After finding much success on primetime (Supernatural, How to Get Away with Murder and soon, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders), General Hospital landed heartthrob Matt Cohen to play the hospital’s latest neurosurgeon, Dr. Griffin Munro. Only as viewers witnessed during the death of Carlos Rivera (Jeffrey Vincent Parise), Dr. Munro had a secret! He can also administer last rites to the dying. That’s right! Dr. Munro is also ‘Father’ Munro, and was revealed to be a priest!
But those were just the beginning bombshells for the GH audience, and Griffin himself. After taking his new job at GH, Griffin was keeping his eye on Anna Devane (Finola Hughes). He eventually revealed to her that he is the biological son of the late Duke Lavery. Thus, the two have formed an unbreakable bond. Then, we learned via back-story, Griffin was shot while making love to Claudette West (Bree Williamson) – a woman he was having an affair with while in the priesthood – by Nathan (Ryan Paevey) who was Claudette’s husband. After that secret was kept under wraps by Griffin, it exploded when Claudette showed up in Port Charles, with her seeming intent to break-up Nathan’s relationship with Maxie (Kirsten Storm), and get him back in her clutches. But what Claudette didn’t know was that the other man she loved, Griffin, was also in Port Charles. As her manipulations continue, it’s been a twisty road to figure out … just what are her true intentions?
This week on GH, after Claudette claimed she has a daughter named “Charlotte”, both Nathan and Griffin waited with baited breath to find out what the DNA test concluded as to who is the true baby daddy! After it was revealed that it’s Nathan’s, Griffin was devastated! But have the results been tampered with … and the little girl is really the doctor/priest’s? In another wrinkle to this, Claudette shared with Nathan that she needs protection from another man, none other than the evil Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart)! So the foundation is set for a paternity pickle, relationship drama, and more! On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Matt Cohen to get his take on everything going down in Griffin’s world, and more, and here’s what he had shared.
Did you know from the beginning of your run on GH that you would eventually be revealed as a doctor/priest?
MATT: That’s an interesting question. During the testing process it was a more vague character. It wasn’t until I got to GH and landed the part that I said to our EP, Frank Valentini, “Who is this guy?” He made a mention of the priest thing, but at the time, I didn’t think too much of it. I knew Griffin was a neurosurgeon, who has some darkness in his past, and who was hiding something. But the priest part of it snuck right up on me, and became very real! (Laughs) It’s so funny, because some of my buddies who are in the industry are like, “You … a priest? You …a neurosurgeon?” I am like, “Hey man, we are pretending to be characters, and we are trying to bring them to life through this vessel, so why can’t I be the young cool priest and young neurosurgeon? It almost sickens me this character (laughs) is such an over-achiever. I look at myself, and I go, “Now, what have I done today?” (Laughs) Griffin wants to help people in these two different ways, and in Matt Cohen’s back-story for Griffin, I play that he has hurt some people, and so for him to justify that, I think he went to the church to try to help people. That’s where I chose to stem a lot of his actions from.
So does Griffin, truly, deeply, madly love Claudette?
MATT: He loved Claudette from the deepest part of his heart. I am not a 100% sure of what took him away, but he was pulled by his calling of the church, and wanting to be a priest. But, I think there may be something with Griffin’s biological mother that we may not know about. When he met Claudette, she came to Griffin because she was having trouble in her marriage, and she was feeling neglected, and alone, and broken. She was in search of something, and how can you not fall in love with, or help, a person like that? If you don’t, you’re missing part of your humanity, whether you are a real person, or an actor playing a role, when someone comes to you genuinely for help you do want to help them. And when somebody gets better, and appreciates your help in some way, you can easily fall in love with a person. Man or woman, partner or not partner, you can fall in love with someone in other ways than, “Ah, sweep me off my feet! Let’s go make love somewhere.” Now, it was boy meets girl, and that simple, “Wow, you’re eye-catching, and so are you eye-catching”, and one thing led to the next! I do think Claudette spent a lot of time at the church, and she was there every Sunday. (Laughs) There is something about broken, we like to fix in people. I think a lot of people have that, and it’s a weird disease in a way. A perfect person is less interesting than someone who has something going on.
Do you feel Griffin’s need to help people is something you relate to in your own life?
