If there is a sentimental favorite in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category at this year’s upcoming 41st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards to be held on Sunday June 22nd, it’s General Hospital’s Dominic Zamprogna (Dante Falconeri)! A first time Emmy nominee, Dominic scored a spot in the final five with his touching portrayal of a husband desperately trying to hold on to his wife when things go south after losing custody of the child they thought was their biological daughter. But even more touching is the fact that Dominic’s beloved mother passed away late last year and more than anything, as he shares with us, he would have loved to celebrate this honor of a nomination from his peers with her.
In addition, On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Dominic to get his thoughts on: the Emmy hoopla surrounding his nomination, why he ultimately chose the scenes between he and his on-screen father, Daytime Emmy winner Maurice Benard (Sonny) to go for the gold, how he feels he and Emme Rylan (Lulu) have fared with the fans now that they have gone through an emotional ringer of a storyline, and post Julie Marie Berman’s departure (Ex-Lulu), plus what he would like to see happen for Dante at the PCPD cop shop and more! Here’s Daytime Emmy Nominee … Mr. Z!
So, you are a first-time Daytime Emmy nominee! What do you think about that?
DOMINIC: I feel really good about it. It was funny, because my dad woke me up with a text message two days before the nominations were announced, because a good friend of mine from Hamilton was nominated for a Tony Award. And then the morning of the Daytime Emmy nominations, I am waiting for a text from my dad and it did not come. So I sent him a text like, “Sure. You send me a text for someone else but not your son!” (Laughs) So he goes, “What are you talking about?” He didn’t know.
How did you find out you scored a Supporting Actor nod?
DOMINIC: I found out because my kids are up everyday a 5:30AM and so after I took care of my kids, I knew there was a rumor that the nominations were coming out around 9AM on the east coast. So I checked on Twitter and someone had posted on my feed that I had been nominated. I thought they were confused and talking about the Pre-Nom. (Laughs) Then I followed the Daytime Emmys twitter feed and link, and lo and behold, I was listed there! It was a very ecstatic moment, and then I immediately thought of my mom. I really wish she was here for me to be able to tell her about it. I feel like she has been a part of this whole thing, and win or lose, it’s just great to get the nomination and just happy to be invited to the party.
You submitted the scenes between you and Maurice Benard (Sonny) in the boxing gym as Dante is lamenting over the disintegration of his relationship with Lulu (Emme Rylan). How come you decided to go with those scenes for your Emmy submission?
DOMINIC: My dad really liked those. I never get a phone call from my dad crying because I did something on TV, but with these scenes he did. I figured if it’s good enough for him, then it’s good enough for me.
Those scenes definitely told a story that had a beginning, middle and end to it! Good recipe for an Emmy reel.
DOMINIC: Yes! Dante and Lulu’s marriage is on the outs, and Dante thinks their marriage is kind of over because of what happened to Lulu losing baby Connie in the courts. So he goes to the boxing gym and Sonny walks in. It’s just a nice sequence of scenes with Maurice. What I liked about the episode, which I initially did not realize, was at the end of the show it was not one note. There was a bit of an arc for my character in it. What I liked it about it was in the end of it, Dante walks back into his apartment and says to Lulu, “I want us to try and have another baby.” It was a complete shift from where he was at the start of the episode. When you’re submitting for an Emmy, it’s nice to have material where the character goes on some journey.
One of my favorite scenes of yours from the past Emmy season was when you and Lulu (Emme Rylan) found out in the church via Brad (Parry Shen) that Maxie (Kirsten Storms) and Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) were the bio-parents of then baby Connie. Was there ever a moment were you thought perhaps submitting those moments would be the way to go?
DOMINIC: I looked at those scenes. I enjoyed those scenes and thought everyone was stellar in those. Everyone had such good material with everyone finding out the truth about baby Connie. But the guidance I got in selecting scenes was that the scene with me and Maurice was just a better choice, because there were not a lot of beats in the other scenes where I am waiting around for other people to say something. I was told go with your gut! Lisa LoCicero (Olivia) and Maurice both felt that the boxing gym scenes were stronger. But I did love the scenes in the church, and my wife and I watched those and liked them. My wife said, “You go with either one, really.” But for the Emmys, you almost have to put yourself out there in the best possible way in the shortest amount of time. It’s almost like an actor sending in a demo reel. I think the judges want to be woo’d as quickly as possible.
General Hospital was completely snubbed in the Outstanding Drama Series, Writing and Directing categories! Many felt it had to do with their submission of one of the episodes of the Nurses Ball that cost them a nod; others feel something else might have been at play. Any thoughts on the omissions?
DOMINIC: I think the show is doing well, but this time it was just one of those things that doesn’t go your way. There might be no rhyme or reason. But I don’t watch the other soaps, so I don’t know what’s out there, but you do. I am sure you could see why the other shows were nominated. I am pretty happy and proud of what GH has accomplished in terms of our ratings throughout the year.
Maurice Benard (Sonny) also did some fantastic work this past year and was not nominated in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category. Were you surprised?
