Rob StoryBy Posted: Sep 21, 2005
GUIDING LIGHT fans' first impression of Rob Bogue as Harley's ex-husband, Mallet, has been overwhelmingly positive, a minor miracle in the soap world, where recasts often face a rocky road before they gain grudging acceptance. A testament to good casting and Bogue's skill, of course, but the actor also emanates a charm that makes him incredibly likable and instantly memorable. "This is like a bad date, right? I do all the talking and you do all the listening," he jokes as the interview gets underway. Soon, it's easy to see why daytime gave Bogue a second shot.Yes, that's right: Bogue is not a soap newcomer. "I played a cop on AS THE WORLD TURNS like, 14 years ago where I was protecting Lily," he recalls. "I was so nervous. They gave me a really big gun and a super-small holster, so every time I came in, my gun would fall out and rattle across the stage. Oh, they were angry. I was hitting the door with my head. It was disastrous. It was supposed to be Officer Kevin Williams — that was me — sitting on the couch with Lily saying that everything would be all right and they just cut all of that because they were behind every day. So for four days, I would come in and say, 'I'd better check in with the office,' and leave again [laughs]. And darn it if I wasn't doing GUIDING LIGHT like two weeks ago and [a crew member] who fills in says, 'Hey, man, weren't you on WORLD TURNS?' I was like, 'No, this is my first contract.' He said, 'No, I remember a long time ago you played a cop or something.' I groaned, 'Don't tell me why you remember.' He said, 'Oh, I just thought you were good. There was something about you.'"That immediate likability factor is an even more valuable asset to Bogue given that he was a latecomer to the acting profession. "I met Sydney Pollack my senior year in college because his daughter also went to Colorado College," Bogue begins. "I wasn't that well-versed on filmmakers, but my favorite movie was Jeremiah Johnson, although I didn't know at the time that [Pollack directed it]. I just knew that her father was some Hollywood big shot and thought I'll go. He started talking about Jeremiah Johnson and how this was his favorite movie and how he made it. I was enthralled. I was like, 'You can do something like this with your life?'"After graduation, Bogue moved to New York. "I gave myself six months and enrolled in an acting class. Then I realized that six months is nothing. I had only seen, like, two plays in my life, so I had a lot of work to do," he admits. Bogue's first big break was the 1990 music video for Bob Dylan's "Unbelievable," where he played Molly Ringwald's boyfriend. "Bob Dylan wanted to give me his harmonica," reminisces Bogue. "He came to say good-bye to me and I was like, 'Yeah, hold on, I just got to go to the bathroom.' I was too young and nervous. So he was like, 'Yeah, come back. I want to say good-bye to ya.' I came back, but his car had come and he had left. He had given the harmonica to a P.A. instead."If entertainment fans think that's a missed opportunity, they haven't heard anything yet. This tale starts in 1999 on OZ, when Bogue became one of the stars. "OZ was a great show," he notes. "Once you walked through the production doors, the prison was a real prison. The extras were permanent because they were all serving life sentences. They weren't actors with fake tattoos. I felt like a little 16-year-old cheerleader walking in on the first day. Great guys, but 100 guys in a room with earrings and tattoos and a violent sexual script and it ain't WILL & GRACE."Bogue was written out after two seasons after landing his own TV show. "I've told this story to a couple of people in the industry and they said that it was one of the most tragic stories they've heard," he laughs ruefully. The gist of it is that Bogue did a pilot for famed Hollywood producer/director Richard Donner. Eventually, 22 episodes were sold to the SCI FI Channel with the condition that Bogue remain as the lead and have creative control. "I got a massive multi-million-dollar deal to do my own TV show," marvels Bogue. "Bob Engels, who wrote TWIN PEAKS, was my writer. During this time, Steven Spielberg calls and says, 'I want you to be the lead in my new show.' I said, 'I can't, I'm doing my own show.' He said, 'Well, you're the only guy I want, so I'll fly you between sets and you can do both shows at once.' " Logistically, it didn't work out and Bogue laughs, "The phone hasn't rung since." And here comes the tragic part: "Two weeks before shooting is set to begin, this hundred-million-dollar production company in Montreal disconnects the phones. Come to find out, the 26 million we got from New Line to do my show, this production company spent on their own debt because they are 60 million in debt. It wasn't enough to satisfy the banks, so they moved in and dismantled the company. My show was gone. It's over. That's it. People were calling me from L.A., attorneys, publicists going, 'Who is this guy we've never heard of who got points on his own show?' Like Seinfield points, George Clooney points. Let's say that Rob almost got his hunting rifle and went to a water tower in Montreal and sat up there until various people walked by."Needless to say, that career loss hit Bogue hard. "I had $800 to my name. So I was broke and emotionally destroyed [laughs]. I was back to reading for one line on LAW & ORDER. One day, you're talking to Richard Donner and Bob Engels on the phone and they're going, 'Rob, how do you think we can make that funnier?' And then next day, you're at an Uncle Ben's rice commercial going, 'Mmm, that's good rice.' It was painful. Your ego takes a huge shot." After a few years, Bogue made peace with his past. "You keep waiting for the train again, but the train doesn't come and you realize that this may not happen again," he sighs. "You just have to like acting again — and now I do."Bogue, who has now inked a long-term contract with the show, couldn't be happier to have landed at a place known for its caliber of acting. "When I got this job, I kept bumping into friends on the street who had had different experiences on soaps and they said, 'You are going to love GUIDING LIGHT.' And they were right."
"I didn't realize that the shoes were so big," admits Bogue about stepping into the role of Mallet, a part previously played by Mark Derwin from 1990-93. "I watched a little bit and I was like, 'Oh, I can't watch anymore because I will be affected by it too much.' Considering it's been 12 years since the actor left, that is remarkable and huge kudos to Mark Derwin. You are always haunted by whether they want an imitation, and there's a lot of people who like what his interpretation was. You don't have the luxury of being haunted by that for too long."
This article originally ran in the Aug. 7, 2005 issue of Soap Opera Digest