INTERVIEW: General Hospital's James Patrick Stuart on his Emmy nom, working with Michael E. Knight, and more
Posted Friday, May 22, 2020 8:31:59 AM
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James Patrick Stuart (Valentin Cassadine, General Hospital; ex-Will Cortlandt, All My Children) opens up about his Emmy nomination and claims that everything he knows about acting he learned from fellow nominee Michael E. Knight (Martin Gray, GH; ex-Tad Martin, AMC) -- but that won't stop him from some evil Zoom hijinks during the ceremony!

It's been nearly 30 years since James Patrick Stuart received his first Daytime Emmy nomination for his work as All My Children's Will Cortlandt and he jokes that now that he's received a nomination for his work as General Hospital's Valentin Cassadine, he's finally, finally getting a chance to try and catch up with some of his former AMC colleagues when it comes to Emmy statues. But that's not the only joke that the talented actor cracked when Soap Central caught up with him following his nomination in this year's Supporting Actor category. Keep reading to find out what hilarious hijinks he might pull during the Emmy ceremony this June and the super sophisticated outfit he'll be wearing during the exciting virtual event.

Soap Central: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination!

James Patrick Stuart: Thank you very much! I'll bet you're having a busy day.

Soap Central: Oh my gosh, it's been insane. But I'll bet yours is even crazier with everyone reaching out to you.

Stuart: I don't know about crazy, but believe it or not, I was actually hiking. Cynthia Watros [Nina Reeves] has been trying to get me to hike with her for six months, and finally today was the day that I said okay. So we went out hiking, and I got back in the car, and all of a sudden, my phone lit up. I had forgotten that it was even happening, so it worked out great.

Soap Central: It's been quite a few years since your first nomination, which was for Younger Actor on All My Children back in 1992. So does this almost feel like the first time all over again?

Stuart: I guess so, yeah! The first one was a long time ago, and this is certainly a different experience for me. General Hospital doesn't the feel the same. I mean, I was a child basically back [when I got my first nomination] and this just feels like something [I've wanted for a long time]. I've watched everybody else get theirs: Michael's [E. Knight, Martin Gray, GH; ex-Tad Martin, AMC] gotten three of them, Cady's [McClain, ex-Dixie Cooney, AMC] gotten what, two of them? [Laughs] Honestly, I just like the category. Supporting Actor just makes me happy, just the title makes me happy, because I like the team so much. I like Frank [Valentini, GH executive producer] all the way down to the guy who locks up at night. I'm just really happy to be a part of that team, so Supporting Actor is fine with me. I just wish we could stop at the nominations! Because it's a nice feeling, "Hey, we looked at all those tapes, and you were one of the best!" Why can't we just leave it there? Nobody wants to lose on Zoom for sure.

Soap Central: I actually am curious how they're going to do that, if they're going to have you all up on screen in your little Zoom boxes, kind of like how they used to do it on TV anyway, having all the nominees shown so the audience can see all your reactions when they announce the winner.

Stuart: If I don't get the statue, I'll be fighting the urge to clean the litter box while what's-his-face is accepting his award. [Laughs]

Soap Central: Everyone does say that the Supporting Actor and Actress categories are the toughest to be a part of, just because the competition is so fierce. So how do you feel about the other guys in your category?

Stuart: That is a very good question, and had I just not gotten in from hiking, I'd be able to tell you! [Laughs] So I'm going to have to look on my phone, and I'll give you my reaction in real time -- [pauses to look at his phone] -- Oh wow, the first thing I see is a photo of myself with Cady McClain, and I am a child! But wait, oh wow, THAT GUY?! I didn't see that coming. That's going to be a tough one. [Laughs] No, really I'm kidding. Give me the names, because I haven't been able to bring anything up yet.

Soap Central: Ha, no worries. You've got Mark Grossman as Adam Newman on The Young and the Restless, Bryton James as Devon Hamilton on The Young and the Restless, Wally Kurth as Justin Kiriakis on Days of our Lives [who also plays Ned Ashton on GH], Chandler Massey as Will Horton on Days of our Lives, and Paul Telfer as Xander Cook on Days of our Lives.

Stuart: Oh, Wally will be a pushover! That's fun. [Laughs] But listen, really, I can't single out names. This category is filled with remarkable talent. Again, I just wish I could stop at nominations, because to be included in that crowd is an honor and very humbling. Those are really talented guys who do everything on the field, you know.

