October 21st, 2008  |  Leave a comment

THE ADAM GRIMES INTERVIEW – GH: NIGHT SHIFT

grimes-crop.jpgAs the season finale of “GH: Night Shift” concludes tonight, I sat down with Adam Grimes, (Kyle Julian) to conclude my “Soaps In The City”/AIDS Walk Los Angeles series of interviews and specials. Adam and I discuss what makes Kyle so unique as a gay character on primetime soaps, and what to look for, as lives change, and hang in the balance on the final episode of season two. I hope you enjoy this in-depth feature with everything you wanted to know about Adam, and went ahead and asked!

MICHAEL:

Last week in the first part of the season finale of “GH: Night Shift”, the dumpster outside the hospital blows up. I am worried what may befall your gal pal, Claire!

ADAM:

That is one of the most compelling moments. Let me just tell you this. What you saw in the very last episode is by no means what happens to all of us, that one fateful moment outside. More will continue to happen before the dust settles.

MICHAEL:

So, fans were upset last week. We wanted Kyle to go away with Eric to Portland. Did he want to go… but couldn’t?

ADAM:

parkinglot.jpgIt was very hard and sad. The hardest thing for Kyle is this is his road he has been on forever. Kyle walks a fine line with many things and he remains focused. I think he knew from the moment he saw that the clinical trial was in Portland, he knew instantly he wasn’t going to go. He had to follow his own path, as he fought too long and hard to be where he is. Kyle knew that they would be separating, and it was tearing him apart. At the same time, part of (our head writer), Sri Rao’s writing is about wanting to be with our loved ones, even though we can’t follow them But, obviously as they walk out the front door of the hospital together and he watches Eric drive away, he knows that they will wait for each other.

MICHAEL:

It was sad. We all loved you guys together. How has the fan response been?

ADAM:

Well actually, going to your event, “Soaps In The City” and going to AIDS Walk Los Angeles yesterday, their response has been overwhelming. First, to the character, my and Chad’s
on-screen relationship; and Carrie Southworth’s relationship, and the webisodes. It’s been fantastic, and a great feeling.

MICHAEL:

aidswalkCarrie.jpgWhat did people say to you at our event?

ADAM:

They were so kind and it was great. They would say, “OK. In episode 11 when ….” They watched every episode. That means a world to an actor. The attendees have questions for you and are excited about that. You can’t ask for more than that.

MICHAEL:

Sri’s writing took “Night Shift” to a different level this year. Why did the writing work so well?

ADAM:

I think for several reasons. First of all, Sri had the benefit of hearing what happened in season one and had fan feedback. Not only being a phenomenal writer, he listens to what the fans have to say. And he really responses to that, and addresses the concerns of characters, who were not only on “GH” but on “Night Shift’, and how their characters weren’t lining up at first. Sri approached it as a primetime show in terms of the writing style. I think Liza de Cozette, our executive producer, really made it stand out, and people recognized that.

MICHAEL:

When you were cast in the role of the gay intern, Kyle, was there a hesitation on your part to do or take the part?

chad-bed.jpgADAM:

This is the interesting thing about my auditioning for the role. It’s that, I initially did not know the role was gay and it was not in the character breakdown of what I was auditioning for. Then, along the process, I learned that. It made me very excited, and the reason it made me most excited is that I had approached the character as a man, with no thought of sexual orientation, and that was what was being responded to. I came in excited about the role, and after talking with Sri, I understood what they wanted from the role. Kyle being gay was not the struggle. His struggles were the new job at the hospital, the new internship, his new friends, living in a new town, and dealing with his brother and family. Being gay was not the main focus, and I think that was very progressive for gay characters on TV. Usually, if you have a gay character, that is usually the drama of the character.

MICHAEL:

Do you think that Kyle and Eric fell in love to quickly? It seemed within a blink of an eye they were in love. I understand advancing story in a limited-run series, but was that hard?

