August 11th, 2009  |  Leave a comment

The Sean Kanan Interview – The Young and the Restless

seanMain.jpg

The return of Sean Kanan to daytime soaps had been rumored about all over the internet for months.  Would the controversial actor be heading back to his old stomping ground of The Bold and the Beautiful or return to daytime television this time with The Young and The Restless. After the mystery was solved, Sean was launched into a new storyline reuniting him with this former “B&B” co-star and friend Adrienne Frantz (Amber) who is now in Genoa City.

Kanan whose well documented battles with the law and DUI’s put a temporary halt to his career, has come back from adversity to reclaim his acting life.  With a new lease on his soap character Deacon Sharpe, fans get to relish in Deacon’s skullduggery and machinations once again.

In this candid and revealing interview with On-Air On-Soaps, Kanan discusses: how he got back in the soap game, his frustrations and almost giving up on show business against much adversity, the internet fervor over the recent Deacon/Amber sex scenes, what could be Deacon’s long term agenda, and the talented performers hopes for his comedy career.

Here’s Sean!

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

First of all, we were all thrilled that you were back on daytime on “Y&R”.  There were all these rumors for quite sometime that you might be going back to “B&B” or coming to “Y&R”.  How long did it take for this to come about that ultimately landed you in in Genoa City?

SEAN:

The genesis of this whole thing started with a friend of mine and my agent trying to reach Paul Rauch (co-exec producer “Y&R”).  Eventually, Paul was nice enough to agree to sit down and have lunch with me, and for Paul to sit down during his day to have lunch with me, I thought was a really nice gesture.  We had candid, intense discussion. Paul is intense, and I am real intense.  I had heard from people that Paul is an intense guy, and a fair guy and he can be difficult.  I felt a strange connection to him.  When I first saw him in the restaurant I sort of saw him for a second.  I said to myself, “I can see this not going paulRauch.jpgso well.”  But he couldn’t have been nicer.  He is a direct guy and we had a really good lunch together.  Paul said, “I will see what I can do.”  It was very non-committal and very vague.  At this point we are talking about “Y&R”,  given the fact that Adrienne Frantz was over there playing Amber.  My biggest regret was that I did not try to initiate this sooner because she had been there so long.  But everything happens when it’s supposed to, I guess. Eight weeks from that lunch my agent called me and said, “Look, I think something is going to happen. Do not say word to anybody.  We don’t know what it is.”  I did not know what it was going to be. Was I going to go to “Y&R”? “B&B”?  Perhaps, maybe even as a different character?  Brad Bell (exec prod and head writer, “B&B”) had basically made me a promise sometime ago that he would not recast Deacon, and damn, if he did not keep his promise.  I think Deacon is such a great character that a number of great actors who could have success with the character.  I also like to think I bring my own personal stamp to it.  I eventually found I was going to go to “Y&R”.

MICHAEL:

What went through your mind at that time?

SEAN:

A lot of things.  I had a rough past couple of years.  I am not talking about just the DUI. That was rough, but the two years afterwards when I got sober and was sort of was doing everything right.  The inclination is to say, “I am doing everything right now.  So how come the pieces of the puzzle are not fitting together properly?”

MICHAEL:

That must have been frustrating.

SEAN:

I had flown to New York to screen test for As the World Turns and it’s strange.  I did not feel a connection to the material and did not feel right.  I gave it my best.  I wanted a job, that is what I wanted.  I did not really want that part.  I did not want to move to New York, but I really wanted and needed a job.  So when I did not get it, I was not that upset.  Then there was a part on Days of our Lives and for one reason or another I did not get to screen test and I was a little upset about that.  I thought I gave a strong audition but the reality was I think that Galen Gering (Rafe) was coming off of Passions and they just made him an offer.  But in retrospect, it all was happening because I was meant to do something else.

MICHAEL:

And then you got to come back to soaps as Deacon!

SEAN:

When I found out I was going to be on “Y&R” I knew for a few months, and the hardest thing was…first of all… I don’t like lying.  But my bosses said, “We really want to keep this a secret,” and I had to respect it.  Then it became people saying, “We know you are going on the show. Just admit it!”  But I gave my word.  I have to confess I told my parents, but swore them to secrecy. I  did not tell anybody in the media or my closest friends, and that was difficult.

