INTERVIEW: The Young and the Restless' Donny Boaz dishes on the new Chance Chancellor
Posted Friday, January 24, 2020 10:32:16 AM
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Texas native Donny Boaz opens up about taking on the role of The Young and the Restless' Chance Chancellor. Does the character have a secret dark side? And will Chance end up with angelic Abby... or vicious Phyllis?

The Young and the Restless viewers were knocked off their feet when Chance Chancellor returned to the canvas last November in an action-packed, knock-down-drag-out moment in which he burst through a hotel door and slugged Cane (Daniel Goddard) in the face. That was followed by a dramatic sequence of events that had the character dropping from the ceiling and saving several members of the Newman clan from diabolical con-man Simon Black (Jeffrey Vincent Parise). Honestly, could the guy get any cooler?! As it turns out, the answer to that question is yes, because the powers that be chose one heck of a Southern charmer to play Phillip and Nina's son: Texas native Donny Boaz, who is quickly turning heads in the daytime world.

Boaz stepped into the role of Chance in November and has already proven that he's got the acting chops to hold his own in scenes with heavyweights like Joshua Morrow (Nicholas Newman), Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott), and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis Summers). It's hardly noticeable that he's a recast (the character was previously played by John Driscoll from 2009 to 2011), simply because he just fits into Genoa City as if he's always been there.

Chance, however, hasn't always been there, and questions are swirling about what he's been up to since leaving the canvas eight years ago. What's up with his connection to Adam (Mark Grossman)? What about Amanda (Mishael Morgan)? And is Chance really the Boy Scout he always used to be? Soap Central caught up with Boaz to suss out the answers to those questions, and we also got him to spill some dirt on Chance's upcoming love triangle with Abby (Melissa Ordway) and Phyllis -- that lucky, lucky guy.

Soap Central: Donny, you've got one of the coolest jobs in daytime.

Donny Boaz: I do! I wake up every day and I feel blessed. I drive onto the CBS lot and see those big CBS letters, and every day, I say, "Thank you, Lord. Thank you!" I feel truly blessed right now.

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEK!!! Every morning since I booked this job on 10/01, I see those big CBS letters on the studio lot and I can't help but say a little prayer and feel so very thankful. Not only for the daily opportunity to get to do what I love, but for every person and experience that lead to this opportunity. To all of my friends and family who supported me along the way and for every agent across the country who believed in me, I want to say Thank you. I'm grateful and I appreciate you all. I hope you all have an Amazing Thanksgiving. @youngandrestlessCBS #yr #happythanksgivng #happyholidays #thankful #grateful #ilovemyjob

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Soap Central: Was starring on a soap opera one of your dreams in life?

Boaz: No, absolutely not! [Laughs] I think my exact words were, "No, I don't want to work on a soap." And now I want to grab that guy and slap him! I didn't realize how good it was. I was in Mexico on a boys' trip, and I had a movie booked in Miami not even four or five days later, and my manager called and said, "Hey, we got you an audition for The Young and the Restless and we need you to come back to L.A." So, I came in, did the audition, two days went by, and my manager said, "Hey, now they want to test you... I need to get you out of that Miami movie." But was like, "Boss, that [film] is a guaranteed $20,000 right there! Are you sure we're just going to walk away for the chance of a test?" And he said, "Donny, I think it's worth it." I was friends with that producer and director in Miami, and I had to call them nine hours before I was supposed to get on a plane and say, "Guys, I'm sorry -- I'm walking away from this guaranteed movie and paycheck. I'm going to go take the chance with this soap role." And I couldn't be more thankful that it worked out the way that it did.

Soap Central: Oh, I'll bet! That was a risk. But now you're on-screen in front of millions of people every single day, which can be life-changing. So, how are you settling into that?

