Passions’ Christopher Maleki Talks to Soaps.com
Christopher Maleki (Lara Rosenstock Management)
The last time we saw Spike on Passions, he was threatening Jessica (of course) in regards to their son. It’s been months since that happened, so when I recently spoke with Spike’s portrayer, Christopher Maleki, after he returned from a relaxing eight-day trip to the Virgin Islands, I assumed he would fill me in on Spike’s ridiculously evil return before the show’s finale in August. However, much to my disappointment, he let me know there would be no return and that Harmony has seen the last of Herbert “Spike” Lester.
Even though there were scripts written involving Spike in the multiple-wedding and other storylines, Christopher confirmed, “Spike’s not coming back. Apparently near the end it became an issue of budget. They were basically limiting the storylines and actors they were going to use because Mr. Reilly (Passions Head Writer) wanted to get to the storylines that had been going on for years, (i.e., Theresa/Ethan & Sheridan/Luis) and he wanted to focus more on that.”
While this will surely come as a disappointment to fans of Spike, it’s disappointing for the actor as well. Imagining the different possibilities for his character, Christopher shared, “The last show I did was going to go in this whole other direction with the character, with the kid, and this and that. I was really anxious to see where they were going to go with it…I could have shown a lot more different things with him and I’m kind of disappointed that didn’t get to happen, but that’s the business.”
It really shouldn’t be a disappointment that a drug pushing, murdering blackmailer who has abused and pimped out his wife won’t be seen again, but to his credit, Maleki made Spike someone the fans wanted to watch. Originally only slated to last a couple of days, the role of Spike didn’t even have a name when he first came on screen. However, when the actor was called back to tape more scenes, Christopher found that his character had been properly named and he became a regularly recurring character for the next three years.
Infusing a little humor into Spike, Maleki took the scripts he was given and made them his own. “Obviously a lot of the lines were [the writers’] of course, but they really let me create that character. I’ve said it before, but the reality is it was a gift for an actor to be given the opportunity that I was given,” he enthused. “After awhile I would improvise a lot of lines and say little words here and there and they would end up writing it in, but I had to find the part of him to stir something in the audience to make him likeable. If he’s just a jerk or just a bad guy, there’s nothing interesting about that.”
Spike certainly could have been just a one-dimensional villain in a lesser actor’s hands, but by making interesting choices and taking chances, Maleki portrayed a different side to Alistair’s go-to henchman. “The funny thing about the character is that he actually believed what he was doing most of the time was the right thing to do! He truly believed it and that’s what makes it funny. The way I played it was to be as truthful as possible even though the crazy things he would say and do, I would be truthful about it and just genuine and that’s what made it funny,” he surmised.
While being evil has drawn the ire of some fans, as Christopher discovered by visiting a few harsh chat rooms and encountering a couple enraged people who thought he really was Spike, the actor mostly gets a positive response when he runs into fans of the soap. Even though he cut off his hair for post Passions roles, he still gets recognized quite a bit, but he assured me, “It’s always something positive. They think I was funny and they loved the character, or they say, ‘I hated your character, but you were fun to watch.’ That kind of thing.”
Keeping busy since he last appeared in Harmony, Maleki filmed a few webisodes for Sony, did some voiceover work for a couple of upcoming films, appeared in a movie called, “September 12th” (about a border incident in Kuwait) and auditioned for the recast role of Dr. Leo Julian on “General Hospital: Night Shift.” Unfortunately that role went to another actor, but Christopher says he is very much open to working again in daytime.
Calling it the toughest job in Hollywood, due to the grueling production schedule and noting that the genre gets a bad rap, Christopher still hopes to land on another soap. “The reason I like to do daytime is because you get to continuously do it over and over again,” he shared. “I love the process of whatever the scene is that day, whatever the character is doing. I love going through the motions. It makes me feel like I’m really alive and doing what I should be doing basically. I hope that doesn’t sound too corny, but it makes me feel like my time is being taken advantage of the best way that I can do right now. That’s why I like doing daytime television.” He added, “Plus it gets you really hands on with the fans and I like engaging with the fans. I would love to do another show and that’s what I’m shooting to do actually.”
While we are certainly disappointed that he won’t be appearing again before Passions airs its final episode, Soaps.com has no doubt that wherever Christopher Maleki turns up next, he will make it another fun and captivating ride for his fans.