EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Dylan Neal Previews the 'Cedar Cove' Season Finale

Dylan Neal. Photo Credit: Copyright 2014 Crown
Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Katie Yu
Actor Dylan Neal is a well-recognized face on television having starred in series like Pacific Palisades, Hyperion Bay and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He has had many major recurring roles including his five-year stint on Dawson's Creek playing Pacey's brother, Doug Witter, and Dr. Ivo in the CW's breakout TV series Arrow. He had a lead role opposite Val Kilmer in the Paramount Pictures thriller, The Traveler and recently wrapped shooting a supporting role in the Universal feature Fifty Shades of Grey.

Neal plays Jack Griffith in Cedar Cove, editor of the local newspaper, admitted alcoholic, and Judge Olivia Lockhart's (Andie MacDowell) love interest.

Serial Scoop
spoke with Neal about his career, and to get a preview of tonight's second season finale of Cedar Cove, airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Hallmark Channel. Read our exclusive interview below:

SERIAL SCOOP: Dylan, you've come a long way from your days as a male stripper on The Bold and the Beautiful.
DYLAN NEAL: Yeah. [Laughs] Well, you know it's in vogue again right with Magic Mike. Andie MacDowell is doing Magic Mike 2 so it's full circle somehow in there.

SERIAL SCOOP: Exactly. [Laughs] Do you have any favorite memories from your time on B&B?
DYLAN NEAL: Certainly the stripping is still vibrant in my memory.  I can’t say it was probably my fondest memory because I was so paranoid about that whole story line. I’m not a dancer. And I’m not like one of these beefy Chippendales kind of guys to start with in terms of physiques. I was pretty stressed during that time period. Fortunately, I worked really closely with a choreographer who kept the routines as basic as possible and The Bold and the Beautiful editors did their job to make me look better than I probably actually was.

And then really getting to know John McCook was great. I ended up moving right next door to John and his wife Laurette and his kids and we were really close for many many years. They were sort of like surrogate parents in a way for my wife and me when we lived in Los Angeles. It was great having that relationship, and we still stay in touch with John and Laurette to this day.

SERIAL SCOOP: I would be slaughtered if I didn’t ask you about your time on Dawson's Creek.
DYLAN NEAL: Yeah, Dawson's was a fun time.  It was just interesting to be around those kids when they really blew up big. That show was a big hit and I think Katie Holmes was on the cover of Rolling Stone pretty quickly and they all kept their heads about them.  There were no crazy egos on set and it’s been really fun to see them post-Dawson's as well. I mean looking at Michelle Williams and her Oscar nomination. Katie, of course, for a number of reasons, and Joshua Jackson and James Van Der Beek are still continuing to do very well. I think that was a real kind of special show and I have very fond memories of that.

SERIAL SCOOP: And Dylan Neal is doing very well also.
DYLAN NEAL: Hey, knock on wood. I’ve been really lucky. It’s been a busy, busy year.

SERIAL SCOOP: You were offered the role of Jack on Cedar Cove. Is that when you know you've really "made it" as an actor, when you’re offered the role on the spot?
DYLAN NEAL: No, it’s not really that kind of a thing. [Laughs] It was more surprise that they did just offer it out of the blue rather than making me audition. It wasn’t as though I felt I arrived at all because you never know. This is my eighth series and you never know whether they are going to do well or not. This is the first show I’ve had in 25 years that got a second season. It’s just most TV shows get canceled very quickly so it was a pleasant surprise, and you just sort of see how this is going to turn out. Fortunately, in this case, Cedar Cove has been a real strong show for the network. We’re probably going to be heading in for a longer run so that's really nice.

Photo Credit: Katie Yu/Hallmark
SERIAL SCOOP: Cedar Cove fans will appreciate that. As we head into the season finale tonight, Jack's life hasn't been easy. His son, Eric (Tom Stevens), is in trouble thanks to Warren (Brennan Elliott) and Dick (William deVry). Jack has relapsed. Do you enjoy playing the drama or more of the romantic comedy?
DYLAN NEAL: I don’t think you can have one without the other really. You know there is a big debate on the Facebook boards about has Cedar Cove gone too far into becoming a soap opera or is it just right. It’s a mixed bag for the fans, some really love what we’re doing this year and some are frustrated that we’ve veered away from what we were doing last year. I think you have to have a mix of all of it so I don’t think the turmoil we see Jack and Olivia going through and, frankly all the characters going through this year, will be sustained forever. You just can’t do it, particularly on a Hallmark show. That audience does want to feel good.  They do want a happy ending.

