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Eric Nelsen is best known for his role as AJ Chandler on 'All My Children', a role he played on the reboot version done by Prospect Park in 2013. Currently, he plays the role of Daniel Garrett on the award winning web-series "The Bay". He also has movie appearances and primetime appearances to his list of acting credits. Soap Opera Intel/Soap Opera News was happy to catch up with the talented actor who took the time to share with us his experience working on such an established and outstanding soap opera, what's going on with his character on "The Bay", which soap he would do now, his upcoming movie "The Student" and much more. Read the full interview below!
Firstly, let me thank you for doing this interview. I must admit that I first became a fan when you took on the role of AJ Chandler on the reboot version of All My Children. What can you say about your time on that show
Eric: I had an incredible time on the show. It's like coming into a giant family. And at first I was a little intimidated because most of them [the cast] had work together so long previously. But they welcomed me with open arms, especially Cady McClain [ex-Dixie Cooney] and I only say especially because she was kind of the first person I got to hang out with on set and she showed me the ropes and really made me feel comfortable. And from that moment on, it was just an incredible experience all around and I miss it a lot.
On the reboot version, there was so much difference compared to the Television version - for instance where your character was naked playing the guitar. I laughed throughout that entire scene, what sort of experience was that for you? Were you nervous to be naked on set?
Eric: Yea, I had no idea I was going to be naked on the first day to be honest. I just remember my agent saying "Eric, they need you in really good shape". Luckily, I had already been working out and I didn't really need to starve myself to get there. But, I didn't realize until I got to set that the scene was actually going to be completely naked except for a guitar. So that was a little nerve wracking -- I guess that would be the right word, embarrassing, I don't know, it was my first day. So literally the first day I get to set, it's all kind of overwhelming because i'm joining this brand new show, even though it's been running a long time there was a lot of firsts for me.
So the first day, they were like "here's your sock "and I really didn't know what they meant by that. That's the little bit that covers you up that no one can actually see. It looks like you're wearing nothing but you get this little sock - so I had to just kinda roll with the punches. I think I was running on adrenaline and anxiety to just deliver and be as good as I can be. I didn't think twice, I was like "Yea, whatever you need me to do, I'll do it" and as long as it's done tastefully, i'm all about it - so that's pretty much how I felt about doing that.
The rights for AMC and OLTL is now back with ABC and there is currently a rumor that AMC could end up on Netflix. We even see characters from those defunct soap operas being used on General Hospital. What are your thoughts on bringing AJ to GH? And, would you be a part of the reboot on Netflix if the rumor turns on to be true?
Eric: Yes, thank goodness! Well Michael honestly, it's funny I've been getting a lot of people writing to me asking me about if i'd be interested in going to General Hospital and the answer is absolutely 100% - Yes! I would love it. I have a lot of good friends on the show, specifically Chad Duell [Michael]. We've been working together on "The Bay" which is an online soap and we've become pretty much best friends and we hang out all the time and he's a great guy, I would love, love, love to work with him - so hoping maybe AJ could make an appearance, I would be a very, very happy camper if so. I would also be in favor of AMC going to Netflix and yes I would love to be a part of it there. I think working on soaps, you develop these bonds and these friendships that last a long time and you don't get that on a lot of other TV sets, so I would revisit either of those and be very happy doing so.
And, if so - what would you like to see happen for AJ Chandler?
Eric: That's a really good question. If he does end up on General Hospital or All My Children, unfortunately actors don't really have much insight as to where their characters go because the writers got that all planned out. I don't know - AJ was kind of struggling with himself towards the end of the All My Children reboot, he was having friction with his friend Miranda [ex-Denyse Tontz], there were love feelings there, there wasn't love feelings there. I don't know, a good storyline would be good though because if I'm going to come back, I'd want to come back big and I'd want to make a splash so people try to hold on to AJ and want to see more of him. So whatever it is, I just want to make big impressions and do the best I could do.
What has life been like since the cancellation? Have you been in touch with your former AMC co-stars and who?
Eric: Life's been really good. First of all, my wife and I bought a house in Sherman, Oaks so we're living in California full time. Before, when I was working on All My Children we were living in New York so that's been a big change, for the better. I love it out here, we have a blast, we got two dogs in the backyard and we're living a really quiet happy life here in LA which you can't really do in Manhattan, so we're enjoying that.
I've been busy working a lot on different projects, films and other TV shows, producing as well. As I said before, I work on The Bay which is on Amazon, it's a soap opera as well. My wife and I are producers on it, so that's been fun to be on both side of the spectrum. I do stay in touch with a lot of people from the show especially Robert Scott Wilson [ex-Ben, Days of Our Lives] who played Pete Cortland. He and I hang out like every single day, we go to the gym every morning together so if anything I've gathered an amazing friendship with him. He's an extremely strong buff guy who I really like working out with because I feel like I have a personal trainer everyday - it's really cool. And, a couple of the other cast members as well - Daniel Covin [ex-Hunter Morrison] and I go way back and he played my nemesis on the show, he was a recurring actor. So we all have a lot of fun and we stay close, that kind of add to what special bonds we had on set. We all stay in touch over social media and we meet to have dinner from time to time.