MICHAEL:

So it must have been very emotional for you to get a second chance as Deacon on another soap.

seanGirlfriend.jpgSEAN:

I tell ya, when I found out I would be reprising the role of Deacon, I was overwhelmed and really moved.  I had a moment when I looked back at how hard those two years were and I remember sitting with a friend after the DUI.  I said, “It’s done and over.  I don’t see myself getting back on daytime or anywhere anytime soon.”  I was bereft with gloom and doom and depression.  Now to play Deacon on the number one show is amazing.  The first day I walked in the door at CBS, I was really, really moved, and full of gratitude because I know how hard it has been to get back there.  There were a lot of people who worked really hard on my behalf, and a few people who believed in me and stuck with me when a lot of people wouldn’t.  I feel a real sense of obligation and responsibility to Paul Rauch and to Brad Bell, too.  I think on some level Brad Bell and Barbara Bloom (VP Daytime Programs, CBS) had a lot to do with getting me back on the show.  On some level or another, Brad Bell did something very nice for me.

MICHAEL:

During the frustrating years, you mentioned the difficulties you faced.  Was there ever a moment where you went, “I can’t do this anymore.”

SEAN:

I remember, I decided to go back to acting class and do something creative.  I believe I was doing a play, also.  And in doing the play, “It’s Just Sex” that is when I felt like an actor again. Traditionally in my career when I have done theatre it has started a very positive arc for me.  I remember one time driving out of acting class thinking, “I am not sure I can act anymore.”  And that is not what I meant.  What I meant was, ‘I did not know if I could deal with the business of acting anymore.’  I love acting.  I went out on an audition for something called Camera Café which is an internet based series, and is sent out to over 30 or 40 countries.  It’s like The Office. I got a part in it strictly from the auditioning process.  Not from knowing anybody or anyone knowing my work, and it was really fulfilling.  It was the first time in a long time I felt like I climbed in the ring and put the gloves on and I was the one left standing.  We did 24 webisodes of that.  They have not aired yet and they will begin in a couple of months, and then I got “Y&R”.  I feel that I am on an upswing.  For me, it became an exercise of, “Ok, now things are going well.  I need to process them going well and keep myself in emotional check.”  I am really good at things when they are not going well. That is about… circling the wagons and putting the Rocky music on and getting myself back to where I need to go.  When things are going well, traditionally the potential of things going awry can happen.  You know what?  I am 42-years-old now and I have well documented situations and knocks (He laughs).  I have learned from them, and right now things are going well.  I think I have a clear view of it.

MICHAEL:

Your trouble with the law and the last DUI was unfortunate that it became so highly publicized. What was it like for you when it came out on TMZ and full throttle in the media spotlight?

SEAN:

It’s terrible.  My parents see that. They live in town where they are well-known, and I felt bad.  The hardest thing was when there was a court date that was miscommunicated.  I did not get the information in time. I had been sober for awhile and a friend of mine called me and said he was playing poker with a cop and the cop said, “You know Sean Kanan don’t you?” and my friend said, “Yeah, very well.”  The cop goes, “Well, we have a warrant for his arrest.  You should tell him if you are his best friend.”  My friend called me and said, “I think the police are coming for you.”  I said, “What are you talking about?”  Needless to say, I did not stay at my house that night.  I stayed at a hotel because I was so freaked out.  I am not trying to play the victim here, but it was if every time I tried to do something right… something went wrong.  I legitimately did not have things communicated to me. I would not intentionally not go to a court appointed meeting.  One of the great things about having media immediacy is that we as a society know what is going on in the world immediately. While that is great, there are times where if there is a little bit of time to allow things to play out a bit, then you find out what is initially reported is not quite what it seems.

seanGrey.jpgMICHAEL

So let’s move on, and let’s get to your current storyline on “Y&R”.  So when they told you the story that you were going to be part of…

SEAN:

They didn’t.  First of all I have to confess these actors I know from “Y&R” are the people I met at events or worked across the hall with when I was at “B&B”, but I did not know their characters and all their stories.  I do want to stop and address something here, though. Recently, I saw this on the internet because I am guilty of checking what the fans say because I want to know what they are thinking, that somebody thought that on a recent episode that I called Victoria “Ashley” when I said, “actually”.  So they wrote this whole post saying, “Get him off the show. He called Victoria “Ashley”.  I promise I did not call her that.  And do you think for one minute Paul Rauch would let me call Victoria… “Ashley”?  As far as what the story was, I was operating from the seat of my pants because I did not know what happened to Deacon in the three years since he left LA for Genoa City.  I do know that Deacon seems like he has definitely rounded out his rough edges.  He seems more refined the way Maria Bell (co-exec prod and head writer, “Y&R) is writing the character.  It would indicate that Deacon had polished up his game a little bit.