So it’s just right now, this season in particular is a very tumultuous one for all of the couples really. But you know they are going to get resolved and there will be some calm, and then there will be other problems.  They probably won’t be relationship based necessarily right away. There will be some other issues for Olivia to deal with in her courtroom, or Jack with his reporting, or for Bob (Bruce Boxleitner) and Peggy (Barbara Niven).  Justine (Sarah Smyth), I think, is going to become a social worker so there will be plenty of opportunities for there to be natural drama in their lives without the risk of making the audience feel there most treasured couples are in jeopardy.

It’s just the cycle of episodic television where right now we’re in the thick of some real relationship trauma and it will smooth out going forward.  It’s a balance and this year in particular there is a lot of trauma going on but it will smooth out and I guarantee you the audience will get to fall in love with their characters again going forward.

SERIAL SCOOP: So what can we expect tonight?
DYLAN NEAL: For people following Jack and Olivia, Jack is in the middle of a lot of denial and he’s got this new job in Seattle and his ex-wife has certainly been a bad influence in potentially introducing alcohol back into his life. But also some poor choices on Jack’s behalf, feeling like he needed to fall back into old habits to get the job done as he used to. Drinking is often a crutch of writers. So what we see in this final episode is a real sort of crescendo of a number of bad choices that come to a head and there is certainly a cliffhanger for this season, not only for Jack and Olivia but other characters as well. I think you’re going to see the culmination of all of these storylines finally coming to a climax, and I think the audience will be holding their breath.

SERIAL SCOOP: That bodes well for a Season Three of Cedar Cove.
DYLAN NEAL: We don’t have any information but if I were a betting man I would feel quite comfortable with that bet. We’ve been number one each Saturday night in our time period.  For myself it’s been such a great opportunity to get to know the network as well. I’m executive producing four TV movies with them this coming year. I have the franchise Gourmet Detective for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel and I’ve got a romantic comedy called Disorderly Conduct that my wife wrote I’m producing as well for late in the summer. It’s a busy year coming up.

SERIAL SCOOP: You also are in the highly anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey.
DYLAN NEAL: I’ve got Fifty shades of Grey coming out on Valentine's Day.  I play Bob the stepfather to Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and it's obviously a massively hyped movie. We will see how it does that weekend. I’m sure it’s going to have a pretty big turnout.

SERIAL SCOOP: I'm sure it will. Anything else you would would like to share?
DYLAN NEAL: I hope all the Hallmark fans like Cedar Cove. I hope they will tune in for the mystery franchise the Gourmet Detective which I’ll be starring in. I’m writing those with my wife and producing those. We’re having a lot of fun. It’s something very, very similar to Castle in tone so there is a lot of great banter between me and the female lead. They are just fun murder mysteries that I think the Hallmark audience will really love.  They will start airing in 2015.

SERIAL SCOOP: Soon you will be the face of Hallmark. How about that? [Laughs]
DYLAN NEAL: Kinda [Laughs] You know, I keep pitching and they keep buying so I can’t complain. They’ve been terrific partners and I’m really enjoying working with them.

Don't miss the season finale of Cedar Cove, Saturday, October 4 at 8 p.m. ET.PT on Hallmark Channel.

* 'Cedar Cove' Season 2 Finale Sneak Peek: Resolutions and Revelations

Michael Goldberg is a freelance writer, producer and actor based out of New York. He regularly contributes television and web series features to Serial Scoop.


Ruth said...

Indeed a fantastic interview as would be expected. I have grown to respect and enjoy him more as an actor and a person this year so this was a delight to read. He really does listen to his fans.

Michael Goldberg said...

Thank you! He really cares about his fans. Great guy.

Kev said...

Thanks for asking about all different stuff he's done, not just the obvious or recent or "cool" stuff! =) I honestly think you gave him a good opportunity to shine. For me, he launched it out of the park, really coming off as all candid and comfy, since he was totally open to reminisce re: B&B adventures. That's approaching what, 20 years ago! But yeah I think you can always tell so much by their reaction to early-soap-work references. Don't you think?

Michael Goldberg said...

Thanks Kevin. I agree, it does say a lot about him. He was very open and I so enjoyed hearing that he and his wife were close to John McCook and his wife Laurette.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this show! The season goes by so fast! Everyone on the show is awesome.

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