Will Power: A Q&A With ATWT's Brett Groneman

Perhaps it was the sobbing pleas during the parental tug-of-war at Emily and Hal’s wedding, or the sad appearance in Paul’s daydream to lament that no one was around to play catch. However, chances are at some point since his 1999 debut, Brett Groneman‘s heartbreaking, sweetly sincere performance as troubled child Will has brought most AS THE WORLD TURNS fans to tears. “He has turned into a little actor; he’s adorable,” praises on-screen mom Colleen Zenk Pinter (Barbara). “I have a son the same age, who is so completely different. It just cracks me up to see Brett respond to adults in these kinds of situations. He’s getting sassy — I love it!” Groneman’s alter ego may have behavioral problems, but we wanted to find out what the actor, a Smithtown, NY native, is really like. It turns out, he’s a polite, well-spoken eighth-grader with a healthy interest in video games (the Silent Hill series), a passion for toy models (“I like building stuff,” he says) … and a tolerance for disgusting dinner fare. Soap Opera Digest: You started in commercials and appeared on SESAME STREET and LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O’BRIEN. What did you do on CONAN?
Brett Groneman: It was a very short segment. They were doing a show making fun of dentists, and there were three kids in a room and the first kid goes, “My dad’s a sailor, he’s really good at it.” I went, “My dad’s a movie star. He’s awesome.” And the girl said, “My dad’s a dentist,” and we were all supposed to laugh.Digest: Did you ever expect to be at ATWT this long?

Groneman: No, not at all!
Digest: What’s the best part about being on the show?
Groneman: The people — they’re just so nice. They’ve been so supportive, even with my dad’s death in December.
Digest: It must have been so hard to have to work during that time.
Groneman: Yeah, but everyone was really nice.
Digest: What’s the worst part about your job?
Groneman: Some of the lines I find a little cheesy. Sometimes I wish I could change it, but I know I can’t because they have a job and I follow what they do.
Digest: Who’s the funniest person on-set?
Groneman: Michael Park [Jack]! He is such a funny guy. But I actually can’t say he’s the funniest because they’re all so funny. Benjamin [Hendrickson, Hal] is so funny, Don Hastings [Bob] is, too. They all are.
Digest: What advice have you gotten?
Groneman: They were just like, “Relax, enjoy it. Pretend it’s like real life.”
Digest: What are your favorite scenes?
Groneman: I’d have to say Emily’s wedding, where I cried. It was the first time that I cried on-cue.
Digest: When did you decide to become an actor?
Groneman: Actually, my mom kind of decided for me. She saw a commercial that said, “If you think your child isn’t shy, give us a call.”
Digest: Would you like to pursue acting as a career?
Groneman: I definitely want to keep doing it; it’s such a fun experience.
Digest: What other show would you like to do?
Groneman: I’d love to be on FEAR FACTOR. Even though it’s not really an acting job. It’s such a fun show — I want to try that.
Digest: Would you eat a hissing cockroach?
Groneman: I think I might be able to handle that. Sometimes they shoot at a dartboard, and if you get a bull’s-eye, it’s zero: You don’t have to eat anything.
Digest: Will and Hal are constantly going out to eat at Al’s or Mabel’s Red Hots — is the food good?
Groneman: No, some stuff is pretty gross. Sometimes it’s just a hot dog or something like that, but one time we had chili omelets and there were beans coming out of it and stuff. That was gross.
Digest: What kind of music do you like?
Groneman: I like pretty much everything, but I’m not a big punk/rap fan. Sometimes I like rock, sometimes classical. One of my favorites is “Mack The Knife.”
Digest: Do your friends ever watch you on the show?
Groneman: Yeah. It’s so weird to walk into school the next day, and they’re like, “I saw you on TV, man!”
Digest: Who’s cooler: you or Will?
Groneman: I’m definitely cooler than Will!

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