July 27th, 2010  |  Leave a comment

The Chad Duell Interview – General Hospital

© JPI Studios

If anyone had a trial by fire on daytime television it had to be young actor Chad Duell, of General Hospital. The circumstances surrounding his debut on soaps were shrouded in shock and controversy.  It came at a time when the character of Michael Corinthos III was front and center in the most major of soap plots…a murder trial.  While fans were hanging on to the edge of their seats, waiting for Michael to have his day in court on the witness stand to either fess up for the murder and get his father Sonny exonerated from charges, or have an emotional meltdown… behind the scenes the show decided to ax Daytime Emmy nominee, Drew Garrett, in the role of Michael, and do a switcheroo and bring in Duell.

With a resume that concerned some, from his roles on Disney kids shows, such as The Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite Life of Deck, which was a far cry from Michael Corinthos, Duell had a lot to prove.  And this past April, when he emerged on to the Port Charles canvas, he had the daunting task of not only winning over the fans, but also gaining the respect of the cast which features some of the most heavy hitting power performers ever seen in the genre at one time!

But, there was more in store for Duell and Michael.  After his debut, and winning over his cast mates, and with his character being sent to lock-up, GH head writer Bob Guza created a situation that has become one of the hot button topics on daytime, and the Internet.  Was Michael raped in prison, or was he not?  And, in his first interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Chad gives his side of the “rape” story,
and addresses the fears, emotions, and ups and downs of taking over this key role
from another actor, and now how it all is seemingly coming together for him.
I caught up with Chad on Saturday at his first ever GH Fan Club Weekend shortly
before he was going to meet the fans, and here is what he had to say!

MICHAEL:

Chad, you came onto General Hospital in the role of Michael Corinthos, in the most pivotal and emotional part of his storyline, something that no actor would ever choose to do.  But, from what I have heard from your cast mates, you stepped in and did an incredible job of learning something like 50-60 pages your first day!  Then, you had to deliver a knockout performance on the stand in the Claudia Zacchara murder trial in the middle of this huge story.  The pressure and the awkwardness of it all must have been staggering for you!

CHAD:

Courtesy/ABC

To be honest, I remember looking at that script ahead of time, and I was scared.  I was still in the beginning stages of being on GH and getting to know my character, and I was nervous and freaked out. Truth be told, I was not at my best when I first started.  I was just trying to fathom everything.  So it freaked me out!  And when I was up there in front of the cast and on the stand, and got it over with, I was like, “Oh, my God.  Thank God.” I had a breakthrough of what I was capable of, and there is still a lot more I have to prove in the future on the show, but it was freaky.  Yet, it was so great to get it and have it under my belt and do well at it, because I was terrified when I first read it.  I am just glad I was able to do it, and do it decently well.

MICHAEL:

I felt so bad for you walking into this situation.  All your cast mates told me they were supportive of you, because they would not want to have to be in your situation.  In fact, I remember Carolyn Hennesy (Diane) telling me on one of our On-Air On-Soaps Podcast, that she told you something to the affect of, “Kid, you’ve got a free pass for a month.  Just learn everyone’s name and where everything is located, because we all know how daunting this situation can be!”

CHAD:

Yes, I had so much support, and especially from Steve Burton (Jason), as he worked with me on scenes and stuff.  I would not have been able to start doing well if it wasn’t for him.  He still helps me, but not as much, since I am more comfortable.  Steve is fantastic, and he is one of my best friends here at General Hospital.   He is like an older brother to me. 

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

So you’re playing thee Maurice’s Benard’s (Sonny) son on the show.  How is Maurice with you, and how was it getting to know him through this casting shift scenario?

CHAD:

I know because of who left and who I replaced, Drew Garrett, that Maurice was very keen on him.  He was kind of down in the dumps after he left, and I know that.  But, now we are good friends.  After I did the courtroom scenes, he saw what I could do to a degree, and we started talking more. We talk about sports all the time with each other now, and Maurice is really cool and awesome.  At first, I was giving him a little space, but now we have become much closer.

MICHAEL:

Is this true, that you did audition for the role of Michael Corinthos originally when it came up, and you were the other choice for the powers-that-be, to be cast in the role of Michael?

