Soap Opera Weekly: What has it been like playing a broken, desperate, disheveled John Black?
Drake Hogestyn: It’s disconcerting. I’m appreciative that they’re expanding me like this. I wish I had a better arsenal of acting talents to do the storyline justice. Fortunately, I’ve never had to experience any type of addiction that can spiral you to these depths.
Weekly: Would you cite this story as your most difficult to date?
Hogestyn: I would. I thought it was a paralysis story at first. Then, at the DAYS anniversary party, (executive producer) Ken Corday told me John was going to become addicted. He told me they were going to take it [to the limit].
Weekly: Did you think, “How am I going to do this?”
Weekly: Did you do anything to prepare for the story?
Hogestyn: I watched a lot of movies about rehab. I like Jeff Bridges a lot. [I watched his film] 8 Million Ways to Die. He plays an alcoholic. He has blackouts. He loses everything. I actually stole a piece from the film, where he blacked out. He’s in the hospital, and when he wakes up he is just a mess. I tried to take a little bit of the attitude in that scene, but it didn’t work. It was in a scene with Kate.
Weekly: Did you have to reshoot the scene?
Hogestyn: It was the day before we broke for the holidays, the number two scene out of seven. After we shot it, we had a five. Lauren [Koslow, Kate] happened to tape the scene in her room. I asked, “Can I take a look at it?” I watched it and said, “The acting police are banging on the door at NBC to come and drag me away.” We went back on the floor and I told the director, “That last scene…whoa! THAT was the end of my career. Can we do it again?” He said, “No.” We shot the third scene. I said, “Can we go back and shoot the second scene?” He said, “No.” Fourth scene. “No.” Fifth scene. “No.” We finished the seventh scene, and they said, “Moving on.” I thought, “This is how I’m going to go on my two-week break?” I just stood there on the set. Then we hear, “Hold everything. We’re going to roll back.” I got to do the scene over and get out of it what I wanted to get out of it. It wasn’t until we came back in January that I learned that someone had told (co-executive producer) Steve Wyman that I’d had an issue with a scene. Steve said, “Drake doesn’t ask for that. If he wants to shoot a scene over again, something wasn’t right. Let’s do it again.” That made me feel good.
Weekly: Have you spoken to any rehab counselors or recovering addicts?
Hogestyn: I was getting my wife a coffee at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and the guy who was making it looked up and asked, “Do you need any help with your story?” He told me that he was a drug addict for eight years. His [friends and family] did an intervention. Three different times, they dragged him into rehab. The third time worked. They brought him down through methadone. I was feeding off him, trying to get a line on it. It’s a slippery slope to bring believability to this. John’s got pride. John is strong, yet he was caught by his kid putting a needle in his thigh. John’s guilty. He’s defensive. He’s in pain. All those different emotions are [playing into] scenes. It’s expanding me.
Weekly: Kate, of course, has been the woman helping John get through withdrawal. How is teaming with Lauren Koslow?
Hogestyn: Its a good collaboration, and it’s interesting the way it’s written. In John’s state of mind, he’s not looking for love. He’s looking for a fix. For her character it’s interesting, because here she is, unbeknownst to John, doing devious things for her children. She’s giving advice to Philip on how to get Belle, and to Billie on how to get Bo. She doles out all this advice on how to get the guy/girl any way you possibly can. Then, when she has the chance to do that with John in his delusional state, she doesn’t take advantage of it. She doesn’t take her own advice. Lauren’s [reasoning] on that is that when Kate was on the street, John took her in and gave her a job at Basic Black.
Weekly: You’re enjoying working with Lauren?
Hogestyn: It’s a good group. I’ve been having a good time working with Lauren and Kyle [Lowder, Brady] and Arianne [Zuker, Nicole]. They like to work hard, roll their sleeves up and have a good time. I told my wife that. I went home and said, “I’m having the best time working with those three people.” It’s a hard storyline to be in, but having them there…it’s real.
Weekly: But you must miss working with Deidre Hall?
Hogestyn: This is the longest period of time that John and Marlena haven’t been written together. We’ve had separations before, but never this long.
Weekly: You and Deidre shared some fantasies, recently. (They were set to air Feb. 10.) What was it like taping them?
Hogestyn: The scenes were electric. They were comfortable. They were memorable, because we have done these scenes before, but it seemed all fresh and new. I felt great things happening. It’s a good pairing. I’m beginning to appreciate it more as they’ve been apart — what those characters, after everything they’ve been through, mean to each other. There’s a lot of depth. Things were happening that you don’t see written on the page. When it’s developing in front of you, you just let it go. It’s not like the actors are making any choices. It’s an interesting gift, when it’s presented to the two of you, that only the two of you can make happen. It was a fulfilling day’s work.
Weekly: The fans must have loved it.
Hogestyn: I don’t believe they were disappointed. Those scenes recemented the love between John and Marlena. They showed how in John’s deepest despair, Marlena is the one force than can save him. Were there enough of them? No. Will there be more of them? Absolutely. It’s going to be a fantastic love story — yet again. Marlena saved John before, 19 years ago. She saved him in Aremid. Hopefully, she will save him again.