Let's get one thing clear, hot-bodied, young thespian Robert Gorrie isn't trying to replace Eddie Alderson. The One Life to Live newcomer drove that point home several times while I chatted with him during a recent set visit. What Gorrie is trying to accomplish, is successfully navigating baby daddy/bad boy Matthew Buchanan's twisty journey into adulthood on the TOLN soap.
Will that journey involve controversial, new story arcs for Matthew and Destiny (Laura Harrier)? What role with Matthew's old flame Dani Delgado-Manning (Kelley Missal) play in his baby mama drama? Don't forget about new hunk in town Jeffrey King (Corbin Bleu). Gorrie reveals how Matt will be interacting with all three, not to mention the extended Buchanan family. To borrow from one CBS soap, OLTL is about to get hella young and very restless!
Daytime Confidential: What made you sign onto One Life to Live?
Robert Gorrie: I particularly liked the challenge of this new media platform. Internet television is the future and I felt like, to be a part of something that’s just on the cusp of becoming the norm in the industry, and to be on the first soap to do it, I just thought it was a really unique opportunity. I think a lot of eyeballs are going to catch it.
DC: Were you hesitant coming to this new platform of soap viewing?
RG: No. Obviously the first day I was a bit nervous and had a little trepidation stepping into a show that has already been established, and a role that has already been performed by someone for so many years. But picking up with day two and onward and to today, I feel extremely comfortable on set. I’m proud of my work and proud of where I’m at with Matthew. I’m looking forward to where I go with it. After I got the role, and learned what I was getting myself into fully, of course there was a little bit of anxiety. Eddie [Alderson] had been in the role for what, nine years? That was definitely some big shoes to fill. I’m not here to replace him; I’m here to carry on his legacy and that torch and help Matthew grow and to evolve. I feel like that’s a subject Eddie didn’t get a chance to do and I feel very proudly to do that, to bring Matthew into adulthood. It’s a pretty cool subject.
DC: What’s it like working with legends such as Hillary B. Smith and Bob Woods?
RG: Terrific actually. I had my first scenes with Bob on Friday; it was part of the first episode we filmed last Friday. It was amazing to work with him. I feel like we all get along just like if we were a family. That speaks to them and how they let me into their family. I don’t have the same relationship with them as Eddie [Alderson] has with them, but we’ve sort of grown into a whole new relationship together. I have quite a few scenes with Hillary and she feels like mom. She’s very sweet.
DC: Did they give you any advice on sliping into the role that Eddie Alderson was so beloved and popular in?
RG: No, nobody gave me any advice as far as that is concerned. Here’s what I want people to know, I’m not here to replace Eddie. He obviously has quite the history with the show. The fans love him. The castmembers love him. I’ve seen his work and, I’m a fan of his work as well. What I would like people to know is that I’m carrying on his torch. The character he portrayed onscreen, I’m continuing into a new phase of life. They didn’t give me any words or wisdom. I think everyone is just kind of trusting me to do my own thing with it. I’m looking forward to the audience seeing that. I’m definitely bringing a little bit of myself into this character, while knowing the history of the character and knowing he is a Buchanan, because that’s important too.
DC: Rumor has it Matthew is going to be involved in some adult themed-situations with Destiny.
RG: [Grins] Really, explain them to me?
DC: You know exactly what I mean!
RG: Adult-themed, oh! [Laughs]
DC: The buzz is Matthew is going to be a deadbeat dad to his child with Destiny. Care to elaborate on that?
RG: [Pauses] Well, I can’t give too much away, but what we do know is Matthew… He did not have a choice in things. He sort of woke up from this coma and boom! He had a kid. So what you will see as the audience is Matthew going through those same conflicts again with himself, and how hands-on he’s going to be as a parent. I can’t go into it too much, but that’s certainly part of the storyline, confronting this baby again.
DC: How do Bo and Nora fit into this?
RG: What we know so far is his parents are fully supportive and want him to have his kid in his life. So you’re going to see some of that as well. You’re going to see them help Matthew in this process obviously. My mom Hillary, Nora, is going to be helping me raise the baby.
DC: A nice part of Matthew’s history is, he has a quirky relationship with his much older brother.
RG: [Grins] That continues.
DC: What advice does David give him regarding his situation with Destiny (Laura Harrier)?
RG: We have not broached that subject yet. I’ve worked with him a couple of different times, in a couple of different scenes and he hasn’t addressed that issue. It’s more... [Pauses] It’s more of him being as a brother and being as a friend, I would say. The relationship is growing to that point.
DC: How is it working with Tuc Watkins?
RG: [Laughs] Hilarious! You know he’s a lot of fun to work with. It’s special. Everyone on the show is great to work with.
DC: Will we see any romance on the horizon for Matthew? Or is he too bogged down with what’s going on with Destiny and their kid?
RG: You can expect to see a lot of romance, from many different angles. [Grins]
DC: Matthew is also close to his Uncle Clint, played by Jerry verDorn. What is their relationship like now?
RG: I think as an audience you’ll be surprised. I feel like, while Bo is hard-headed, telling Matthew what to do, Clint is giving Matthew more practical advice. He definitely lets me hear it about raising my son as a Buchanan. He’s very opinionated on that. I feel like he’s sort of stepped into the father role as well. I think Matthew has two fathers on this show.
DC: Is that going to cause tension between Clint and Bo?
RG: Perhaps. Perhaps it can happen…
DC: What can you tease about what to expect with Matthew?
RG: I don’t know how much I can give away, Jillian! [Laughs] I really want to give you something good! Well, Matthew moves out. He’s got his own apartment and he’s living with Jeffrey (Corbin Bleu) and Dani (Kelley Missal).
DC: Are we going to Matthew try to rekindle something with Dani?
Gorrie: They’re living in the same house so there’s going to be some tension.
One Life to Live premieres April 29 on Hulu, Hulu Plus and iTunes.