September 11th, 2010  |  Leave a comment

The Eric Sheffer-Stevens Interview – The Follow Up – As the World Turns

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This week soap fans watched in sadness, horror, and frustration, as their beloved Dr. Reid Oliver, played magnificently by Eric Sheffer-Stevens, met his maker on As the World Turns. After being fatally injured in a collision with an oncoming train, while trying to save the life of his colleague Chris Hughes who needed a new heart, the story moved at breakneck speed.  But the sad soap twist was, that in the end it was Reid’s heart that saved Chris’s life.  And with that plot point in place, that ended the beautiful and developing love story of Luke Snyder and Reid Oliver.  In over nine months time, the popularity and meteoric rise of this same-sex couple was something rarely seen by any daytime couple, straight or gay.

And with the show’s controversial decision to kill Reid for dramatic effect the final weeks of the series, (it goes off the air next Friday, September 17th), fans were struggling to get their bearings and grieve for Reid.  All the while, the show moved at a lightning pace to tie up the loose ends of his life, get the donor heart transplant completed to save Chris’s life, and bury Reid… all within three episodes.   For many right up until the end, Sheffer-Stevens turned out performance after stellar performance.

As promised to you, the fans of On-Air On-Soaps, Eric and I caught up with each other last night after you watched the week’s worth of air shows on Reid’s death, to deliver to you part two of our conversation… the follow-up to our interview last month. We delve into the shocking ending for his character, Eric’s true thoughts on the matter, which may surprise you, the fundraising efforts of Doctors without Borders, the phenomenal performances of Van Hansis (Luke) and Terri Colombino (Katie) and much more, as we say our final farewell to this one-of-a-kind actor, and this one-of-a-kind soap character.  Here’s Eric…

MICHAEL:

Well, that was quite the shocker; that a train hits Reid.  I don’t think anyone really thought 100% prior to Chris Goutman’s reveal to TV Guide, that this was the way things were going to end!

ERIC:

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Yeah, it’s great, right?

MICHAEL:

Terri Colombino had told me on our new On-Air On-Soaps Podcast, that initially she laughed when they saw the scripts, because it was like how were they going to show that?  How were they going to show Reid getting struck by a train?  I mean, what did you think when you saw that, when the script came to you?

ERIC:

First, I feared the worst of how it was going to come out, but I loved the ending of it.  If you have to have it end, it’s a great ending.  ATWT EP, Christopher Goutman, had told me beforehand, and before the scripts came out.  I think I told Terri and Daniel Cosgrove (Chris), that there is going to be some really intense shots of me, and then cut away to the train from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood at an intersection, and it would go back and forth. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

That is what it looked liked! That is the one thing that really bugged me, that was that the train was going so slow!  When I was reading the synopsis of what happened and it said ‘he was hit by a train,’ I presumed it was a speeding train, and this was a Choo-Choo!

ERIC:

I did not quite get how I was stuck on the tracks, that wasn’t quite clear to me, but overall, as an idea; I loved the idea of Reid dying and giving the heart to Chris, and all of that.  I thought, “Yeah sure, that is not a neutral way of going out.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

You went out with the biggest bang ever!

ERIC:

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Yeah, so that’s good.

MICHAEL:

You did not know from the beginning of your run on ATWT, that you were going to die, or did you?

ERIC:

Oh, no!  I only knew like a month before we shot it.  I am sure Reid would not have died right away if the show, as a whole, was not wrapping up.

MICHAEL:

I think fans of Luke and Reid felt short-changed, as these death scenes were so short and quick and the whole episode moved at lighting speed.  They wanted more scenes.  They had just enough time to see where Reid looked at Luke for his parting glances, and to get the legal stuff all sorted out to propel the story.

ERIC:

I was not upset by it and it felt right to me, because once you have the collision, it’s all about other people’s reaction to it.  You can’t have many scenes after you have been hit by a train… it’s just not going to happen. (Laughs)   It’s a miracle to get out a couple of lines, and then that’s it.

MICHAEL:

Yes, I know.  For a few minutes Reid was lucid, and then all of a sudden he was brain-dead.  If you watched how it played out, did you like that Reid went out a hero?

ERIC:

Oh yeah.  I loved that, and I think that was great.

MICHAEL:

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When Van Hansis was doing those scenes with you, while you were lying there and he was emoting all over the place, what did you think of his performance?  It was just so powerful.

ERIC:

I could not talk and they had something strapped in my mouth, but I thought Van was fantastic in the scenes.  And when I watched them this week, both he and Terri were really beautiful, and they did beautiful work.  I was proud of them both.  It’s not easy stuff to do, especially in that situation when you are doing the scenes so fast, and to have an emotional connection like that in such a bizarre environment of a soap set.  I was very impressed with both of them.

MICHAEL:

It was really sad.  People did not get to see their happy ending for Luke and Reid.   Do you feel at all it short-changed the fans?

