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Exclusive: GENERAL HOSPITAL's Wally Kurth On Ned's Dramatic Return

Wally Kurth


What was it like to film the “Eddie in the water” episodes that brought about the return of Ned’s memory? “It was definitely my most difficult day on a soap. I’ve been doing this a long time, but I have never done a water sequence. Both Lisa [LoCicero, Olivia] and I were in the water for about five and a half hours with our clothes on. The water tank was probably 15 ft. high about 15 or 20 ft. wide, a circular tank. We had two divers in there. One was helping us and the other one was manning the camera underwater. We could hear the directors talking to us and we were able to hear them and say, like, ‘Look this way. You see Olivia and then you swim towards her. Now you look to the right.’ They were giving us direction all the way through it and it was wonderful because first of all, I have always been a swimmer. I love swimming and I always thought that the idea of acting underwater is just fascinating; I’m fascinated by water and being underneath the water. So it was really exciting. I was totally into the idea of acting underwater and we were asked to do that. I was excited to see how it turned out.”

Was it physically exhausting to be in the water for that long? “Yes! Like I said, I’m a swimmer, but I was exhausted, because we were also fully clothed and we were treading water. There were little steps on the side so we could rest, and then there was something above us, too, that we could hang onto, but still, we were swimming a lot and I had clothes and socks on and we were just kicking and treading water and our eyes got really red from the chlorine. We did take a lunch hour, so it wasn’t a continuous five and a half hours, but we got in there around 10:00 and we didn’t finish until 3:30.”

Lisa LoCicero Wally Kurth

Courtesy of GeneralHospitalABC/Instagram

What did your lunch break look like while you were sopping wet? “Well, I got to dry off. They put me in a robe and I just walked over to the commissary, had my lunch, sat down with the water team. One of them had been on the [crew] who worked on Avatar for three years! One of them was a diver and he was telling us it was really nice to work with both Lisa and I, because we were obviously comfortable in the water and not everyone is. Lisa is a certified SCUBA diver, so she cool about it as well.”

In terms of portraying this, how did you understand how this event triggered the return of Ned? How did you make sense of it in your own mind? “Well, it was, it was great to have Frank [Valentini, executive producer] there because I was confused as to what was happening. I was underwater, I was singing this song, I was frustrated, I was inspired. It all sort of happened at once. It was an impulsive decision by Eddie to just dive in. The song sort of led him in [to the water] and his desperation sort of led him in, but there was a moment right before he passed out and lost consciousness that he remembered who he is. And when Frank told me that I said, ‘Okay, that I need to know, that’s really good.’ So it’s when I see Olivia and I realize, ‘This is Olivia and she is the woman, she is the siren that I’ve been talking about, that I’ve been singing about trying to find’ [that it clicks for Ned]. I think he needed to be in the water and have that moment of panic or desperation, that moment of crisis, to force him to go back to himself and get out of what I think would sort have been like a hypnotic state as Eddie. I’ve never been hypnotized, but that’s what I sort of imagined that this would be. Ned talks about this after he’s recovering and explaining what he was doing, that he felt like he was always sort of there [inside Eddie] and witnessing it, just sort of observing it like a witness. He knew he wasn’t Eddie but he didn’t want to be Ned, almost like a form of PTSD. He didn’t want to be Ned, so it was easier to be Eddie. And he just stayed Eddie because he liked being Eddie! I believe that he needed this crisis, a near-death crisis, to force him to let go of Eddie and embrace who he really is.”

I know you felt it was a fun departure for you to play Eddie. Were you bummed at all that the story was coming to an end? “Yes, because Eddie is probably more like Wally than anyone that I’ve ever played on the show. So that was kind of fun, to just sort of be Wally. I got to stay unshaved and like Eddie, I can just sort of disappear into my own little world and not be fully engaged. I can disappear into the garage and just play music. I do that all the time! Eddie was much more carefree and just, you know, about the art and about the music and definitely not about the corporate thing. That’s not what he was chasing; he was just trying to make art and using a different part of his brain. And that’s more like Wally than [his DAYS character] Justin or Ned. I will miss that because it was kind of fun, but I also realized that it was probably time to get back to Ned.”

Wally Kurth Rena Sofer

Disney/Christine Bartolucci

Obviously, you’ve been working with Rena Sofer since she first returned as Lois, but as Eddie, so now fans can look forward to some bona fide Ned/Lois interaction. “I actually just shot some scenes with her, four or five really nice scenes, and I thought we did great. I’ve always worked well with Rena [his real-life ex-wife]. I don’t tell her what to do, she doesn’t tell me what to do. We really trust one another. Our characters are so different and we really just sort of allow ourselves to be sort of like little planets revolving around each other. We just respect one another and when it comes to our art and, and what we’re doing as actors, it’s a comfortable dance between Ned and Lois.”