General Hospital's Luke Spencer has been a lot of things over the years, many of them bad -- a mobster, a rapist, an alcoholic, and psychotic -- but many of them good -- a lover, a friend, a hero and, ultimately, a character who planted himself in the hearts of daytime fans forever. Longtime portrayer Anthony Geary has retired from the role he took on in 1978 and will permanently depart Port Charles on Monday, July 27. But before officially bowing out of daytime, he gave one last interview about the emotions he experienced on his last day of taping, the immediate way he distanced himself from Luke, what he thought about the character's final adventure (hint: it was "ill-conceived" and "cheesy"), and the way Luke will disappear from the canvas for good. Warning: it is not for the faint of heart or plebeian soap viewer.
Anyone who knows anything about GH's Geary knows he speaks his mind and can be very opinionated about his work and the genre. And now that he's no longer on contract with the ABC soap, he was able to give a no-holds-barred interview to TV Insider in which he opens up about a variety of different topics, including the fact that he wasn't thrilled with Luke's big final adventure.
"I loved that they brought back Emma Samms [Holly], Genie Francis [Laura], Jonathan Jackson [Lucky] and Nathan Parsons [Ethan] so I could work with them one last time, but I did not like the conceit that brought us all together. It was ill-conceived, cheesy and showed a lack of imagination," he says, adding that the Jake storyline was icing on the awful cake. "The audience saw that little boy dead on the operating table, and his organs were harvested. I do not understand the value of disassembling [one] of the best stories we've told. I guess the point of bringing the child back from the dead was so Luke could be redeemed, but I never felt he needed that. I hate redemption. I'm sure there are audience members who didn't want him to be a child killer and so they're pleased, which is fine. But I was not thrilled."
Of course, it's no huge surprise that Geary isn't a fan of the storyline, considering he doesn't seem to be a fan of head writer Ron Carlivati, either. "We've sat at the same table at the Emmys and what not, but he never has anything to say to me," the actor admits of their non-existent relationship, adding he thinks the writing done for GH -- whether by Carlivati or others -- has often been weak. "I get scripts where I'm literally told where to take a deep breath and what line to cry on and when to turn my body. Sometimes the writer's stage directions are longer than the scenes themselves. The great playwrights don't do that. They trust their material. They don't feel the need to tell actors how they're supposed to be feeling at every moment. There's a mistrust of actors on our show, as if we're going to misunderstand the material. To be told to weep on a certain line is absurd. I don't know when the hell I'm going to weep, if I weep at all, until I'm actually playing the scene. You don't plan that s-t out! In all modesty, Jane Elliot [Tracy] and I have 90 years of professional acting experience between us and for us to be handed a scene where we are told how to read every line is insulting. Now, she and I will just laugh it off and get on with the damn scene, but I feel bad for the younger ones because it can thwart any creative moments they might have. Any real moments. We should be spontaneous and thinking on our feet, not acting by rote. I love actors. I love doing a scene with someone who throws me a curveball. I love the process and have fought for it always. If you must write this way, then go write a novel. In a novel, the author tells the readers everything a character is thinking and feeling and doing. But not in theater or film or TV. No, that's just weak writing."
Those comments are just the tip of the iceberg of Geary's candid thoughts regarding GH, though he does concede that his time on the ABC soap was memorable and appreciated. "I have loved every minute of it. Even the minutes I have hated, I have loved," he says. "I made a smart move joining GH and then hanging on doggedly through the bad times, bullying my way to the top. Or the middle. Or wherever this is. I had a character that was mythic and wildly unique and the best they had to offer in television. I am really, really fortunate."
For more from Geary, including specifics on how Luke exits the canvas and what he really thinks about the Luke and Laura legacy, check out TV Insider's full article here.
MORE ON GEARY'S GH EXIT
News Archive: GH's Anthony Geary set to exit the show [May 8, 2015]
News Archive: 13 shocking things you didn't know about Tony Geary [May 11, 2015]
News Archive: Anthony Geary on former entitlement, being saved by Luke and his wishes for a perhaps slightly unfair farewell [May 28, 2015]
News Archive: Anthony Geary celebrates last day on GH set [Jun 23, 2015]
News Archive: Anthony Geary's final airdate revealed [Jun 29, 2015]
News Archive: PHOTO: Luke and Laura's final moment together [Jun 29, 2015]
News Archive: GH actors accidentally botch lines, affect accurate retelling of history [Jul 2, 2015]
News Archive: VIDEO: Susan Lucci bids farewell to Anthony Geary; leaves multiple Emmy winner with one last wish [Jul 20, 2015]
News Archive: Raw and indelicate: Anthony Geary's final GH interview [Jul 20, 2015]
What do you think about Geary's hard-hitting opinions regarding GH and his history with the show? Do you agree with some of his sentiments? Do you feel, in some regards, he was too harsh? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, on our message boards, or by submitting Feedback.
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