ERIC:

I am sure when you are pulling for somebody, there is nothing happy about this kind of ending, but as far as telling a story, I am happy about it.  I have a different set of criteria than someone who is just into the story and wants there to be a happy ending.  So, of course, it’s going to short change them, but then that is not always telling the best story or the most interesting story.  As the person playing the character, I was happy with it.

MICHAEL:

My favorite scene was actually before the train crash, when you went to play golf with Chris Hughes and the hospital trustee guy, and the guy asked you, “What is your handicap?”  Eric, I thought that was the funniest of all.  I sat here and laughed.

ERIC:

You mean, when I go, “I don’t know where you have been.  But, we don’t refer to them as handicaps as anymore. Now they are ‘physically challenged’.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Yes, and then Reid hit the golf ball perfectly!

ERIC:

I actually did hit the ball perfectly.  It was amazing.  I was shocked.  It was one of the best shots I have ever had.  I just put the ball on the tee and I hit it and I went, “Wow, maybe I should do this all the time and not think about it.” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

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Do you play golf?

ERIC:

I play very infrequently, and not when I am in New York, just when I am out of town.  My dad and I played a few times recently.  I would love to play more, but living in the city does not lend itself to that.

MICHAEL:

I thought one of the really key and important moments for the fans of LuRe to take with them, was as Reid was heading out of town to get the heart for Chris. It was then he told Luke he loved him.  Obviously, it was a pivotal moment for Reid.

ERIC:

I think he was that comfortable with where they were, and it was a lot easier for him to say at that point.

MICHAEL:

What do you think of the Uncle Angus scenes? James Rebhorn is such a phenomenal actor, and it was so touching.

ERIC:

I love that guy, and when I saw that he was playing my uncle, I went, “I love him.”  I thought, “Oh, wow, I cannot imagine it was anything that was not good.”  I am just behind two days right now, so I have not seen those scenes yet.  I am going to see every single episode!

MICHAEL:

It was so sad!  There is footage of little young Reid, and Lily and Holden go to tell Uncle Angus that Reid loved Luke and vice versa, and that Reid died.  It was a beautiful scene and there was a chess piece…

ERIC:

I read that part…

MICHAEL:

And Angus gave the chess piece to Lily and Holden to give to Luke.  And I know everyone is so upset by losing Reid, but the show has in its own way honored the character of Reid, as if his legacy lives on.

ERIC:

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I thought so.  It turned out way better than if he didn’t die (Laughs).  I mean, to have that be on the final week of the show’s run is amazing to me.  It’s a great thing.

MICHAEL:

So as you may know, the gay fans are upset because they ruined the romance of the gay couple, and poor Luke ends up alone without Reid.

ERIC:

Right, “They ruined the romance, they killed the gay guy, and everyone else is happy.”

MICHAEL:

I don’t believe the writers were sitting there going, “Let’s dismantle the gay couple, because they are gay.”

ERIC:

I don’t think so.  I feel that it’s the better ending, and it just raises the awareness of it all the more, and to have them interacting with a funeral director… and it’s all about a gay couple.  All the focus then is about the gay couple and how they love each other, and how it should be easier to take care of Reid’s remains and effects.  But they are not married, but they are a couple and they are not quite being treated the same way, as if they were a straight couple.  That is all good stuff, but not satisfying stuff.   But, to have the couple be the focus of everybody’s conversation and grieving, I can’t think but that helps bring awareness to gay couples.

MICHAEL:

It is like you are the focus and center of attention of the 54-year-old soap as it goes off the air, and you were only on the show for nine months of it!

ERIC:

It’s bizarre to me and wonderful, and not just for Reid, but to have the gay couple be such a focus at the end of the show.  All the other storylines are dealing with it in someway.  It helps raise people’s awareness of gay couples and relationships, and how normal and fantastic they are.

MICHAEL:  

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Luke makes this beautiful speech.  In it he says, he never got to go to the farmer’s market, or a movie, or make-love to Reid.  It was so true.  It was two young people in love who just got started and then it got smashed to smithereens, literally!

ERIC:

Yeah, and that is more tragic and story-wise that is a good thing.  There was a lot of promise there, and then it gets cut short, and it makes it more poignant.

MICHAEL:

Have you been reading facebook, or the fan forums and websites, on the overwhelming amount of comments about Reid’s death?

ERIC:

No, I haven’t.  But I checked in on the fundraising they have been doing… its incredible!  I was very moved by it.

MICHAEL:

It’s been unbelievable and I am so proud of them.   Can you tell me how this came about?  I understood that they had wanted to send some parting gifts to you and from there it sort of morphed into turning their grief into this amazing charitable effort.

ERIC:

I had been asked about receiving stuff, and I said, “No, it’s OK.  I can’t receive anything. I am not at the ATWT studio anymore.” And then I was approached with; because somebody had come up with the idea of turning their grief into trying to raise money for charity, and they concentrated on that.  Someone asked me what about a doctor theme that tied in with a charity that I really cared about.  So I wrote back and said, that Doctors without Borders is one that I really care about and support, and that has a doctor tie-in.  So they went with it and set it up. They talked with somebody in development at Doctors without Borders, and set up the page and it exploded.  I am amazed by it.