MICHAEL:

So Deacon is slicker?

SEAN:

He’s not just slicker, he seems more worldly.  You have to remember, this is a guy who comes from Vegas, whose mother is a stripper, and he does not know who his father is. He now has some money.  I can only presume he got it from swindling something from someone.  I would like to know how he got more refined.

MICHAEL:

I want to know how he got in the art world!

SEAN:

I want to know that too.  I was talking to Paul Rauch about that. Deacon had an understanding of the art world.  I don’t think you can fool people about the art world when you know nothing about it.  Apparently, now Deacon likes to read a little bit, and when he does it’s no longer girly mags, it’s art books!

yrAdriSean.jpgMICHAEL:

The beginning of this story is Deacon set up Daniel to take a fall.  Is the reason as obvious that Deacon wants Amber back, or is there a bigger agenda?

SEAN:

As an actor, I have to choose that I do want Amber back.  I am led to believe that this is all part of bigger scheme to get this Terroni painting, and for some reason or another to frame Daniel.  But it’s always a stronger choice to play my desire to do this with Amber because I have genuine feelings for her.  For me, Deacon has feelings for Amber. They are sort of cut from the same cloth.  I think they have certain common denominators that allow them to relate to one another.  He says to her at one point, “With me you don’t have to pretend. I know who you really are,” and I think that’s true.

MICHAEL:

Recently the Internet was a buzz when Deacon forced Amber to have sex with him and once again viewers felt it was another sickening depiction of women being bullied into sex.

SEAN:

I think there are a lot of ways that someone can be forced into something.  I think physicality is only one of them.  I think what Deacon did was loathsome and apprehensible. He was not figuratively forcing her to have sex with him in the true tradition of the definition of the word rape, but he forced her to this and we all knew why.  I think it’s terrible.  I want the fans to understand, I am just an actor playing the part.

MICHAEL:

You were so cruddy and mean and vile to Amber!

SEAN:

I agree.  Right now, I can’t really rationalize his behavior because it’s so removed from Sean’s frame of reference.  I get my scripts a week and half before they shoot.  No one has taken me in a room and shown me a road map to what is happening.  I would like the fans to know that.  I think it’s one thing when you are playing a good guy, but when you are playing a bad guy… it’s one thing for people to think that I know what’s going on, or I approve of it.  My job is to be as convincing as I can be with the cards that I am dealt.

MICHAEL:

Why are you so good at playing this type of role?

SEAN:

I think part of it is a testament to Adrienne.  I have some vast life experience.  At some point in my life I may have drawn from people like Deacon.  We all have a dark side within us.  I guess I am able to tap into that.  I am actor, it’s what I do.  I hopefully would be able to bring the same believability to if I was playing a gay character, or someone who was victimized, because that is what I do.

MICHAEL:

What did Adrienne say to you when she found out you were going to be working with her again…this time on “Y&R”?

seanAdri.jpgSEAN:

Adrienne is a sweetheart.  She texted me how excited she was once she knew I was coming on to “Y&R”.

MICHAEL:

How do you make Deacon human?

SEAN:

I try to find the humor in him.  I try to make it perversely funny to be a bad guy.  So on some level to some people it’s, “I kind of hate what he is doing, but on some level it looks like a lot of fun.”  Instead of completely hating me, there is a perverse fascination with it, maybe.

MICHAEL:

Will he continue to torment Amber and Daniel?

SEAN:

Probably for awhile he will torment them, but I honestly don’t know what the macro-plan here is.  Here is what makes it difficult: as Deacon I have not been told what my end game is.  So I am not able to play and act with an innate knowledge of what it is I am going for, which can be difficult.  I don’t know if turns out that I am doing this when in fact I don’t care for Amber.  I don’t think that is the case.  Based on our history, he has significant feelings for Amber.  I don’t know specifically what happened that has made Deacon’s animosity towards Daniel personal, or if he just happens to be in this con.

