EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Bryan James on 'Youthful Daze', Tommy and Drew's love story, and his love for 'All My Children'
|Youthful Daze creator and star Bryan James.|
SERIAL SCOOP: Hi Bryan, it's truly a pleasure to speak to you. I look forward to Youthful Daze every Sunday Night. It's such a fun show.
BRYAN JAMES: Thank you! We are huge fans of the soap genre and it's a pleasure to be speaking with you too.
SERIAL SCOOP: Your character, Drew, has been through a lot! The poor guy. With everything that you have played on screen, is there any favorite scene that comes to mind?
BRYAN JAMES: I have to say my favorite scene was between Tommy and Drew and it involves Chinese food. It's just such a beautiful scene about two people reconnecting after losing touch for a while. It's really powerful. I think we all want that person we loved to come back into our lives after everything went so wrong and tell you they're sorry and that they will do anything to make things right.
SERIAL SCOOP: I know I want that. [laughs] Youthful Daze has introduced Tommy into Drew's life, and this is a genuine love story between two men. Why did you decide this was the time to introduce this relationship into the show?
BRYAN JAMES: I don't think this was the right time honestly. I think it should have happened sooner!! But thank god it's finally happened because we have a great show that people should be watching. If he wasn't gay I thought for sure he was in love with Mallorie (Jessica Osgood), because he was such a repressed character to play in season one. There was always something deeper there to explore I felt. I was very happy when everyone behind the scenes on the show agreed to the story line because for me as an actor it was nice to be in a position where I was told all the twists and turns. It added up completely to create this dynamic engaging character you're seeing on screen now. I knew upfront all the things Drew was going to do sexually on camera in the first part of the second season and I also knew why he was doing these things and what drives him in every situation he is in. Bringing Tommy into the picture is like revealing this characters heart and soul. That is what made me do the storyline.
SERIAL SCOOP: It has added so much to the show and we are certainly getting a true understanding of who Drew is. He is a much deeper character now. You didn't feel any trepidation going in this direction with Drew?
BRYAN JAMES: It being a gay storyline did not weigh heavily one way or another on me. I'm establishing myself as an actor and I've never played a gay character before and this felt like an opportunity to do something different. I audition a lot for the confident kid or the jock at school that is a dick, all these archetypes that Drew fits as well. It was a major shot of adrenaline creatively for this character to have this twist and it was exciting to play because so many times characters like Drew are hiding something. It just made sense to me. There is not one thing Drew has done that I don't understand as the actor playing him. This beat has been so rewarding for Drew and for the show to play and reveal. It's been a blessing. I could potentially play this character for several seasons to come, this entire storyline has opened so many doors. As an actor I am more than ready to be more vulnerable playing Drew. This is a guy that has lost both of his parents in a car crash and his ex killed his sister. And he's survived numerous attacks on his life. I get why the sex helped him deal. But I'm also so happy for this character because I think he now has a shot at finding actual happiness. Tommy is a light that shines brighter than all of this negative stuff and that is so beautiful to me. Love is more powerful than any of the evils in this world.
SERIAL SCOOP: Love is more powerful. Drew has been through so much that he has earned this happiness with Tommy. But what is happening between Drew and Oliver? Things are getting intense.
BRYAN JAMES: Anything is possible with Drew and Oliver. Who knows how deeply connected they could become. You've gotta keep watching. Working with Easton who I've known for years closely, leads to a lot of fun opportunities in storytelling because we have good chemistry together.
SERIAL SCOOP: You do work really well together. I sense that chemistry. Where does it come from?
BRYAN JAMES: I trust him completely. He doesn't know this but I would take a bullet for him in real life. I really would. It doesn't matter if we are around each other every day or don't talk for a long time. It doesn't change the dynamic between us, even when we've fought in real life. There is this respect I have for him that is so strong inside me and that goes beyond any misplaced words or hurt feelings. That's why it's interesting to have these two characters hate each other and have me and Easton play these roles. They might even start to fall for one anther. These two characters have every reason in the world to stay away from each other but that doesn't seem to be what either one of them actually wants. The more Drew and Oliver are drawn to one another the more Tommy is going to feel threatened.
SERIAL SCOOP: I am liking Drew and Oliver. There is a connection there, a completely different kind than Drew shares with Tommy. I'm really looking forward to this Sunday, where we see Drew with both Tommy and Oliver. Everyone loves a good triangle on a soap, and Youthful Daze is doesn't apologize about being soap opera. I love that. Are there any soaps that have inspired you?
BRYAN JAMES: We love the genre. We support the genre and we embrace the genre. Absolutely '90s 90210 with a contemporary edgier tone. 90210 was edgy for it's time and is my favorite show in existence but lovingly we are doing more what I think the reboot from a few years ago missed the boat with completely. 90210 as a idea doesn't go out of style. That's an amazing concept that I absolutely was inspired by with Youthful Daze. You just have to tell stories at a faster pace and in a modern way because we are living in a different decade now.
SERIAL SCOOP: It's certainly a different world now. A lot of soaps are trying to be more "hip" but it doesn't always come off that way. Something is missing.
BRYAN JAMES: The emphasis must be on the characters and the stories have to be character driven. It's sad that this even needs to be acknowledged but so many times soaps aren't done this way and then they give the entire genre a bad name. Growing up in a house full of women, All My Children was one of the first shows I even remember. That definitely shaped me as a story teller. Hayley (Kelly Ripa) and Mateo (Mark Consuelos), Kendall (then Sarah Michelle Gellar), Erica (Susan Lucci) stealing Maria's (Eva LaRue) baby. '90s AMC was the best. See, I really did watch soaps growing up! [laughs]
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Bryan James where he reveals what the future holds for Drew and Tommy, the overwhelming support Drew and Tommy have received as a couple, why this will be a gay love story unlike any told on daytime before, plus more exciting news about Youthful Daze.
Youthful Daze is available at http://www.youthfuldaze.com. Watch a brand new episode every Sunday night.
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Michael Goldberg is a freelance writer, producer and actor from Chicago. He regularly contributes television and web series features to Serial Scoop.