MICHAEL:

We had “Black Friday” where when the train hit Reid they raised $3,000 in donations, and then on “Tragic Tuesday” they meet their goal of $15,000.  Now I hear they are going for $20,000 this coming week!

ERIC:

I was amazed! Yes, someone had forwarded me an article you had written about “Black Friday” and I was amazed.

MICHAEL:

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And then on “Tragic Tuesday” we had over 140 posts on my site of this forum, to let us know if you are grieving for Reid and how you feel about him being killed-off.  And these fantastic fans took so much time to write and share their thoughts.  You must have done something right to make them comment passionately, and endlessly!

ERIC:

Oh my gosh. That is amazing!  That is very flattering.

MICHAEL:

If the show would have continued, what would you have loved to have seen happen between Reid and Luke?

ERIC:

I don’t know, but I was interested in seeing how they were developing the relationship and where it was going to lead them.  I would love to see them date and have Reid open up some more, like Katie said he was finally doing at the end.   And, see him in a relationship, and get really close with Luke, and showing them living together.  And Luke is a man now, so whoever Luke would end up with, even if later down the line the Reid relationship didn’t work out, that is the next step… to show him with somebody, and living with him, and being a proper couple as adults.

MICHAEL:

Did you think there was going to be a sex scene between the two of them before you found out how Reid was going to be killed? Was anything ever on the table to have that scene occur?

ERIC:

Nobody had ever mentioned anything.  I just assumed that is where that was going, and even when I got the scripts that he was going to be killed, I still wondered if they were going to have them have sex or not before it happened.

MICHAEL:

I thought it would be really good if they had gotten together, and then he got killed. 

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ERIC:

Yeah, it would have!  But, that is not the way it went.

MICHAEL:

When you look back on the whole journey of playing the part of Reid, what were you favorite moments?

ERIC:

I loved the end, as that is freshest in my mind.  I loved Reid getting closer to Chris, and even though they never showed it, he had a genuine respect for him.  And it was one of those buddy relationships, and he really wanted to help him.  And also, Reid being more open about his feelings for Luke, I liked all that.  I loved the very beginning, it was just as fun as anything else… coming into Oakdale and pissing everyone off, and all the writing they were doing for him, one-liner after one-liner.  I loved the situations he was getting into, and the elevator scene, and all of that.  I am not sure of any specific moment, but there was a lot of fun material to play.

MICHAEL:

Katie and Chris had a line after Chris finds out he has Reid’s heart and comes to terms with it, where he says something to the affect of, “Now that I have Reid’s heart, will I be chewing my food with my mouth open?”

ERIC:

Did he say that? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Yes!

ERIC:

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I told them when I read the scripts that Chris was going to live, but he was going to wake up as a crabby gay doctor.

MICHAEL:

When you went to film the scenes with the car crash/train accident, was that filmed in New Jersey?

ERIC:

Yeah, it was a train track on location in New Jersey.

MICHAEL:

So did that pose any difficulties in shooting?

ERIC:

No, it wasn’t an active train track.

MICHAEL:

(Laughs)  

ERIC:

It wasn’t used anymore! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Of course, it was The Mr. Rogers train! (Laughs)  Now, leaving behind the whole part of Reid, what can we say to your fans that are still grieving the loss of Reid?

ERIC:

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As far as fan response, I am just blown away by it and very moved by it, and that they are that affected by his death, and it’s an incredible thing to me.

MICHAEL:

But, what everyone wants to know is if you are OK with the show’s decision, and that you stand by the show’s decision to kill the character, and that you don’t feel short-changed as well?

ERIC:

No, not at all, I was very happy with it.  As a storyteller, and as an actor and playing a character, it’s been a great arc to come in and do that and have a big final ending, and then have everybody grieving over him.  I liked it and it was good storytelling.

MICHAEL:

Has it been odd for you, this whole soap experience?  When you took the job, you probably had no idea how big this character would become.  Do you feel weird that fans wanted to know more about you?

ERIC:

It is strange to me.  I am pretty private and I just like people to see the work and that be the only thing that people know about me.  So it’s interesting to me that my profile is being raised at all because of this.  It is surprising!

MICHAEL:

I think they are also thinking, if this would be the ending you would have chosen for Reid, because they all had become so invested in this character?

ERIC:

If the show wasn’t going off the air, eventually sure.  Who knows how long the character would have been around?  But whenever he went out, I loved the way it ended under these circumstances.  Now under other circumstances, I can’t really say.  But to have him die and donate his heart, it’s great.  

MICHAEL: 

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I really appreciated in our last interview, how strongly you felt for gay rights.  It is commendable that you have a good grasp on it.  I thought people came away with even more of an affinity and positive thoughts about you.  I think it’s important because that is the whole problem and issue of how gays are reflected on daytime television, or not reflected.

ERIC:

That frustrates a lot, and no story is reflected in daytime television, as it would be in life.  So that is a given.  But it is frustrating for everybody and should be.  They are not at a point yet where they should be, to tell a gay storyline as they would a straight storyline.  And, that has to do with who their sponsors are and their audiences are.  And, they have to take that in to consideration, and everybody understands that, but that does not make it less frustrating.

