Interview: All My Children’s Vincent Irizarry
Bringing out the softer side of David. (ABC)
“My last line on the show was almost an out of body experience.”
The final ABC network airing of “All My Children” will be on September 23. There is no word on when the soap opera will premiere online, but as everyone waits for news on that development, fans can get their “All My Children” fix at A Tribute to Pine Valley.
There’s still tickets available for the exciting event honoring the 41-year-old soap opera. Click the link above for more details. In the meantime, Soaps.com recently chatted with Vincent Irizarry about the event, playing Dr. David Hayward for over a decade, and All My Children heading online.
Soaps.com: The Tribute to Pine Valley sounds like it will be a real up close and personal experience for the fans. What are you looking forward to about it?
Vincent: I think for most of us, the opportunity to be there with the fans who have been supportive of our show for so long and supportive of our characters, our work, there are some who have certainly been watching it from day one, 41 and a half years. Now, obviously I wasn’t on at that time, but I have been on the show for 14 of those 41 years. We’re insulated working in the studio all the time. We’re not in front of a live audience, so this gives us the opportunity to meet with people and give them the opportunity to communicate with us about the things they love about the show, what they don’t like about the show, what they like about our characters, about us. And it’s a nice intimate setting and people have a lot of fun. We really do. We have a great time with it.
Soaps.com: It sounds like it will be a fun group with a lot of your onscreen nemeses.
Vincent: Yeah, there’s not many people in Pine Valley that aren’t [David’s nemesis]. It’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it. By that time we may even know what’s going on with Prospect Park. By then we could certainly know and might be able to share some things about that too at the event.
Soaps.com: Speaking of Prospect Park, One Life to Live has secured a few actors to transition online with the show. Has there been any forward movement for “All My Children” as far as you know?
Vincent: As far as I know, no, there hasn’t been. I’ve spoken to numerous actors from the show over the last few days and nobody from our show has been in contact with them. Except for Susan [Lucci, Erica], which we all assumed that awhile ago. So, that’s basically it. They’re moving [forward] with “One Life to Live” right now and that’s certainly their right. That’s what they’re doing and for whatever reason that’s how it happened. We’re just sitting tight and I’m not stressing about it. It is what it is. That’s the way our lives work. We’ll move forward or go in another direction, whichever.
Soaps.com: Are you keeping an open mind about moving online with the show? Are you looking for other work?
Vincent: Of course. Of course I am. I’m definitely open to it, but I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket. Certainly I’m looking for work right now. I have an appointment later today. That’s the way it works. Right now, all of us are free agents and until we’re locked in, we don’t know what’s going to happen, we have no idea. Instead of feeling like we’re in a state of limbo the whole time, you get on with your life. And if they come to us and we’re able to make it work then we’ll do it. At this point no one knows what their plans are because they haven’t been in touch with us. We have to assume we’re free agents and we’re on our own right now. But, yeah. I’m definitely open to it. Without question.
Soaps.com: What was it like taping the final network episodes?
Vincent: It was strange. It was very surreal to be honest with you. You know it’s funny, I’ve been working so much the last three months. I’ve had so much material, doing like eight show weeks and just running myself into the ground and those last two weeks, I really was burning out. I was exhausted. I really didn’t have too much time to think about the reality of what was happening, that we were moving on and the show was coming to the final episodes. I didn’t put a lot of thought into it. As we progressively got there, the last week especially, it started hitting me more and more. By that last day, it really was a surreal experience. My last line on the show was almost an out of body experience. I feel like…I don’t even remember it. It was just very strange. Very strange. The celebrations were wonderful though. To be able to be with everybody we worked so hard together. To be able to celebrate, it was nice. They did a great job with it.
Soaps.com: Without giving too much away, are you happy with how things are left off for David?
