INTERVIEW: Daniel Hall on Sharon drama, fake news, and playing with Y&R's heavy hitters

Posted Monday, July 10, 2017 9:56:08 AM
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INTERVIEW: Daniel Hall on Sharon drama, fake news, and playing with Y&R's heavy hitters

The Young and the Restless' Daniel Hall opens up about Scott's potentially rocky romance with Sharon, his character's ability to be a window to the real world, and working with major soap icons.

The Young and the Restless' Daniel Hall made quite a splash when he debuted as Lauren's often-absent son Scott Grainger earlier this year. After all, the character was in quite a predicament the first moment viewers caught a glimpse of Hall in the role.

"My very first day of shooting, I was being kidnapped and beaten, and Kevin is coming in, saving me from the Middle East, and I mean, there's really not much more of an interesting storyline you could have, being mini-parachuted in!" he tells Soap Central with a laugh. "It was fantastic. At the end of the day, the director basically said, 'Welcome to The Young and the Restless. That's a wrap.' And I was like, 'Whoooaaa!' [Laughs] It was a pretty cool intro."

But lucky for fans, the jaw-dropping, action-packed beginning was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the excitement Scott is set to bring to Genoa City. He's currently steaming up the screen with controversial Y&R staple Sharon, butting heads with business-savvy Abby, rubbing elbows with GC patriarch Victor, and could soon come face-to-face with his disastrous childhood history with Lauren and Sheila.

Want the juicy scoop on all of the above plus some other Scott-related drama? Then check out Soap Central's interview with the actor below. You've been making waves as Scott Grainger for a couple of months now, so are you starting to get stopped on the street by Y&R fans?

Daniel Hall: Ha! A little bit, yeah. And it's interesting to see the fan base and see who's actually watching. It's a pretty wide range. I've been stopped by women in their 80s, I've been stopped by guys in their mid-20s, just everyone. So it's quite a large range. I thought it was a much smaller window, but it's actually quite a large expanse of age and type of person, so that's kind of a fun thing. But I'm not a household name, by any means! But it's definitely nice to get some recognition like that from some people who really love the show. It's great to be part of that family. I think it's pretty rare for a soap opera actor to become a household name, simply because many viewers only know you as your character. I mean, who knows Eric Braeden, really?

Hall: Exactly, they know him as Victor! [Laughs] One time, I was stopped, it was an older lady, and she literally stopped me and said, "Are you on TV?" And I said, "Yeah." And she goes, "Are you on The Young and the Restless?" And I said, "Yes." And she goes, "You're Scott Grainger! I knew it!" And that's all she said. I don't even think I even told her my real name; she sort of just only cared that I was Scott Grainger. So that was exciting. I took a picture with her, and she told me she dated Frank Sinatra and has been watching the show for years. She was a fun older gal, but she only knew me as Scott Grainger. And full name: first and last! So I hear what you're saying. They know you as your character and sometimes they think you are the character, and they'll respond to you on Twitter. They're kind of like, "Don't be mean to Sharon! Make sure you're good to Sharon!" I'm like, "I'm just the actor! I'm not Scott Grainger!" But it's cute, and I'll sometimes respond in character, and sometimes not, depending on how fun it is and what they're saying. When you first started taping, did anyone in particular take you under his or her wing and show you the ropes?

Hall: Tracy Bregman, who plays Lauren Fenmore, is one of the most supportive people I've known. She was genuinely interested in giving me the rundown, things like, "Here's how it's going to play out. Here's what's important. Here's the most important thing to do when you're on set. How to keep track of your day, your scheduling, and how to make sure you're in the right place at the right time," things like that. She was really supportive. And Christian LeBlanc, who plays Michael [Baldwin], he definitely came in and took me out to lunch and wanted to get to know me. And he said, "Any time you have questions, please feel free to ask me." He was very generous with his time. They both were really great, and it was helpful in cultivating that stepfather and mother relationship for me on set. It helped a lot to sort of bridge that gap before getting on the set and having to act with them. Other than that, I've had some really great and supportive things come back to me from Greg, who plays Kevin [Fisher]. He has been nothing but supportive and genuine with his time. He taught me a little bit about how he memorizes his lines and how he works and all that stuff. He was and is definitely someone I've leaned on for support. He's just one of those guys who's always looking out for other people and generous with his time. I feel like you've been in a very fortunate position because your character has had storyline with a lot, if not almost all, of the heavy hitters at Y&R.

