INTERVIEW

Bryton James (Devon, Y&R) offers insight into his alter ego

What do you like/dislike about your character? “What I like about Devon is also what I don’t like about him. They’re the same thing and the most different from me. He doesn’t think before he acts or speaks. He doesn’t have that filter, so it allows him to have some pretty exciting confrontations and situations but it can also come back to bite him. Everything he says or does comes from a good place, especially when it concerns people he loves. It sure makes for a more dramatic life than I have.”

What do you consider his strengths? “Definitely his loyalty and his courage. I think he’s also naturally good-hearted. It’s like his default. It’s second nature to him.”

What do you consider his weaknesses? “Like I mentioned before, he acts or speaks before he thinks. There’s also his sensitivities and triggers from his upbringing. He felt abandoned by his mother, so it took awhile for him to trust people again. I think he’s always a little afraid that someone will let him down.”

What family member is your character closest to? “Definitely Lily. She was the first one in the Winters family to reach out to Devon and helped him feel that someone cared about him. She made him believe that she wouldn’t stop loving him just because he had some rough edges.”

What was your character’s best job? “I’d say interning at Newman Enterprises, where he got a taste of the corporate world and was thrown into the mix with the heavy hitters of Genoa City. He worked hard to gain their trust and showed responsibility. Coming from the background that he did, working at Newman was a great foundation for him to start from.”

What other profession would you like to see your character tackle? “Devon would be good at counseling kids who are going through what he’s gone through. He has enough life experience to write a couple of self-help books. Since he made it to a good, healthy place, I think he could offer a lot of help to people who would only take advice from someone who understands their struggles and what they’ve been through. I think he could really relate to young kids and teenagers.”

Who is your character’s best friend? “Abby. She’s been there for Devon, back to when Emme [Rylan] played her. At the time, the show was going into a romantic direction with those characters but they switched gears. Abby funded Devon’s first music venture, which a lot of people forget.”

Who is your character’s enemy? “Colin Atkinson is Devon’s No. 1 enemy. Colin drugged Devon to make it look like he was cheating on Hilary, plus Colin has blackmailed Devon numerous times and then stole Devon’s fortune through an elaborate scam. Colin is bad news!”

Who was the love of your character’s life? “Hilary, although I had to make sense at first of why Devon loved her because she was such a drama starter. I think Devon loved Hilary because of the chaos she would bring into his life. She could be hotheaded and reactionary like Devon.”

Who is the person your character turns to for advice? “I think that’s Amanda now because she’s very levelheaded and she really does think about what she’s going to say and do. That’s what makes her a top-notch lawyer.”

What life event most affected your character? “Getting adopted by Neil and Drucilla. That was the start of Devon learning that love is real, which really turned his life around. It was even bigger than when he inherited all that money from Katherine. Becoming part of a real family made Devon feel worthy and set the foundation for everything else in his life.”

How has your character changed/evolved since you began playing him? “In the beginning, Devon had a huge chip on his shoulder and was always angry. I remember when I first started playing Devon, I made it a point not to ever smile. He had a rough life, so he didn’t trust anybody, but that love from the Winters family and everybody who embraced him after that eventually changed him to a pretty easygoing, loving person.”

If your character could go back in time and change one decision he made, what would it be? “Being honest with Neil about how Devon felt about Hilary before she married his dad. That still would’ve broken Neil’s heart, but at least Devon wouldn’t have had an affair with her behind his dad’s back. Devon always regretted that. Even after that, Neil stood by Devon, and that’s a real father.”

What three words best describe your character? “Loyal, brave and kind.”

What do you consider to be your character’s signature storyline? “Being deaf because fans have remembered that more than anything else I’ve done. I remember taking a sign language class at my college even though Devon wouldn’t be using it. Everyone could hear him speak, but I wanted to learn with everyone else in the storyline, just to be a team player. His relationship with Hilary is a close second.”

What comment/question do you get most often from fans about your character? “It used to be, ‘Are you really deaf and is that thing on your head [the cochlear implant apparatus] real?’ Now it’s more of how they miss Hilary and Devon together, or Elena and Devon.”

What was the happiest/worst time in your character’s life? “When he was living with the Winterses was his happiest time, but I think he felt he had everything in life when he married Hilary. The worst would be losing Drucilla and Hilary. They were very important women in his life and each changed him after losing them.”  

Who dresses better — you or your character? “Depends on your definition of better. I dress more comfortably than Devon. There was a period when he wore suits all of the time, which I really loved. I always wanted a job where I wore a suit. But I still think I dress better than Devon because if I were a billionaire, I would dress exactly how I dress now: comfortable and with style.”

Who has a better house — you or your character? “I would say Devon. He not only lives in an awesome penthouse but he owns the entire building where his penthouse is located. I do think his place needs a little remodeling because there are still a lot of things in there from when he and Hilary were together. Maybe Amanda will put her own stamp on it.”

Which character would you love to bring back and who would your character want to see in Genoa City again? “I would love to see his sister Ana again because that would mean Loren Lott would come back to play the role. Loren is one of the best people you could ever meet. Her spirit, her energy, her personality and her heart are unmatched. And her talent is insane, she’s such a phenomenal singer. And her comedic timing and wit are amazing. She was perfect for the show. Her character only went away, so she could always pop back in. I think Devon would want his mom, Yolanda, to come back. She’s technically a grandmother now, so it would be a huge moment for Devon to share his child with his mother.”

What do you and your character miss most about the late Kristoff St. John/Devon’s dad, Neil? “I miss so much sharing the stage with Kristoff. He was such a big ball of energy and brought something to the show that we’ve been missing since he’s been gone. He’s irreplaceable. And Devon misses Neil’s advice and that he could talk to his dad about anything.”

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