July 15th, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The Rick Hearst Interview – The Bold and the Beautiful

rickMain.jpg

Three-time Daytime Emmy winner, Rick Hearst, has had a tumultuous few months, but now has landed squarely on his two feet. This Friday, July 17th, Rick returns to the role of PR Wiz, Whip Jones, on CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful, a character he last portrayed in 2002. As soap fans know, Rick was dumped to recurring status by his former show, General Hospital, where he played bad-boy Ric Lansing, the brother of Sonny Corinthos. After years of heavy story, Ric Lansing’s story stalled and the actor found himself in a precarious situation. With talks that Rick could bolt and go back to his old stomping ground, Guiding Light, where he played Alan-Michael before the show ends its CBS run, it was “B&B’s” head honcho (executive producer and head writer) Brad Bell, that lured Rick back to the fictional soap fashion world with one memorable phone call.

Now, with an exciting return and a new lease on his soap life, Rick Hearst is ready to stir up things at Forrester’s competing fashion house, Jackie M. In this candid interview, the talented Hearst tells On-Air On-Soaps that this time it’s a wide-open field romantically, for “B&B’s” Whip. (He was last wed to Brooke) This actor will certainly be the straw that stirs the drink upon his return to one of CBS’s top rated soaps. Here’s Rick.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Let’s go back to the beginning. We all know you were put on recurring status at General Hospital. Then how did the opportunity to come back to The Bold and the Beautiful happen?

RICK:

It kind of came out of nowhere. I had been placed on recurring status, and I had become a gun for hire at that point. I was two weeks on recurring status, and sitting here in my house on a day off and the phone rings. My wife answers it, and she is talking for a while, and I hear her say, “Brad, blah, blah, Brad.” I went, “Who’s Brad?” That’s it! I’m done! She has finally found somebody better. Oh, God! I get put on recurring status with General Hospital and it’s done. (He laughs) All joking aside, she comes down the stairs and she goes, “Honey, its Brad Bell.” So, it completely took me off my feet. I took the phone and said, “Brad¸ how are you? You know what I love about you? Here you come from a family of soap royalty. Here you come from a place where your father was mentored by Irna Phillips, and you guys have set the standard and the model for daytime. You would think you would be the most unapproachable person in the entire daytime world, and in television in general, and here you are calling me at my house. You are a class act, you know that?” So he goes, “So Rick, how are you?” We picked up where we left off and it was so great. Brad always kept me in mind, and we had always seen each other at the Emmy awards. The cool thing was that we kept in contact. He said, “I had heard you had been let out of your contract by “GH” and I just wanted you to know that I’ve been thinking about the character and bringing Whip back!” Brad then says to me, “We can even change his name!” I said, “No, Brad, its fine. Whip…Whipple… please. My name could be ‘Mud’ for all I care.” (He laughs)

bradmain.jpgMICHAEL:

What is the origin of the very unique and distinctive first name, Whipple?

rickWhip.jpgRICK:

From what I understand, it goes back years ago. The name Whipple came from a good friend of Brad’s, who he grew up with. I have never in my life known anyone named Whipple. I think it must be a name from a higher upbringing, and look, I am from Queens! (He laughs) “Whipple Jones” I used to laugh about it. I would say to Brad, “Whipple is such a unique name. What is his last name?” Brad would go, “Jones”, and I go, “Not Smith, not Johnson,” and I laughed. Out of respect for Brad, I said, “fine.” The character was so interesting back then in 2002, I knew it could only go up from there.

MICHAEL:

You were under utilized as Ric Lansing over the past year on “GH”, which left many fans disgruntled. Do you believe they just did not care about the character anymore?