Vincent: Yeah, I am. I am. There are definitely things that changed since they initially wrote the ending. When they wrote the ending, there was more closure, I would say, of some issues. Some things were brought in that there was hope for certain characters and mine was one of them. Once Prospect Park announced they were purchasing the rights for the Internet, they had to reshape the last episode. So, things changed at that time. Until the shows air we can’t really talk about where they were going to go at that time. I’m happy with it. I’m certainly happy with it. I think it’s been a great story for the last few months. I’ve been very happy with the way it’s been written and I’m very happy to have been able to contribute so significantly the last few months for the end of the show. One of the highlights was having the opportunity to work opposite Agnes Nixon. That was really special.
Soaps.com: Those were nice scenes.
Vincent: Yeah, they were. She was absolutely lovely. On camera and off. I’ve met her numerous times obviously, but I just loved the way she played those scenes. She was just beautiful and just so honest. I loved working opposite her. It was a fantastic time. I told her she should be careful or else Prospect is going to come to her with a contract. They’re going to want her as a regular. [laughs]
Soaps.com: David has been bringing people back from the dead left and right, but most people in Pine Valley are still disdainful of him. How do you view David? Is he a villain? Is he just misunderstood?
Vincent: First, I would say by their perception, he brought them back from the dead. Nobody was dead. He brought them back from the brink of death. I think that distinction needs to be made because some people have that impression that I'm like bringing people back like Lazarus from the dead. That's not the case. However it happened, he was able to stop them before they crossed over to the other side. As far as David and how he's perceived and how I perceive him, yeah, obviously that's one of the big things that sticks in David's craw the most. No matter what he does, he's basically saved so many people in this town. He's revived everyone, revived their children. He's done miracles time and time again and people look down at him and think he's the scum of the earth. I don’t think he's that at all. In some ways he's misunderstood. I don't think he's his best advocate, frankly. He causes more trouble for himself than he should be doing. I've always felt that David has a mission in Pine Valley since he's been there. He just wants to be there to hold a mirror up to the not so good people of Pine Valley. So they can see themselves that they're not much different from him. That's exactly what's going on right now on camera with Jesse [Darnell Williams]. You know, if I did that. If I took a baby and buried a baby, they'd be all over me. I'd literally be considered one of the greatest pariahs in town, which I already am, but they would hate me. They would hate me for that, but he does that it's like, 'Oh, it's okay. You guys will be fine. You will get past this.' I even said that to Angie [Debbi Morgan] the other day on camera. It's a funny thing where those people are concerned, with Jesse, with Tad [Michael E. Knight] and with Jake [Ricky Paull Goldin] and others in the town. They will be there to support each other no matter what happens, but when I do something it's like the greatest sin on earth. I don’t see him as bad as everyone else does and I think he has a lot to offer. I think certainly David is damaged. He's damaged to the core…but little by little glimpses of hope come through with David and he could very well be a regular guy some day. Who knows? You never know.
Soaps.com: We're seeing some of that with David and Cara [Lindsay Hartley], which has been a surprisingly nice relationship that I personally am rooting for.
Vincent: Oh, well, thank you. Thank you. It's been great. I love working with Lindsay. She's wonderful. What I like about the relationship between the characters is it started out in a very honest way. It was one of those rare moments where David wasn't trying to get something from somebody. You know? And he was honestly just revealing himself in the beginning about his misgivings with people in town and she was going through her issues about what's going on with her and Tad and we basically found commonality with each other in that. That's what I really appreciated more than anything. That it came from a place where they were just being there for each other in friendship and kindness. That David's not manipulating her at all. There's nothing that he's trying to get from her. And that's great. That's very rare for that to happen with David with anybody. I'm happy to have the opportunity to play that. I'm happy that you're responding to it. Good. Thank you.
Soaps.com: I was originally disappointed we didn’t get to see more of David and Liza [Jamie Lunar], but I really enjoy seeing the more vulnerable side of David in his relationship with Cara.
