February 10th, 2012  |  Leave a comment

The Ian Buchanan Interview – Days of our Lives

Courtesy/NBC

One of daytime’s most durable and entertaining performers is back in a brand new role and this time it’s Days of our Lives who had nabbed this Daytime Emmy winner.  Ian Buchanan has thrilled audiences both in daytime and primetime with memorable roles as Duke Lavery on General Hospital, James Warwick on The Bold and the Beautiful, Dr. Greg Madden on All My Children and on primetime with such delicious roles as Dick Tremayne on Twin Peaks!

Now Buchanan comes to Salem as Ian McAllister, who is quite a sinister, threatening and delightfully wicked character who within a matter of a few episodes will begin to shake up the canvas and put many characters on their toes, while relishing in messing with their romantic, professional, and personal lives!  First order of business for Ian M. is to arrive on the scene and see his wife, yup wife, Madison James!  Just as poor Brady just proposed to the gal!  From there, look for many twists and turns as Ian makes his presence known in Salem, and the impact it will have not only on Bradison, but also Kate!

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with the talented Ian Buchanan to get his take on his new role, coming back to a dwindling a genre, his new leading ladies, and his thoughts on some of his long time pals, notably Finola Hughes (Anna) and Kimberly McCullough (Robin) who are working together on General Hospital again, as part of Kimberly’s upcoming big exit storyline.  We shared many laughs with Ian during this interview, and always appreciate his direct honesty, but whether he plays a good guy or a bad guy, you cannot deny Mr. B is one charming chap!

MICHAEL:

You really have your grand debut today on Days of our Lives as Ian McAllister, although we got a glimpse of you on Thursday’s episode.  My first question …  so you are playing Ian McAllister and your real name is Ian Buchanan.   So how did the character name come about? Did the writers say, “You will be Ian” or did you say, “I want to be Ian?”

IAN:

Courtesy/NBC

I would like to say that they did me a favor, so it was one last thing for me to have to remember, but I have to say this is the second time in my career that I have played an “Ian”.   But it sure beats playing a “Dick”, and a “Derk”, but “Ian’s” a fine name, and my character is not the most pleasant of people.   So I have never heard my name said quite like this.  It’s been quite interesting.  It’s all about the tone, I guess! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

What sold you on DAYS, having been a Daytime Emmy winner, and having appeared on many daytime soaps?

IAN:

I did not realize how much I missed going to a place to work regularly.  I always loved doing it so much, but I found that the whole genre was shrinking; I was doing other types of things that were occupying my time.  But then when this presented itself, I was very surprised and honored, actually.  I am having a great time. I did not realize just how much I missed it until I started working here at DAYS.

MICHAEL:

I think you have commented in recent interviews on the new pace of daytime!  DAYS works so fast.

IAN:

I like the pace at DAYS and personally, I feel like you can get away with murder, not me, necessarily. But, the pace allows me to feel more creative and that I am contributing to something, and it is more instinctive. There is no time to go back and re-tape things.  I have surprised myself at how fast I have been able to think on my feet, and telling the story that has to be told.  The pace is interesting.  For me, it’s like a brand new play everyday, and that is pretty astonishing. That is what is so great about it.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Tell me about Ian McAllister.  Is he a ruthless, powerful businessman?

IAN:

Yeah!  Of course!  Have you met a sweet rich person?   I don’t remember who said, “Every great fortune begins with a crime” but I think this one’s wealth has been built on several crimes, I think!  Who knows how it will all unfold?  But Ian does like to tell people that he is filthy rich.

MICHAEL:

The DiMeras are the all powerful people in the town of Salem.  Do we know if Ian is an ally or against them?

IAN:

I think there will be a connection and it will unfold at some point.  I know it hasn’t yet, a part from the fact that when he comes to town he already knows Kate.  He was involved with her a very long time ago and he was very much in love with her.  Because of certain threats towards her, he walked away from her.

MICHAEL:

We think Lauren Koslow (Kate) and Ian Buchanan is a really hot great pairing!  I think that would be awesome and fun to see!

IAN:

I don’t know what it’s like to watch, but I can tell you it’s awesome to play.  She is so much fun.  I have been fortunate to work with really great people, and then when somebody is really great, I feel so blessed and I feel very lucky this time.  Lauren and I never actually knew each other, but Susan Flannery (Stephanie, B&B) always said, “If you get the chance to work with Lauren Koslow, you will be happy, happy, happy.”

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/NBC

And then there is Sarah Brown (Madison)!