RICK:

I don’t think there is a decision where it comes across in a writer’s mind at the production offices at “GH” where they say, “Let’s not come up with story for him.” It’s just sometimes you hit a wall and sometimes you don’t have a vision for a specific character the way the character had been utilized, and the focus is now somewhere else. I don’t fault Bob Guza (head writer, “GH”) for that. It’s the way it is. I am not in charge, and I am not steering the ship. There are so many avenues where I could have seen Ric going, but that was not really in their mind’s eye at this particularly point in time. Who knows how the world works? Who knew I would play six and half years on “GH” and then it would come to this point and time. Who knew that Brad Bell would think, “You know that character we started with Rick Hearst, we should really take some place.” Who knew the stars aligned and it was time it needed to happen?” I never look at things with animosity because it just gets you nowhere. I miss my “GH” family very much.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of your former “GH” family, what did they say when you said you were going to go back and revisit Whip on “B&B”?

sonnyRick.jpgRICK:

Truthfully, I would venture to say the majority of the cast and the production crew was thrilled for me. They were crazy about it and they were glad I was going to a place where I could be utilized fully. Had this not come about, would I have stayed on “GH” and on recurring status, and played the story that they provided, which I could help unfold? Absolutely, but then again, I was looking for other creative venues at the same time.

MICHAEL:

Were you ever going to entertain the thought of going back to Guiding Light to play Alan-Michael, for the end of its run?

RICK:

There was talk, actually, just as soon as this came about. Barbara Bloom, Senior Vice President of CBS Daytime and my agent were speaking about it. They were trying to come up with a plan for me to go back there for a four to six month stint before the cancellation came about. I would have loved to have done that, but at the same time it was finite, but I would love to have wrapped that up. It was such a great part of my family’s life and I grew up there as an actor.

rickEmmy.jpgMICHAEL:

And, you won your first Emmy!

RICK:

Yes, my first Emmy! It was the beginning of so many wonderful things in my life and it’s so sad to see it go. It’s sad to see it happen to the daytime community, and it takes vision. When you see decline in your world, whether it be professional or personal, and the conviction of what it can be, you try to go forward and it can be tough. But, I think we still have it in the networks and in daytime for those people who have the strength of character, and the strength of their own vision and their audience, to stay with it.

MICHAEL:

You exited “GH” last month, by Ric Lansing getting into an elevator- Sayonara!

RICK:

I shuffle off to Buffalo, and the door has been left open for Ric. I think this is a great time for me to be back on “B&B”, the canvas has shifted a bit. There are some great new people for me to work with. There is vibrancy in the cast, and not a lot of people have left the cast since I was here last time around.

MICHAEL:

Tell me about Whip Jones? I see him as a smarmy PR guy.

RICK:

He is a smarmy PR guy, and an opportunist. He does not try to get under your skin; he just calls it like he sees it, and he makes no excuses for himself. Is he out to hurt anybody? Absolutely not. He can be wildly bombastic and visionary in his own right, but he is a guy who knows how to pull the reigns back.

rickBlack.jpgMICHAEL:

I want to know why you are so good at playing these kinds of guys.

RICK:

People exist in their own world and from their perspectives, given what they have been through in their own lives and their circumstances. These guys say the things you wish you could say. I describe this guy at this point as the Ari Gold of the fashion world. I so respect Jeremy Piven of Entourage. Here is a guy who has taken an agent, who for a lot of us in the industry seem to be sometimes the slimiest people in life, but at the same time you have to look at the person behind it. He plays a guy who, regardless of anything, he cares and he loves his client. His methods may be off-center but he makes no excuses for it. Ultimately, it’s for the betterment of himself and his client. I look at Whip much the same way. He is looking to reap the benefits of what he is laying out there for his client.

MICHAEL:

Whip is being brought back into the show by Stephanie, correct?

RICK:

Yes. He is being brought in by Stephanie, who hadn’t decided whether she liked him or hated him, but she knew he was very effective with what he did. Now, Stephanie is over at Jackie M. Whip has been talked up by Stephanie, and he has hit the skids and needs a job like many people in this economy. Whip had gone through Forrester International and done very well. From what I surmise of the history, he had a falling out and got too big for his britches. He thought, “I want to do something more with PR and take it to the next level.” Whip knew that Forrester was very much a family company and they had their method of doing things. So, he goes to work for some other small independent fashion houses, and maybe they weren’t established enough, and maybe he left on his own accord from those two places. There is something that is burning inside of the guy to make him come back to Los Angeles. He knows he can’t go back to the Forresters, because he knows there is too much under the bridge there. Brooke is still there. He still has this thing in his heart for her and maybe he wasn’t able to put that completely to bed.

heatherTom.jpgMICHAEL:

Do you think they will rekindle Brooke and Whip? Because Heather Tom (Katie), told me in a recent interview, she would love to have the opportunity for Katie and Whip to mix it up.

