As Adam Newman has only allowed a select few to know that he is alive and well with a new face and a new identify, the black sheep of Genoa City’s most prominent family continues to weave, worm, and fight to regain the life he had, and even to seek revenge on those who wronged him, while trying to avoid prison time for the hit and run that claimed the life of little Delia Abbott. Playing this kind of character is an actor’s dream and needs to be in the hands of someone more than just capable who can bring all the subtle complexities, the dark troubled soul, and the soap romance to the role. Justin Hartley is that such actor and more, who has delivered stirring performances since taking over the integral character on the number one daytime drama series.
On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Justin at the recent CBS TCA Summer Party 2015, our first chitchat since our video interview together earlier this year back in February. Hartley weighed-in on: his thoughts on the major scenes that aired this summer where Chelsea learned that Gabriel is actually Adam, where he sees the relationship between Jack and Adam, now that the character has done some pretty-underhanded maneuvers to his buddy, if he would like to see the truth revealed to everyone in Genoa City that Gabriel is Adam, and his thoughts on the complex relationships between Adam and his father Victor, and with Sage, and more. Here’s what Justin shared.
Back in July, Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) learned the truth, that Gabriel is really her believed-to-be-dead husband Adam Newman. The performances by you and Melissa Claire Egan were so riveting, moving, subtle, and yet heart-wrenching. What did you think about the scenes when you watched them back? Did you walk away from those pivotal scenes thinking you hit all the right beats?
JUSTIN: We pulled it off, which I am thrilled about. You want to reach people … that is the idea. It doesn’t matter what time you are on television. You want people to cry with you, and root for you. Missy is easy to work with. She makes all of our scenes better, and I thought she was fantastic. I did watch those scenes back, and I loved them. It’s hard for me to judge my own work, but I was happy with it. I believed it. You watch and you go. “That’s good. I believe that guy is in love with her.” It was heartbreaking and it was well-written. I thought the scenes were shot well and tonally it played right. I was very proud of them.
What was also amusing was that after disclosing to Chelsea that he is Adam, next thing you know while he is interim CEO running the company from out from under Victor, he is talking down to the employees, and restructuring everyone’s job duties: Abby (Melissa Ordway), Billy (Burgess Jenkins), Victoria (Amelia Heinle), Neil (Kristoff St. John), etc. Did you have a good laugh when performing those scenes with your co-stars?
JUSTIN: My thing is: I’m surrounded by so many talented people that have sharp, sharp memories. And you can change things, and they will come right along with you and they will play, and they are not afraid to lose. I love these people. Kristoff St. John is not afraid to lose, and I love that about him. He’s an actor’s actor. I have to go, “Well, in this scene I am going to try and annihilate the guy.” He understands that it is actually a win – the story wins – when you do that. Kristoff is great. Peter Bergman (Jack) is the same way, and no one is afraid to be the loser in a scene, and that is wonderful.
Adam and Jack’s relationship has been truly tested. Adam has capitalized on Jack’s misfortune, and has also pretended to his biological-son. Where do you see things headed between them in the future?
JUSTIN: Jack understands Adam, and they are cut from the same cloth. Adam truly does believe that his heart is in the right place and he sort of steps in his own way a lot. Jack understands it. He has been in some tight situations himself, and so there is some compassion there. Jack sees how much Adam loves this woman and how he is trying to start a family, but he knows what a bastard Adam’s father is too! Jack has had to deal with Victor most of his life, so he sympathizes with that.
Sage (Kelly Sullivan) is getting ready to marry Nick (Joshua Morrow), but of course, she had slept with Adam, and she is pregnant. And Sage could also spill the beans at anytime and blow Adam’s cover to the rest of the world sky high! Would you like to have more scenes between Sage and Adam?
JUSTIN: I miss working with Kelly Sullivan. She is fun. I love her. On set those two characters – Sage and Adam – drive each other insane. I hope we will get to continue working together. I think one of the great parts about playing the character of Adam is that I get to work with pretty much everybody. It’s such a great character, and through the character I get to have a different relationship with every single person, and they are all like Adam’s little pawns. But then Adam realizes he is actually the pawn, but he always realizes it to late, and then it starts over. I love that dynamic where Adam always thinks he is a step ahead, even when he’s not. Sometime’s he is, sometimes he’s not, but he always thinks that he is, and that always gets him in trouble. I also love the humor they let me bring to him. My whole thing is … this guy has a second lease on life. He should be dead. So, he’s a little bit more appreciative of things, and maybe less cynical, and he has got a genuine sort of humor to him. He understands things a bit differently than he did before. I think the charm of Adam comes through.
Are you waiting for the day when more key characters find out the truth that Gabriel is really Adam Newman, especially the Newman clan? When his identify is finally and completely out in the open?
JUSTIN: I don’t want to be ever relaxed in this role. I will say this: I am looking forward to playing whatever brings the most drama to my character and to the town of Genoa City. I would steer that way. However much hell Adam can raise is the direction that I want to go.
Recently, in a knee-jerk Adam type reaction, he decides to kidnap his son Connor and run away with him … for a millisecond! (Laughs)
JUSTIN: Well, you know. C’mon! It was a minute. We all do things under duress! (Laughs) It’s how you handle the losses that matters, not whether you win or lose. (Laughs) So, he brought Connor back. It’s his kid! Adam just took him around the block went to the mall, the mall was closed, and he took the kid back home. (Laughs)
Victor and Adam’s relationship is so fraught with deep, emotional wounds and familial drama. Are you looking forward to having more scenes with Eric Braeden (Victor), where you can really dig into this father/son relationship?
JUSTIN: I get a kick out of firing him up! I enjoy that. People always talk about how much Adam hates Victor and the hate that they have towards each other, but I say … Adam loves him. Adam loves his dad so much, and that is where this comes from. If Adam didn’t care about Victor, he wouldn’t care what Victor thought of him. Then there is this massive, massive fear that is weighing on Adam. He sees his father, and he has so many problems with him. One being he thinks was never good enough in his father’s eyes. We all know relationships like that, or maybe we are in them. It’s a horrible, horrible position to be in. Now, Adam has his own son, and it’s this fear that he has got that he may end up this same sort of way. Everyone else tells him, “You’re just like you’re father.” And it’s like, “Wait a minute, am I? Am I going to have the same sort of relationship with my son that I have with my father?” Adam doesn’t want that to happen, and so he is going to fight against that. Adam loves his son, but I think that when people tell you over and over again, “This is who you are,” you start to think, “Maybe this is who I am and I can’t get away from it.” He’s going to do everything he can to get away from that, and in turn, this is what causes all of the turmoil and the drama. Adam oversteps way too often, but with reason.
November Sweeps will be upon us soon enough. I am assuming somehow Adam will be a part of it?
JUSTIN: Yeah, it’s big. It’s good, tune-in. I will be a part of it … as far as I know. (Laughs) I think you will enjoy it. Yes, you will!
Would you like to see the truth about Adam finally be revealed to everyone in Genoa City? Are you enjoying Justin’s portrayal of the black sheep of the Newman clan
What do you think will happen between Sage and Adam? Will Chelsea and Adam’s deep love for each other conquer all? Share your comments below!