IAN:

Sarah Brown and I had never actually met and so we had lunch together before I started on the show.  We have friends outside of the show and in entertainment that were very encouraging to each of us.  We like each other and have a great time.  In the story, Ian met Madison when she was very young, and he kind of mentored her and was romantically involved with her, and has always controlled her.

MICHAEL:

You will be smack dab in the middle of the Madison/Kate cosmetic war too?

IAN:

Absolutely! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Your pal Finola Hughes is back on General Hospital as Anna Devane!

IAN:

Courtesy/SOD

She is loving it and having a blast.  I knew she would.  I saw her last weekend and she had gotten over the apprehension. She has every right to walk on eggshells, but not this time.  It’s been very different for her this time back, and I am very happy for her.

MICHAEL:

I also wanted to get your thoughts on Kimberly McCullough leaving General Hospital.

IAN:

Yeah, I have been close to Kimberly.  She is a very assertive and a highly talented young lady.  I guess she wants to be in control of what she does and where she goes.  She has grown up on television as Robin Scorpio.  I think it will be a great loss for daytime, but she wants to direct feature films.

MICHAEL:

Of all the roles you have done on daytime and primetime television, do you have a favorite? I still love Dick Tremayne on David Lynch’s, Twin Peaks!

IAN:

That was my favorite too!  I had kind of blast and it was a magical time for me … it all just happened and it fell together and it was quite wonderful.  I liked On the Air that I did with David Lynch after that, but of course, it did not get much of on the air, but that’s alright.  It was a very interesting David Lynch experience, because he was kind of telling the story of his relationship with the network, while he was making a story about the network for the network. (Laughs) It was very complicated.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Did you not laugh while filming scenes on Twin Peaks?

IAN:

It was very funny, and sometimes Harry Gold and I would completely loose it!  We would get the giggles.  We had this very famous German director and he would yell, “Schtop It!” (Laughs)  And the more he yelled, the more we laughed!

MICHAEL:

You of course are working with Eric Martsolf (Brady) and destroying his on-screen happiness in Salem!

IAN:

Yes I am. (Laughs)  I will be involved with Brady and have worked with Eric who is delightful.

MICHAEL:

What will happen when we have a scene between you and James Scott (EJ)?  It will be a very British/Scottish chat-off!

IAN:

It would be very British! It would be very interesting.  I have already used the “shortbread” as the calling card routine.  But I don’t know if that would work on EJ.

MICHAEL:

Photo Credit: Getty Images

How did Susan Flannery feel about you going to DAYS?  Did you talk with her about it?

IAN:

I did talk to Susan about it.  She was kind of excited. Susan was there in the 70’s and I had seen a little of her work as Laura Horton and she was great.  I don’t feel like I am in her old stomping grounds, because it’s very different than it was.  Also, I saw Joanna Johnson (Karen, B&B) the other night … we had dinner.  And now she is going back to B&B! So that was very funny.  I said, “You know, just when you think you are safe to gain twenty pounds and put curlers in your hair, you get a phone call to come back!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

We have all watched the decimation of the daytime soap opera landscape over the last four years and none more upsetting than the recent cancellations of All My Children, which you had appeared on, and One Life to Live.  What are your thoughts about the future of the soap format?

IAN:

First off, I think if I had been on a show while it was being canceled it would have been extremely difficult to get through.  Having spoken to a lot of my friends who have worked on shows, especially who just loved to go in and do it every single day, it has been horrifying for them.  Also, there was also so much going around that there was no longer an audience for the soaps.  I don’t believe there is no longer an audience … there is an audience.  I think the audience has become more fickle because there are more choices across all the television channels.

MICHAEL:

I think you have to steer your audience, because daytime is such a water-downed landscape with all these other types of shows.  You have to get and present something to captivate the audience to watch otherwise the casual soap viewer may drift.

IAN:

Photo Credit: PR Photo

Exactly! I think anybody who watches Revenge it is a soap opera, and I loved Smash the other night, but it’s like a good old campy soap opera!

MICHAEL:

Do you watch Downton Abbey?

IAN:

I love Downton Abbey!  It is a good soap opera too!  I was watching Downton Abbey the other day and I thought it was so great, but it’s because nobody has phones or are texting each other, or all this other technology.  So all the stories hinge on people waiting for information, or people getting misinformation, and it gives us great drama and it’s so wonderful.  It takes people forever to get some place and nobody knows if someone is alive or dead.  It’s so rich.  I love it, love it!

MICHAEL:

I watched it last weekend, and I was like, “This is the best soap opera on television right now!”  It was like every scene had something going on to propel story!  And that is what daytime soap operas need to be these days, where every scene counts and moves the story forward or unravels a new twist.