MICHAEL:

So what are you working on now… a new film?

ERIC:

I am doing a film right now, shooting over three weeks here in New York.  I am playing a sad divorced Lit professor.  It’s about three friends who are at a point in their lives in their mid-thirties, and they are not quite where they wanted to be.  They are 15 years out of school, and it veers off into their own storylines, and mine is that I am just trying to find my situation.  It’s funny and it’s real and fun.  I have grown a beard and let my hair go curly and being as disheveled as I can be.  And it’s gone really well.  I am working with a lot of friends.  A lot of them are people I went to college with.  So, it’s great, because I just did Much Ado about Nothing with people I went to grad school with at the Vermont Shakespeare Company, and that went very well.  This group has a lot of people I went to college with at different times.  The film is called, Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty. Pretty soon there will be a website for the film, and I think it’s going to be Leftythemovie.com.

MICHAEL:

Any more thoughts about L.A. since our last conversation?

ERIC:

I am going to be going back and forth pretty soon.  I will be out there for chunks of time.  The future is always unknown to me.  Right now I am doing this film, and when it gets done I start looking for work again.  It’s been a good couple of years, but there are always stretches of time when you are not working and that is going to come back.  And as an actor, you have to believe in the cycles of things.

MICHAEL:

Would you take meetings at the L.A. CBS soaps like, B&B and Y&R?

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ERIC:

I don’t think so.  That is not what I am gunning for. This was a great run on ATWT, but I am not looking to move right into another one right now.  I am always open to anything.  I would like to do more episodic work in primetime, as well.  I just started watching Mad Men and thought that would be a great show to be on.  Anything with great writing, I would just love it.

MICHAEL:

As we close Eric, I just want to personally tell you that watching you on As the World Turns has been witnessing one of the great portrayals of a gay character, as it was fresh, original, and not a carbon copy or stereotype of how some still perceive gay people, and I want to thank you for that and tell you, “you did good”.

ERIC:

I appreciate you saying that, and it means a lot to me.

  1. kwbalan says:

    Thank you for this wonderful interview. Although as I have said in the past I am very disappointed with the end to this story I do understand that from an actor’s standpoint it was a great ending. And had it not been for the incredibly talented Eric Sheffer Stevens & Van Hansis I would not have been so completely sucked in to this amazing love story. What is making me so sad is the fact that it is over and I am losing a show that has been a big part of my life, and a story line that I have been completely immersed in for the last 9 months. Kudos to Eric & Van!
    Thank you again Michael for this wonderful interview and for allowing us to voice our opinions here on your site.
    And one more shout out to the incredible ESS & LuRe fans that I have come to know and love. Contributing to such a worthy cause as Doctors Without Borders has helped to ease the pain. What an amazing group of fans to come up with such a wonderful idea and run with it. I am so proud to be a part of this.

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  2. Teri says:

    ROFL at the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood comment. Though I gotta say those puppets in the Neighborhood of Make Believe used to scare the bejeezus outta me.

    Thank you Michael for the follow up and for everything you have done to help promote not only this story but our efforts with Doctors Without Borders. While I can’t be happy about the way this story ended, I do have to agree it gave us some amazing performances. And I totally get where Eric is coming from it is much better to go out with a bang than a whimper.

    Eventually my broken heart will catch up to my more intelligent brain and I will be able to see the ending more objectively.

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  3. Isabel says:

    Thanks, Michael, for asking insightful questions. And a great big thanks to Eric for his entire run on this show. I think Reid and LuRe fans are extremely devastated because we care so much about the character, and that is due to Eric’s fantastic portrayal. But it is what it is, and if Eric can accept it, then we should too . . . eventually.

    Great interview, though, and I do hope Eric’s popularity leads him to bigger and better things.

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    Barb replied

    Yes, Isabel, ICAM. Eric definitely deserves a huge thanks for bringing Reid alive. I am not a fan of gay storylines. As a matter of fact I was very turned off with Luke and Noah; they seemed so “blah” IMHO. Then when Reid BURST on the scene and finally confessed that he was not only gay but had a thing for Luke, well I perked up–much to my surprise! I so looked forward to the development of these two individuals becoming a couple who not only were in love with each other but their discoveries would be boundless! Well, TPTB (P&G) really showed us how they felt when it came to the fanbases of ATWT.

    I was impressed with Eric from the very beginning. I thought “finally, a character that says what everyone else is thinking”–was a novel idea! Too bad P&G didn’t have the same vision as the fans of this show.

    After everything is said and done, I truly wish success to all the actors of this wonderful show. I only just returned to ATWT when Julie Pinson came on board; but I soon fell in love with so many of the characters. I will miss then all–best wishes, God bless and I’ll be looking to see you all (ecpecially Eric!) some time in the near future–some where!

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  4. Alice says:

    Wonderful to get a new interview from ESS! Thank you, Michael!

