B&B's Tanner Novlan On Finn's Shocking Demise

Fans weren’t the only ones shocked when Finn was accidentally gunned down by his own mother. His portrayer, Tanner Novlan, was, too. “Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] gave me a call personally and told me where the character was headed and yeah, I was pretty surprised,” he begins. “But, that’s the nature of soap opera. Anything can happen at any time, and that’s ultimately what keeps people engaged with the show.”

His co-stars had a similar reaction. “Everyone was pretty surprised, especially Jacqui [MacInnes Wood, Steffy],” he notes. “She was super-surprised because we have so many great ‘Sinn’ fans. She was speechless and I said, ‘Well, I think that’s the point of it [laughs].’ But, everyone was very supportive. They are a great family and we’ll remain friends. You don’t go on a show like B&B and not create great relationships.”

The daytime newcomer got some advice from wife Kayla Ewell (ex-Caitlin, B&B). “She was super-supportive,” he shares. “She’s been through this sort of thing before [when a storyline wraps] and it was nice to serve the show in that way. In soaps, the surprises keep coming, and this is one that will definitely get a bunch of buzz.”

Buzz is an understatement. “This is the ultimate twist,” he observes. “I don’t think anyone could see this coming and yes, it is heartbreaking. Unfortunately for Finn, one of his values is having faith in people. Now, that comes back to bite him in the worst possible way.”

This also happens to be the first death scene the actor has ever played, which proved challenging. “This is the first time I died,” he chuckles. “I’m thinking as an actor, ‘Well, this will be an easy day because I get to lay there the whole time and I normally don’t get to do that,’ but it actually was kind of uncomfortable because there was a lot of ‘blood’ and I ended up laying in that pool of blood for, I think, six hours or something. I also had to hold my breath the whole time, and some of those scenes are long. And, I had my eyes closed so I never knew if the camera was on me or not. I had to take a big swimmer’s breath before each take and try not to cough or sneeze on someone’s line. So, it wasn’t as much fun as I thought it was going to be [laughs].”

Novlan has many highlights from his nearly two-year run. “Some of my favorite scenes were finding out when Jack Finnegan, his father, lied to him for all those years about being his biological father,” the actor reflects. “That was a good, meaty storyline and it provided some backstory on Finn, because Finn was more of a supportive character in other people’s storylines. When the shift focused to him and we found out more information about him and his background with Sheila, that was fun to play around with. Then, how can you leave out all the great ‘Sinn’ scenes with Jacqui? And the stuff with little Hayes was wild. I mean, how do you create sexual chemistry in a birthing pool but yet, I think we did that.”

In real life, the Novlans are anticipating their second child, a boy, this summer. “Yes, we’ve got another little animal on the way so we are pretty excited,” he enthuses. “Kayla is doing well and we’re getting ready for another round. [Daughter Poppy, 2, is] extremely excited. She’s using all of her dolls and her plush animals and she puts them to sleep and she’s already playing big sister, so we are very grateful she is embracing the role.”

As for what’s next for Novlan, he says, “We are waiting to hear about season 5 of ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO [on which he recurs as Gregory], and then we also have a brand new Liberty Mutual ad [which made ‘Liberty Biberty’ a cult catchphrase]. You’re going to see plenty of me annoying you on your TV screen, so I will be popping up everywhere.”

Novlan adds that he’s open to do another soap should the opportunity arise. “Yeah, it’s an interesting medium,” he says. “I’m so grateful to B&B, and I really like the pace of daytime. At first, it was intimidating but now, I love to shoot fast and quick. You do these other shows and there are the big crane shots and you do the whole scene and now, I’m like, ‘Do we not have it yet? We did one take. Come on, guys. Crank it up [laughs].’ That is something I’m proud of.”

Novlan also appreciates how embraced he was by the soap community in the short time he appeared on the soap. “It was such an honor to be so well-received, from the fans and critics,” he sums up. “Being named [as one of Daytime’s Hottest Newcomers by Digest] in 2020 and all the recognition that way, and then for everyone getting behind Finn and saying Finn was this breath of fresh air for the Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle, to be able to provide that for the fans and the show alike was a real honor.”