Boaz: Social media blew up overnight. I woke up the next morning, and my phone was like, "Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz" for like 72 hours straight! [Laughs] What I've really loved is the family environment here. Everyone has been so welcoming, from the directors to my costars, to hair and makeup, wardrobe. It is truly a family up here, and you can't help but learn from the people who came before you. I mean, you sit down, and you're talking with Josh Morrow, who has 25 years of experience on this show, and he's just a wealth of knowledge. I'm just a sponge absorbing this. Then you get that 30-minute conversation with Peter, and it's just like, shut up and listen, because I promise you, you'll learn something! They're so welcoming and open to share their experiences with you, and I'm telling you, you can gain so much knowledge in such a short amount of time. Several people, from Michelle to Melissa [Ordway, Abby Newman] to Peter, they all said, "Give it six weeks, and you'll realize how much easier it's going to come to you." Because I remember those first six weeks, and you're looking at 20, 30, 40 pages of dialogue every day, and you're like, "How am I going to do this?" And then you lay down at night, and your mind is just racing, going, "Zzz, zzz, zzz, zzz," and you're thinking of everything that you have to do the following day. But I remember the day, six weeks in, I looked at 20 pages, read it one time, tried to run it, and I was shocked that I knew it. Your mind is capable of so much more than you know it is, and that's probably the number one question I get from people and fans is, "How do you memorize all of that?" And I'm like, "You can do whatever you apply yourself to." But that was a pleasant day, when I looked at it and said, "Oh, my God, I know it!" That was a moment that I do remember here.

Y&R CASTING NEWS: New faces headed to Genoa City

Soap Central: How lucky do you feel about getting the opportunity to play Chance? I mean, he's kind of a badass.

Boaz: Chance Chancellor is a badass! The description of him coming in was like, "Imagine James Bond and Jason Bourne in one character," and I was like, "Uh, yes, please!" Who doesn't want to do that? [Laughs] I mean, the opening scenes, I'm kicking in a door and punching Cane in the face, and then I think two episodes later, I'm dropping from the ceiling and saving three Newmans, so it was quite the entrance. And the writers have kept it interesting throughout. This triangle they've got going between Michelle and Melissa and I right now, oh, that's a tug o' war daily!

Soap Central: Yeah, so where do you see that love triangle going? Which woman is he more likely to end up with?

Boaz: Oh, I don't know what I'm allowed to say! [Laughs] It feels like a present every day when they leave you another script in your dressing room. It feels like you're opening a present, and you're like, "What do I get to do next week?" I'm the one doing it, but I have no idea what's coming up next. I'm like, "Where are they sending me?" I'm off with Melissa here, and then I'm off with Michelle there. Phyllis is so much trouble, and Abby is so good. It's like you've got the devil and the angel sitting on your shoulders -- which one do you choose?

Soap Central: You've posted a couple of times about working with Michelle Stafford. We all know she's got some serious acting chops, so how has that shaped or influenced your work thus far?

Boaz: I don't know anybody on this show that plays more than Michelle. I watch Michelle work, and she is having SO much fun. She just plays, and she's like an inch away from your face, going, "What personal space?" And you just see it in her eyes, this woman, that she just loves what she does. I learned quickly that you better be on your A-game if you want to keep up with this woman right here; you'd better enjoy it just as much as she does. I say we're sparring, because it's a war of words, and it's just those looks that she gives you -- she'll be so evil and just smile in your face, and you're like, "Oooh, this woman right here!" She's an absolute treat. It's just one of those things where you get out of bed in the morning and go, "I'm going to go to war with Michelle today. Let's go!" And it's fun.

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Today's episode was the first day my work relationship started with this Firecracker, @therealstafford What I've learned since then, if you're working with Michelle Stafford, it's gonna be a good day! Love ya girl! #yr #bestfriends #besties #ilovemyjob

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Soap Central: Were you familiar with her before you started? I mean, she's been on every single soap magazine cover for years and years, so she's hard to miss!

Boaz: That's true! When you're walking through the grocery store aisle and you see the soap opera magazines, you can't help but know everyone's faces. And I knew her face from both Y&R and General Hospital [where she played Nina Clay], just from the magazines. And speaking of which, I was sitting around at a dinner table in one of the scenes not too far into the future, and just the people that were sitting at the table, I was looking around and going, "I knew every single one of these people ten years ago, and just to be sitting at this table, it's surreal." You're looking at Eric Braeden [Victor Newman] and Mel [Thomas Scott, Nikki Newman] and Melissa Ordway and Josh Morrow, and you think, "I kind of grew up watching these people," and seeing them not only on TV, but in the magazines. Sitting at that table felt like a very surreal moment.

Soap Central: Did you ever watch Y&R before you started? Or did your family watch?

Boaz: My mother watched a fair amount of soaps. She was more into her nighttime soaps, though. She liked Dallas.