    I’m very glad that he had an enjoyable experience on ATWT and that he’s pleased with the way his character ended.

    However, I’m horribly upset. His death was utterly pointless – Chris could have gotten that donor heart from Bay City quite easily.

    Leaving Luke, who is sweetness and goodness personified, heartbroken and alone at the end of the show while everyone else is celebrating births and marriages is a real slap in the face. We won’t get to see him recover – the show’s over. We will be forever left with those gut-wrenching images of him crying over the man he only just realised he was in love with.

    And Reid too had already evolved, he had already changed into a better man thanks to Luke and Katie’s love, he didn’t need to carve out his own heart to prove it.

    There is nothing satisfying about this ending from a fan perspective. It was rushed, poorly-written and the Hughes family just looked like vultures swooping in to claim Reid’s heart while Luke stood there in shock.

    The utter unbelievability of Reid being brought into the hospital “too hurt to save” yet still having all his organs fit to be harvested makes a mockery of the viewers’ intelligence. Why he was even brought to Oakdale when he was only 10 minutes away from Bay City hospital is also too stupid to be real. Let’s not even get into the ridiculousness of his body being cremated and ashes scattered so soon after his death. There is a legally required 24-hour waiting period for cremation.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that pesky little issue where gay men who have been sexually active since 1977 are not actually allowed to donate blood or organs!

    The writers were clearly too lazy to spend 5 minutes googling in order to make their stupid ending plausible. The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach.

    The only thing that didn’t suck was Van Hansis’ INCREDIBLE acting out of Luke’s grief. He was completely heart-breaking. And ESS also did an excellent job with the death scene.

    Those guys have provided us with amazing acting and chemistry over the past nine months and I am so grateful for that. I wish them well and I will follow their careers closely.

    The fact remains though, this ending is devastating for Luke and Reid fans. Pure and simple. If I manage to get through a full day this week without crying, it will be a miracle. I feel like someone I know died.

    ATWT should be ashamed.

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    Anne replied

    Alice you said it perfectly….

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    Chastity replied

    sad that ATWT is ending & sad that Reid died!!! Really dislike the way this is ending!

    mmc replied

    As much as I’m still crying over this sad ending, the most poignant things I’ll always remember is when Luke was telling Reid, “i love you and you love me”Etc.And the way Reid was looking into his eyes with so much love….not a word was spoken by him after that, but it was so appropriate because from day 1 they spoke volumes when they looked into each others eyes without speaking a word.What a sad ending to a beautiful love story…and no one could have done it better than Eric and Van!!!

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    Chastity replied

    you are so right!!! Wish it would last for many years to come… Reids character captured many hearts because of that unspoken certainty…. Reid & Luke had great chemistry and i am very sad to see it end.. Hearts have been breaking since Reids death all over the world…. Amazing character…

    Michael replied

    Alice said the following, “Oh, and let’s not forget that pesky little issue where gay men who have been sexually active since 1977 are not actually allowed to donate blood or organs!”

    That was completely uncalled for and in my opinion, ignorant on Alice’s part as well. And it did not start in 1977 either lady. Get your friggin’ facts right. The entire HIV/AIDS epidemic didn’t start until 1981, not 1977.

    As a person living with HIV for 17+ years myself, it is ignorant people like you that make me want scream bloody murder and it offends not only me but everyone else’s intelligence!

    Maybe you need to educate yourself more before you go making blanket statements like you just did. You owe the many men and women and children who are living with HIV and AIDS a major mea culpa for your stupidity and ignorance.

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    Alice replied

    Actually, I do have my facts right. A man who has had sex with another man since 1977 is prohibited from donating. Despite the fact AIDS/HIV started in 1981. That’s the law.

    Alice replied

    Oh, and for the record, I don’t like it and I strongly disagree with it. I’m not sure why you’re jumping down my throat, I was merely trying to point out how badly-written the whole mess was and how poorly researched the ATWT writing team is. The fact it didn’t even occur to them that gay men might not be allowed to donate shows that even though their homophobia might not be conscious, they’re certainly ignorant of gay rights issues.

    Michael replied

    Alice, that’s beside the point. You NEVER should have injected that whole issue into this conversation and I have to say, I’m disgusted that I’m a human being among a bigoted and calloused woman who thinks she’s far above and more superior than anyone else. Get a life pizza face!

    Anju replied

    Wow Michael. That was just straight up rude. Comments like that don’t create an good environment for mature conversation. I know it’s not my place to butt in, but anytime I see such complete disregard for others, I feel like I must say something. Alice pointed out something factual, it’s a clear cut guideline that UNOS goes by. You can disagree, but there’s no reason to take your anger out on others. This is a conversation that’s occurred in many fan forums, because of the nature of the storyline. We know soaps are not always realistic, but we do expect them to have some connection to reality.

    “You NEVER should have injected that whole issue into this conversation” When exactly should this point have been brought up if not now? It’s like saying we shouldn’t talk about gay marriage laws, if all of a sudden a soap decided to get a gay couple married in a state(for argument sake, say illinois) that we know doesn’t have such a law passed.