MATT: At the end of the day, that is something I can relate to with him, not on-screen, but off-screen. Everything we do is taking up time in our life, whether it is about money, politics, or what not. We have the stuff to help each other, and that’s what it’s about in our country. It’s not about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump; it’s that we need to fix ourselves. You and I need to look at each other and have a human moment. I think that is the thing that I grab on to with Griffin; he wants to fix things with these people and fix himself, and in turn it can be a big love-fest, but it’s daytime television so it has to be dramatic, because that’s him. That’s his heart and soul. He is a conflicted man, and he wants to help people.
What did you think of the reveal scene where Nathan learned it was Griffin who was the man he shot, while Griffin was in the throes of passion with his wife, Claudette?
MATT: I thought it was great, and what needed to happen, needed to happen. Nathan got a little aggressive with Nathan in one of the scenes, and it was justifiable. Griffin got shot, and luckily didn’t die. It is a colorful situation.
You and Ryan Paevey had quite the on-camera altercation when Nathan puts two and two together! How was that to shoot?
MATT: We had a great time shooting that, and I thought Ryan did a stupendous job. I think some of the best work I have seen from Ryan was when he confronted Griffin, the man who he shot. And, Nathan becomes quite conflicted himself as we have seen, and in the time we live in now, it’s a very valid storyline. It’s very physical, and I enjoy that kind of stuff, and we may have broken a painting, and we tried are hardest to mess up the set a little bit (Laughs). It was really fun, and Frank Valentini and the writers are making something really juicy with this storyline, now that it’s out in the open.
What does he think of Claudette, and her treacherous and deceitful behavior?
MATT: I think Griffin thinks Claudette is self-serving, and when she has to make a decision for herself, or somebody else, she tends to lean to making a decision for herself. Is that a broken mechanism inside her? Maybe it is. But I think he stills see her in the past, a bit. Because for him, his relationship with her was the realest moment he has experienced in his mind, heart, and soul. BUT, she is crazy! But, can he work with that?
You come from such an extensive primetime TV background. How has it been for you taking on the pace, and the challenge of working on a daytime drama series?
MATT: It’s been interesting and fun, and I never know where my character is going to go next, or what Frank is going to throw my way. But, I love how fast this show moves, and I love how fast things change. It has been an exciting experience for me being here at GH.
You have some fantastic GH co-stars to work off of. Tell me your thoughts on working with Bree Williamson?
MATT: It has been absolutely fabulous. Bree is an amazing human being, and actress. She brings out a side of Griffin that nobody else really gets to see. So it’s nice having her there, and she is a positive addition to Griffin’s storyline, for sure. I can say this as Matt Cohen speaking of Bree: she is beautiful, and immensely talented, and we share a lot of the same things in life. Bree has a son, and a husband she loves, and we both try to eat healthy and take care of ourselves, but as a firecracker in Claudette, I can only be so lucky to put Griffin in front of that. I am taking notes from her in every scene … she is that good!
How about fan favorite Kirsten Storms as Maxie?
MATT: Kirsten is fantastic. Her spunk is always there. She brings her daughter Harper with her to work, who is the spitting image of her, who is this piece of perfection and she is great.
And then there is your on-screen romantic rival, Ryan Paevey! Thoughts?
MATT: He’s a bro … he’s a dude’s dude, and he likes to workout. We are the same age but I’m married, and if I wasn’t married Ryan and I would be that dynamic dangerous duo going out together and having a good time, but my world is with my one-year-old right now. It’s important to tuck both my wife and my son into bed at night.
In story, when Claudette first comes to Griffin and tells him that he may be the father of her daughter, Charlotte, what is going through his mind?
MATT: I think Claudette thinks Griffin is the father, and to speak as a human, to think that you are the father, or the mother of a child is a life-changing experience. So, I think when he finds out that it is not his daughter, it was quite shocking to him, and it’s a big curveball in your life … all of a sudden you think you have a baby, and then you don’t have a baby. I think it’s definitely going to shake Griffin’s foundation a little bit.
The DNA test results (if we are to believe them) show that Nathan is the father.
MATT: Yes, but you never know with Claudette if she is lying or telling the truth, or which is a fabrication of which.
Do you think Griffin will just accept the paternity results?
