Heath Kizzier played Dr. Joshua Landers on YOUNG AND RESTLESS from 1996-’98. He recently wrote his memoirs, Can I See Your I.D., Son? ($16.95, Amazon). Soap Opera Weekly caught up with the actor-turned-writer.Soap Opera Weekly: Did you find writing this book therapeutic for you?
Heath Kizzier: It was; it was fairly odd. I found that I actually really regressed a little bit when I was writing it. Once I got through it and got past it, there was a lot of growth. During the process, I found myself being a little boy sometimes [laughs]. Coming out the other end was extremely healthy for me; that certainly was not the reason why I started it, but it just kind of turned out that way.
Weekly: Was it difficult to write?
Kizzier: It really flowed for me, versus the other novels and other things that I have written. There wasn’t really any research; it was just a matter of pulling out the journals and sitting down with them for a while, and remembering a lot of this material. Once I started, it flowed really well and really fast, certainly the quickest book that I’ve ever done.
Weekly: How long did it take you to write it?
Kizzier: This one was about four months.
Weekly: Tell me about the title.
Kizzier: So much of the early years [saw] me pushing my age older. Thus, so much of it had to deal with I.D.s and trying to figure out how to prove [that I was] older. I have those I.D.s that are on the cover in an old box, and I pulled those out, and that’s when the idea came to me. It’s because of all of the years pretending to be older than I was.
Weekly: You had lots of jobs, from window washer to paper carrier. Did these experiences help prepare you for your life as an actor and a writer?
Kizzier: I would say yes. Quite, quite so. I feel that all those experiences made me realize that I can survive, no matter what — that regardless of economic times [or] situation, there’s nothing that I can’t do.
Weekly: Do you ever watch Y&R?
Kizzier: A little bit lately, and a little bit sporadically. A lot of my family got hooked on the show when I was on it, so they still watch it now and again. So that’s been fun, to tune in now and again to see who’s still there. Seeing the old friends. Seeing the new dilemmas on the show.
Weekly: Have you kept in touch with any of your former co-stars?
Kizzier: Recently, I’ve reconnected with several — John Castellanos (ex-John) and J. Eddie Peck (ex-Cole). I’ve been chatting a little bit with Shari Shattuck (ex-Ashley) — she’s doing some writing, as well. It’s been fun to reconnect. We haven’t talked in a while, so it’s fun to see what everyone’s doing these days.
Weekly: Do you still do any acting on the side, or have any roles coming up?
Kizzier: Nothing in the last five or six years. [I’ve] really directed [my energy] toward writing.
Weekly: Are you still recognized for your role on Y&R?
Kizzier: On occasion. For the first four or five years [after], I was, all the time. Only occasionally now. Now I have my hair short. After I stopped acting, I got rid of the contacts. Now I’m wearing glasses, so I’ve definitely got a different look.
Weekly: How would you compare life as an actor to life as a writer?
Kizzier: For me, a thousand percent different. As an actor, you have no control. You’re the last to be hired and the first to be fired. Whereas with writing, everything is in my control, at least until I’m ready to put it out there. So I can dictate to myself what it is I want to write about. I can dictate to myself my story, my plot, everything. I can be as neurotic as I want to be. I can make it exactly as I want it to be, and then I can present it.
With acting, you’re going to have your good days and bad days, and you can put a scene out there and you’re not happy with it, but the director calls out, “Okay, moving on!” So you’re not always guaranteed that your best work will be [seen].
Weekly: Would you say that you prefer life as a writer?
Kizzier: Acting, if someone was to present something, isn’t out of the question. I started acting when I was 18, 17, and I had a boy’s outlook on things, and now I can look at things differently. I’ve really learned to have fun now, and I didn’t so much back at that age. I’m not sure if I wrote about this, but the one thing you really need as an actor [is that] you have to be able to enjoy your win. When you get the job, you have to be able to dive in, be excited and have fun the whole time, because [jobs] are so few and far between. I didn’t do that well enough back then.
Weekly: As your roles progressed, did you learn to enjoy it a little bit?
Kizzier: Well, I suppose my time on Y&R was the best experience, as far as being able to enjoy it. After the first year, [once] I got into it and I knew my role and my place, I learned slowly to enjoy it. But even now, I’m a completely different guy. Back then, I was too serious and too wrapped up in being perfect.
Weekly: Did memorizing lines and reading scripts play a role in your writing style for this book?
Kizzier: Certainly, reading is mandatory. I don’t think you can be a writer if you’re not a reader. I’m a voracious reader.
Weekly: What are you writing now?
Kizzier: Movie screenplays.
Weekly: Any particular genre? Westerns or suspense?
Kizzier: I’ve got seven different scripts, and they’re all pretty much different genres: a thriller, a romantic comedy, a [musical], a drama.
For more on Kizzier, check out his Web site, www.heathkizzier.com.