August 14th, 2008  |  Leave a comment

THE CHRISTIAN LEBLANC INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

By Michael Fairman

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TV SOAP:

You have great story coming up! It seems it took awhile for this all to come to fruition, wouldn’t you say?

CHRISTIAN:

I have great story, with Lowell being my father. It was yes, no, then yes, no, then yes. When you look at it, it’s kind of interesting how the writers did it

TV SOAP:

So, you are glad that the show picked this point in time to unravel the story?

CHRISTIAN:

I did not want the story to go right away. We had the whole Tom Fisher thing, and a lot of men in Gloria’s life at the time. I liked the timing of this to clear the decks and you then have the right moment. I know they were going to go with it. They kept me busy, and I was lighter in story than I am usually, but I used that to my advantage.


TV SOAP:

There was this recent tease where Michael visited the jail where the “supposed” Lowell was being housed, but it turned out he was an imposter.

CHRISTIAN:

They changed identities, and Lauren, Paul and I have been piecing this together, and it was a red herring moment. I rarely harass the writers, but I called Maria Arena Bell (co-head writer, “Y&R”) and told her that this really pushed me to the edge of my skill level! These were some interesting scenes and the degree of difficulty was high.

TV SOAP:

Like getting an 8.3 from the judges?

CHRISTIAN:

Yeah, and you kill for that kind of thing! But, they are scary and intimating all at the same time. You want to be better, so you find a better tennis player.

TV SOAP:

The caliber of your performances is always top notch. Do you rehearse as much as you would like?

CHRISTIAN:

I actually would like to do many more takes then we are allowed to, because I find new stuff to play. You get used to the system. You have to make a choice and commit to it with very little prep time.

TV SOAP:

To recap for Australian fans, why is Michael so into searching for his real father?

CHRISTIAN:

I think it all started when he had Fen. It keys it off for a lot of fathers. This is a man who went to prison. He went to therapy to change his dark ways. He was a violent man and he claimed he never had a family. Then his family shows up and then you find out why he denied his family for so long. Michael is somebody who denied his brother’s pain, but he feels responsible for it. When you have a child, you are responsible for that child. Michael has Lauren to help him discover these things.

TV SOAP

What does Michael hope to achieve when finding his father?

CHRISTIAN:

I think he wanted to be a whole person and have a point of reference. You have a whole picture, and even if it’s a bad father you get it. It’s thinking this guy will come save us one day. This goes all the way back to when I would write letters to this man thinking Gloria was mailing them, and realizing she never mailed them. She kept them just to keep this fantasy. That’s where the push-pull comes, and as long as you don’t know its fantasy, but it’s very specific things happening. I find it with adopted people. It’s an interesting dynamic. I need to know, genetically. I am a huge genealogy freak in real life. That’s what I love about Michael. He is so complex, and it isn’t any push over to be him. The easy part is just to be myself, and the writers have stayed true to his character. You want to stay true to his dark side and his humanness, and it’s good and evil. You can reform yourself, but you cannot deny your history.


TV SOAPS:

Will the revelation of meeting the real Lowell Baldwin, played by Michael Gross do you think Michael will flip back to his dark side?

CHRISTIAN:

I don’t know if it will be his downfall or not, because Lowell is such an unexpected character, and it certainly pushes all those buttons again….

TV SOAP:

….Will we have sympathy for Lowell? I think so.

CHRISTIAN:

I think so too, and a good actor does that and Michael Gross was wonderful.

TV SOAP:

Do you think they will keep the story going and play this out, and keep Lowell on as part of the Genoa City canvas, after this initial shocker?

CHRISTIAN:

I think so. You don’t get Michael Gross just to toss him out for a day. It’s not worth his time. They will have a lot of work for him, which I am very happy about and he could not have been a nicer man, it’s so easy and that’s his professionalism. It’s a cast of thousands, one take… fast, fast, fast. It can scare anybody, but he was right there with it.

TV SOAP:

Do you think they will keep the story going and keep Lowell on as part of the Genoa City canvas, after this initial shocker?

CHRISTIAN:

I think they will. You don’t get Michael Gross just to toss him out for a day. It’s not worth his time. They will have a lot of work for him, and he could not have been a nicer man.

TV SOAP:

So, is Kevin and Jana’s wedding a huge disaster?

CHRISTIAN:

It is an amazing, amazing. It’s an amazing series of shows.

TV SOAP:

Were you in the audition process when they were casting Michael Gross as your on-screen dad, Lowell?

CHRISTIAN:
No. That poor man just got thrown into the Baldwin’s and this huge cast! We talked a little the first day of taping, but we were thrown into these really intimate scenes, and it kind of worked. He is the consummate professional.

TV SOAP:

Will there be a big showdown between the two characters once they meet?

CHRISTIAN:

Not quite a showdown, just a discovery, and going through the myriad of emotions of when the fantasy dies and the truth stands before you.