MATT: Yes, I think he pretty much believes its Nathan’s child, but at one point I believe Claudette tries to convince Griffin to care for this child, even though it is Nathan’s child. And Griffin being the guy that he is, he wants to anyway possible. So that gets dicey, also.
How were you playing Griffin’s initial reaction running into Claudette all these years later, after everything that happened between them?
MATT: He is consumed when he first sees Claudette. He is pissed off, and broken, and he hates her. In that scene, I tried to play every emotion in it. Griffin is thinking I want to just embrace you, but I don’t want you to touch me. It’s a loaded moment, and Frank wanted it that way, and I hope it played to the audience that way.
Griffin is also reeling, and devastated that Julian Jerome (William deVry) was acquitted of all charges, including the murder of his father, Duke! Will we see Griffin seek revenge on Julian?
MATT: Griffin is torn up about that. A man that has done so much wrong is getting away unscathed, and there is that revenge factor there. However, Griffin coming from his priest background, revenge is not really an option, but forgiveness is the only option for Griffin. It’s just one of those things where he has to find a way to deal with it and accept it, or move on, and try to forget about it.
Griffin just presided over Sabrina’s (Teresa Castillo) funeral service. Is he now doing priestly duties whenever he can in Port Charles? (Laughs)
MATT: I think I am there, and capable, and educated enough to perform both roles as Griffin, so I think I am just weaving my ways into other storylines. I think it makes sense for the priest, or the ex-priest, to be the one to do it, but yeah, I am not going to say he is back at the church, because he is not. He is on leave, but that does not mean he doesn’t still practice and believe, and do all the things as a functioning priest.
Finola Hughes (Anna) has just returned to GH! Will we see you and Finola forge more of your on-screen relationship?
MATT: Finola is back, and in the middle of everything once again! And, oh yes, we are quite a lot in each other’s orbit. Finola was one of the people I had good chemistry with straight off from the screen test. I think Frank Valentini saw that, and the storyline has been evolving. Finola had been away on vacation a little bit. But now Anna and Griffin are right back at it.
I think the on-screen relationship between Griffin and Anna is a very special one.
MATT: I agree. I really enjoying Finola, she is a lovely woman, and a fantastic actress, and she makes me up my game. I love her to pieces.
Does Griffin have any idea that the man behind bars that Claudette is scared of is Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart)?
MATT: No, not yet. The story that Griffin knows right now is that Claudette is in Port Charles, and there is suddenly this child in the picture, and she is not being quite clear, or 100% honest in anything she says.
So if Griffin was the father to a little girl, do you think he would be a good dad?
MATT: Absolutely! That is not a common occurrence really for a priest, but I am sure it does happen, but it’s something that would play a huge role in his life. And Griffin being the caring person that he is, he would definitely step-up and fill that position, and attempt to give the child the best life possible. That’s the hope, right? Griffin is a guy who tries to see the best in people, and I would hope he would try to teach that to his child as well.
Griffin and Maxie had a close moment together yet again, while Nathan and Claudette spent time chatting about the DNA results that say Nathan is her baby’s father. Are Griffin and Maxie perhaps inching closer to each other?
MATT: Realistically, on television anything is possible, however realistically where the story is now, I don’t see that happening. But then again, I don’t see it not happening. Griffin is such a compassionate person that I can see him, if he allows himself to step away from the church enough to be in a relationship. I don’t think there are any lines on the show where he will, or won’t, end up in terms of a love interest, or a short-term hook-up, or whatever it may be. Crossing the barrier of sacred vows for Griffin is a bigger thing, or when that comes into play, because he is constantly denying himself, and constantly feeling conflicted between what he wants to feel and what he actually feels. But it is a four-way triangle of chaos! I think Griffin finds Maxie beautiful, and untouchable, because he has made that mistake before, but I will be 100% honest with you, I don’t know much more than the audience of what the end game is for these four characters Maxie/Nathan/Claudette/Griffin. I am slightly ahead of them, but could it be …Griffin and Nathan? Maxie and Claudette? How about that!
Would that be the ultimate shocker! (Laughs)
MATT: He steps away from the church to have a partner he never thought he’d have, and it’s the man who shot him, of all things? It would be fantastic! (Laughs) But seriously, there are so many open tentacles, and GH is this octopus.