Soap Central: Oh, my gosh, she probably freaked out when you starred on Dallas then, right? Weren't you in the reboot?

Boaz: Yes, I was. Early in my 20s, I was modeling and traveling the planet, and people would say, "Hey, where are you from?" And I was like, "Dallas," and they'd say, "Oh, who shot J.R.!" And I was like, "Well, we have the Cowboys and Neiman Marcus, too!" [Laughs] But it's like the whole world knows Dallas because of the TV show, and it was quite the treat to book that reboot. There's a story I like to tell people: I only booked one episode on Dallas, and I remember walking off the lot that day, we were at Southfork Ranch, and I was sad. I thought, "I don't want this to be over. This was too much fun." It was like the saddest I've ever been to walk off a job. I was reaching for my door handle, and all of a sudden, I heard, "Donny! Donny!" And I was like, "Who is calling my name?" And I turned around, and it was one of the writers, and she just runs up and says, "Oh, my God, I love what you did with your character! I'm going to do everything in my power to write you into season three," and I'm like, "Thank you. I won't tell you no!" And she says, "I know," and then she just walks away. Four or five months goes by, and you don't hear anything, and then you get that phone call one day that says, "Hey, they're writing you into nine episodes in season three," and you're just like, "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Lord!" And so, to get to be in my hometown of Dallas and get to work on Dallas, it was quite the treat.

Soap Central: Considering your mom was such a soap fan, how did she feel about you getting this role on Y&R?

Boaz: I remember the moment I got the phone call from my agent and manager. They conference called me in, and it was the very first phone call where I conferenced in my mother and my sister, and I think we all had a circle cry fest. I think my mom was in Virginia, my sister was in Dallas, and I was in Los Angeles, and I was like, "Girls, it happened!" And they were crying, and my mom couldn't have been happier. She's very proud. My mom works for an oil company in Oklahoma right now -- she was in Virginia, but she has to travel with the job often -- and her coworkers, they've got the show on every day at the office, like six ladies that pause their day at 11:30 to see what trouble Chance is going to get into the next day. [Laughs]

Soap Central: What kind of trouble is he going to get into? With this mysterious past with Adam [Mark Grossman] and everything, the audience is wondering if Chance is really the good guy he purports to be.

Boaz: He's a white hat. I have learned so much about who Chance is just by hearing Elizabeth Hendrickson's [Chloe] description of Chance. She said, "If you're looking for this guy to be a bad guy, be careful, because you will be disappointed. He is a white hat through and through. He always seeks to do what is right." If Adam Newman is the black hat, I feel like Chance Chancellor is the white hat. He's just a good guy. He will go across the street and go out of his way to do what he believes is right. He's got a strong moral code that he lives by, and I think that he treats his family like that, the people he encounters daily, he tries to do what's right. I love the way he is with Abby -- they're so sweet. It's too sweet sometimes! But I love those moments. I'll finish these scenes, and it's almost like I'm the one watching, and I'll go, "Aaawww, that was sweet!" [Laughs] I like those moments that Chance gets.

Soap Central: Are there any personality traits that he has that are a lot like you, or maybe even the opposite and nothing like you?

Boaz: I feel it is so me. It's almost like I come to work every day and almost get to play myself. I joke on set that I'm probably a better athlete than I am an actor, and I think Jess Walton [Jill Abbott] said the other day, "Oh, don't say that," and I said, "No, it's the truth." [Laughs] And I love that that's who Chance is. He's an adrenaline junkie, he likes the action of it all, and he can also be charming. And I've been told a couple of times in my life that I can be charming, so if I could live up to Chance, then I'd call that an accomplishment.

Soap Central: The character is a recast, which can sometimes be tricky for the audience to accept. So, how did you approach making him your own?

Boaz: I did a lot of research, as much as Wikipedia would let me, in just seeing who and what Chance Chancellor was. I also looked at John Driscoll's work, at what he did in the past, and it was a long time in between bringing the character back. I think the last time he was on was November of 2011, so starting again in October of 2019, that was eight years, so I had to come up with some backstory of where he had been, and really, I've been here now almost four months, and I still need a family tree! I'm like, "How am I related to this person and that person?" I was able to sit down with Jess Walton the other day, and I was like, "Will you help me?" And she was so gracious. She was like, "Okay, you're related to this person and this person and this person," and I was like, "Thanks, grandma," and she was like, "Don't call me that." [Laughs] She is so much fun. Oh, the stories she can tell. She will warp your fragile mind! [Laughs]

Soap Central: Chance has had so many exciting jobs -- fighting in Iraq, working for the Pentagon, now doing P.I. work in Genoa City. Could you see yourself doing any of those jobs?

