Chats with The Young and the Restless's Greg Rikaart! image

Greg Rikaart (CBS)

Kevin and Jana ( readers, I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to sit down and have this conversation with Y&R's Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher). Unlike his sometimes awkward and abrasive alter-ego, Greg was soft-spoken, self-assured and easygoing. How did I find them alike? I'd say they both have a heart of gold! I asked Greg about himself, as well as about his character, Kevin. Visit our sister site, Soap Opera Fan Blog, to access the portion of the interview about Greg himself, his views on politics, and his ideas for being environmentally-friendly! Right here, you will find the goods on Kevin Fisher, where he's coming from, and a hint of where he's going! Kevin has built up a huge fanbase - was this a surprise to you, and what do you think is the reason fans love the character?

Okay, here's what I think. Going back to Kevin's earliest roots, when we first met him he was just, on paper, this evil guy, who, if you told people he was sympathetic, they would have looked at you like you were crazy! But it wouldn't have been challenging to play this 'evil bad guy' who was doing evil, bad things. No one's born 'bad', we're the victims of our upbringing and our circumstances, and in Kevin's case, he was terribly victimized. So, without knowing the specifics of what had happened to him, I knew that there was abuse and a really fractured upbringing. I knew that there had been no male role model [for Kevin] and the way he viewed women was, to me, he had a dad who was abusive toward his mom, so that's why he doesn't respect women. Those little things that I was able to play, came across and read as someone who was broken and vulnerable and pathetic, and so I think that the fans became very curious about him - luckily for me, because I was only supposed to be there for a short amount of time! I continually try to do that, I see him as incredibly multi-dimensional, as we all are in our own lives. Most of us are good people, but we've done bad things, and if someone has a mean streak, it doesn't mean they're incapable of doing good things. Kevin has come such a long way from his early days on Y&R, but in spite of his success and happy marriage, he can't stop himself from being drawn into trouble - usually in association with Gloria.

Greg: In a way, it's almost like he got what he wanted - this life that has always seemed so appealing to him - a beautiful wife, he owns his own business, and is respected in the community. But he's had a moment to reflect and say, 'Wait a second, is that it?' I think it seems kind of complacent and boring to him, and again, it's fighting the urges of his past versus what he knows is the right thing to do. And let's be real - if he stopped being who he was, people might like him, but eventually they'd grow tired of watching Kevin just pour coffee.
When I spoke to your co-star, Kate Linder last week, we discussed the comedy on the Y&R. Kevin for me is a character that I look to for comic relief. readers also love that aspect of the character and asked me to find out if you ad-lib.

We're certainly allowed to ad-lib. I always like to give as much credit as I can to the writers, though, most of the one-liners and the zingers are theirs. Sometimes during rehearsal one of us will say something and the producer will go, 'Oh that was funny, that worked, say that!' You throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. I love to do the comedy, but I like to do the heavy, dramatic stuff too, which is why I do feel satiated - I'm not constantly doing the same thing. I think that being comedic is a skill that I have, but it's also something that if I was ever going to be in a sitcom, for instance, I might have to hone more. How do you keep a straight face when Kevin is playing opposite Gloria (Judith Chapman) or Michael (Christian LeBlanc)?

Greg: [laughs] It's a challenge, but you know, time is money, and our bosses don't like it when we mess up takes by laughing, so I try not to do to much of it. The people who make me laugh the most are Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) and Jeanne Cooper (Katherine). Kevin and Jana as a couple have also built a loyal following of fans - one reader asked me to let you know that she was never a fan of the couple, but due to your talent, they are now one of her favorite couples on the show.

Greg: Oh, tell her how much I appreciate that! As far as Kevin and Jana's relationship, Emily [O'Brien, Jana] and I have an amazing, amazing off-screen relationship, which translates really well on-screen. We have a comfort level that's fantastic, and mutual admiration and respect for one another. Shortly after she started on the show, she came over one day and we had a couple of drinks and got to know one another and I think that from that moment on there were no pretenses, no awkwardness with one another, just a trust. I think our chemistry plays really well and the one thing we never try to be is typical. We never decide ahead of time how we should be in a scene, whatever comes out in a natural and organic way is what we roll with, so when I watch what we do - to me it seems real - sometimes we're hot, sometimes we're quirky and weird, but that's real! We always goof around right before we do a take, which also plays into the way things work on-screen. Can you give us any hints on what is ahead for Kevin and his family? What about Kevin's marriage?

Greg: Well, we've already seen the beginning of a rift. Jana's very suspicious of Kevin and what he's done, and feels really bad about it. I have faith that we're solid as a couple to survive that, but it's also going to provide some really great, and much needed, conflict between the two. There's more stuff coming up with Gloria's plan to get the stock from Kay, and more conflict between Kevin and Jana because of this road that Kevin appears to be going down. Kevin and Jana have a very emotional time coming up, probably toward the beginning of November, that we just shot last week, that I was really proud of. It's funny, because there are some funny scenarios that Kevin imagines. A situation arises, and Kevin is trying to figure out what to do, so he envisions these wacky scenarios, and then we have a very tender scene toward the end, so that's a good one coming up. I think the fans are really going to like that one! You've had an opportunity to work with Judith Chapman (Gloria), Christian LeBlanc (Michael), Ted Shackelford (Jeffrey), Jeanne Cooper (Katherine), Emily O'Brien (Jana), Peter Bergman (Jack), Tracy Bregaman (Lauren) - an amazingly talented group of actors! Is there anyone else on the show you would like to have the opportunity to work with that you haven't yet? What about Kevin? What other character, or characters on the canvas would you like to see him interact with?

Greg: I've been here five years [this past June] and have been fortunate enough to have worked with almost everyone else on the show. I wish I could work more with Michelle [Stafford, Phyllis], I enjoy working with her. I have gotten to work more in recent months with Jeanne [Cooper, Katherine], and Jess [Walton, Jill] a bit too, which is great. I think our family dynamic is wonderful, and something we agree upon is whenever we've been apart from one another for too long, we just get so hungry for those great family scenes where Ted, Judith, Christian, Tracey, and Emily and myself can all just do our thing, and we all come to the table just so prepared and eager and ready to make the scenes great, and it's been awhile since we had those, so it's always great to 'go home'. Let's see, who else? I would love to work with Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe), she gave a quote to a magazine that asked her a similar question, and she said that she felt that the Fisher/Baldwin clan are Chloe's kind of people. So she needs to come into the fray in one way or another [laughs]. How are Greg and Kevin alike?

Greg: [laughs] I think we're both passionate people, and we're both ambitious and determined. I'd say that's what we have in common. is excited to see the upcoming scenes that Greg mentioned with Kevin and Jana, Kevin and his mother, Gloria, and Kevin and Katherine! For more on Greg, read the rest of the interview at Soap Opera Fan Blog. To find out more about Greg and what he has coming up, or to join his Fan Club, visit Greg's MySpace Page!

-Candace Young

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