Originally from Buffalo, Mark Hapka was raised in Rome NY, with two younger brothers, Joshua and Jonathan and his older sister, Amy. They lived in Syracuse for his post high school years and now Mark resides in Los Angeles, where he came to pursue his dream of acting in film. He points out, "Movies are the reason I chose this career path. They’ve comforted and entertained me my whole life." Mark joined DOOL June 16 as Nathan Horton, son of Melissa Horton. Though we’ve yet to learn the identity of his father, we do know that Mark plays a very serious intern at University Hospital and his interests in the fairer sex lean toward Melanie (Molly Burnett) and Stephanie (Shelly Hennig). Soaps.com interviewed Mark the day before he started on DOOL, and the fans wanted to know yet more about the new Horton, in specific, about his personal life. Mark and I chatted on and off and with the help of the fans, here is what we found out!
Several fans asked how Mark enjoyed being on the show so far. "Nathan is overall a great character. I am however anxious to see where they take him. Hope it gets real dark and deep." (Smiles) He went on to answer a few other questions regarding his character… When asked who he’d like Nathan to be paired up with, he says, "This is a tough one- I don't have any preconceived ideas of Nathan's storyline. I just want it to be good, fun, exciting and something I can sink my teeth into! I would love to have some scenes with James Scott. I think he would bring an intensity to the scene that would cause me to kick it up a notch."
A few other fans wondered how he liked portraying his alter ego. "Nathan is overall a great character. I am however anxious to see where they take him. Hope it gets real dark and deep."
Mark gave us a little more insight into Nathan, especially where the female persuasion is concerned. "He's not exclusive to anyone yet...he is new and is making new friends and doesn’t want to rush into a relationship just yet without knowing if it’s good for both of them." About how Nathan feels about Stephanie, Mark says, "He sees the good in the both of them. I'm sure he is attracted in a physical way to both because they are both beautiful. He finds his time with Mel fun and exciting and that really attracts him...however she is a bit of a loose cannon and unpredictable and still under Philip’s trance...how can he advance on that? Stephanie is a little more simple...career wise she fits the bill more as far as a relationship goes..." Mark’s not sure if Nathan wants a relationship at all, but was clear in saying that we all want fun and excitement. Nathan’s pretty serious. "He’s not gonna jump into anything unless he’s sure that person really likes him and is willing to commit." What’s to come? Mark says, "Melanie and Nathan are getting more fun and there’ll be a lot more goofy scenes between the two. Nathan is close to getting a little action of sorts from one of these lovely ladies." He teases. "Will it be who you expect it to be? And who will be leaving Maggie’s house?" We'll have to watch to find out! He promises that there is more underneath to Nathan than we can see just yet. "Look closely," he says. "I think we’ll be learning a lot more about Nathan, very soon!"
For those of you who wondered what he likes to do off set..."I mountain bike, travel as much as possible and enjoy crazy sushi dinners with my friends!" Fans were curious about what his favorite thing to eat was and he joked. "Food is my favorite food! I love to eat and I love to cook!! I frequent sushi. I love Italian food. Can't go wrong with some kick ass pizza, so yeah, food is my favorite food!"
A few of Soaps.com’s Twitter pals asked if he had any favorite TV shows or a fave state he’d like to visit. Mark replied, "I am a fan of Cable shows when I can see them. I don't have cable myself, or any type of TV for that matter. Only DVD's. Television is almost as bad as Facebook, it will consume you," he smiles. "I try to be productive with my time although sometimes watching certain shows are imperative to my career. I Netflix entire seasons (can't do the week to week thing) "Californication" was a fave, "Entourage," "Weeds," "House," for awhile, but not big on the TV time. Can you believe I've never seen an episode of "24?"
On what state he’d like to visit… "State? Well I went through a majority of the country when I drove across country from NY to LA to pursue my dreams. Haven't been to Hawaii or Alaska yet!? Two extremes, I know...I like beaches and Alaska also has some great national forests I hear."
Molly Burnett (Melanie) jokingly asked, "I wanna know how much he enjoys working with his co-star, Molly!" I decided to ask Mark, who had a good laugh and then says, "Molly is a daily dose of delightfulness... She's great!! Really a breath of fresh air!!" I’ll agree to that!
With the fan questions aside, Mark and I chatted and talk turned serious when he admitted that one of his best friends, Luis Felipe Watson dos Santos, a Mesa College student was violently murdered Saturday October 4, 2008. The anniversary of his passing is painfully close and Mark and I discussed the pain of losing a close friend, especially one with such a vibrant personality – one who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Luis, stabbed to death, allegedly by a gang called "The Hazard Crew," was remembered by Hapka as one of his best friends. Mark fondly remembers one night in particular… "Luis came to LA one night on his birthday...I had a long day of filming and hadn’t slept. He wanted to have fun with us and no one wanted to go out. Regardless of how tired I was, I told him that he needed to celebrate properly and took him out in Hollywood and got him to the front of the lines in the hot spots. He ate it up! He talked to so many beautiful girls and cracked jokes...had them cracking up. I think he made me pull over for some fast food on the way home. He danced around the house reliving some of the better moments of the night and then looked me in the eyes and told me he had the best birthday ever…that was the last time I saw him." That broke my heart and I’m sure it has broken the hearts of those reading. For those who have lost a loved one and for those who lost them due to murder, you all know the hardships involved emotionally and financially. If you’re in a giving mood and would like to donate some money, even $5 to the family of a son, brother, nephew and friend, Luis Felipe Watson dos Santos, we implore you to go to In Memory of Luis Santos and help raise funds for this family, who reside in San Francisco, and who will have to travel to San Diego to stay for an estimated month or longer trial. Every little bit helps, as we all know, and for every $50 dollar donation, Mark promises to mail the donator a personal thank-you, along with a signed photo of him, so please remember to give your mailing address with donations over $50.
- Christine Fix