Soap Opera Digest: You and your family relocated to Atlanta three years ago. How is life there?
Matt Borlenghi: It’s been a heck of a ride, with some ups and downs. Originally, moving here was a business decision to run the Atlanta office of a very prominent acting school in L.A., but it turned really ugly, very quickly.
Digest: Did you consider moving back to L.A. at that point?
Borlenghi: Not really. I was done with L.A. and L.A. was done with me. I was only out here for a month when I booked this little recurring role on COBRA KAI and look at it now. It previously had a devoted following on YouTube Premium but when it hit Netflix, it blew up. I’ve only appeared [as Lyle] in one episode in each of the three seasons, but people have responded strongly to him and I’m blessed that this show has become such a fan favorite. It’s pretty cool.
Digest: On another note, did you see what James Patrick Stuart [Valentin, GH; ex-Will, AMC] said about you recently in Digest, reflecting on your relationship back in your AMC days?
Borlenghi: That was cool! I love how he started off so tongue-in-cheek with “That’s the two Valentins.” That was very sweet of him. He’s always been a gracious and loyal friend.
Digest: You were cast in that role in 2009, but never aired.
Borlenghi: At one point, someone asked, “Are you pissed that James Patrick got your role?” No, he’s doing a great job with his take on the character, so I was happy that it was him. When I was cast it wasn’t meant to be. I would’ve preferred not to find out the next day after filming my first scene that James Franco wanted to do the show [playing Franco]. Things work out in odd ways. I’ve gone through some pretty difficult moments in the last several years but I have my family and my health and I’m still kicking.
Digest: What else are you up to?
Borlenghi: I have a TV movie in the can called UNVEILED. I play the father of a someone who’s getting married and she gets a glimpse into the future of what her life is like if she breaks her fiancé’s heart to pursue her career. I have a very nice supporting role as a doctor, so I finally get to say, “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV.” This was a nice turn for me because I get to be friendly and charming and even witty. I usually play younger, so there was a moment that I had to say, “Well, I am 53 now,” and embrace it. I have 10-year-old sons and a 15-year-old daughter, but in this movie, I have an 8-year-old grandchild [laughs]. Also, there’s a video game, Mafia, that just came out, where I’m one of the faces and voices in the game. It’s really big news in the gaming industry because almost 20 years ago, Mafia really reinvented the gaming world. From the ground up, the entire original game has been retold with 2020 graphics. I play Sergio Morello. When we get a handle on COVID, I’m really looking forward to appearing at the gamer conventions.
Digest: Do you have a favorite memory from your time at AMC?
Borlenghi: Working with Kelly Ripa [ex-Hayley] was the best because I never knew what I was going to get from her day to day. We hated each other for a while and then became good friends. I was so proud to be there on Hollywood Blvd. when she got her star [on the Hollywood Walk of Fame], and I’m so happy for her and her family for all the success they are enjoying. My quitting AMC was the best thing that ever happened to her [laughs].
Digest: Would you come back to soaps?
Borlenghi: Absolutely! When I was on ALL MY CHILDREN, I was young and impulsive. I mean, who in their right mind leaves a show at the height of their popularity? I was so excited when Brad Bell [B&B’s executive producer/head writer] gave me a role. That came at a time when I had just straightened myself out after making a lot of bad lifestyle choices, so it gave me a chance at redemption. I was so bummed when that role ended but then I was excited when I got DAYS. If any of the soaps called me tomorrow and asked me to do a two-year contract, I would definitely move back for that.
Digest: How is your family?
Borlenghi: [Daughter] Garland is such a wonderful young lady, but what’s most important is that she’s beautiful inside and out. My twin boys [Pearson and Daltan] have their soccer and a lot of friends. I would just like to see my wife [Heather] happier because she hasn’t made friends [in Atlanta] as easily as the kids and I have. She’s still resentful of the people who screwed up our lives. If one of the soaps offered me a contract offer, she would be packed in two weeks or less and ready to go. Maybe from the visibility of COBRA KAI and the video game, one of the soaps might call.