Cook-ing Up Something Special

Jason Cook and Kirsten Storms had a successful collaboration playing lovers Shawn and Belle on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, so when he got a job on GENERAL HOSPITAL as Dr. Matt Hunter, it seemed a foregone conclusion their characters would pair up. That didn’t happen, and with the Maxie/Spinelli relationship gaining steam, she does not even seem to be on his radar. Which suits Cook just fine.Soap Opera Weekly: Do you feel like fans are pushing for Matt and Maxie to couple up?

Jason Cook: The fans are split. A lot of them appreciate the work Kirsten and I did on DAYS, and they’re anxious for that to happen. Then there’s this other half — who are completely valid — and they’re like, “So what? This is a different show; different characters. Don’t tell me these people are ‘supposed’ to work together. If it works, great, but if it doesn’t, it shouldn’t matter.” I think those people have a great point.

Weekly: Was the idea brought up before you accepted the role?

Cook: We talked [when I] decided to come on the show. [Head writer Robert Guza Jr.] didn’t want to force it together, like, “Boom!” He wanted to acknowledge [their DAYS days]; I think that was the purpose of the very first day, where we just ran into each other. Have Matt and Leyla have a little thing and conversation, and let’s see if there’s any chemistry there. Bob wants to have a lot of fun with it.

Weekly: It’s also complicated because Maxie and Spinelli continue to grow in popularity.

Cook: Absolutely. I mean, there’s no doubt that Bradford [Anderson, Spinelli] is awesome. He’s created a unique character, and it’s a great duo with Kirsten and the way that she plays Maxie. I don’t think there’s ever any intention to destroy that or replace it. More dynamics on the show create better drama, which ultimately is why you watch a soap. [You have] to have chemistry with someone — be it romantic or the exact opposite kind of relationship, where you love to watch these people hate each other. You watch it for the fireworks. That’s what I think soaps are about.Weekly: Do you feel like you still have that chemistry with Kirsten?

Cook: I love working with her. When you work well with somebody, you [do so] whether on a football field or oncamera. Kirsten’s always looking for some kind of spontaneity, which I was a big believer in on DAYS, as well. We were always trying to look for what was going to make a scene interesting and different from the last [one], because on soaps you talk about what [you’re going to] do, you talk about it while you’re doing it and you talk about what you just did. It’s about how you make it interesting. That’s the challenge of a soap: Every single day, you’ve gotta try stuff out. And she’s not afraid to try things out.