cameron mathison gallery drew GENERAL HOSPITAL - "General Hospital" airs Monday-Friday, on ABC (check local listings). (ABC/Nick Argo)CAMERON MATHISON

ABC

Cameron prepared for an entirely different role. 

It’s been a busy week for Cameron Mathison. Not only is he wrapped up in a major General Hospital storyline (one he calls “devastating” for Drew), but he also has a new movie, A Kindhearted Christmas, premiering on GAC Family on Saturday, Nov. 20 with co-star Jennie Garth. But before you settle in for the weekend with a cup of cocoa watching his feel-good holiday fare, let’s backtrack to how Mathison wound up in Port Charles as Drew in the first place.

It’s hard to believe that he “was already booked on General Hospital” and “thought [he] was [playing] a different character” until Mathison went to a meeting with executive producer Frank Valentini, head writers Dan O’Connor and Chris Van Etten and an ABC representative. That’s when they dropped the casting bomb on him. “The first thing in the meeting they say, ‘All right, you are playing Drew Cain,'” he recalled. “Right away, I was already caught off guard. Remember, I had been doing a lot of research on the character I thought I was playing. I was trying to figure [Drew’s storyline] all out [in my head] as they were telling me.”

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So who did Mathison think he was playing on General Hospital? Well, we will let him reveal the jaw-dropping news. “I thought I was playing Ric Lansing,” he exclusively told Soaps.com. “There were various reasons why I thought I was playing him. I won’t get into why and all of that, but that was the original thought for me, that was my understanding.” The casting switcheroo wasn’t a disappointment at all for the former All My Children star because he describes Drew as “one of the best characters, in my opinion, on the canvas.”

He also appreciated the break that character took from the time Billy Miller played the role until he took over because he knew that Drew was “going to be in a very different place” after being held captive. Mathison added, “That massive impact would be enough to bring my own kind of version of him. He’s going to be humbled, he’s going to have more of a sense of gratitude, a deeper connection with his daughter — things that I feel would be different from when Billy was playing the character.

Mathison goes on to share more with us about returning to General Hospital after a decade away from soaps, including some insight on what is happening with Pine Valley… plus we get the inside scoop on his new Christmas movie and the sweetest cameo from his dog, Red. Check out the entire interview above, then visit the photo gallery below where we dive into the many crimes of Peter August — yes, there are plenty of reasons why everyone wants him dead.