DOMINIC: I was surprised! Knowing Maurice, and knowing the material he had been nominated before in the past, I thought for sure he would be nominated this year. I just respect the hell out of anyone who gets in there and plays the truth of real moments and that doesn’t always happen. He is not afraid to go there with anyone. And this is the case where I think someone should get in for an Emmy nomination not for just one scene they did, but for an overall body of work. But that’s not how it works, and I know that.
You are in a very tight race in the Supporting Actor category along with your former GH cast mates Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), and Steve Burton (Ex-Jason, now Dylan Y&R), Scott Clifton (Liam, B&B) and Eric Martsolf (Brady, DAYS)! Do you think you have a shot at the gold?
DOMINIC: By all accounts it sounds like I am very good company. I know for a fact I am in good company with Steve Burton and Bradford Anderson. It’s a very competitive category. When I saw how many pre-nominees there were in my group, I went, “Well that’ friggin great!” (Laughs) Burton has won an Emmy, and Bradford has been nominated at least four times since I have been at GH. Scott Clifton I know has won twice, and Eric Martsolf has never been nominated, either. I am honored to be there with my friends and two other great actors. I have always said that when I am watching the Oscars too! It’s not the road to the Final Four here. People do remember the nominees, and even if they don’t, this is about what you accomplished. I feel like I set that goal for myself, and I have accomplished that goal and that feels like a victory.
Did Emme Rylan (Lulu), and your former on-screen partner Julie Marie Berman (Ex-Lulu), reach out to you after you received your Daytime Emmy nomination?
DOMINIC: Emme texted me. Julie wrote something nice on Twitter like she had witnessed my talent for years and she was happy that I finally got recognition which was cool. Now she could be full of shit completely (laughs), but it’s still nice to hear it.
What did your wife Linda say when she learned of the big news?
DOMINIC: She was pretty stoked and she was half asleep when I told her. She just kind of raised her arm and gave me a high-five! She was super excited though and she knew how important it was to me. In the past, I have not wanted to submit anything for the Emmys because I didn’t feel I had the material for what it takes to get in. But this year I thought I had the material to hang with these guys in my category.
As we have discussed before, Emme Rylan took a lot of heat from fans replacing Julie Marie Berman as Lulu. How do you feel the on-screen pairing is working now between you and Emme?
DOMINIC: I feel the connection with her and it’s a tricky thing. I still feel you can’t erase a four year history. I think a recast is the toughest thing in the world for fans to accept, but I think she is really won a lot people over, especially over the last five months and the way the storyline has been written. I believe that people are really warming up to the new “us”. We have been given more stuff now then I had with the Julie. But now you get fans saying, “Well, why they didn’t do this material when they had Julie?” It is important to remember, and I think a lot of people are still confused as to why Julie is not on the show anymore. Julie left because she wanted to leave. So the show had no choice but to recast. I think the more people realize what went down behind the scenes they come to understand. And Emme is good! She is really, really good. She is not Julie, and Julie is not Emme. I am never, ever going to take anything away from what Julie and I had, or what we went through together in those four years, and how much love the fans gave to us, but Emme and I are pouring our heart and soul into what is happening now.
Also, I would like to see Dante solve a case for the PCPD! What are the chances of that happening? (Laughs)
DOMINIC: I would like to do that! (Laughs) Finola Hughes (Anna) was so funny. Five months ago she was like, “Oh! I think we are going to get some stuff we are going to solve!” And I go, “Hmmm. Maybe…” Then a little time past and we are like: “We don’t get to solve friggin anything!” (Laughs) When I first came on the show I never solved the crime either. It was other cops, etc and Sonny was getting off the hook. I think we do it and don’t look dumb. Finola is such a phenomenal actress. I don’t know how she did not land an Emmy nomination! That does not make any sense to me. The chance to work with her, and to be a part of what she makes real every day at work is amazing. The scenes she had with Jason Thompson (Patrick) and Kathleen Gati (Obrecht) were great, and the stuff with Kimberly McCullough (Robin) of course, all of that was worthy. But I think working with someone like her in solving things give us credibility and we are never going to look like bumbling idiots, as long as she is in control. Finola just commands so much respect as Anna. She is such a strong powerful woman.
Do you think there will be a moment coming when Dante will have to arrest Sonny and throw him behind bars for murdering AJ Quartermaine (Sean Kanan)?
DOMINIC: That remains to be seen. I know after he finds out his mom, Olivia has been cheated on it could lay the groundwork for him. I sort of believe that will be the impetus for us to continue to be odds with each other. I talked to Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and maybe that will happen. I like when they are butting heads when Dante is investigating Sonny. I think there could be potential for Dante arresting Sonny and it would be really interesting to see, because I don’t know how Sonny can get out of it. But there has to be away for him to get out of it … otherwise, they won’t do it! (Laughs)
Maybe Sonny goes to jail and has a claustrophobic attack and Dante gets in there with him, and talks his dad down. How’s that for a story point?
DOMINIC: I don’t want to get in a jail cell with Maurice! I will hang out outside the bars! (Laughs) I will bring him coffee.
Now below watch Dominic’s nominated Emmy reel! Then let us know: what you thought about Dominic’s sentiments on working with Emme Rylan, Julie Marie Berman, Finola Hughes and Maurice Benard? If you are pulling for Dominic to win the Emmy in honor of his mom? If you would like to see Dante put Sonny behind bars for a long time?