Hall: Yes!! Except for Peter Bergman. I've only had a quick scene with Jack Abbott. He's been a peripheral thing for me specifically; I've only had one run-in with him where I actually talked to him. But other than that, I think maybe Cane, played by Daniel Goddard, and Billy Abbott, played by Jason Thompson, are the only guys on the show that I have not had scenes with. But other than that, I've pretty much worked with every other big player on the show. And it's been really nice. I feel really fortunate that the writers have tried me out with all these wonderful icons of the soap world. It's incredible and a great experience for me... [And also] I'm happy to be working with Eric Braeden. He's a real force in the world of daytime. He's an incredible icon to work with. Scott is obviously an important character, being the son of Lauren, but funny enough, he actually hasn't spent much time in Genoa City -- just a year here, a year there. So why do you think now was a really great time to bring him into the mix?

Hall: I mean, obviously it's just my opinion, but I would say he'll spice some things up over at Newman... I think he [helps fill] Victor's need for someone he can take in and really work on his company with. And who doesn't need or want more guys in Genoa City?! They were running kind of short on them, right? [Laughs] Some relationship openings needed to be filled there. Sharon [Sharon Case] had recently lost her husband, and I think there was an opening, some hearts that needed some love. Speaking of Sharon, the two characters just recently had their first love scene, which kind of sealed the deal on them as a couple.

Hall: They did, yes! I think the fans liked it. My favorite part, because I did end up watching it, was the stuff at the kitchen table, before the bed. I think there were some really fun sparks that flew at the edge of the table before they went upstairs. It was such a visceral, exciting moment when she ripped the shirt open, and they had a comedic moment about it where he sort of smiled at her. It's nice to see those kinds of moments dropped into a generally heavy, dramatic world, to see some of the lighter parts of romance and the sexual chemistry. It's fun to have light moments like that, instead of just grooving, lovemaking scenes. I think Mal [Young, our executive producer] and the directors have done a great job with the Sharon/Scott chemistry, making it a little more rom-com and playful. And that feels honest, like it's a real thing that could happen. If you've ever been with someone for the first time, it can be awkward, and it can be funny, and it can be perfect; it could be a few things. But it's generally not smooth; it's generally somewhere in between. How is it working with Sharon Case, and how did the filming of your love scenes go?

Hall: It was fun! Sharon is a very sweet woman. She embraces what's happening and is not afraid to go with it and have fun. So she was very friendly and open on set. I've done a few other love scenes, and it can be a little awkward and a little prickly, just because you don't always have chemistry with somebody. But Sharon and I, as we're getting to know one another, we're both relatively playful, and I think that really helps. So it was kind of a fun shoot for us to do. There was never really awkwardness between us, as actors; we kept it maybe just in the beats that were meant to be awkward. But we did almost fall off the table in one scene! They were like, "Cut, cut!" [Laughs] We had to move some things because we were about to fall over the table during the scene where she ripped the shirt open. So it was a lot of fun. We could have taken it in many different directions, but we went with the way that really fit the storyline the best. The shoot was fun. It's interesting to keep a shoot PG enough for daytime, and I guess a lot of primetime television too. It's a fun thing. You have to be present, cerebrally in your head, with thoughts like, "Oh, yeah, this is going to be seen at 11:30 AM." [Laughs]

Things are heating up for Sharon and Scott after a nice long courtship! Stay tuned on Y and R! This collage was put together by one of our wonderful viewers!! @lynn5432 Thank you!! #yr #cbsdaytime #shott

A post shared by Daniel Hall (@theoriginaldanielhall) on Sharon is a really surprisingly controversial character. Viewers either really love her, or they really hate her. Have you felt the push and pull, now that your character is romantically linked to her?