Boaz: Let's see, he was a military intelligence officer, a military policeman, and a detective. I feel like he's Jack Reacher! I'm a big Jack Reacher fan -- I've read every single book about him -- and it feels like you're describing that person. I have to tell you this: When I was eighteen years old, I had just gotten out of high school, and I had no direction in terms of what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to be a Navy SEAL, so I took the ASVAB [Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery] test, and I scored off the charts. I got a 96 on it or something, and I talked to a lot of my peers, and they were like, "Dude, I got a 40 on that. How did you get a 96?!" It just came very natural to me, in the test-taking of it, and I qualified for everything except nuclear submarines or something like that, and I was like, "Okay, cool -- didn't need that one, anyway!" [Laughs]

Soap Central: So, what happened?!

Boaz: Well, I had my mind made up: I stood in front of my recruiter, I put my hand up and said, "I will serve my country." I was ready to do it. But in the next 30 days, my life changed. I got a full ride scholarship to play football, and I also got signed as a model with Kim Dawson. I thought, "Well, this just looks like a better avenue than going to basic training right now." So, I called the recruiter, and I told him the opportunities that had just come up before me, and he said, "I'll give you another 30 days to think about it." But I didn't need another 30 days. I made the choice that I was going to go to university and model on the side. But my life could have gone in a completely different direction. My baby sister, who I grew up with, her name is Loni -- Donny and Loni, my mom is real creative like that -- she did the same thing at 18 years old. She went and signed up for the Navy, she followed through, and now my sister is a chief who has been in the Navy for 18 years, and this woman is a BOSS. When we were in high school, I was voted most athletic, and she was voted prettiest, and now she's in the Navy, and I'm an actor, so our lives just crisscrossed in different directions. [Laughs] But I couldn't be more proud of her.

Soap Central: Is she your only sibling?

Boaz: From my mother, yes. She's the only sibling that I grew up with. My father has been married several times, and I think he's got five kids with three different wives, but I only grew up with my one sister, Loni. As adults, we've been much better as siblings of getting together. We usually get together every Thanksgiving. I've got three sisters and a brother.

Soap Central: Do you get to go home and see your family very often?

Boaz: During Cowboys season, I had season tickets, so I was going back to Dallas almost every weekend. In the last six months, I started dating a girl that lives in Dallas, so I've been going back every two to four weeks to visit her or bringing her here every two to four weeks, and my friends and family love that I'm dating a girl from Texas, because I go back to see them more often. But we got to spend a fair amount of time together over Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's. My sister, she's got three kids, and I couldn't be more in love with them. They like it when Uncle Donny gets back to town.

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Bummed I couldn't be with the #Team in #LA at the #HistoryStudio to watch #six. Had to be in #Dallas for #work. Very happy I get to share this night with this #gang. #Love my #family.

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Soap Central: What do they think about you being an actor on TV?

Boaz: They LOVE it. Their favorite movie changes every other week, and it's usually a movie that Uncle Donny has done. I did a movie called The Adventures of Pepper and Paula about a little puppy, and they were like, "This is my favorite movie!" And then Hometown Christmas comes out like a year later, and they're like, "Uncle Donny, this is my new favorite movie!" They love it. My nephews are eleven, and then my niece is six now. I didn't think I could love anything more than a nephew, and then I had a niece, and I'm like, "What nephew?" [Laughs] And my nephew is like, "Uncle Donny, I'm standing right here!" But my niece, I mean, she hung the moon in my eyes. They're big Uncle Donny fans, and they love the Christmas movies. If I can make a Christmas movie every other month, I think that would make them happy.

Soap Central: Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if you did. I looked at your IMDb page, and you have over a hundred credits. Are you working in your sleep?!