(Daniel Covin, Robert Scott Wilson & Eric Nelsen)
Now, you are a big part of the web series 'The Bay' where you play the role of Daniel Garrett - what is that like for you?
Eric: It's a lot of fun because Daniel Garrett is the exact opposite of AJ Chandler. Daniel Garrett is in trouble, he does bad things, he's edgy, he's got some hidden secrets which are about to be revealed in the upcoming season, he has one similarity with AJ where he is struggling with himself but I think in a very different way, I think viewers are going to be really thrown off guard when they see what's coming up for Daniel Garrett on 'The Bay'.
He's got a really big season coming up and it was a ton of fun to shoot and I can't wait for you guys to see it. But 'The Bay' overall is a great experience, we've got some incredible veterans on the show, who've been in soaps a long time. We got Mary Beth Evans [Sara, The Bay & Kayla, Days of Our Lives], Ronn Moss [ex-Ride, B&B & John, The Bay] and so many others. So it's been nice to be able to keep the soap family in my life and continue working on "daytime" so to speak. I know it's on the web but you could still consider it daytime, right? But we've been going strong and the last two years we've won Emmy's for best show and now we're winning Emmy's for actors on the show. So it's just been incredible to be a part of. It's kind of been pioneering a movement for daytime online, a really special group. Gregori Martin, our Director/Creator is incredible - love, love, love working with him. He is so respectful to his actors, now I consider him almost the best friend, just because we've spent so much time together and he's really helped me a lot with the character and just in life - he's a great guy. It's been a blast and i'm excited to keep it going.
(Eric Nelsen as Daniel Garrett on 'The Bay')
Eric: Daniel is going to be revealing some very big news about himself, I think it's going to release a big weight off of his shoulders, i'm going to leave it at that. I think the audience is going to be very surprised but at the same time, see it coming. I can't say much more, but there's something very big happening in this upcoming season and you'll just have to see it, it's coming out soon
You've made appearances on primetime series such as; The Good Wife, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods and more. Are there any more primetime appearances on the horizon for you?
Eric: Well, let's think - I sure hope so. I hope they never stop. In terms of primetime appearances - no not at the moment but pilot season is in full swing right now and there's a couple projects that i'm in the mix for, so we shall see. Just trying to put the good vibes out there and hope for the best.
You are set to star in the upcoming movie titled "The Student" and it's basically a soap studded cast. You reunited with your former AMC co-star Lindsay Hartley [ex-Cara Castillo] and you play the role of Arthur Fine - what can you share about that?
Eric: I filmed this movie with Alicia Leigh Willis [ex-Courtney, GH & Avery, The Bay] who is also a soap veteran, who is also on 'The Bay' which I think will be releasing on the Lifetime Movie Network [LMN]. It's a dark drama, I play a law school student who gets in the middle of this terrible -- basically my best friend puts me in a terrible position and i'm involved with an act that I did not want to be involved with and if it happened in real life i'd probably be in jail, but luckily for me it's just the movie. But it's dark, its racy, it's sexy and it's going to be awesome and I can't wait for you guys to see it
Any release date yet?
Eric: No there's no release date yet. But, we just did a bunch of ADR for it so I would assume they will be announcing the release date soon. So - to be announced!
What else is on the horizon for you - what can your fans look forward to?
Eric: Well please, please tune into 'The Bay' because as I keep saying, the upcoming storyline is going to knock your socks off so watch out for that. My wife and I are producers on Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner's newest movie called "Wakefield" which will be coming out soon, so watch out for that. It actually did amazing at the Toronto Film Festival and we got full distribution, so that will be coming to theaters near you and in my opinion it's Bryan Cranston's best performance of his career yet, so i'm very excited to see what the world thinks of that. And, again it's been really fun to be on the other side and be involved with the producing aspect. Aside from that the fans can follow me on Twitter, Instagram. I'm travelling a lot - my wife and I are going all over the world and we are documenting all our trips so you can tune in and follow us along through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. I love to interact with all the fans so please reach out. Maybe if we all put it out there and write to General Hospital, they will get me on the show. So I feel like I could use your help and any of the fans who read this could tweet GH, email them, or write them cause I feel like they really listen to that stuff, especially from the fans.
So what are your thoughts - would you like to see him join GH?
So what are your thoughts - would you like to see him join GH?
Be sure to follow Eric Nelsen on Twitter here, Instagram here and Facebook here!
(Eric Nelsen, Ryan Bittle [ex-JR] & David Canary [ex-Adam & Stuart Chandler]
(Eric Nelsen & Cady McClain [ex-Dixie Cooney])
(Eric Nelsen and his wife Sainty Nelsen)
(Eric Nelsen & Denyse Tontz [ex-Miranda])