As Prospect Park has been assembling the cast for the revival of All My Children, there has been one man who fans have asked for the most, while wanting to know if he is coming back to Pine Valley as Tad Martin. Of course, we can only be talking about the beloved Michael E. Knight. Over the last few days in the soap press, Michael revealed that for now, he will not be joining the cast when the series begins production in less than two weeks time in their new studios in Connecticut. But, that he is not, ‘saying no” to returning at some point in the future, either!
On-Air On-Soaps reached out to Michael to get more insight and to go a little more in depth at his decision and the factors he considered in making it. From what we can surmise, and you will too, Michael thought long and hard about what was the best way to proceed if he were to slip into the shoes of Tad Martin once again, that would enable him to be true to himself, true to the character, and his fans, that he loves with all his heart.
Michael, how did you come to the conclusion for now, that you will wait it out a bit before considering a return to All My Children 2.0?
MICHAEL: Truth is, I am still smarting a bit from the dents I got on the fender the last time around, and that is the very human truth. There is no disrespect intended to the audience, or to the people running the show, because I think if this show stands a chance, it is because of those people in the studio in Connecticut! They are so good at what they do in a medium that is unbelievably unforgiving. I am very proud of the people who work on AMC. God bless them that are at the helm now, and for Prospect Park who had the vision to do what they are doing, and the courage. The answer is not set in stone yet. I am immensely proud of what I have done with Tad. I always joke he is the better part of me. If the door is still open, you bet your ass, Tad is going to come back to Pine Valley, it’s just not now. The lessons I have learned over the last few years have taught me the hard way not to jump as quickly without considering how I am in my own life.
When you talk about the lessons you have learned, and at times the way past AMC regimes, to many observers, have depreciated the value of the character of Tad, do you in reality feel that you have done everything you could have possibly wanted to do with Tad? Therefore, that may have influenced your decision to wait to sign on with Prospect Park’s AMC?
MICHAEL: Everything in life I have learned about myself, I have learned in concert with All My Children, and all of the changes it has been through, and all of the changes the industry has been through. One of the humbling things I learned about being identified on a soap (after working the last five years for people who really didn’t necessarily get it), is that there are just so many stories that I can tell, and after that, I become an addendum and it becomes a paycheck. I had already on All My Children: come back from the dead, played twins, had amnesia, and been shot. As Tad, I have been married six times – three times to a woman who I adore as an actress and a friend – and she herself came back form the dead twice! In other words, as a performer, I lost a lot of faith in my ability over the last few years, because I was given to understand that I was a tolerated legacy and I can’t blame them for feeling that way. The machine is what it is. There are just so many stories that a character can tell, and then they are there simply to let people know where they are. One of the very dramatic changes I have had in moving to Los Angeles and reclaiming my life is; how do I feel about being an actor? How do I feel about doing what I have done for 35 years? Is it really worth it to do this anymore? This business can be crazy. And the decision I came to is …“I really still like this.” I love being a storyteller!
What I think is exciting about Prospect Park’s All My Children is that it is whole new playing field, and a whole new ball game. Don’t you think with Ginger Smith (executive producer, ANC) and Agnes Nixon (creator, AMC) being involved, they can make Tad relevant in story again? And the opportunity you would have to work again with some of your very close colleagues?
MICHAEL: I think the saving grace is … that I would get to stand shoulder to shoulder with people like Debbi Morgan (Angie) and Darnell Williams (Jesse), Thorsten Kaye (Zach), Jill Larson (Opal), Cady McClain (Dixie) and Lindsay Hartley (Cara)! I have so much love for these people as performers and colleagues. The only thing that keeps a human relevant on a soap opera canvas is something a little extra, and a little special. I think if I had a place on the canvas, it’s because there are people like Debbi and Darnell. I look at them and I melt. Debbi Morgan is one of the best actresses I ever met, let alone worked with. There is such love and acceptance, and a relationship there that has grown steadily over three decades! But in terms of making Tad relevant, I would hope so. If it happens it would only be because people like Ginger Smith and Agnes Nixon are there and part of this reboot.
What would happen if you don’t go ever go back, and the series wants to bring in another actor to assume the role of Tad Martin? Would you be OK with that?
MICHAEL: Absolutely! I would never fault the choices of the people who have the responsibility of delivering to an audience that is worth solid gold. If they need the character to make it work, I can’t fault them. I am making a very myopic decision. I am aware of that, but right now, it’s for the moment.
So soapers, how would you feel if they recast the iconic role of Tad Martin? After reading this interview, do you come to understand how Michael arrived at his decision to take a pause before reconsidering joining AMC in the future? Let us know your thoughts!