Soaps.com caught up with Max Ehrich, who plays Fenmore Baldwin on "Y&R." Read on to hear his take on his character, find out what's ahead in his storyline, and get a first look at his new band, Social Networkk!
Soaps.com: You’ve done theatre, Primetime television, films, music videos, and danced in the movie "High School Musical: Senior Year." How did your role on "Y&R" come about, and how does Daytime compare to your other experiences?
Max: I’ve spent my whole life acting, singing, and dancing. I’ve been doing theatre since I was three, literally. I was born in a small town in New Jersey, and had dreams of doing Broadway, which was the only thing that seemed possible for me. But as a kid I loved John Travolta; I loved watching "Grease", and Leo DiCaprio in "The Basketball Diaries," so I also had this desire for film, but I never thought it was even attainable. I did ["High School Musical 3: Senior Year"] and got to see what it would be like in a film I didn’t have the biggest of roles, but I got to experience it from a really cool perspective and learn a lot. After three years of television, film, and theatre ["Newsies"], I decided to move back to Los Angeles and after a month I got an audition for "The Young and the Restless." Through a rigorous audition/callback process, I got the role. I really don’t think they intended for it to be a prominent role; I think I was going to come back and do a few episodes and that would be it, but I think with the [writing team switches] they wanted to expand upon the storyline and they have. It’s been really cool – I’ve filmed every day this week, and my character’s story arc from where I began to where I am now – it’s exciting; it’s thrilling. It’s almost like live theatre in the sense where you do a scene in like one take or two takes. As an actor you have to be 'on', and it can be intimidating. I was a little scared at first, but it was exciting for me. Now I’m at a point where I love it – love always being on edge, having to be emotionally available at all times. It’s a great cast and I feel like I’m really growing as an artist. The writers are giving me material that’s allowing me to go to places I have not gone on television before – so it’s really exciting.
Soaps.com: Who have you become close to at "Y&R?"
Max: I’ve become very close to Tracey (Bregman, Lauren). My parents are in New Jersey, so my family’s not out here, so I’ve gone to her house so many times and actually spent Thanksgiving with them. We both come from a theatre background, so we have a lot in common and we are always singing or talking about musicals and theatre. Christian (Le Blanc, Michael) has been a mentor to me as well. Entering the soap world it’s so nice to have that; we’re so close we are like family. They’re like an artistic family of mine.
Soaps.com: What was the transition like for you when the role of Summer (Hunter Haley King) was recast?
Max: It’s always strange when something like that happens, but you have to trust they have the best intentions for the show. At first it was kind of a shock for me; it kind of came out of nowhere for me, but I trust the new team and I think that they have a reason behind everything. So, it was very unfortunate – I became really close with Lindsay (Bushman, ex-Summer) and I know that she’s going to have a great career – but the show must go on.
Soaps.com: Even though you’ve been in the role since June, 'grown-up' Fen is still somewhat of an enigma to the audience. How do you see your alter ego?
Max: When Fen first came back, I think he was at a very vulnerable age and was trying to find his place in the world; just really figure out who he is. He has such a strict dad, who just became D.A., so of course his morals are so strong and everything is black and white, right or wrong. He’s a really good kid who is just curious, and then Summer comes along. I think Fen’s first love is Summer; he falls in love; he’s infatuated with her. She plays games with him, and where it’s going is – will Fen get into her ways, or will he stand his ground? That’s something I’m excited for the viewers to watch because from where I’ve started off on the show to where I’m going to end up even by December when you guys see it… Everything Fenmore does is coming from his love for Summer, so he’s still the same kid, it’s just sometimes love makes you do some crazy things.
Max: I was really excited because I, personally, have experienced bullying. I went to high school in New Jersey for a year and actually left because of it. I also have many friends who have experienced it, so just to spread awareness of it is something that – besides the show – has always been in my mind to somehow reach out to kids who are being bullied. Thank God I have supportive parents for what I do, if I didn’t I probably would have stopped. Kids do it out of their own sadness or insecurity, but needless to say that doesn’t matter when you’re a victim of it - you feel so isolated and so alone. To have a storyline that addresses it, it’s like, ‘this is real; this is what happens’. People need to know the truth of what is going on out there.
Soaps.com: Moving forward, spoilers tell us things will escalate with the cyber-bullying storyline. What can viewers expect?
Max: I think that everyone is emotionally going to go on a roller coaster. I think the viewers are not going to know who to…everyone’s motives are not bad, that’s the sad thing about the whole bullying story in the show. No one’s really, truly trying to hurt someone else – it’s out of a place of their own hurt – so I think everyone’s going to go on an emotional roller coaster with us. I am. Everyday at work I’m going on an emotional roller coaster. Things are very intense, and I think people are going to feel it. It’s been great having another kid on the show. Daniel’s (Polo, Jamie) awesome, and so is Hunter. When that role was recast, my first scene with her was in the hospital room and I felt so great about that scene. From that scene on it was clear I was working with someone who was extremely talented and her and I have become very close. I love working with her. I couldn't ask for a better group of actors.
Soaps.com: Which other actors or characters would you like to interact with that you haven’t already?
Max: Victor (Eric Braeden). I have [worked with him], but not that much. He’s quite funny. Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) is a bit crazy, and since she’s involved with Summer obviously, I would want to battle with her. I know that she can go there – she’s an amazing actress. We always have had scenes where it’s like, "Don’t hurt me, I’m innocent. I’m Fen." But Fen is growing up, so I think it would be a totally different scene with her.
Soaps.com: What type of storylines would you like to see for Fen down the road?
Max: I feel like it’s a coming-of-age story. As much as I want everything to be resolved in Fen’s life, that’s not fun to play. As the actor, I’m around Fen’s age and I know what goes on; it can be a very reckless stage, and I want Fen to explore everything, and then come back a stronger person after going through everything. I would really like him to go to places; maybe even darker places, or lighter places – just explore and grow. He was in Canada and was isolated, so I think he needs experiences, good and bad experiences.
Follow Max Ehrich on Twitter, and check out his band, Social Networkk, doing a cover of Rihanna's "Diamonds" below:
If you missed it, read our Y&R Interview: Michael Damian.
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- Candace Young