and I have the capability of doing them live from a studio in my house, and I can switch cameras from mine to theirs, back and forth, or I can have them both on at the same time. It's great, because you feel like you're in the moment with us. And people are interacting and asking questions live, so it really breaks that fourth wall. It's a whole different form of entertainment.

Soap Central: You sound so excited and passionate about all of your projects, which leads me to believe you're having fun -- which is the most important thing.

Young: Well, thank you. And yeah, I truly am having fun. I'm excited for this next leg of my career, and I feel like since I've been off the show, by doing five films, I'm doing the right thing. I think it's been the right move so far. I'm looking forward to pilot season this year, and I'm waiting to hear on a major motion picture right now. Fingers crossed on that, as I'll probably hear about that either right before or after Thanksgiving, and this one would be a game changer. It's a pretty prestigious cast, and it would be a theatrical release.

Soap Central: The final question I'll ask is for your B&B fans. You're technically on recurring status with the show, so you could appear in future episodes at any point, right?

Young: Yes, I absolutely can. I haven't been asked to, other than one time, which was months and months ago, like seven months ago. It was a little frustrating, but that aside, I told them, "When you guys are ready, and you need me, then I'll come in." I'm not interested in signing a contract, because I have too many things going on right now. I really want to be freed up, and I understand that it's really hard for the writers to write a story and then of course me try to get off the show and go do something else. It just creates too much headache. But there is something possibly coming down the pipe, and that's pretty much all I can say about that. It's probably pretty much going to happen, for The Bold and the Beautiful, and I'm sure we can tease that. But that's all I can really say about it.

To catch Jacob Young in Killer Vacation, be sure to tune into Lifetime Movie Network on Friday, November 23, at 8PM PT/ET.

What do you think about our interview with Jacob Young? Will you be tuning in to Killer Vacation? Why or why not? What do you think about Young's bold business steps to keep relevant with younger audiences? Would you like to see him return as B&B's Rick Forrester? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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