Soap Central: Which scenes did you end up putting on your reel?

Stuart: There was a lot of great stuff last year, but I was lucky enough to have Valentin dealing with the Charlotte [Scarlett Fernandez] kidnapping, which was good. And we also had some great stuff from the reveal when Nina learns that Sasha [Sofia Mattsson] is not really her daughter. And just for good measure, since I felt it was a supporting category, I threw some good scenes in with Maurice [Benard, Sonny Corinthos], because I think if you can even attempt to hold your own against Maurice, they might go, "Alright, maybe the kid is a supporting actor!" [Laughs]

Soap Central: That is a really good tactic, James! Nice one. Did you have any help narrowing down your scenes, or did you know instinctively which scenes you were going to choose?

Stuart: I think that I've used help in the past, and this year I just felt like there were a handful of scenes that [rose above the others]. Michael Knight is always going to be the person that I turn to for advice, and I can't remember specifically, but I have no doubt that I turned to him at some point and asked, "Will you watch this?" And I know he watched it -- and he probably gave me some notes! [Laughs] I think probably the biggest thing is that a good reel should have some sort of structure to it. It can't just be a random collection of your favorite stuff; it should absolutely tell a story. And also another good note is just because they say you have 15 minutes, I don't think you should really take up somebody's 15 minutes! [Laughs] If you can tell a story in half that time, the voters will appreciate it.

Soap Central: Speaking of Michael Knight, I just got off the phone with him, and he was absolutely thrilled for you for your nomination, so how do you feel about his nomination?

Stuart: He called me on my way back from hiking, and honestly, I love that man so much, and we have been friends for so long that there's nothing that could top the feeling of having him come back to a show that I'm having so much fun on, and then for us to get a chance to do scenes together at this stage of our lives, at this phase in our career, and then to have us both nominated in the same year, it's just great. I wish we had a chance to go out, but if we have to both lose on Zoom, so be it! [Laughs]

Soap Central: So many exciting things are happening for AMC right now, like the Entertainment Weekly All My Children reunion next week. Are you getting caught up in the Pine Valley excitement and nostalgia, too?

Stuart: Yes, and I will say that the two things that I took away from All My Children was the day my agent said, "I want you to audition for this role of Will Cortlandt, so why don't you take a look at the show and see what they're doing," and the first scene that I turned on was Cady McClain and Michael Knight laughing in bed the morning after, and it was as funny and as fresh as any romantic comedy I'd ever seen. And I thought to myself, "If that is going on, then I want to be a part of that." And the other thing I take away is that Michael Knight took me under his wing. We became fast friends, and I watched him, and I watched him, and I watched him. I took notes, and I learned. I will go as far as to say that he taught me everything. He laid the foundation for this medium in particular. He showed me how it was done, the way he did it. So the fact that we are both here today with nominations together, I tip my hat to him and I'm grateful to him, to tell you the truth.

Soap Central: What do you think about the ceremony being televised this year?

Stuart: Well I would imagine if we're televised, and it's just a televised Zoom, I can't imagine why they wouldn't! That's an [easy] production. [Laughs] I have every intention of throwing my tuxedo jacket on, but I will be wearing pajamas. And I will be fighting the urge, when Michael Knight wins, to not be cleaning the litter box in the background while he's making his acceptance speech! [Laughs]

Soap Central: You are evil! I love it. Is there anything else you'd like to add that maybe I didn't ask you about?

Stuart: No, just like I said, I really think that the title of Supporting Actor is as good an honor, especially when talking about the team of General Hospital, as any statue could be. So as much as I obviously appreciate it and probably the next few weeks and months I'll be turning into Frodo Baggins, like, "The ring, the ring, the ring," but the truth of the matter is, it genuinely is a real rush and a thrill for somebody to call you out and tell you that you're doing a great job when at the end of the day, what you're really trying to do is help your team. So I'm just really proud of all the people on our show, Steve [Burton, Jason Morgan], and Finola [Hughes, Anna Devane], and Michael, and just everybody who got nominations, because I feel like those are good numbers. That just proves that we're doing something right over here, and I just like being part of the team.

What do you think about James Patrick Stuart receiving an Emmy nomination for his work as GH's Valentin? Do you think he'll bring home the gold this year? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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