RICK:

It would be fantastic! I will be honest with you; the canvas is wide open for him this time. It would take a lot for Whip to really go forward and allow himself to get involved in a situation where ultimately he could lose out to Ridge.

MICHAEL:

Anybody who comes on the show could eventually lose out to Ridge, in regards to Brooke.

RICK:

Right. It’s like with “GH”, if you are going to go up against Sonny Corinthos you are going to lose. If you want to find a way to exist in that environment, that’s great. In regards to Brooke and Whip, if she would turn around and say, “Hey, I made a mistake,” Whip would probably jump in a second. That being said, I am in agreement with Heather Tom. I so respect her as an actress. She is a phenomenally talented girl and a stunning looking girl. So, absolutely Katie, and Lesli Kay as Felicia, and there are so many ladies on the show!

MICHAEL:

Brad Bell told me to expect more comedy at Jackie M.

jackiem.jpgRICK:

Yes, and I am thrilled it’s more light-hearted stuff. I literally said, “If it’s cute and peppy for awhile, that’s great.” People have to get to know this guy again. If you bring Whip in with ulterior motives and what not, you will push the audience away. Brad is very smart that way. We want to see that Whip is a fun-loving guy and irreverent. Do you want to smack him someday? Sure. That is better than hating his guts. He is more the guy in the room who gets to say what he wants and gets away with it. That’s entertaining. I want this audience to feel that kind of love for him in the way that you would rather pinch his cheeks and smack him in the face for doing what he is doing, than want him dead. That’s the difference I see between Whip and the character of Ric Lansing. I was a bit concerned about that. I literally left one job and went to another in less than 24 hours. I was saying, “Goodbye” as Ric Lansing and saying, “Hello” as Whipple Jones III, closing the elevator door in Port Charles, and opening the door at Jackie M in LA. It’s comedy from the first time you see me. I was thankful when I opened that door. I literally said, “Please God. Do not let me open this door as Ric Lansing. Let me open this door as Whipple Jones III.”

sarahRick.jpgMICHAEL:

Speaking of your exit from Port Charles, many felt there was a missed opportunity between you and Sarah Brown (Claudia) on “GH,” as a couple. How did you feel about that?

RICK:

Sarah has always got her game, and I love and respect her so much. I will miss her and I think it was a missed opportunity that didn’t happen. There was not enough vision with the people that make the decisions to make their relationship go forward.

MICHAEL:

Where are your three Daytime Emmys?

RICK:

My Emmys are up on one shelf. My trifecta. I used to not predominately display them until a friend told me they were collecting dust, and I needed to have them in the front of the house. So now, thanks to my friend, I have my Emmys displayed with my son’s awards, and with my wife’s awards. They are now all together as everyone walks in our house, for everyone to say, “This family’s accomplishments are all even.” My son’s award for Best Supporting Actor within his theatre and school is just as predominately displayed as my Emmy, and so is my wife’s Best Choreography awards. My youngest son’s awards are there, too.

rickPortrait.jpgMICHAEL:

In closing, what can we look forward to from the return of Whip Jones on “B&B”?

RICK:

He will shock and amaze and awe-inspire. And whether you love em or you hate em, he is always going to be in your face, and don’t ever second-guess what he is ever going to do.

  1. kim says:

    I just read that B&B put Rick on recurring status, I was’t crazy about GH decsion to place him on recurring status and was equally as to see that B&B has followed suit I mean to waste a talent like Rick! what’s the soap world coming to. Since Guza out (GH) and there’s a change in the wind with S/L’s at GH is it possible that Rick will play Ric again? Just quoting the new head writer on board at GH (sorry can’t remember his name) “sometimes they come back” well I hope Rick Hearst is a comback player with a better S/L.

    Reply

  2. kim says:

    I just read that B&B put Rick on recurring status, I wasn’t crazy about GH’s decision to place him on recurring status and was equally sad to see that B&B has followed suit I mean to waste a talent like Rick! what’s the soap world coming to. Since Guza’s out (GH) and there’s a change in the wind with S/L’s at GH is it possible that Rick will play Ric again? Just quoting the new head writer on board at GH (sorry can’t remember his name) “sometimes they come back” well I hope Rick Hearst is a comback player with a better S/L. Repost edited

    Reply

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