ADAM:

I did not feel that way, and only because doing a weekly show, as opposed to a daily show, can produce a different style of show. Your standard episode of “Night Shift” takes place, if not over a week, over several days. When you finally see us kiss, I had probably been watching over him in a timeline for several weeks. So, in that sense, I know from both you and I, and from our pasts, it probably hasn’t taken us a few weeks to want to kiss someone we have been in a relationship with. So, it felt very natural the way the writing happened. When we introduced Eric’s parents, their bigger conflict was with his sister, who they had issues with. His parents were happy to meet Kyle. It seems from the perspective of a gay man; that it was great that his parents were interested and excited about meeting the man in Eric’s life.

kyleclair.jpgMICHAEL:

Tell me about the creation and the promotions of the webisodes, featuring
Kyle and Claire played by you and Carrie Southworth. When I originally saw it, I felt it seemed forced, as a way
to cement them as friends and roomies. How did that come about? Do you feel those were successful?

ADAM:

That is how SOAPnet did approach it, by saying, “We really want to push this friendship.” I remember when we were doing press, SOAPnet approached Carrie and I in our dressing room, saying, “Here is an idea we had,” as opposed to saying, “This is what we are doing. We are not sure if this is going to work, but we are going to throw some cameras on you right now, and have you banter back and forth, and improvise and see how it goes.” Honestly, as an improv actor and comedian for years, (I am actually an alumni of the Improv Olympics here in LA), I loved it. It was great! Carrie is very good, and fun and quick too. I think they had to stop us after ten minutes and they said, “I think we are going to have to go bring this back to ‘SOAPnet’.”

MICHAEL:

Claire and Kyle have been having serious issues leading up to tonight’s finale!

ADAM:

That’s the thing that Carrie and I are having a hard time as actors portraying… that our characters have been fighting with each other. It bother’s us because we want to stop fighting and be friends, so bad.

MICHAEL:

Why the fighting?… for those who don’t know the back-story.

adam-carrie.jpgADAM:

She loves Kyle and has been trying to mend this gap for a long time. What I love is that as Adam, I know Kyle is treating Claire unfairly. Kyle feels overwhelmed by so much, and what I love about episode 12 is that right after his first kiss with Eric, he sees Claire, and his head is swimming. Kyle forgets for a moment that he is mad at her. He is just about to talk to her and say, “The most unbelievable thing happened,” and she had all of his
belonging and hands it to him, and it cuts him off. He then remembers, “Oh, wait! We are fighting.”

MICHAEL:

But to clarify why they are mad at each other… she slept with Kyle’s brother, Leo.

ADAM:

Yes. She slept with Leo, who Kyle had been at odds with since the get-go. Yes, it was a bad move, where Claire was at that time, and Kyle did not consider that. I think, as Eric pointed out to Kyle, he tends to live other people’s lives in his mind before his own. By doing that it seemed bigger than it would to most people. It affected him more than the betrayal really was. I think Kyle is slowly realizing it, as he realizes the most important thing in his own life is his relationship with Eric. Now that he has fallen in love with someone, he realizes how important it is to lives one’s own life.

MICHAEL:

The first part of the two part season finale of “GH: Night Shift” seemed reminiscent of the emotional makeup of the interns on “Grey’s Anatomy”. Especially, where Kyle had to do his job and not go with Eric to Portland. Is Chad not in tonight’s finale?

ADAM:

Chad is not in the final episode. We will, however, be finding out something new about Eric in Portland, and why he is there, and that is all I say. There is a secret about the trials and in his very late involvement in it, and how he got in that will be revealed. Everybody will be very interested to see what happens. It will come out in the season finale. Everybody is in the final episode.

MICHAEL:

Will we need “hankies”?

scorpios.jpgADAM:

I re-watched last week episodes, and I got teary all over again, and it was such a beautiful episode. Not only because of the flashbacks with Kimberly McCullough (Robin) and Tristan Rogers (Robert) and Finola Hughes (Anna)…. and “Oh boy!”
those three together just bring the waterworks! I think you might as well keep the Kleenex handy for this final one! In the first ten minutes, you will know what will happen to Claire, and a doctors’ life will hang in the balance. I think everybody will be pretty surprised to see who that is.

MICHAEL:

What is the production schedule for the cast in shooting a weekly episode?

ADAM:

Every week the entire cast would get together for a table read, and because Sri lives in New York, he would be on speaker phone hearing us all read the dialog. Then we would be on set for that day, and then we would work on wardrobe, etc. I do want to say, there was an on-set acting coach, which is common of soaps, Maria O’Brien, and she is basically there for us to run lines with. As people know, soaps can be one take and you are moving on. Maria was a big part of how many of us flushed out the fine points of our characters. That is what we would do Wednesday, and then we would shoot Thursday and Friday.