Vincent: It was interesting because we were going in that direction with Liza and I don’t know what happened to that. Honestly, I'm not sure they invested anything in that anyway. Even when we were working together. I went to Julie [Hanan Carruthers, Executive Producer] a few times because there was a period where one show ended, where I walk over to [Liza] in my hotel room and I say, 'We're very much alike,' basically, and, 'We're never going to change our spots,' or something like that. I said, 'I know you Liza,' or something, and I kiss her. That was our last scene of that show and then we didn't work together for a whole week after that. It ended on us kissing and then we didn't work together for a whole week. And I went to Julie and I was like, 'So, are we doing this off camera now? Is that what's happening?' She said, 'Well, there was a lot going on at that time with the whole thing with Ricky Torres [Eddie Matos]. We're wrapping all that up.' And a week later the same thing happened. [Liza] comes to me and she says she needs a partner, an ally, and she kisses me. Then we go out on the kiss at the end of the show and we don't a have a scene again for several days and I'm going, 'This is ridiculous. They're not writing it. We're having this relationship off camera.' It was silly. So, it didn’t surprise me that we veered off and didn’t go anywhere with it. And people seemed to be responding to it too. And I love working with Jamie [Lunar]. I mean I love working with everybody, but after awhile you look at it and go, 'They're not even investing in it. So, what's the point?' So, it was a nice surprise with Cara that it came. It did come as a huge surprise. It was at breakneck speed all of a sudden it happened, but obviously we're under time constraints here with the show coming to its final days. They needed to get us from point A to point B rather quickly. That relationship also figures in toward the end of the story for now.
Soaps.com: What has been your favorite thing about playing David over the past several years?
Vincent: If this were to be the end for me for David, if I don't to go forward with Prospect - there's so much uncertainly, I don't know - it would be sad for me because I love playing this character. I love the complexity. I love the fact that he's not a standard villain, by any stretch. He has his moments and can be very dark and do some very damaging things to people. At the same time, he has so much to offer. And also because he's broken, I love his history. It's a great well to draw from. It answers so many questions and justifies so many things that he does. Just like any other person in real life who does something not right, they often times justify…David has a lot of that in him. I just love playing him. When I was on "Y&R" I got to play a character [David Chow] that had a gambling addiction. I never played somebody like that before. To play someone that every aspect of their life is completely governed by that addiction and to watch every part of their lives get totally destroyed, sucked into this black hole because of the choices they can't stop themselves from making. It's a compulsion. It was fascinating to play that. It really was. Trying to keep the pieces together and watching it fall apart around him. It's the same thing with David. I love that. He's got a lot of pain in him. I like to draw from that for him because it's a motivating energy for him. I love that. These are things I will miss. Certainly I will miss playing opposite the people I play opposite. I love working with pretty much everybody there in the 14 years I've been there. It's been very exciting.
Soaps.com: Going back to David's rivals, who is one of his greatest adversaries that you've enjoyed playing off of in that way?
Vincent: At one point it was certainly Adam Chandler [David Canary] and Tad is another one. I would have to say Jesse is another one. Those three. And Angie, but it's been great to have the opportunity to play something different with Angie, between David and Angie, over these last few weeks. It's a lot of fun. [She's] somebody I will certainly miss playing opposite. I love Debbi. She's a wonderful actress. She's a sweetheart. As you know, she's not on the show anymore, so even if we do come back she won't be there. But, it's been a real treat to work opposite these people. I would say those are the people I feel were the most of that for me.
Soaps.com: Regardless if you go online with the show or not, what do you think of the groundbreaking nature of soaps continuing in full form on the Internet?
Vincent: I think it's wonderful. I think it's great. We all see that this seems to be the wave of the future that this is where it's going to be. I would think that in 10 years from now the majority of things being produced will be produced in this fashion, on the Internet to be streaming right from it. I watch things already from my computer on my TV. It brings up complicated questions regarding unions right now and that's where we're sort of stuck. Our union is negotiating with Prospect Park, but I'm grateful at least Prospect is going to the union and wanting to use union actors. I think that's great. They have to understand the value of what they purchased. They purchased not only the name of the show, but they purchased the people attached to the show, the characters that are attached to the show. They are hoping to bring in that expansive audience base to the Internet, or introduce them to this new way of watching television. If that's their purpose then I'm happy they went through the unions and decided to work with us so that we can hopefully retain the quality and integrity of the show.
- Lori Wilson