This world can be an ugly place, and General Hospital alum Anthony Montgomery (ex-Andre Maddox) recently learned just how ugly it can be through his new film, Angie: Lost Girls, which examines the terrifying topic of child trafficking.
The harrowing film, now available on VOD, tells the story of Angie, an innocent 15-year-old who is abducted by traffickers with the help of her new boyfriend. Montgomery plays a detective tasked with finding Angie and putting her traffickers behind bars, and he tells Soap Central that it was one of his toughest projects to date because the film depicts the horrors of sex trafficking in a deeply visceral way.
"I have two children, a son and a daughter, and any father [would feel] disgusted," he says of delving deep into the terrifying subject matter. "When you see it, you just feel dirty."
As shared by the producers of Angie: Lost Girls, there are an estimated 100,000 known child victims of sex trafficking in the United States, and 300,000 American children are at risk. The average age a child enters the commercial sex trade is eleven to thirteen years old.
"It is more prevalent than I realized," says Montgomery. "You often hear about trafficking overseas in different countries, but they don't talk about it a lot on the news here. We talk about a lot of other horrible things on the news, but they don't talk about the actual sheer volume of children, especially girls, being trafficked in the US. And that number was just staggering to me. As I went further down the rabbit hole of learning about trafficking, I was really proud to be doing whatever I could to help spotlight it."
Though the film's purpose is to spark awareness about the very real horrors of sex trafficking, Montgomery says the noble mission didn't make it any easier for him to immerse himself in the dark world.
"I'm a being of light, I'm a child of God, and I don't like going to those dark places and staying in those dark places," he confesses. "It's fun to explore that as an artist, but I had to go have a drink and think happy thoughts and do the different exercises I learned in acting class to take myself out of that space."
Escaping the darkness after wrapping each day was especially necessary for the actor because he poured his heart and soul into the role of Detective Chase Dawson -- more so than any other, outside of perhaps GH's Andre.
"I've been told by a couple of people who have seen the film that in a couple of instances, I may have put too much emotion into it," he shares. "A lot of times, it's very procedural with these officers, especially when they've done it for so long. But I always feel like any time you make it feel procedural, you will lose the humanity. And because I'm a father, I was able to just connect to that very powerful thing in me that I would feel if, God forbid, that had ever happened to my daughter."
Angie: Lost Girls does a very good job of trying to inspire audiences to use their voice and support the victims who were and still are forced to endure the brutal injustice of child trafficking. But it's not the only project of Montgomery's that he hopes inspires positive change in the world. The actor shares that he is almost finished writing his autobiography and thinks that it also has the potential to spark goodness.
"It was very cathartic for me to write the book, and I believe I will be able to inspire some people to go beyond what they thought they could do," he shares. "I was abused as a child, there is so much that I have overcome in my life, and I feel like my book will have a positive impact in some child's life out there, some person's life who didn't think they could do what they have the potential to do. Because I never knew I was going to be an actor in Hollywood. I never imagined being an Emmy nominee and going around the world and doing the things that I've done, coming from the beginning that I had."
He continues, "As a black boy in Indiana who dealt with the racism and the drama that I survived in my life, the struggles that I went through as a child, as a young man, as a grown man, there is some black boy out there who does not see a light at the end of the tunnel; he just sees darkness. I believe I'm going to be able to reach at least one of those kids so that they know that there is something so much greater for them out there and to just persevere."
Montgomery is used to talking about himself, as he frequently gives interviews. But he admits that opening up in such a deep way about his personal struggles has been challenging.
"There were many times where I was writing in the middle of the night, at two o'clock in the morning, and I would just find tears streaming down my face as if I was in a particular situation again," he says. "I've been working on this book for five years, six years maybe? I started the process, and I would write two or three pages, and then I would have to sit with it, because then I'd start thinking about whatever happened in that time, and I was like, 'I'm not ready to deal with that. Oh, great, I got an audition, perfect distraction!' So, it was one of those things where it took me some time. And also, I've gone through a lot in my life, so I [had to decide], 'What do I tell people that I think is going to be impactful in their lives, to try to help?'"
For those who are wondering, yes, Montgomery delves into his experience as General Hospital's Andre in his book (which he is aiming to release later this year, depending on whether it gets picked up by a publishing company or if he will release it independently).
"That is one of those times where it wasn't always the greatest, and I talk about the good and the bad that I went through at GH," he shares of his soap role. "Obviously the two most influential projects I've worked on in my career are Star Trek and General Hospital, and me becoming an Emmy-nominated actor for the rest of my career, I got that from General Hospital, so I had to dedicate a chapter to them, as an homage to the franchise itself."
Speaking of GH, Andre's name recently came up when Peter (Wes Ramsey) confessed to Valentin (James Patrick Stuart) that he'd hired the hitman to kill Franco (Roger Howarth) and Andre and that he had played an integral role in Drew's (Billy Miller) original abduction and arranging to have Drew's plane sabotaged.
Questions are circling about whether or not Montgomery will be stepping back into the role of Andre, but we're guessing not because when Soap Central brought up details about the current storyline, the actor was completely surprised.
"Hooooo! Nope! I had no idea!" he says with a laugh about the recent mention of Andre. "I was asked to come back for a day back in December, but I was filming a different show, a show called All the Queen's Men, so I wasn't able to be a part."
However, Montgomery shares that if scheduling hadn't been an issue, he would have been happy to return to the role he played from 2011 to 2019.
"I love my GH family, and I would definitely go back and reprise Andre," he says. "I know that many fans connected with him -- and there are a lot of fans who may not have! -- but I've gotten a lot of really positive feedback. And for me personally, because of the growth that I had as an actor, just working at the pace of daytime and different lessons that I learned, it was worth it for me to keep expanding myself as a human being. So, yes, I would absolutely do it again."
What do you think about our interview with Anthony Montgomery? Will you be checking out his film Angie: Lost Girls? Would you like to see the actor back in the shoes of GH's Andre? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.