Hall: I've noticed that! I really love the cast members that I work with, and people are really interested and torn between Sharon and Abby's [Melissa Ordway] storyline, because everyone thinks, "Oh, he's going to end up with Abby!" But I don't see that. I'm having a beautiful relationship with Sharon. This is me the actor talking. I know they're playing that, pitting us against each other. But I think people are either, "Oh, my God, I'm so happy with you being with Sharon." Or, "Oh, my God, I really don't want you to be with Sharon." And I never know how to comment on those [fan messages]! I leave the ones alone that are anything negative; I don't even touch them. And then when they're positive, about Sharon or Abby, I say thank you and like the comment. I just leave it open. But it's really split, to a lot of degrees, about who wants Sharon to be with who, and also about whether or not they like her. They say, "She's evil! She's bad!" Or it's, "Sharon is the best! She's the queen! Queen Sharon!" It's amazing how split the fans are about whether they love her or hate her. It's wild. So considering that, what do you think Scott sees in her? Why is he attracted to her?

Hall: Scott is attracted because she's stunning and beautiful, first of all. That comes right off the page when you see her. I think what has been talked about in the storyline a little bit is that he sees a person who is kind of on the outside of the town and is not necessarily part of the cloth; she feels like she might be kind of an outsider and in her own world. And I think Scott felt that when he came home from being overseas for so long, and he sort of connected with that. And I think they both have some sort of darker stuff going on in their inner monologue that they haven't felt comfortable sharing with others until they met each other. And now they feel like they have a non-judgmental sounding board with each other. Even though they get along well, their relationship is already creating waves. Lauren certainly hasn't been happy about it. Do you think they have an uphill battle ahead of them?

Hall: I think they could. It depends, but from what people have been seeing, and from what I've been seeing in the scripts, Lauren, Scott's mother, is being a little bit protective. And I guess [it's due in part to] things he wasn't aware of, being that he was overseas for the last ten years. There's a history, and his mom knows more about Sharon than he even knows at this point, and details about things she had done with a baby. There's a whole bunch of backstory that I don't think Scott was ever privy to, and his mom is being protective. And I don't know that I blame her. I understand that a mama bear's job is to make sure her son is safe and happy. But you know, as a guy who's thirty-one or thirty-two, that's not what Scott wants. He wants to be his own man, and he wants a friend out of his mother more than a mothering figure. He wants someone he can talk to and confide in, who'll be there for him. It's also due in part to Scott's childhood. He might be in the dark a bit about the whole baby stealing situation with Sheila (Kimberlin Brown) and all of that, but are you aware of the whole backstory?

Hall: I am! I am aware of it. It was a black market baby who ended up not making it, and I was picked up, and there's a whole bunch more. I heard something through the grapevine that Sheila was over on B&B. The Twitter feeds were lighting up, and they're wondering if that's possibly going to cross over. They're like, "Scott, watch your back!" [Laughs] Scott was pretty young when all the Sheila and Lauren stuff happened, but do you think all of that drama had an effect on the man he is today?

Hall: Absolutely. I mean, being raised by two mothers, he's going to be a very sensitive guy! He doesn't remember his father; he lost his father at a very young age and doesn't really remember him, outside of tidbits he gets from Lauren. But as far as Sheila goes, he was so young, and he doesn't necessarily have any feelings about what she was to him. He probably just has questions about what happened and why that happened, you know what I mean? How did it even happen, and how was it allowed to happen? I think those are the questions he'd have, and eventually, he may ask Lauren about them. I feel like that probably does have a lot to do with how he's protective -- why he's so protective of Sharon and making sure people are safe. Family is also really important to him. Even though he's sort of dealing with a wonderfully supportive mother who sometimes feels like she's a bit hands-on for his taste at this point in his life, I think he's still really respectful and loves that she cares about him the way she does, because his childhood was probably a little bit tumultuous, to say the least. It makes sense that she's so protective, in light of everything that happened!