MICHAEL:

Is playing Deacon ever difficult?

blacktshirt.jpgSEAN:

I actually had a lot of difficulty in the scene where Amber came in and I was wearing the tank top.  It very easily could have been construed (when I grabbed her) that it was a physical sexual assault.  So, I tried to lighten it up a little bit.  But the reality is I am forcing her to have sex.  So, my best bet was to split the difference. I am glad people had reaction to those scenes, but for me, I had a tough time with those scenes.  I could not commit 110% because I was not quite sure what my intention was.

MICHAEL:

Ryder is your assistant! Deacon has an assistant. Interesting, huh?

SEAN:

Ryder is an assistant and I don’t know why I have an assistant.  I don’t know who this kid is to me.  Is he related to me? I know who he is in relation,  and in the scheme of who he says he is.  I don’t know if it’s going to turn out that he and I have a different relationship than my assistant.  That may be.  I don’t know.

MICHAEL:

So you are on “Y&R” for awhile now?

SEAN:

I am on recurring status.  I love playing Deacon and it has been a fantastic experience at “Y&R”, and would love to stay as long as great stuff is being written for me, and so far it has.  I don’t know if I want to be a periphery character that does not have a lot to do. I don’t think that’s what they want either.  As long as I have good story, I would love to stay.

bestbuds.jpgMICHAEL:

Have you had a chance to say hello to your former “B&B” cast mates?

SEAN:

I saw Rick Hearst (Whip) and Ronn Moss (Ridge).  I have not seen Lesley-Anne Down (Jackie) yet, which I am looking forward to.  I have seen a few crew people.

MICHAEL:

With what’s shaken at “B&B”, a Deacon return there would be interesting, too!

SEAN:

With Whip back, that’s two thirds of the triangle with Brooke and who knows?  I don’t rule anything out.  I love “Y&R”.  It’s terrific.  Would it be perfect to bounce back and forth between two shows?  Of course. That is an actor’s dream and that would be great.  And especially because I just have to walk down the hallway to do both shows in the same day. That would be crazy! (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

John Ingle (Edward) told me at the recent “GH” Fan Club Weekend that he misses you and really thinks you are a terrific.  He misses all his Quartermaine sons, and that you were his first AJ!

SEAN:

Ah. My grandfather.  He is such a kind sweet man.  I have such affection with John.  I really like him and I love to hear his stories when he was Nicholas Cage’s acting teacher!

seanLeaning.jpgMICHAEL:

I hear more comedy is in your future. Tell me what is up next?

SEAN:

I have been doing stand-up comedy.  I am in the process of  putting together a comedy special in the next year, and some other projects I am working on.  When I am able to talk about them, I will.  I love Camera Café. I played this overall tan character that is a combination of Herb Tarlek of WKRP in Cincinnati and Ted Baxter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. When I started doing the read-through this weird voice came out of me. It was this self-hilarious self-indulgent voice.  I was always checking my hair and my tan-line. (He laughs)  It worked really well.  Antonio Banderas is the executive producer.  I think a lot of people have not seen me being the funny guy.  So this is the first time I have been given the opportunity, and I can’t wait for this to come out.  Camera Café are three and half minute webisodes and they are all shot from the perspective of a camera imbedded in a coffee machine.  It’s very sexually charged, cable-esque dialog, and it’s bar none, the funniest thing I have ever worked on.

  1. shari carothers says:

    i am married to a man named Jim.we lived in ohio too.i was in the navy for 10 years.i have been to spain,italy,germandy,amsterdam,holland.Jim was in the marine corp too.i broke my right leg and hip.it was replaced also..we have been together for 19 years.i am 100% connected too.Jim is not .when your a marine,always a marine.he has been everywhere too.i grew up in plesant hills,Pa.he was in New Castle,Pa.i love the bold and the beautiful.i watched when you were on dool too.i still watch it also,since i was 9years old.i am 45 now.we now live in Pa,tidioute.we have 43acres.keep it up.i loved aj too.wish you could come back some time in the future.take good care,Shari

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