So long, Marshall

AS THE WORLD TURNS’ Marshall met an untimely demise when Bonnie pushed him out a window in October. Lamman Rucker shares his thoughts on leaving ATWT, Marshall and his fans behind.Soap Opera Weekly: Were you surprised the show let you go?

Lamman Rucker: It definitely wasn’t something that I thought was going to happen. Not just in this industry but in life in general, you have to have the ability to cope with change more than anything else. Because none of us can avoid life happening to us. No matter what, sh— is going to happen. And when it does it is always a matter of: How are you going deal with it? How are you going to bounce back? What are you going to do proactively as a result of something that may have happened that you couldn’t control?Weekly: When Marshall raped Jessica earlier this year, were you concerned that the character would be written into a corner?

Rucker: Absolutely, and to be honest with you — and it is going to make a lot of people uncomfortable for me to come at it from this perspective as well — but naturally also as an African-American man, it was definitely a huge concern to me. Why does this character have to be violent? And in particular, why does he have to be sexually violent? Also, why does he have to be violent to a woman he genuinely does care about, or at least thinks he does?

I didn’t have a problem with Marshall having flaws. When you bring a character to life, you obviously end up developing a certain oneness with the character. So naturally as Lamman, I didn’t want that for Marshall. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody — that kind of lapse in judgement. I played it as an honest mistake. He was somebody that was used to being in control and being in a powerful position, but it wasn’t even a power issue with him like it typically is with many people who violate other people, especially physically and sexually. With him it was a miscommunication thing. It was not understanding the boundaries of his and Jessica’s relationship. There were some really complicated dynamics. Tamara (Tunie, Jessica) and I talked about what our concerns, fears and reservations were. But we also talked about how we were going to make sure that we served our characters fairly. I was concerned about the images that I thought were going to be perpetuated in this industry of a man of color that doesn’t have any self-control. Or that doesn’t have the intelligence and the sensitivity or the compassion to know any better.Weekly: Do you think Marshall still had a future?

Rucker: I think there were still tons of possibilities. Other people he could have been involved with, other relationships he could have established. Maybe changed his identity, changed his line of work to try to fit in. Maybe they just didn’t consider that any of those things were feasible or were in their interests.Weekly: They had just brought on Marshall’s daughter, Sarah.
Rucker: Yes, and you were starting to see Marshall as a three-dimensional person with a range of feelings, with a range of possibilities, with a range of choices. I definitely found [the decision] as a surprise because the more they developed the people around him, it gave Marshall the opportunity to evolve more completely. So I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get the chance to see that evolution continue. Having this little girl totally changed his whole program. He was a father. And Joanna (HartsHorne, Sarah) is wonderful. She is the sweetest thing and I hope that they allow her to stick around, because she is a wonderful young actress and a beautiful little girl with a great spirit, great parents and a great future in front of her.Weekly: Are you happy that Marshall went out with a bang rather than leaving town?

Rucker: I don’t know. Naturally I would love the opportunity to come back and continue to bring him life, to pop in months from now, years from now, and be able to cause some trouble or maybe try to start anew. But I would rather originate a role and end it myself than to be fired and recast, as some people are. I don’t think anybody would be able to do Marshall like I can.Weekly: What would you like to say to your fans?

Rucker: The love, appreciation and sincere support that I have gotten from so many people is beyond words. Even if somebody was ready to slap me as I walked down the street — “Oh, I hate you!” — the next thing that people always said was, “You are doing a fabulous job. We love to hate you.” Those kinds of things were the most fulfilling. Those things didn’t have anything to do with me. All the things that have meant the most to me about my time here is what it has meant to other people.

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