CHAD:

I was pretty sure it was between me and a few others for the role of Michael when I auditioned for it originally.  But this time…it’s pretty cool how it came around full circle and I got the part.  The second time I came in to audition for a different role, and they liked me enough to make me Michael instead.  So, that is what happened.  It was pretty crazy.  It was a role they put on the shelves and decided to scrap, and they decided to make me “Michael” instead. That role was for Kristina’s love interest which was pretty funny because now I play her brother!

MICHAEL:

What do you think you’re bringing to the role of Michael, as opposed to Drew’s, version of Michael?

CHAD:

© JPI Studios

The last thing I want to do is emulate someone else, and Drew Garrett is a fantastic actor. I am just saying, the worst thing for me is to come in and do the same thing.  I see Michael as a disturbed individual.  He has brain trauma, and if people saw what I, as Michael, almost did to Warren Bauer on last week’s episode, which was almost kill him, you know that.  He snaps, but it builds up.  Michael bottles it up.  He tries not to show people his anger.  If he were to show people his anger, maybe what happened to him in prison would be more revealed to everyone.  I am trying to show the heart, soul, and sensitivity of Michael and the struggle that he is going through, more so than him being kind of an ‘in your face attacking’ kind of a person.

MICHAEL:

You have this fantastic role that many young actors would only dream to get the opportunity to play.  I mean, first Michael murdered Claudia, and we will learn somewhere down the line if he indeed was raped in prison, or not.  What do you think about that, when GH head writer Bob Guza said, “Chad, this is how we may write this… that Michael was raped.”

CHAD:

Well, that remains to be seen.   Here is what they let me do… they let me play it like I feel it happened.  So right now that is what I am doing.  I am playing it how I feel it happened.  Bob Guza did not say one-way or the other.  He did say to me, “You can play it”.  And that is awesome to do and hear as an actor.  I am just playing it a certain way, and so they are going to make a choice out of it from that. 

MICHAEL:

So, you have formulated in your own mind, what you would have liked to have happened to your on-screen alter-ego?

CHAD:

What I would have liked to have happened to Michael?  Yes, I know what I would have liked.  And, I have a pretty good idea what happened as far as how I am playing it, and of course, it is not good.  You saw the effects it had on Michael.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

I have a whole other theory!  It could be something else.  I have an idea, which I am not divulging either!

CHAD:

(Laughs) It definitely could be something else. And as with any attack, or anything in prison, something happened to Michael.

MICHAEL:

But, we do know for sure that Michael was 100% attacked from the bruises on his body, right?  Jason took him for an HIV test, too.

CHAD:

Yes.  He had bruises on his face and on his body.  So you know something happened, and Jason took him for a blood test to check for HIV to make sure nothing happened to him with that.  Jason wanted to be sure.  What really happened will be revealed perhaps soon.  But, Bob Guza said, “It might be awhile.”  It might be five months for all I know!  It’s a challenge for me not to reveal too much in my performance, and that is what Michael would do, too. He would not want to reveal too much.

MICHAEL:

If he was raped, that would be so difficult for any soap character to have to be dealing with, without letting anyone know or help him.

CHAD:

If that were going to happen, it would be a struggle to tell it.  And to have it be told to all the people in Michael’s life, would be so emotionally difficult, and such a struggle for him.  If that was out there, I think Michael would feel even more shut off from everybody because they know your little secret.  But again, that is not for sure what happened, but I do like that people are having their own takes and perceptions on it.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Laura Wright (Carly), and you are so fantastic together as mother and son.  The scene where she comes to see you before you get carted away to prison was so sad and touching.  She is a great actress to play with.  How is working with Laura?

CHAD:

Laura Wright is amazing, how she can just hit emotions on a dime and be in scenes so quickly.  As for me, it takes me a bit.  I have to take myself to a certain place in my mind, but she is fantastic.  Laura is a great person and she has been helping me out, which I am totally for.  I want everyone in the cast to help me out with scenes and information.  It really helps me learn.  I asked Laura, “Anything you see, just let me know,” and she does. 

MICHAEL:

How are family members in your own life or friends, feeling about you being on GH?  What do they say to you?  Do they go, “Oh, my God?  Don’t wear your hair like that!” You know what I mean?  Mom’s say certain things to their acting children, as opposed to what friends might say or notice of your work.