MICHAEL:

What was it like working with soap veteran Kathleen Noone, as Kyle and Leo’s mother?

kathleenNoon.jpgADAM:

I would watch her with my mouth agape. The understanding she had of her character, which she had read for the first time, inside and out, was outstanding. She brought it to the set that day; it was a joy to work with someone like that. Also, Ethan Rains who plays my brother Leo, I cannot say, enough about his talent. He had a very challenging role. He had to take a character that had already been established and re-invent it. He brought in this surprising, antagonistic character in to the lives of the other characters. Leo has a lot of love, and Kyle made many mistakes about his brother several times throughout the season, as was revealed. Ethan is a committed actor, who works very hard and makes scenes effortless. So when I got to do a scene with both Ethan and Kathleen Noone, it was a long scene that they did not cut at all.

MICHAEL:

What was her problem with Kyle and Leo? Was it that she could not accept Kyle as gay?

ADAM:

Sort of. I think part of her problem is that she thinks she did not have a problem.

MICHAEL:

That’s it! She was in denial of her own problem!

ADAM:

I have spoken with some gay people whose parents supported them…but was there 100% acceptance? Not necessarily all the time. She likes to say she is for it, but when it comes down to accepting it, she would change the subject.

MICHAEL:

Since you are a straight actor playing a gay role, did you talk to gay men to do research for this role?

chad-girlfriend.jpgADAM:

I did. I have a girlfriend who is an actress and part of our business friends, and wardrobe and hair people on the show are gay. So, I would just start asking the questions I would for any role I was tackling. Part of it was in dealing and addressing things with Kyle, and in regards to a lot of issues, we are similar. So my research was: I asked Chad Allen, “What’s going on in your relationship right now? What was going on when you thought you first knew, or what was it like on your first date? How was it when you first told your parents?” And one of the things Chad said was, “The day you tell your parents is usually one of the things that comes up on your first date with a guy!” I took that, and I filed it away.

MICHAEL:

Chad Allen’s performance has been magnificent. He is just one of those actors that always transport us to feel whatever role he takes on. How was working with him?

ADAM:

It is really indescribable, and he was unbelievable nice.

MICHAEL:

Were you intimated?

ADAM:

I was, for sure. He has been doing this for a long time, and he grew up in this business and he is one of the most talented actors. There was so much chatter between the cast and crew before he arrived, for weeks. When I met him, I gave him a hug and welcomed him to the cast. He sat next to me at the first table read, and every one thereafter. The thing about Chad was him saying, “Why don’t we get some lunch together, and read our scenes.” Though he has done everything you can image, this was one medium that he has not done before. He wanted to get a feel for my work. Chad is hard working and he would say things so real sometimes. So I would have to remind myself, “OK. This is the level it’s going to be at!”

MICHAEL:

Do you still stay in touch?

ADAM:

We text each other on occasion, and I was really looking to seeing him at your event, but he was out of town. He invited me to the premiere of his latest motion picture “Save Me”. It is a remarkable movie, on many levels.

MICHAEL:

Well, Judith Light is my all-time favorite actress, and she is also in the film.

ADAM:

She blew me away in it. She was tremendous. Judith did speak to the audience that was at the premiere “Q&A”. As a Gay Rights supporter, as a filmmaker, and as an actress, she just blew me away when she spoke.

MICHAEL:

How have things changed for you, now that you have done a soap?

ADAM:

It was so exciting to have my dear friend, Mary, be so excited that I was on this soap, which she has followed. One of the big thrills was to take her, and my friend Jenn and her baby, to the set of “GH: Night Shift” and introduce them to some of their favorite actors. So now I am into soaps more than ever. And going to your event, I met soap fans from across the country. When you had the mock “Family Feud” between “GH” and “DAYS”, I felt a brotherhood to the “GH” show, and I was rooting for them. So I felt like I was part of the team.

teamscrubs.jpgMICHAEL:

Speaking of teams, you walked yesterday in AIDS Walk LA with “Team Scrubs”, the “GH” team! How did it go? Who participated?