Boaz: I have lived my life out of a suitcase my entire career, since I was 19 years old. I have been to 35 countries since I started acting, which was in 2003, but it didn't really take off until about 2008, 2009. And I do about eight to twelve projects a year. Actors tell me that they don't get an audition in three months, and I'm like, "Are you kidding me? If I went three months without a job, I would lose my mind!" It's been fun to meet some of the actors who have been doing [guest-starring roles] on The Young and the Restless. I challenge them and say, "If you're not happy with where your career is going in Los Angeles, then open up the market." The biggest market in the world right now is Atlanta, Georgia, and if you don't have an agent in Atlanta right now, I mean, there's 80 productions going simultaneously in Atlanta right now, and that doesn't even count the rest of the state! So, I tell them not to put all their eggs in one basket. I learned from the people who came before me, and then you're allowed to then spread that experience with the next generation... I mean, I moved to L.A. in 2005 and thought I was Billy Badass Actor with my whole five credits, and I realized that I was a minnow in an ocean. This town didn't know who I was. So, I moved back to Texas with my tail between my legs, but that was the lesson that I learned: don't wait on other people, make it happen for yourself. So, I went and signed up for student films, free films, feature films, whatever I could get my hands on films, and before you know it, you've got 20 credits. And having an actual résumé is what opens up doors. So, that's what I try to teach the younger generation, just don't wait. Be as impatient as you want to be, and go find the work. The whole world is making films. There is a new streaming service that comes out every six months, it seems, and that's just another hundred jobs that you have the potential to go and book.

Soap Central: Well, it seems like you work a lot, but when you're not working, what can people most likely find you doing?

Boaz: I am a sports junkie, so if people want to find me on a Saturday -- not during football season, because playoffs have been going -- but on a normal Saturday, I'm likely playing beach volleyball for eight to ten hours. That is my drug of choice. I love being in the sand.

Soap Central: TEN hours?!?

Boaz: Yeah, we usually get out there at about 8AM or 9AM and we usually play until the sun goes down. Then Sunday night is usually bowling league -- yeah, I'm that cool [laughs] -- Monday night is kickball league, and Thursday night is softball league, so a lot of intramural sports on the side. I'm also a movie nut. I love to watch and learn from films. I think it was Monday at 11AM, I went and saw Knives Out, and then on Wednesday, I went and saw Bombshell. Charlize Theron killed it. She was so good! And Margot Robbie, that might have been some of the best work I've seen from Margot Robbie. Her face melted on camera, and I was just like, "Margot, respect." They were both so good.

Soap Central: It sounds like L.A. is an absolutely perfect city for you. You've got the film culture, and it's also a super athletic place.

Boaz: It's also perfect weather here. I played volleyball on New Year's Day! I know it's 30 degrees in Texas right now, where you don't want to walk from your house to your car, and in Chicago, it's nine degrees, which is just, ugh. So, it being 70 degrees in Los Angeles right now in the middle of January? It's perfect. I mean, it's one of the few places in the world where I can go snowboarding up in Big Bear and then go surfing in Malibu in the evening on the same day. It's one of the few places you can do that, and I've done that a few times!

Soap Central: Well, you are one busy guy! Before I let you go, I'm going to circle back around to Chance. This character really has the potential to make his mark in Genoa City, so what do you hope to accomplish with the role while you're a part of the show?

Boaz: I love bringing my best to work every day. There are two rules here: be on time and know the material. Do not hold up the show. That's the rule, and I never want to be that guy. I feel like I want to challenge my costars the way that they challenge me. When I step into a scene with Michelle, I want to shock her the way that she shocks me. So, it's the challenge. It's a friendly competition, it feels like... I also love Melissa Ordway. We have become best buds on set, off set, and we're always texting over weekends, and just the things that I've learned from Doug [Davidson, Paul Williams]. He's been here longer than anybody, and he's such a wealth of knowledge, and every day I'm learning from these people, so I want to be the best that I can be for them. And I'm loving the storylines that they're giving me. I mean, me and Bryton [James, Devon Hamilton] have great storylines, me and Joshua Morrow, Mark Grossman. I've been able to create good friendships with these costars, and I want to keep bringing my best every day. So, as long as I keep growing and learning and doing the best I can, I honestly don't think I could be happier.

What do you think about our interview with Donny Boaz? Are you enjoying his version of Chance Chancellor? Do you think the character is still a Boy Scout, or do you think he's developed a secret bad side? And which woman do you think is right for Chance: angelic Abby or vicious Phyllis? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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