Intense, thought-provoking, and an actor with stunning emotional depth, are just some of the adjectives used by soap fans and pundits when they refer to The Young and the Restless resident black sheep of the Newman family, Michael Muhney!
As Adam Newman, who has seen some very dark days, and who has perpetrated some very dark misdeeds to many a resident in Genoa City, Muhney had made the role of Adam one-of-a-kind on the soap landscape. Recently on key episodes, during Y&R’s 40th anniversary just a week and half ago, Adam took a bullet meant for his biggest adversary, his own father Victor (Eric Braeden)! Now as he attempts to recover from the horrific chain of events, has it changed the way father/son will see each other moving forward?
And if that is not enough drama and tension to fill the room, Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) is pregnant with Adam’s baby! Will Adam finally know the truth that he is the baby daddy? And, then there’s complicated relationship between Adam and Sharon Newman. (Sharon Case) Does Sharon have Adam’s heart? To try to find out the answers to these questions, we caught up with Michael Muhney at Y&R’s 40th anniversary on set celebration at CBS last week, to get his take on the latest developments in Mr. Adam’s life!
What did you think when you found that Adam was going to get shot and jump in front of a bullet meant for his father Victor?
MICHAEL: Oh, I knew about this for many, many months. I was excited about it, but I was more excited to see what people’s reactions would be than concerned with my own reaction, knowing the construct of where it was going to go, and what it’s going to lead to moving forword. I thought, what a great catalyst to setting in the biggest game-changer of all, between the dynamics of a lot of the inter-relationships of the Newman family.
In a recent On-Air On-Soaps interview with Y&R head writer Josh Griffith, and executive producer Jill Farren Phelps, Josh revealed that when he took over the writing chores he thought that one of the characters that needed to be reset was Adam. And, that in recent times, Adam had gotten away from the central core of who he is. Would you agree with that?
MICHAEL: It’s an interesting way to look at it, that Adam is being reset. And, I do agree with them, but I think Bill Bell Sr. (Creator, Y&R) never intended a Newman to go in the direction that Adam did go. What he would have wanted was to bring Adam back in and reset a couple of situations. It was Bill’s idea of this child born on-screen decades ago. People have told me there was a method to his madness. There is a reason that he was being named Victor Jr., so he can grow up far away from Genoa City and then come back.
Daytime fans always take note of your incredibly deep and complex performances. Do you feel that the role of Adam is one of those roles that comes around once in a lifetime for an actor?
MICHAEL: I take what I do very seriously and I have tremendously large shoes to fill, with what my character was ever intended to be, what is being reset, where it’s all headed, and what’s in store. Adam the character is such a catalytic, driving, central character… and he is Victor 2.0! I purposely say that because he is not a Victor Jr. incarnation. He is not “Jr.” who is under a shadow. He is a different twist with an upgraded version. He is not exactly the same, but very similar. But when Bill Bell constructed this, I am the lucky sonofabitch that happened to fall into that role, and get my hands dirty with it now, because where it sits … the sky is truly the limit!
The big debate: Which woman does Adam truly love? Is it Sharon? Or, is it Chelsea? I don’t even know anymore! (Laughs)
MICHAEL: I don’t have a political answer. I like listening to you have an argument about it with yourself right now. I am finding that the rhetoric is: “No, it’s Sharon!” “No, it’s Chelsea.” “No, it’s neither.” “No, and it’s someone he has yet to meet.” “No, it’s someone from his past!” It’s this back and forth. And if anyone has noticed since I have been on the show, I like to play as much ambiguity in scenes as possible, because then you keep the audience guessing. And, because we work in a medium where it’s not 22 episodes a year but 250, the show doesn’t have a closure. It’s in a constant state of falling forward. The more ambiguous it is, it leaves hints at things, and you can keep an audience rooting for one direction, or questioning another direction, and thinking, “Could it be this?” So I know where things are headed, obviously. I know where Adam will be in six months and in twelve months, but I can’t play that, and I can’t tell you. (Laughs)
So you would say down the line, there is going to continue to be riveting story for Adam?
MICHAEL: Adam is going to go on a journey of self that I am not even sure he is aware he is going on. It’s not this quest that he is going to look inside of himself. There is no introspection. Adam is the kind of guy who has resolved certain things. The seeds have already been planted over a month ago when Adam said to Sharon, “Maybe, I am just not cut out for love. Maybe, it’s not meant for some people.” So maybe Adam emotionally shuts off and builds up walls, because he is truly that army of one. Adam knows the one constant in his life is just him. In some ways, he is so broken and so lost. Adam is enough of an intellectual, and he is cerebral, so he is not an idiot like other characters can be who keep beating their heads against a wall and keeps trying the same thing. The definition of insanity is doing the same over and over again, and expecting a different result. So for Adam it’s: “I need to stop attempting to do something, because I am not going to get a different result. It’s going to be the same thing. So why don’t I just stop? It’s madness, and I will just build a wall.” But what happens when you have a character like this in drama that builds emotional walls … then it becomes so compelling to watch!
What will Adam do if he learns he is to be a father? Would he embrace and love his child?
MICHAEL: You have to figure that inevitably Adam will find out, and when/if that happens, does it turn his world upside down? I think Adam truly has a ‘circle the wagons’ kind of mentality. If there is trouble on the horizon, in a moment of panic and instinct and tragedy, and someone pulls a gun on his father, Adam thrusts himself in front of his dad. So you have to imagine if Adam had a child? He would be like, “Get behind me, kid. All the rest of the world, getaway!” That protectiveness, and the power of love, is going to be awesome!
So Y&R fans, what do you think about Adam taking a bullet for Victor? Do you think long term this will change their relationship? Who is the women for Adam? Sharon or Chelsea? Do you think Adam would be a good father to his child? Let us know your thoughts!