    The only real point I was trying to make was, there’s just never a reason to be rude to others and denigrate someone just because you’re hiding behind the safety of your computer.

    teresa replied

    you said everything i wanted to say and you said it beautifully.
    thank you,
    teresa

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    mmc replied

    alice, why is everyone getting so upset…We all know all the writers took liberties in every sense of the word.Nothing was done right with this whole Luke Reid ending.I think we should all remember the stupidity of TPTB.They had the story of a lifetime in their hands and didn’t know what to do with it, so they killed reid and left luke alone.if i wasn’t such a lady, i’d call them the A-Holes that they are!!!!

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    MC Solano replied

    Alice: Absolutely! Could not have said it better! My mind is still boggled by the complete ignorance of the writers and producers of ATWT – how the hell they could not get that EVERYONE would see this ending as homophobic…. so sad.

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    Lewis replied

    Alice: You absolutely nailed it on all fronts! The question of the state of Reid’s organs after suffering such an accident was brought up by others I know, not to mention the problem of where you are allowed to scatter one’s ashes. But this IS a soap opera after all. Eric’s perspective is not the same as that of the viewers, and the writers should have taken more deliberation regarding the potential affect their ending would have on its audience. 9 months is a long time to invest in a daily storyline that is given such an abrupt and convulsive conclusion. The Soaps are geared to play on one’s emotions but the absolute finality (in more ways than one) of this aspect of ATWT’s storyline was close to being over the top. When one strips away all of the ancillary coupling that was wrapped up, the end of the Luke/Reid relationship stands out as being even more unsatisfying than it initially appeared.

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  5. lovelure says:

    Hi, Michael – I can’t believe there are no comments posted yet – there must be an enormous stack in the queue waiting moderation! Thanks so much for following up with Eric and for asking many of the questions fans have been asking. There will certainly be fans that disagree with his responses, but he’s entitled to his opinion and he has more than done his job of bringing the character to life.

    As a straight woman, my kneejerk response to Reid’s death was for a character I loved, not for a gay character that I loved. But reading all the posts from LGBT fans who are devastated has swayed my opinion to think that we are not yet at a point in our collective social history to treat the death of one of daytime’s few gay characters (and arguably the most compelling one ever, at that) as “just another death.”

    At this point I’ve resigned myself to pointing out all the shortcomings of the ending, in the hopes that people somewhere listen (other soaps, network executives, mainstream media). But meanwhile, I will remain forever grateful that Reid Oliver graced our screens for nine months and that I found Eric Sheffer Stevens and his amazing fan base. His support (and yours!) of the DWB campaign has made the ending of this journey about much more than a TV show – it’s been very special for all of us.

    Finally, on a more frivolous note: thank you for the question/answer about that golf swing – I remember watching that and thinking a) wow! I don’t remember golf looking like that and b) that actually looked like a really good shot. I particularly love how all three actors stayed in character (and either did some great ad libbing, or followed along with a script just knew that Reid/Eric would nail the shot!).

    Reply

  6. SnapeGirl says:

    I’m honored to be the first comment. First, I want to thank you, Michael, for doing the best interviews with your guests. They are in-depth and you always get to the point of what the fans really want to know in a graceful and respectful way.

    I have been watching ATWT for over 25 years, and even in his short 9 months stint, Dr. Reid Oliver has become my favorite character on the show (actually surpassing Dr. John Dixon in my book, so it was brilliant for me to see them together). I have to thank Eric Stevens for giving us the best performances to cherish and make this last year of the show such a treat to watch. I personally wanted to thank him for bringing to the forefront some of my favorite veteran actors–Don Hastings, Kathryn Hayes and Larry Bryggman. It was great to see how well Eric effortlessly interacted with them. He raised the bar for every scene partner he performed with–for instance the lovely moment he had with Lesli Kay during the ‘non wedding’ episode of Molly & Holden.

    I was thrilled to see Eric and Van Hansis working together. They are both so talented and complemented each other so brilliantly. Their scenes were electric whether they were fighting or falling in love, and it was a real treasure to fall in love right along with them. I think that’s why it’s so hard to deal with the ending TPTB gave their story.

    I understand, as actors, why they enjoyed playing out this story ending, and I do see Eric’s point that they end up honoring Reid in the end. But I’m not quite sure anyone involved knows just HOW TRULY devastated the fans are who have been following this story from the beginning. Literally EVERYONE in Oakdale ends up with their ‘happily ever after’ but Reid and Luke and Noah. It just seems a horrible decision to, once again punish Luke who in his short life has seen such tragedy, in order to give Katie husband number SIX in the end; and to save the life of a man who caused his own problems by making bad decision after bad decision. Because when it comes down to it, heroic story or no, that’s what we are left with. And I just think the fans want someone to acknowledge the unfairness of it.

