Viewers of The Young and the Restless were thrilled when the CBS soap opera brought back fan-favorite actor Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher) earlier this year, but they might not have realized just how good his return was going to be. Gloria's son has been causing all kinds of amusing trouble now that he's back in Genoa City, and his strong on-screen relationships with people like Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) and Michael (Christian LeBlanc) have made canceling summer plans and staying in to watch the series oh, so worth it.
But it's all about to get even better: Elizabeth Hendrickson just announced that she has reprised the role of Kevin's flame, Chloe -- which is just the ultimate cherry on top of what has already been a delightful, indulgent GC sundae. So, just what can viewers expect in the weeks ahead? And how is Rikaart feeling about returning to the show that made him a daytime staple? Soap Central spoke with the actor to find out.
Soap Central: Hi, Greg! How are you, and how is your summer going?
Greg Rikaart: I'm doing well, thank you! My summer is going great, but it's been busy. My son started school two weeks ago, and they do a transition at this school, where instead of just dropping [your child] off on day one, a parent or a caretaker stays with them so they can slowly acclimate. So, I've been at school with him, and my husband has been working in Atlanta, so I've been solo parenting and kind of burning the wick at both ends. So, it's been a very busy summer so far, but a very fun one.
Soap Central: Oh, I bet -- that sounds... challenging!
Rikaart: [Laughs] It's a lot of work! It's really hard.
Soap Central: Yes, especially because you're working on Y&R again, as well. But we are SO happy to have you back! Especially because Kevin is causing so much fun trouble this time around.
Rikaart: Yeah, I am having a blast. Nobody is more excited that Kevin is back than me. They're writing such great stuff for him, and I think I've really tapped into a whole new level of gratitude being back. It's been fantastic. And getting to play again with Christian and Michelle and also with Mark [Grossman, Adam Newman] has been wonderful. It's been so much fun.
Soap Central: Was it important to you to know what the writers had in mind for Kevin before you agreed to a return?
Rikaart: No, because I've worked with [head writer] Josh Griffith before, and I think he's wonderful. He gave me a really broad stroke idea about what would happen upon Kevin's return, but even before then, I knew that I would be in good hands, without really knowing the specifics.
Soap Central: You mentioned a few really wonderful actors that you're working with again, one of them being Michelle Stafford. Kevin and Phyllis are hysterical on-screen together, so what has it been like on your end, working with Michelle again?
Rikaart: Well, we both found out that the other was returning within a few days of each other, so I sent her a text, and we had a really great conversation about coming back and how excited we both were that her return was coinciding with Kevin's return and the whole kidnapping thing and whatnot. And also, with Christian, the ease with which we stepped back into the dynamics, both with Kevin and Michael and Kevin and Phyllis, was just like hand in glove. In a way, it almost felt like I never left. And then, in another way, it did in that I feel like, as I said before, I tapped into this new level of gratitude for being here. It's been really fun to rediscover those relationships and sort of figure out where they go from here.
Soap Central: It was just officially confirmed that Elizabeth Hendrickson is returning, which is really exciting news for all of the Kevin and Chloe fans! How do you feel about her return?
Rikaart: Oh, it's fantastic. I adore Lizzie, and I love Kevin and Chloe's relationship. And I love that we get to see more of them. Her coming back really affects a lot of relationships on the show, so it'll be fun to see what's going to happen between Chloe and Chelsea [Melissa Claire Egan], Chloe and Adam, Chloe and Billy [Jason Thompson], and tangentially, how Kevin, of course, will be affected by all of those things, too.
Soap Central: It's so fun that they're delving back into these characters and what they all mean to each other. The dynamics between them have led to a few Emmy-winning stories. Does it feel the same, the relationships between these characters that you just mentioned, or does it feel like the characters have grown since you were all together like this?
Rikaart: I can only speak for Kevin, but it feels like both, if that makes sense. It feels the same in that he's in the same skin, he's the same person he's always been. Yet, as what happens with all of us in our lives, you grow and you change and you evolve and just sort of become a more complete version of the younger version of yourself. So I think both things are true: it feels the same, and it feels different, especially because we're not telling a story that we've told before. It's just these characters embarking on this journey now.
Soap Central: It might be a little early, but can you give a tease as to what viewers can expect from Kevin and Chloe this time around?
Rikaart: Keeping the secret that Chloe is alive will be a lot more challenging for Kevin in the coming weeks! You can expect some fun twists ahead for Kevin and Chloe, and they may be bringing someone else along for the ride... It's sort of the past and present colliding, and I think, as we're starting to see with Billy, it seems like we're revisiting some of the trauma caused by Delia's death, and I think there's going to be more to see about that.
Soap Central: I love how Delia's death has been reverberating for so long, yet the writers find new ways to explore it, and it doesn't feel like, "Why are we going there again?"
Rikaart: I think a tragedy like that doesn't live in a vacuum. I think it becomes part of the fabric of who you are, and you don't get over it. You just live with it.
Soap Central: Something that has sort of changed up the dynamic a little is Mark Grossman, who is now playing Adam. What do you think of his portrayal of the character?
Rikaart: I think he's fantastic. First of all, I think he's a terrific actor. And there's a darkness that he taps into, a darkness that I think the character calls for. I think he's terrific, and I love the dynamic on-screen between him and Kevin. I'm having a really good time working with him.
Soap Central: Would you say Adam has been Kevin's biggest adversary to date?
Rikaart: Yes, for sure. They were always kind of adversarial. We had a failed business venture at one point, and I think Kevin felt pretty screwed over by him. And, of course, with Delia's death and the way that negatively impacted him and his family, yeah, I don't know that I could think of anybody more adversarial to Kevin than Adam.