Is Griffin a hard role to play when you are this priest who has this moral compass, while some of the other roles in your career have been more outgoing, or more sexual, that now you are playing more-reserved on-screen?
MATT: Yeah, it is extremely difficult: number one to play a neurosurgeon, and then to play a priest. You have to take all those things into account, no matter what line I need to deliver. I have to look at it from two vantage points, and I have decide which one I am going to go with: the more by the book doctor version, or by the belief system of Griffin the priest, or is it Griffin pre-both of those things? It takes a great deal of work to not just show up, and spit out a bunch of religious, or doctor dialog. It can all lead me in several different directions, for sure.
You have also been shooting your upcoming recurring role on CBS’ Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. How has it been working on that and GH simultaneously?
MATT: I just finished shooting my second episode. We fit it in whenever we can with the busy GH schedule, obviously, which is picking up intensely at this point.
From social media posts, and your personal appearances that I have seen you promote, you do motivational speaking, of sorts. Is that a potential long term career path?
MATT: Well, I do it at a lot of these fan conventions for Supernatural, and fans will come up to me, and unleash some inner feelings, and share them with me. I can’t help but try to scoop them off the ground, and help them try to make a change in their life. But throughout this, I have also been able to help myself. I was a person who suffered with depression for about ten dark years in my teens and early 20s, which included: thoughts of suicide, running away, or looking for a way to be something somewhere else where nobody knew me. It wasn’t the answer, but I needed to come to Hollywood, and leave my life in Florida and figure it out this way. Acting has given me the opportunity to shed emotions of all sorts, and help people, and it’s given me a voice. It might seem strange, and hard to believe, but I was a shy kid in my high school years. I was a popular guy, because I did what the popular kids did, but I hated the old version of me. I have to say, I was a bully – but not in a physical way, but the cool kids looking back on it were, and I am not like that now. I am the anti-bully, if anything. Don’t get caught bullying someone in front of me, because you will not get away with that. I became a motivational person to some people, and so I can’t stop it now. So I use my Instagram daily to share something that motivates me, and my hash tag is #YOU. I had no followers on Instagram, and one day I posted something that inspired me, and I said, “This is for #you, Matt.” Think about this when your day gets difficult, #you matter, #you can get through this, and it just became what it is. I want to inspire people, and if it makes me not depressed to help you through your problems, why would I not spend hours doing that?
Many fans recognize you from your role on How to Get Away with Murder, as well as Supernatural!
MATT: Some of the best experiences I had were on How to Get Away with Murder. And at the time I was shooting that, my son was 5 and half months old, and not sleeping. So I would be doing night shoots with Alfred Enoch (Wes Gibbins, HTGAWM) and I was also recurring at the time on Supernatural, and it was just me and “Alfy” in these nighttime scenes. He would see how wrecked I was, but I was playing a pivotal character on a nighttime show, and I didn’t want to screw it up. That show is a beautiful thing, and I love what Shonda Rhimes (Creator, HTGAWM) is doing. You want to talk diversity? Shonda is doing it. She is making it happen!
Has your wife, actress Mandy Musgrave, checked you out on GH yet?
MATT: She hasn’t, and has not seen the kissing scenes, and typically she likes to watch my work. Right now, she doesn’t. That is only because of my one-year-old is doing things like peeing on the floor in the corner. It’s parents being parents to a one-year-old, and it’s a wild ride. You want to be there every minute, but you just can’t.
When do you fit in your workouts between taping two shows, and being a new dad?
MATT: Whenever I can! I have days off here and there. I recently bought a house up in Santa Clarita where we had been doing a lot of construction on it. I was wheel barrowing rocks the other day. I wanted to step a little bit a way from Hollywood for where I live, but I love what I get to do in the acting profession.
So, if you were to tease your GH fans of what is to come for Griffin, what would you tell them?
MATT: I think Griffin is going to fulfill all the shoes necessary to be the man that he believes in. Look forward to everything Griffin, everything Claudette, and everything between those two.
So, do you think that Griffin will ultimately be proved to be the biological father to Claudette’s daughter? Will Griffin enter into a romantic entanglement with Claudette, Maxie or someone else? What do you think about Griffin’s relationship with Anna? Do you like the GH made Matt Cohen’s character both a doctor and a priest? Share your thoughts on the interview and Matt’s thoughts on a myriad of subjects in the comment section below!