ADAM:

At the AIDS Walk, it was Kimberly McCullough, Jason Thompson, Carrie
Southworth and myself. We ordered these t-shirts that were great. Carrie and her husband, Coddy, worked on them for us. They were whimsical, scrub-cut light blue and it said, “GH: Night Shift, Fake Doctors Working For Real Results”. “Team Scrubs” was the leading team. We had raised $73,000. It was a 10k and 6.2 miles walk. It was great!

MICHAEL:

If you were writing your character, what would you like to see Kyle go through?

ADAM:

I would like to see him and Eric starting a relationship, a positive relationship, and that he and Claire are roommates for a good amount of time, and focusing on his hospital job. So that would open up some more avenues, and open up some light and fun moments because doing it earlier in the season was just so much fun. Life is half comedy, even in drama.

MICHAEL:

On the radio show I appear on every month, “The Frank DeCaro Show” on Sirius Satellite Radio, a caller told me they did not like the way Kyle kept talking about designing his sofa and what not…. and that he (the caller), as a gay man, thought it was stereotypical. How would you respond to that?

ADAM:

There were a lot of stereotypical things that I avoided and that I spoke to the writer of the webisodes about. Sometimes, they would tend toward a snarky side of Kyle. The writer was fantastic, however. In terms of the designing, the writing could have lended itself to be frustrating, in that sense. The way I approached it, is it’s about his anal retentiveness. He has to be in control. Kyle kept things clean and tidy. His hair was always perfect. His clothes were tight and well kept. I think that was one of the things that bothered him most. He wanted minimalist furniture, nothing showy or and flashy in his home.

MICHAEL:

That’s a good answer-back to them… that it’s the anal retentativeness and his trying to remain in control.

fistifight.jpgADAM:

And also, I understand that it could have been read that way, but that happened after Kyle got into a fistfight. I think you have to unmask stereotypes in characters to unmask some comedy. So they allowed funny moments to happen. As the season progressed the stakes have been raised and raised, and there is no room for the lightheartness. We have all been railroaded into serious circumstances.

MICHAEL:

Tell me a few words about working with Kimberly. Kimberly is….?

ADAM:

Embracing. Takes you under her wing.
Role model. Brilliant. Effortless.

MICHAEL:

Jason Thompson (Patrick)?

ADAM:

Funny. Embracing. Personable. Sort of became a fast fun, and gifted actor, and also subtle and powerful.

MICHAEL:

Was the first kiss hard for you to do between you and Chad Allen? Or was the one that aired in part one of the season finale?

chadKyle1.jpgADAM:

The kiss was something I thought about all season. I was concerned that it be real and beautiful. It was challenging as an actor. I knew after the first couple of episodes with Chad, and then spending time off-set with him running lines, and meeting his partner, I felt it would be a lot easier than I had anticipated. When the moment came, I was proud of myself as an actor. The camera washed away. I could not see anybody except the bed, Eric, not Chad, and the moment, and I was in it. I felt it had the right amount of passion, but love and concern. In the last episode we had another kiss where we decided we would wait for each other, and that was, as an actor, easier that time.

MICHAEL:

What did your family say when you told them you were tackling a gay role?

ADAM:

My mom and my brother are my close family. My mom, and brother, and cousins are so supportive. When I told her during the audition process that the character was gay, I said “I was concerned about the challenge,” and she said, “For playing gay? Adam you know what really bothered me? It’s when you had that guest spot on that show where you played that awful drug dealer! That was horrible!” Everyone in my life said, “Go for it!” and was so happy for me.

bombs.jpgMICHAEL:

In closing, tonight’s “bombs away” season finale of “Night Shift” set the scene for what we can look forward to. One last time…..

ADAM:

…As we saw in the end of the last episode…

MICHAEL:

…And as I got my hankies…

ADAM:

…As did I. Robert Scorpio opened his eyes, and there was an explosion in the dumpsters, and none of us are out of the woods from that, by a long shot. Claire was leaving with her box of stuff and we see each other, and we have lots of relationships to be tied up with bows on it. Things like my character and Chad’s are left open, but for the lead roles and relationships, ribbons will be tied and stories will come to a nice round seasonal ending. And be on the lookout. We are not out of the parking lot yet. That is all I am going to say.

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