CHAD:

My mom is a hair- dresser (Laughs) and she lives in Arizona.  My first day of shooting, my hair looked ridiculous and she saw it.  I did not notice it, but I had this poofy hair with this squiggle going down the center, and yeah, I thought it looked ridiculous!  So she talked about that, and I got it cut the very next day.  But, my friends are very supportive. They watch the show and they think it’s crazy, but in a good way. They are like, “Yeah, Chad. You paid your dues, and it’s good for you to have a little break like this.”  It’s been a struggle getting close to parts on shows as an actor, and then it gets taken away.   They are all happy that I was able to make that breakthrough!

MICHAEL:

© JPI Studios

What is the relationship between Michael and Kristina, really?  I mean, for all intent and purposes they are half-brother and half-sister.

CHAD:

I have a little sister in real life. And Michael and Kristina… well, their age difference is not too much.  I feel like she is a 7-year-old and Michael wants to be that protector for Kristina!  He feels very strong and loving of her, because she has been through a lot as well, and making sure that she is the best person that she can be. The last thing Michael wants is for her to turn out like him.  He wants Kristina to keep her head at a level playing field as much as possible.

MICHAEL:

Will there be a love interest for Michael?

CHAD:

Yes, I think I will be reading with her, or the girls up for the role, soon.

MICHAEL:

Do you want to play a romantic story, since Michael gets so many other less soapy types of story?  Would you prefer just to stick to all the drama instead of the soap couple formula?

CHAD:

I don’t mind.  I am sure there will be drama in any relationship Michael has with a girl, because Michael still will have a struggle.  With a girlfriend, it will be difficult perhaps for him to be physical with a girl, or even be affectionate with a woman. That is going to be a constant struggle after struggle as an actor, and for Michael, which is going to be nice to chomp into, because why else are we doing this? (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Last question, do you feel the fans are warming up to you? There had been such a groundswell of support for Drew on Twitter and message boards and online once he was let-go, plus he already had a huge fan base.  Has anyone said something really harsh to you?

CHAD:

Literally, everyone I have talked to has been consistently positive, but at first, I completely understood.  I was freaking out.  I wasn’t in many scenes and I was just trying to fathom it.  So, the first several weeks the fans were saying and feeling, “Oh, God. Please no.”  But now they are all staunchly supportive of me.  I greatly appreciate it.  And I do hope they stay supportive, because I am going to do my best as an actor to make Michael a very enjoyable character to watch.

  1. Kathleen says:

    Awesome interview. I will admit it took me a little while to warm up to Chad’s portrayal of Michael but I have warmed up to him and he is doing an amazing job.

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Dear Kathleen
    he did great job

    Reply

  2. Peyton says:

    Chad is great in the role of Michael on Gh. I visit the boards a lot and fans have really warmed to him ! Personally I think he is great and would have loved to have him for a brother!

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    that is right I like that

    Reply

  3. Dan says:

    I was admittedly very skeptical of Chad when he took over, because I thought Drew Garrett had done such a fantastic job, and I didn’t agree with the way GH dumped him the way they did. And I still don’t. But to Chad’s credit, he came in, and did a phenomenal job with all the court room stuff, the jail scenes and all that, and he’s won me over. I look forward to watching him continue to grow as an actor. He seems like a really humble, down to earth kid. Great interview, Michael!

    Reply

    jean miller replied

    What the old ugly gay guy?

    Reply

    Dan replied

    Huh? I have no clue what you’re talking about.

    kara anderson replied

    he is not ugly and he is not gay

    Kara Anderson replied

    Me either

    kara anderson replied

    You are wrong Michael is not ugly you are

    kara anderson replied

    he is awsome young men

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Good interview on michael

    Reply

  4. BelleTreasures says:

    I admit I too was sceptical at first but I really like him and I love his portrayal of Michael.

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Dear Belle Treasures
    Why are you talk back to Michael

    Reply

  5. kathy says:

    I must admit, I like everyone else was super bummed when Drew was replaced. I was screaming at the tv and having an emotional break down but I was always willing to give Chad a chance. It didn’t take long for me to enjoy watching him. I love the way he portrays Michael. Very loving and somewhat sensitive. I really hope they keep Chad for a long time. Great interview. This boy needs a website=)

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    that is right I hope he is I what to check it out

    Reply

  6. Carolyn Vogel says:

    Chad is doing a great job… I look forward to seeing him on GH for a long time..