Soap Central: There were some teases that came out when you first returned that Kevin would be reverting back to his old "bad boy" ways. He has been causing trouble since he returned, but it does seem to be driven by the need to protect his family. So, can you talk a little bit about what's really driving him and his behavior right now?
Rikaart: Well, I think you just hit the nail on the head. He'll stop at nothing to keep his family safe, which is a completely understandable thing to wrap your head around. I know there are times when Kevin has been sort of skirting the law, but he's never been the guy who wants to make a bad choice just because -- I think he always feels justified in his own mind for making the choices that he's made. But specific to this, I think this is probably the strongest motivator for making the choices that he's making. I know that I would violate whatever law I had to violate to keep my kid safe! So, I get it.
Soap Central: I think what makes a compelling villain is that they truly think they're doing the right thing when it's actually so wrong, or at least they can justify their actions with "good" reasons, like wanting to protect a family member.
Rikaart: For sure, and someone who is three dimensional. I don't know that, in this particular case, Kevin is the villain [laughs], but yes, I think, to your point, any compelling character is not just going to be a mustache-twirling bad guy just out to wreak havoc.
Soap Central: Unless you have Victor Newman's mustache, and then you can do whatever you want!
Rikaart: Sure! [Laughs]
Soap Central: Do you think the "good" Kevin is gone forever?
Rikaart: No, absolutely not.
Soap Central: Okay, well a lot of people seem worried about him, including Esther [Kate Linder]. Does she have cause to be worried about her son-in-law?
Rikaart: Now that Chloe is alive, I'm sure some of her concern has been alleviated. And she trusts that whatever choices Kevin is making, he's keeping his family safe.
Soap Central: The writers seem to be wanting to revive a classic Y&R feeling. If they were to delve into the vault and re-explore one of Kevin's former storylines, is there one that you would be particularly happy to do again or get a second chance at playing?
Rikaart: Hmm, that's an interesting question. I don't know that there's anything that I'd want to play again, but I certainly wouldn't mind getting to play with some of the people that I've had the opportunity to have some really good storylines with in the past, like Michaeal Graziadei (ex-Daniel Romalotti) and Judith Chapman (ex-Gloria Fisher), and Emily O'Brien (ex-Jana Fisher). So, I don't know that it would be super fun to tell any of the same stories, but I would absolutely love to work with some people from the past -- Ted Shackelford (ex-Jeffrey Bardwell), too. Any of the people I've gotten to work with in the past.
Soap Central: One of the great things about soaps is you just never know if that day may come!
Rikaart: Right! Nobody is ever gone.
Soap Central: You know that personally! Did you ever feel like you would be back to the show after you left? I mean, when you found out your contract wasn't going to be renewed, you went to DAYS, so did you ever see this happening?
Rikaart: I don't think I did, no. For me, it was easier for my emotional journey to imagine that it was over. I needed some clarity, so at the time, I thought no. But you live, you learn, and I guess I wouldn't think the same thing again if I found myself in that same position. Frankly, it's sort of what happened at DAYS. I did an arc there, and my character was dead. And then, lo and behold, he wasn't, and he was back. So, I've had two examples in the past two years of jobs that I thought were over that turned out not to be over. So that was a good reminder to look at things differently, I guess.
Soap Central: I heard that one of the reasons that you're back at Y&R is there were some cast members that really championed for you and fought to get you back. Is that true?
Rikaart: Well, I think that might be true. I know there were some cast members who were very vocal when I left in voicing their opposition, and I think that some people, perhaps on the tail end of when I was gone, were talking to the powers that be again. So, like I said, I have a new level of gratitude that I never really knew existed and have been happy as a clam to be back. And I'm very grateful to those people for their support.
Soap Central: We hated to see you leave Y&R, but it was also really, really fun to see you on DAYS. Did playing Leo give you any new insight into playing Kevin or influence how you see Kevin at all?
Rikaart: Not really, no. I sort of see them as two different beasts. I think what I get to channel into Kevin is just the fourteen-year history I have of playing this role. And again, part of what was so great about coming back was coming back to relationships that were already established, primarily with Michael and Phyllis and Adam. They were all clearly defined relationships for Kevin that I didn't need to discover. Whereas, when I was at DAYS, all of the relationships and everything that I had to do playing Leo was all a new adventure. But I think I see Leo and Kevin as two different beasts.
Soap Central: Did you notice the difference in story style that Y&R has in comparison to DAYS? Y&R is typically more straight, being mostly about family and business, and DAYS can be a little more quirky. Is that something you were aware of when you were there?
Rikaart: I don't know how aware of it I was, but it makes sense in the context of Kevin and Leo being two different characters. I think Kevin is a little more grounded, whereas Leo was a bit more arch. So, yeah, that speaks to what you're talking about in the difference of how stories are told there versus here.
Soap Central: You are proof positive that it is a definite possibility for daytime actors to star on different shows and be accepted by the audience, so with that in mind, how would you feel if Y&R hired General Hospital actress Rebecca Budig (Hayden Barnes)?
Rikaart: Oh, boy! [Laughs] Remember how you were saying how some actors went up to the powers that be and spoke on my behalf? I would have to have a similar type conversation with the powers that be!
Soap Central: Haha, I bet you would! Is there anything else you'd like to add before I have to let you go?
Rikaart: Yeah, I just want to reiterate how grateful I am to be back and how grateful I am to you and to the fans for being so wonderful and supportive. It's going to be a fun ride!
What do you think about our interview with Y&R's Greg Rikaart? What are your thoughts on Kevin's return thus far? What do you hope is ahead for Kevin and Chloe? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.