    Not to end on a sad note, I will never regret the time I spent watching Reid and Luke’s story. I do honor the fact that they gave us this beautiful character of Reid Oliver to show the world what a proud, brilliant, sexy, sensual, kind, noble neurosurgeon–who just happens to be gay–looks and acts like. And the fact that this story was never a “gay” story–it was a love story with entwining lives. Reid was a closed-off human who was able to open up his life because of Luke’s love for him and his love for Luke. Changing so many lives in the process.

    The most amazing part for me is what flourished from these two characters. The artwork, the moving videos, the incredible fanfiction (which unfortunately honored the potential of this story better than ATWT did), the websites, the blogs, the incredible friendships, and of course the fundraising campaign that ALL stemmed from the beautiful LuRe relationship that Eric and Van brought out in their work. That’s the true beauty in all this tragedy. And I thank Eric and Van for inspiring all of it! It will be a long time before anyone forgets those performances.

    All my best,
    JoAnne :)

    Reply

    SnapeGirl replied

    Um… I didn’t realize until after I posted that they don’t put the comments up right away. So I guess I wasn’t the “first” comment. LOL, but I might be the LOOOOOONGEST! Geez, sorry people. I had a lot to say. ;) <3

    Reply

    kwbalan replied

    ITA snapegirl with “And I just think the fans want someone to acknowledge the unfairness of it.”

    I would love to hear TPTB acknowledge this. Not the actors. I truly understand where they are coming from. Most of the story was great for the actors.

    But from a fan’s standpoint it was devastating. Everything about it. From so little airtime, even alone time for Luke & Reid toward the end, to no sex scene, to every heterosexual couple getting a happy ending but not the homosexual couple. What makes this worse is we will never even get to see a happy ending for Luke.

    So we have to say goodbye to a show that I personally have been watching most of my life and to add insult to injury we lose the one character that was the best to hit daytime in a very long time if ever in such a tragic way… Just doesn’t make sense to me… Never will.

    Alice said it perfectly. ATWT should be ashamed.

    Reply

    SnapeGirl replied

    I agree. I really don’t expect Eric OR Van to do anything other than give the best performances of their ability–which they did, beautifully. Unfortunately, I expected the EXPERT show runners to know how they were going to dishonor their loyal fans who kept the show on the air for so long. But they showed us they never cared, by insulting our intelligence and breaking our hearts this way.

    Michelle replied

    I couldn’t have said it any better myself. :)

    Reply

    teresa replied

    joanne, i totally agree with everything you said and couldn’t have expressed it any better.
    teresa

    Reply

  7. LUCIA says:

    I disagree with what is said: the end of ATWT is not focused on Reid, it is focused on LUKE and on how Luke lives the loss of his boyfriend. It is Luke’s journey that is told in that end of the show and it is Luke’s emotions, feelings and attitudes that we are witnessing. We are watching episodes of Luke dealing with himself and with his dreams.

    Reply

  8. bluemirror144 says:

    Thank you for doing this follow-up, Michael. Eric is lovely, of course. Perhaps his decision to be taciturn about the controversial ending is motivated by the fact that he’s such a private person. I get the sense that he wants to be able to say “it’s all good” and go on with his life. He’s certainly intelligent and wise enough to know that the writing for his character went from brilliant to abysmal, that the second half of the storyline was ludicrous in its avoidance of intimacy for Luke and Reid. Perhaps he’ll never be able to understand how ripped-off the fans feel, and that ATWT’s “focus” on Reid toward the end of the show’s run appears to fans as the use of his character to prop up a much less interesting and less developed straight couple. There was something about Reid, and Eric’s portrayal of him, that became deeply important to many of us. He resonated for me in a way no character ever has. Watching him changed something in me. To witness him being artifically transformed into a dead hero at the end cheapens the nine months so many of us invested in him, and in his relationship with Luke. That they never were sexually intimate doesn’t sweeten the tragedy to me; it makes me feel manipulated and played. Again, thank you Michael.

    Reply

    Lisa replied

    “it makes me feel manipulated and played” Summed up my feelings!!!

    Reply

    elphau replied

    well say !!! you pretty much said everything that is in my mind. 100 +1% agree with you 

    Reply

  9. Badaddiction says:

    Thank you for another interesting read. I enjoy and respect ESS’ POV on the character he’s portrayed skillfully and wonderfully for 9 months. I may not miss the horrific writing and production values of ATWT, but I will most certainly miss the remarkable acting talent of Mr. Sheffer-Stevens and his co-workers.

    Reply

  10. JenA says:

    Thanks for the extensive and well rounded interview, Michael. And thanks to Eric for doing it. I still can’t get behind the ending for Reid at all, but I can see where ESS is coming from as an actor to support it. Also glad to hear that he is not going to keep going for soaps in the future. ESS is so much better than that, and after watching ATWT, I feel burned by soaps anyhow. Won’t be watching any more of them.

    Also love ESS’ support for realistic gay portrayals in the media. He certainly showed how it’s done!

    Reply

  11. sera says:

    I think that Eric as usual comes across as a charming, talented actor that puts a lot of thought in his craft. I’m interested in his new film project & will be sure to check it out as well as any acting gigs that he does. But, but but….