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Me too

    Reply

  7. waldo doe says:

    I was also skeptical at first, but now I’m like ” Drew who? ” He really has made the role his own. For someone so young, I am amazed at how talented he is, I mean really.

    Reply

    jean miller replied

    I HATE him!! HATE him HATE! and have stopped watching GH over this. HATE HIM..

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Dear Jean miller
    why you say that I like him why you hate michael tell me that now

    kara anderson replied

    He is so cute as Drew Garrett is

    Reply

  8. Doe says:

    I like Chad in this role. He is more mature and has a sensitivity to him that makes him appealing. Drew was very commendable in the role, but I’m really liking Chad’s acting, especially with his loyalty to his family.He is very protective of his siblings.The relationship with Jason during his prison stay and now with Jason revealing that he knows something happened to him and helping Michael find a way to cope with that and to move on with his life. So they become closer because of this secret. Jason has always been the one who looked after Michael. I love seeing that… Chad is very smart and was a great Interview. Another good one, Michael………

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Dear Doe

    I know he is awsome person and great interview with him

    Reply

  9. reeblite says:

    chad, you give michael a quiet steadfast that drew garrett lacked in his portrayal of michael, which the fans are eating up. just wonderful, understated, less is more, acting. thank you for sharing your talent. you’ve got the “it”factor to be a major hollywood star. keep your acting the way you’re doing it now. it’s perfection.

    Reply

    reeblite replied

    i enjoy the michael/kristina scenes especially.

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    They are Brother/ Sister

  10. Chad Fan says:

    This was a great interview. I became a huge Chad fan after watching him in the prison storyline. He brings a refreshing maturity to the role. I liked Drew Garrett as well, he was very intense–but his Michael was still very much a hot-headed teenager. As Steve Burton has said, Chad brings a vulnerability to the role which makes Michael a character one can sympathize and connect with. Clearly that is intentional on Chad’s part, since he wants to show Michael’s “heart.” Overall, I prefer watching Chad’s mature, subtle, performance.

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Dear Chad Fan

    Steve Burton and Drew Garrett I what them be Father/ son

    Reply

  11. convert says:

    I slammed Chad on some other message boards (Wizard’s of Waverly Place??) , and he started shaky but I have come to really see Chad as Michael and I think he is good.

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Dear Convert

    That is so awful i will not to trust me like that anymore

    Reply

  12. amy W. says:

    I didn’t like him at first but I saw him on Wizards of Waverly Place rerun and right there my attitude changed about him replacing Drew. I like him alot more.

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    Dear Amy W.
    he is so good on the disney channel show and on General Hospital

    Reply

  13. Jessica says:

    Chad is a great actor. I love the Dante/Michael and MIchael/Kristina scenes.

    Reply

    kara anderson replied

    I Adore Dante with michael I what them be brothers
    and Michael / Kristina they are brother and sister

    Reply

  14. kara anderson says:

    I like this site so much

    Reply

  15. Molly says:

    I love Chad Duell as Michael and have from the beginning…I did not like Drew Garrett in the role at all~he was just angry all the time~no depth, no sensitivity…two of the many qualities Chad Duell brings to the roll. This new storyline, with Abby, is so poignent and sweet~the merging of two bruised souls.

    Reply

  16. Ashley says:

    I absolutely have to confess that I don’t miss the old Michael….at all.
    Chad does such an amazing job. Period.
    I’ll also admit that I even began watching General Hospital again purely because I thought Chad was pretty hot…
    Phahaha.
    And then I realized, he’s an amazing actor.
    GO CHAD <3

    Reply

  17. Tess says:

    Chad’s portrayal of Michael is wonderful. I
    find myself glued to my seat
    when he is in a scene. He
    has depth of character, and
    his anguish over what happened
    to h

    Reply

  18. Tess says:

    His anguish over his prison assault was
    riveting. I could barely
    breathe while watching
    him. He is much easier to
    sympathize with than the
    previous actor

    Reply

  19. sophie says:

    he is my brother

    Reply

  20. Linda says:

    I have liked Chad in the role of Michael from minute one, while I miss him and Starr together for the moment Chad is the one I am a fan of so I can endure it until she comes back.

    Reply

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