Hall: Oh, God, yeah! I don't think he blames her. But I think he wants, like I said -- and like I do as an adult -- you kind of want your mother and your father to be more like friends when you're in your thirties. You don't want a mother, except for when you call and say, "Mom, I need something! I have a question, and I don't know what to do!" [Laughs] But I think you do look for your parents to be more like friends in your relationship when you're in your thirties.

Thanks for showing me this amazing hike @traceybregman1 !! #yr #cbsdaytime @kindtraveler #castmates

A post shared by Daniel Hall (@theoriginaldanielhall) on I've been told we can't really talk too much about the possibility of a Sheila crossover, so I will just ask if there is anything from Scott's past that you hope the writers explore a bit more?

Hall: I know they touched on it a little bit, but I would love to talk more about what he was doing in the Middle East, and there was a possible love interest out there. I think the viewers would love to hear a little bit more of that, maybe discussing that with Sharon, you know, just something about what his real experience has been like the last ten years. Some more of that could be interesting. But who am I? I'm not the writer, and I love the way the storylines are going right now. I think there is going to be a lot that comes out about that, just based on some of the interesting drama that's coming down the road. That's what I can sort of dangle there; I think that will be brought up in a roundabout way. It's actually already beginning to be discussed; they're already picking up on that. When you first started airing, I found it really interesting that your storyline seemed less like a typical soap opera storyline and more like a real-life story, with the journalism aspect. How did it feel for you to tell this important story that sort of brought awareness to the things that journalists do to try and bring us the real story?

Hall: I felt honored, and I loved it. To be honest with you, it was such a breath of fresh air. It was a fun storyline, and it was really honest to what's been happening the last decade or so in the Middle East. There are terrible, horrible events going on around the world, and if you don't keep your eyes glued to the TV, you're not aware of them all. Luckily, we're in a very safe, sheltered bubble, being in the United States, and... unless you watch BBC or CBS News, that type of thing, you aren't necessarily aware of what's happening outside of your backyard. And I feel that having a story like this brings some of that to the forefront for Y&R fans and kind of makes them more aware of it. It's more fun for me to play, because it's something I can really connect to. It's not just a love triangle or a romance; it's got some backbone to it, and I love that kind of stuff. I come from a drama background, and I love stories that are viscerally connected to me, the actor, as this storyline has been. And what's to come is quite exciting, so I'm really happy to play the things coming up for Scott. When you think about your future as Scott and your place on the canvas, what do you hope to achieve? Do you have any personal goals?

Hall: I hope that Scott can maybe bring a very grounded love story to Genoa City, which I think they're really doing a great job with, with Sharon. And I also hope they play around with the idea of fake news. I know it has come already; we talked about it with Victor, about telling good stories and making sure it's fact-checked and all of that, about his book. I told him, "I want to let you know that I'm going to dig, and I'm going to get the truth." And I think that's kind of a good thing to talk about this day and age, based on what's happening with media and fake news and tweets. The other day, I thought Saturday Night Live was being canceled, based on something I saw on Facebook. And I only had the thought for about 30 seconds, but it looked like a reputable news link, and I looked at it, and it said something like, "Trump is shutting down Saturday Night Live," and I was like, "What?!" And I looked a bit deeper, and really, it was hard to find that it wasn't real. And then, finally, it took me a couple of minutes, but I saw that obviously it wasn't true. But it's mind-blowing the way it is with social media now and all this other stuff. It's really tricky to fish through all the garbage that's out there and find what's actually true. So hopefully Scott can bring a lot of that to the show and bring some of the reality there. I feel like he's kind of a window into what's happening today, to what's happening in the world right now with politics and the overseas drama. And that's a nice thing to be able to play.

What did you think about our interview with Daniel Hall? Are you a Scott and Sharon supporter, or would you rather see Scott with Abby (or someone else)? What do you hope for Scott's future? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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