Catching Up With ... Robert LaSardo (ex-Mateo, 2006-07; ex-Manny, 2005-06)

Thanks to his trademark scowl and heavily tattooed body, Robert LaSardo (ex-Mateo; ex-Manny) had made a career out of playing the villain. In 2005, his Manny caused a devastating train wreck on GH that killed Reese. He shot and killed good guy cop Jesse Beaudry in 2006, and later shot Sam while gunning for Jason, leaving her unable to have children. Manny died that summer when Jason threw him off the roof of G.H., but by year’s end, his twin brother, a priest named Father Mateo, appeared and vowed to make up for the harm his wayward sibling had caused. Or would he? We never found out, as Mateo vanished after the Metro Court hostage crisis in 2007. The actor, however, wasn’t that elusive and fills in Digest on what he’s been up to:Soap Opera Digest: Head Writer Robert Guza, Jr., says he’d love to continue writing for you, but you’re the busiest actor in Hollywood.

Robert LaSardo: Really [laughs]? He’s kind. That’s a very nice thing to say. I miss Robert Guza and I miss [Executive Producer] Jill Phelps. It was a great relationship.

Digest: So, what happened to Mateo?

LaSardo: Father Mateo had to go to Louisiana to be in a horror movie called Autopsy, where we were filming in a functioning mental hospital. That’s where the horror movie takes place. It’s about these kids who get lost, end up in the hospital and need to be helped. I play one of the orderlies, with Michael Bowen and Robert Patrick. I went from Father Mateo to Scott the evil orderly in a real mental institution [laughs].

Digest: You’re also in the film Death Race, in theaters now.

LaSardo: Yes. Death Race is with Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Ian McShane [ex-Don, DALLAS; ex-Niko, BARE ESSENCE]. It’s an action film I did. Another one of the reasons I had to leave GENERAL HOSPITAL was to do that film. I play a character called the Grimm Reaper, and I race the cars as part of a prison inmate race. It’s a lot of fun, but very violent.

Digest: And a remake of the 1975 film Death Race 2000 with David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone.

LaSardo: Yes. The original was more satirical — gory, but funny. I’ve been trying to find it on DVD. I’ve got to get it. I’d love to see the original. Maybe they’ll come out with a box set [of both] when this film goes to DVD. That would be great.

Digest: Supposedly there was talk of Carradine making a cameo, but that didn’t happen.

LaSardo: That’s a shame. That would have been great. But yes, doing those films unfortunately made it difficult to continue as Father Mateo.

Digest: Would you ever come back to GH?

LaSardo: I would love to. I would love to find out if Mateo was good or evil. I think the exploration of that would be fascinating. Maybe he’s possessed with both. That could make for some interesting drama.

Digest: Do you ever get stopped by GH fans?

LaSardo: I do, and I miss them. These are the most loyal, consistent, caring, concerned people there are. They don’t give up on you. They want to know, “When are you coming back to the soap opera? We miss you.” It really warms my heart, especially in an industry that’s so fickle, where two months after your film comes out, you’re forgotten about. But these people remember what affects them and it makes you want to continue to do good work.

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