IAN:

Downton Abbey is filled with rich and wonderful characters who are not playing it subtlety but just going for it.

MICHAEL:

Was there anyone at DAYS that you were surprised by in the cast?

IAN:

Courtesy/NBC

I think I have known most of them before.  I have to tell you, I am very happy, and surprised at the level of the work at DAYS.  It’s thus far been a terrific experience.

MICHAEL:

What would you say to the audience that they should watch out for from Ian?  What’s his deal?

IAN:

I think he is probably very mercurial and very unpredictable with a very psychopathic nature.  He can be snotty, but I think he goes after what he wants, and he is very passionate about winning and being dominant.

MICHAEL:

So you would like the audience to love to hate this guy?

IAN:

That is really what I would like, because I have never really figured out what you have to do to be popular with an audience.  I just try to be a good actor.  I am not going to try to be popular, I just hope people will be wildly entertained by him, and that they love to hate him, and that there would be an opportunity for the audience to see why he is the way he is.  I think that is always very interesting for the audience … to see why a person ultimately behaves the way that they do, and if they are redeemable.  I think Ian has the capacity to be redeemed.  But I would not trust him, quite frankly.  He would not be a friend of mine.  The only character that I have ever played that would be a friend of mine was my role on The Bold and the Beautiful, as James Warwick.

MICHAEL:

Ok, so you would be friends with James, but not one of the rest? Not even Duke on GH?

IAN:

None of the rest! (Laughs)  I would not be in the same room with any of the others!

MICHAEL:

Well, certainly not All My Children’s Dr. Greg Madden!

IAN:

I would not.  I firmly believe that the wonderful thing about being an actor is that you get to play your deepest, darkest, truest self, and as a person in society with manners you get to play the kind of a person you never let them see.  But as an actor, and if you are on a soap opera, you can let the world see it all!

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/NBC

Is that hard for you having played many roles in daytime to try to make this new character of Ian different than all the others you have created?

IAN:

The one thing that is easier with Ian on DAYS, is that he is a lot older than the other characters I have played, which is great.  I am playing him with some maturity, but also with some child-like wickedness.  It’s not hard. I always discover something completely different with each role I take on.  I leave my self completely open and so if I end up in a room with somebody like Lauren Koslow or Sarah Brown, and then all I have to do is be good.  I always leave myself open to surprises, and DAYS has many to come.

  1. Feisty says:

    Another great interview, Michael, thanks!
    Ian’s arrival in Salem is none too soon! Breaking up the epic Fail of Bradison is just the first reason I’m already loving him!
    Best of luck to you, IB, hope your stay is long and full os sinister fun! :)

    Reply

  2. pspcindy says:

    As always, you do the most entertaining interviews. Ian Buchanan was delightful. Days is so lucky to have such a great actor. Today was his first full day and he has already made the show more interesting.

    Thanks for the look into IB’s head about his new character and soaps in general. He is an interesting man.

    As an avid viewer of “Revenge” and Downton Abbey”, I am continually puzzled as to why daytime cannot emmulate the successful primetime soaps. As Ian said why not just “go for it”?

    Reply

  3. rhda8386 says:

    “MICHAEL:

    Ok, so you would be friends with James, but not one of the rest? Not even Duke on GH?

    IAN:

    None of the rest! (Laughs) I would not be in the same room with any of the others!”

    Sad to see he wouldn’t be friends with Duke, but I can make the sacrifice and be in the same room with him! :-D

    Reply

  4. Krista says:

    Wonderful interview! You always give the best interviews, Micheal. I think that Ian will add some much needed spice to Days and, so far, I’m enjoying the menacing vibe that he gives off onscreen.

    Reply

  5. Cory says:

    Michael

    Another amazing interview kind sir.
    I’ve never really seen any acting by Ian while he was on GH & B&B. But he’s been on DOOL for 2 days now and I already can see that I’m going to love his character.
    A big thanks to you Micheal for asking such great questions!!!!!

    Reply

  6. Sarah says:

    Love your interview Michael!! Already loved Ian’s character on Days!!

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  7. Avelina says:

    Ian is such a lovely person and I love hos character on DAYS. He has great chemistry with Eric Martsolf and is a great addition to this show.

    Reply

    Avelina replied

    HIS character. Sorry lol

    Reply

  8. Brian Greene says:

    Yay, Ian–Go, Go, Go, Go!!!!
    :D :D :D :D

    Reply

  9. Janice says:

    He is playing the sinister role well but he will always be DUUUUUUKKE to me!

    Reply

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