TV SOAP:

How does Michael feel then?

CHRISTIAN:

I think he is disappointed. This would be something that was not his expectation. It’s been chipping away at his fantasy, and at the end of the day it’s the worst-case scenario.

TV SOAP:

When is all this going to play out on the air?

CHRISTIAN:

It all happens at Kevin and Jana’s wedding. I think all of Michael’s fears come together in his one meeting on this one amazing day, which is so riveting. Everyone was on that day. It kicks off on Friday, August 15, here in the States.

TV SOAP:

So, does everyone at the wedding see him at the same time Michael does? Isn’t he the priest?

CHRISTIAN:

Just think, everybody sees him at the same time, and I talk to him!

TV SOAP:

Do you think they will keep the story going and keep Lowell on as part of the Genoa City canvas, after this initial shocker?

CHRISTIAN:

I think they will. You don’t get Michael Gross just to toss him out for a day. It’s not worth his time. They will have a lot of work for him, and he could not have been a nicer man.

TV SOAP:

What about working with Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren)?

CHRISTIAN:

We are like an old married couple. There is a physical comfortness, and she makes me look good. Wait till you see her in these scenes!

TV SOAP:

But don’t you think there has got to be some major troubles coming up for Lauren and Michael? I mean, on the soaps wedded bliss can only happen so long.

CHRISTIAN:

I don’t know. I hope we have complications. I want it to be like a real marriage. I mean, we don’t have to be broken up, but certainly, there are things that a married couple disagrees about. I would like to see us have conflict.

TV SOAP:

Do you think Michael might have an affair?

CHRISTIAN:

It’s soaps and in real life, given the right circumstances for my character, anything is possible. Nobody likes ‘happily- ever- after’ forever.


TV SOAP:

How was your night at the recent Daytime Emmys? It was so hot outside! You did not walk away with the prize for Lead Actor, unfortunately. Tony Geary, Luke from “GH” won that night.

CHRISTIAN:

It was so hot! I had a ball, and I was there with Nia Peeples (Karen). It’s always a fun night out. It was so exciting. Tony Geary hugged me before the show and said, “It’s going to be you this time! I got all sorts of compliments. It’s Tony Geary, a legend, saying this! That was such an honor coming from him.

TV SOAP:

Where are your two Emmys?

CHRISTIAN:

I have got two on my piano, to instill the need in me to practice. (He laughs) I am hoping for cross-discipline. I had myself my own Emmy for everything. (He laughs).

TV SOAP:

What’s left to do and accomplish with your acting career?

CHRISTIAN:

I want to do it all. I would like to do a feature. You want to be tested. I think I have something here and I have been given a gift. It’s my job to develop it to its utmost. It has never bored me here at “Y&R”. I just worked scenes with Chris Engen (Victor Jr.) today. When it’s somebody new, I get flop sweat!

TV SOAP:

How is working with Chris?

CHRISTIAN:

He is lovely and amazing, and so is Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe). They keep bringing new ones in! We have a great core group here, and Chris is intelligent. It’s a plumb part and he is just getting up to speed.

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TV SOAP;

Many fans think you ad lib a lot of Michael’s material on screen. Is that true?

CHRISTIAN:

I never ad-lib… never in my life! (He laughs) And that being said, so many of those are written more than people think. I actually think it’s a great compliment. I get a lot of humor and a lot of great lines. They give me the freedom to tweak a line. But I don’t do it as frequently as people think I do. It’s just me and my timing and delivery, or even better, it’s the other actor’s reactions.

TV SOAP:

So, what do you think we can tell the fans to look forward to in the coming months for Michael?

CHRISTIAN:

I have NO idea. With the writer’s building the momentum for this storyline for quite awhile, I can’t see them not taking advantage of this front and center stage. Especially, with Michael Gross being on the show.

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TV SOAP:

There has been such turnaround with the writing teams recently at “Y&R”. Are you noticing any difference in the scripts?

CHRISTIAN:

I think you do see changes slowly, but surely. All the writers have been good to me, and I have a scene to get nominated on every year, and that’s hard to find. I like working and they keep me in the picture. I do see it evolving in the scripts. I see a mixing of all the characters again. I like to see the integration of that. I think being given the amount of time when you are new to the show that’s the hardest thing in the world. It was the late Bill Bell’s gift, and a singular gift (creator and ex-head writer, “Y&R”). He never called me by my character name. He knew who I was. But in the end, he always had these stories and they were intermixing, and there was a spider-web that existed in his head, and that does not happen easily. Not everyone is gifted that way. But still you need to have time to get your people in place. I think we are still recovering from missing Bill Bell; it was never going to be easy. It’s nice to be hopeful, but you had a singular show with a single vision and it will take time. We need people to have patience. We had a lot of passionate people contributing to the process, and its takes a lot of siphoning through till you get the formula that you want.

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