    He has no clue about what the soap opera audience wants in an ending. Especially a soap that is really ending. This ain’t no 2 hour movie. The soap characters on the show are part of the daily fabric of people’s lives. They become like friends to the viewer. So to see ‘a friend’ end up as roadkill only to give his heart to an asshat who caused his own problems in the first place is so, so not a satisfying ending for the viewer. The fact that the only ones to die on the show this year is an attempted rapist (Silas) & the gay character(Reid) & the only one to get the super sad ending is another gay character (Luke), compounds the issue.

    The message that gays don’t get happy endings is the overriding one many will take from this. Which is a shame because the show did create
    one of the more refreshing, wonderful, just happens to be gay characters that have ever graced our screens. Thanks Eric for bringing Reid to life & bringing much enjoyment (except for that train crash/heart transplant thing) to many in this final year of ATWT.

    Reply

  12. ltklo says:

    Michael, thanks for another great interview. While I am unhappy with Reid’s final storyline, I understand why ESS appreciates it as an actor. And it did give the opportunity for some fantastic performances by ESS and Van.

    Great news that ESS is currently filming a movie and I hope ATWT opens many doors for him. I’m excited to see him in great things!

    Reply

  13. Bumblebee says:

    Is ESS going to be giving interviews six months from now? I have never seen a media tour like this. It’s too much. He says nothing new, and I’m sick of the bloggers fawning all over him like he is the best character ever in daytime history. I’m glad it’s over only if I never have to hear another interview about how Reid thou art.

    Reply

    mmc replied

    What’s your problem?i’m an older viewer and i was devastated by the ending of this show….And to see everybody get a happily ever after except Luke and Reid was a knife in my already broken heart. Eric and Van will go on to bigger and better things I hope an emmy for each!

    Reply

    ShellyB replied

    he may not be the best character ever in daytime but REID OLIVER IS THE BEST NEW CHARACTER THIS YEAR!!

    Reply

    SnapeGirl replied

    Bumblebee,

    In Eric’s last interview, he wasn’t able to answer a lot of questions about the end of the show because it hadn’t happened yet. MF and Eric promised this interview to give us FANS the final word on how he felt about the issues, and I’m thankful for it. If you don’t care for him, you have every right not to come here or read it. I don’t think it’s too much coverage for an amazing actor who was head and shoulders above others in the soap world, or to give attention to a breakthrough character on daytime TV who gave a positive spin on a gay couple. He’s also gotten a lot of press because the show is ending as is his time in the ‘soap world’ most likely, so this will be everyone’s last chance.

    Reply

    Anne replied

    Nobody put a gun to your head and forced you to read it. That is really a stupid comment. If you don’t like him don’t read about him, but to compalin that he is giving interviews…seriously ignorant…. it is really strange that you know about all of his interviews but don’t like him… strange.

    Reply

    PastPerfect replied

    Hmmmm…it would seem that this poster is regurgitating the JS site party line about how much attention ESS is getting. Stay classy, Nukesters.

    Reply

    garnett77 replied

    Ahh, the Nukies. So bitter. I must agree with the other comment that no one is forcing you to read this. And, for my money, Reid Oliver WAS the best soap character ever, in the history of the genre.

    Reply

    Lisa replied

    WOW!!! How let the DOG’s out?
    Go take your med’s

    Reply

    Tristan1 replied

    Eric played a good part. He is obviously a modest person full of praise for people in his profession and greatful for those who appreciate his skill. He answered the questions he was asked and he stated that he has already moved on to other projects long before your six month deline. I guess you didn’t read the entire interview.

    zubie replied

    1) to me personally ( and really, its for everyone, so for you to say he is not is a bit……. yeah, im trying to stay nice, so i wont finish that sentence) he IS the best character i have ever seen!
    2) so, he’s already moved on to other projects, but he’s asked for interviews, cuz he’s got a really large fanbase, and for him to still take interviews, just shows how kind he really is. Its not like he runs around, asking people to interview him. Again, he has moved on to other things, as he should, since he finished this job three months ago.
    3) why are you here reading this interview if you diskike him? And WHY do you dislike him? Have you met him personally? Got a beef with him? Or are you just a pissed Nukie who wants to be heard? Kinda unfair to take it out on an actor who is just doing his job. You might want to redirect your anger to a certain executive producer and headwriter(CG and JP) who were in charge of killing this show.
    And you go around reading ALL interviews you dont like? Scour the internet for stuff you DONT want to see? Seems like a waste of time to me. You should be spending that time looking at stuff you do want to see ad hear. Just saying…..

    Reply

  14. Michela says:

    I can’t honestly say that I agree with Eric re: the pace of Reid’s death episode, in particular, because, to me, it felt frustratingly rushed (not to mention poorly written and shot, if brilliantly acted by Van); and the lack of *real* focus on Reid & Luke was insulting, to say the least.

    That said, I enjoyed this interview immensely. And Eric’s words about Van’s performance + about what he would have liked to see happen for LuRe if the show hadn’t been cancelled and Reid killed made me really happy.

    Reply