What a week this has been for Jonathan Jackson! First, the already four-time Daytime Emmy winner gets nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his role as Lucky Spencer on General Hospital when the 39th Daytime Emmy nominations were announced on Wednesday. Then Friday, his primetime soap pilot, Nashville, gets picked up and is going to series and will premiere this fall on ABC! Nashville stars Jackson along with a stellar cast of Connie Britton, Powers Boothe, Eric Close, and Hayden Panettiere! And to top it off, he celebrated his birthday yesterday! Lots of great gifts we would say, for probably one of the finest actors to ever grace the soap opera genre.
Jonathan Jackson’s work on GH in 2011 was transcendent. Storyline after storyline he delivered in spectacular fashion; acting acrobatics and realism, and such emotional depth to the life of Lucky Spencer that we the viewers cried right along with him. If any nominee up for this year’s Daytime Emmy had a banner year, it was Jackson.
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with the talented young star to get his take on all the good fortune and great news!
Jonathan, here we are again! Congratulations on your Daytime Emmy nomination, in a year when you delivered one powerhouse performance after another, after another! How do you feel about the nod this time around?
JONATHAN: It is pretty cool! I am thrilled and very thankful. Each year has its own unique set of circumstances. I am excited for all the nominees as well, and especially the GH family.
In my mind, you had a bunch of episodes to choose from. It was almost an embarrassment of riches, but all of the performances were knockouts! Which episode did you go with for the Emmys, and why?
JONATHAN: There was a lot from the amount of storylines and episodes, and from the intensity of what they asked me to do. It was way more than usual in terms of serious choices to look at. But, I ended up going with the episode at the Haunted Star where Lucky told Luke that he was the driver who hit Jake. It was when Lucky was asking him how much he had been drinking. And, there were six or seven scenes with Tony Geary (Luke) and I. There were a lot of different shows to look at, but that particular one just was a really special show for me and for Tony, as well. Something just happened when we were doing those scenes, so that is why I went with that. It just seemed like a complete show, with a beginning, middle and end to it.
You had so many great moments on GH last year, but I think my favorite was your scenes in Luke’s intervention. Was that in the running as one of the final choices?
JONATHAN: I did consider it, absolutely! There was Luke’s intervention, the material with Tony when Luke was at the Bordello, and the episodes with Jake dying. There was also Lucky getting drugged up for two days. I mean, there were so many, it was literally like there were a lot of different options. The intervention was really powerful and that was another one of those moments I will cherish with Tony. But in terms of an entire episode, this one that I chose had the same quality as the intervention, but it has six or seven scenes in it, as opposed to the one big scene in the intervention.
How did you find out you got nominated?
JONATHAN: I got a text from a friend, but really did not make much of it, and fell back asleep. But then my kids came in and told me, “Congratulations”. I guess they had talked to someone and found out. And so I found out from them, which was cool, and really sweet.
Did you and Tony Geary contact each other on Emmy Nomination day and offer each other congrats?
JONATHAN: We did not speak in person, but we did leave each other messages. But I was super excited for him. And like I was saying, this last year on the show really meant a lot because of the amount of stuff he and I got to do together. It was something we had been talking about during the years I had been away from GH … that we wanted to work with each other again and do some great work. That is one of the reasons it is so special. I feel I did honor what I wanted to do with Tony, by picking this episode for Emmy contention.
I spoke with the fantastic Jason Thompson (Patrick) your co-nominee from GH. He said, “Listen, I am going to take out all the supporting guys from GH before the Emmy ceremonies!” (Laughs) He also gave you praise when he said he had an episode that he liked of his work, when Patrick was in scenes with Lucky when Jake died. However, since you were in it and doing such incredible work, he wouldn’t submit it! (Laughs)
JONATHAN: (Laughs) I love Jason. I think he is an incredible actor and I was really excited for him to get his nomination.
You have been very busy since you left GH. You landed Nashville, which was just greenlighted by ABC to go to series this fall! Did you get the break you wanted from GH, with all the emotional sturm and drang of the day in and day out of playing Lucky Spencer?
JONATHAN: Well, I have been working really hard on my band, Enation, and I have been doing quite a few writing projects and also Nashville. It’s been pretty busy, but it’s been a different kind of busy than GH, which I think was healthy. The GH grind, mentally and emotionally, got too intense there. It’s been great now. I feel like I have a whole other part of my brain available for my kids and for other projects.
The big question is, now that Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati are steering the ship at GH, would you consider a return to the series?
JONATHAN: I have been staying in touch with GH. There is always a possibility to come back and do some more work there in the future. I just love everybody there.
Tell me about Nashville! Fans will not only get to see you act in the new primetime series, but sing as well?
JONATHAN: Yeah, the character is a singer/songwriter. I am so glad it got picked up and it’s really exciting! It’s an amazing group of people. Callie Khouri is the writer, and R J. Cutler is a wonderful director to work with. He really has a passion for the characters and the show. We are combining some amazing music in the Nashville scene with really great story and character-driven drama. It just has a very authentic feel to it, and I think they are committed to making a very high quality show.
Is the character you play on Nashville, Avery, a good guy or a bad guy? Or, we don’t know yet?
JONATHAN: That is the one of the good things about the way that Callie developed the characters. And that is that there really aren’t too many black and white characters of good guys and bad guys. There are people who make bad choices, and more troubled people who end up making really good choices. I think that as the show progresses it will keep the audience guessing, and keep them interested as to who these people are. My character is a little bit of a narcissist, but I would not say he is a bad guy. I would say he is a little troubled and sort of arrogant on the surface. However, I think there is a lot of depth to him and a lot to explore with the character.
One of your long-time co-stars, Becky Herbst (Elizabeth), got nominated for Supporting Actress for her work in Jake’s death. I am very thrilled for her.
JONATHAN: Oh me, too! I am so excited about that! She did some incredible work. I am grateful that she got recognized for it.
So Jonathan, you could win your fifth Daytime Emmy. Do you have a mantle to hold all of this gold? When you look at the trophies, what does it mean for you?
JONATHAN: It’s pretty crazy! (Laughs) I guess for me, they all follow memories I had with amazing people. Like last year’s Emmy and submission, it was the stuff with Becky Herbst and Tyler Christopher (Ex- Nikolas). That holds a very special place in my heart. Acting is a team sport. So when any of us gets recognized, we can only give credit to the people that we worked with … and I have worked with some incredible people!