His first daytime part was literally a rat, and his current gig — as the eighth actor to take on ATWT’s troublesome role of Chris Hughes — already has him in the rocky position of possibly having caused the near death of Oakdale’s beloved patriarch, which is detailed in the 1/1 Digest’s Hot Plots Preview. We talked to the Canadian-born actor about what led to his big daytime break — and found out that he’s well aware of the Chris Hughes Curse.
Soap Opera Digest: How did you get the job?
Dylan Bruce: I believe the sides were for “Nate.” I auditioned on tape with my manager and then he mailed the tape to Mary Clay [Boland, casting director]. I’ve tested for AS THE WORLD TURNS before. My manager found out later that it was for Chris Hughes and said, “You don’t have a shot; they’re going to go much older, so you should just have fun with it.”
Digest: This is Michael Bruno?
Bruce (laughing): Yeah, he’s brutally honest, so I said, “Okay, I’ll just have fun with the audition.” They really liked what I did with it, so the next thing I knew, I was testing.
Digest: Did you know that you were the eighth person to play him?
Bruce: I did know that there were so many people who played him before. I like the fact that there’s been a lot of takes on it. I guess it makes for a more interesting character. But then I heard there was a curse, too [laughs]!
Digest: Yeah, it’s a tough role. He’s a member of ATWT’s bedrock family.
Bruce: But I like that he’s a Hughes because I get to work with such great vets. And when they’re on-screen, hopefully the longtime fans love that having me back means seeing Don Hastings [Bob] and Kathryn Hays [Kim] more.
Digest: What do you think of Don?
Bruce: He’s one of the funniest, kindest people I’ve ever met. He keeps everything so light on set, even when the material is anything but.
Digest: Your first week, you were already making out with Kelley Menighan Hensley [Emily].
Bruce: My first day! And there was a kiss in the screen test, too. It’s daunting because she’s beautiful and she’s married to someone on the show [Jon Hensley, Holden], but she makes everything so at ease and so natural that it was great.
Digest: Had you watched soaps before?
Bruce: Yeah, I’ve tested five or six times, so when I started auditioning and screen-testing for soaps, I would watch to see how the other actors performed, get a feel for the show, try to understand the character I was testing for, who they were involved with. I started watching a lot of soaps. As an actor, we mostly work nights in Los Angeles [laughs], so your days are free.
Digest: You were also on PASSIONS.
Bruce: Yeah, that was one of my first jobs in Los Angeles. I was Edna Wallace’s dream guy. I was a rat that Tabitha turned into her date. We went to the bar and had a dance. It was very interesting and very PASSIONS-esque, but regardless, it was fun and at the time I was just happy to be working.
Digest: It’s the polar opposite of ATWT.
Bruce: I think you’re right!
Digest: You were also on BREAKING UP WITH SHANNEN DOHERTY as her boyfriend?
Bruce: Yeah, it’s a show where someone sets up their significant other. It’s an improv show where we tried to trick the guy into saying something. It was cool. It was just another job.
Digest: And you were on the 24 spin-off that was on cell phones.
Bruce: FOX was producing it and I had no idea it was 24, but I ended up getting it. The first day on set, they told us that it was 24 and we were gonna be on the cover of Variety. It was a really cool job to have. I was like the Jack Bauer of the Washington D.C. C.T.U. They taught me how to shoot a gun — being from Canada, we don’t have any guns [laughs] — so it was a really cool experience.
Digest: You’re from Vancouver, right?
Bruce: I was born in Vancouver, then went to high school and college in Seattle. Then I moved to Los Angeles after college.
Digest: So what do you think of New York?
Bruce: I’ve lived in Tokyo for four months. I’ve heard Tokyo was modeled after New York City, so I was ready for the subways and all the people, but it’s a little overwhelming at times. Not to mention, I’m paying twice as much for my apartment here than I was paying in L.A. and my apartment in L.A. is about four times the size! But it’s such a cool city. There are so many interesting people. It’s got a great vibe. I have to really explore it. Don Hastings actually gave me a subway map, which proved very helpful on a number of occasions.