Relatively Speaking

Soap Opera Digest: What was the hardest part of forging a father/son relationship on TV?
Winsor Harmon: I really didn’t think about it, to be honest with you. I was just told he was playing my father and that was good enough for me.
John McCook: It was pretty clear to both of us what this relationship was already. Ridge is the favorite son and Thorne is not. Ridge was the star upstairs getting all the p.r. and Thorne was down in shipping. Those basic facts about the show made the rapport easy for us. But it helped that we had worked together before [on an episode of ACAPULCO H.E.A.T.].Digest: Were there any problems adjusting to the role, Winsor?
Harmon: The problem I had when I first started was, I had never taken over a role before. So I was following the guidelines given to me about my character. I was told he was supposed to be more in-your-face and he would be stepping out of his big brother’s shadow They wanted his character to change slowly.
McCook: That’s why now, it’s an exciting time on our show. We’re really turning a page on Thorne because he’s really getting aggressive. Eric has made him president of the company and Thorne is coming into his own finally. The most powerful drama is more Greek tragedy and Biblical stories. Now we’re introducing the two sons vying for position in the family. Mom and Dad are older now so the future is with their children. The money and power is within reach and these two sons are vying for it. Eric is caught between a rock and a hard place with his boys and he’s going to be very conflicted about this. It’s Cain and Abel.
Harmon: Thorne’s life is coming together. Here he is, the president of Forrester Creations and he’s got a family. He’s not the second son anymore.
McCook: That’s why we have to address what’s different about the story now and it’s that Thorne has a child. He was in love before with Macy, but she was a little flighty and she had the alcohol problem and they never had a baby together. Darla has given him a child and she’s discovering that she has balls, too.Digest: How do you feel about the show returning the focus back to the Forresters?
McCook: I feel great about it, but there’s a cop-out here. We’re a small show, there’s not room for everybody on the canvas at the same time. When we have to introduce new characters, it sucks air time away from the others. That’s kind of the cop-out. I believe it. It’s true. If we are introducing new characters, then we need to slow down the pace a little bit so that the other characters can be on, too. I feel that, as we have done many times in 17 years, we always return to basics, which means the fashion industry and the Forresters. That’s always been the success of the show.
Harmon: It’s always also been about those brothers feuding and it’s been great. It’s that dysfunctional family. They make for very rich storytelling.Digest: Have you ever disagreed on anything?
Harmon: No. We’ve never had an argument.
McCook: We’ll just have a different opinion. We’ll do a scene and he’ll say, “I didn’t like how I did that,” and I’ll say, “No. It was fine.”
Harmon: If he says that, then I let it go then. I have to trust him.
McCook: I’ll tell him if he looks like a fool.
Harmon: Susan [Flannery, Stephanie] is not as tactful. She’ll stop right in the middle of a scene and say, “No. Do it again.”
McCook: She does it to me all of the time.Digest: Do you remember the first time she did that?
Harmon: Oh, yeah. I had been there for about a week and we were standing in the Forrester living room. We did the scene and she suddenly said, “No. Do it again.” I had never seen an actor stop a scene and say that. And, of course, she was right.
McCook: She had some advice for me recently. We had a confrontational scene, which is about the only kind of scene that we have anymore and it was about Eric getting down on Stephanie over Brooke and the windows were rattling, of course. My line was, “I’m never going to understand you, but I’m never going to leave you — not ever again.” My tendency was to say it sweetly, but she said, “Don’t do that! Stay in that hot place. That’s where we’re going to be now.” Stephanie and Eric are going to fight like cats and dogs and then have a drink. They’ll disagree about everything and then go out to eat. What else do we have? They don’t have a sexual relationship. That kind of a tenderness and sweetness only comes up once a year.
Harmon: As a son, I would hate to walk in on that.