Now We Meet Your Father

On November 3, Eric Braeden (Victor, YOUNG & RESTLESS) will guest-star on the sitcom HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. Braeden will play Robin Charles Scherbatsky, Sr., the father of Robin
(Cobie Smulders). Although it’s not his first stab at comedy (there was HOPE & FAITH, THE NANNY and THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW), Braeden chats with Soap Opera Digest about his experience — and then some.Soap Opera Digest: How did this gig come about?

Eric Braeden: I have no idea. It came through the agents.

Digest: Were you a fan of the show?

Braeden: I never knew it existed.

Digest: Then why did you agree to do it?

Braeden: Because I was urged to do so by my wife, and by my agent and my publicist.

Digest: So, how did it go?

Braeden: It was a wonderful experience. Everyone on that show, from director to producer to crew to the actors, were all very nice and gracious.

Digest: How would you describe Robin, Sr.?

Braeden: He’s a character who wanted his daughter to be a boy, so there are some very funny scenes.

Digest: I understand that your character has a strange relationship with his daughter because he wanted a boy.

Braeden: There’s a [flashback] scene where he’s standing over [his daughter’s birth] with a cigar and going, “It’s going to be a boy! Push, push, push [laughs]!”

Digest: Then he raises her like a son.

Braeden: Yeah, I don’t know how anyone could have that reaction. I have a granddaughter who I absolutely adore.

Digest: Did you get any advice or notes on how to play your scenes?

Braeden: They simply let me do what I did. They loved it and the director was wonderful. When you have done this as long as I have, you know what works and what doesn’t. I know better than most
directors do.

Digest: Any challenges crop up?

Braeden: No, but I don’t give a damn how long you have been in the business, you always become very vulnerable. You expose yourself. You are naked at that moment and you are there to be judged. That is much harder than you realize.

Digest: Does this mean that you would reprise the character if they ask?

Braeden: Yeah, absolutely. I wouldn’t mind it. You know, make me an offer I can’t resist. It’s very uplifting to do comedy. I have not done it too much nor am I known for it.

Digest: Getting to play comedy is quite a departure from what you are playing on Y&R.

Braeden: If you saw our rehearsals, this is not that much of a departure [chuckles].

Digest: What did you think of the shooting pace on a sitcom?

Braeden: We do 80 pages in one day [on Y&R]. So, nothing compares with what we do. I very often think one or two takes are enough. I usually don’t like more than one take. I think [any more than that] is an enormous waste of time.

Digest: You’ve had a busy year with your movie [The Man Who Came Back], your star on Hollywood Boulevard and now this.

Braeden: Well, that is true and I consider myself extremely lucky. I forget how lucky one is, but I do remind myself. I just came back from Romania where Y&R is very popular. It makes you modest about the effects of this medium. The power of Hollywood [around the world] is absolutely extraordinary.

Digest: You’ve done film and prime-time TV, how does that make you really feel about soaps?

Braeden: It makes me very proud of daytime and what we do here. I’m surrounded by wonderful actors. The more I work in other mediums the more I realize how extraordinary it is what we do here. I just love to be acting and be busy.

Digest: Is there anything else in show business you’d like to conquer?

Braeden: I wish I could do what my son is doing; writing and directing. He is essentially doing what I have always wanted to do, but that is a challenge that I don’t think I am going to meet. I have enormous respect for writers. I know what my son goes through when he writes scripts, and you guys sit in front of an empty page on that computer screen. What you do has [more] enormous effect than you probably realize.

Digest: It wasn’t too long ago that you were, how do I say this, press shy.

Braeden: I was always against publicity. I hated it for years and one day I looked at some magazines and then it sort of clicked. I said, “You know, I was interested in reading that.” So the importance of what is written should not be underestimated. You [writers] entertain a lot of people with what you do.