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Exclusive: Get To Know GENERAL HOSPITAL's Danny, Asher Antonyzyn

Since making his Port Charles debut as Danny Morgan last year, but particularly in the wake of the return of Steve Burton as Danny’s father, Jason, Asher Antonyzyn’s GH star has been on the rise. Digest checked in with the talented teen about life since landing the gig.


Kelly Maier/@kellymaierphotography

How did you get your start as an actor? “My mom saw a Facebook ad for an open casting call at a model/acting studio, like a talent agency, and I took some classes there and actually got chosen to go to the International Modeling and Talent Association’s [talent] competition. There are six acting and six modeling competitions and you get scored by a bunch of judges. That’s where I found my manager, and how I got the phenomenal opportunity to audition for GENERAL HOSPITAL.”

What was the GH audition process like? “I got my script and sent in [my self-taped audition] a week or a couple of weeks later. We had kind of forgotten about it. I thought it was such a long shot! When I got the audition, my dad was like, ‘This is really big. I grew up watching this!’ Then I got an email saying, ‘We’d like to fly him out and meet the producers, kind of as a second audition.’ So we flew to L.A. not knowing what was to come. I went to the studio and I met [Executive Producer] Frank [Valentini] and Mark [Teschner, casting director] and did my audition. I just did the same stuff with them [as I’d done on tape]. Then I left the room and Mark was like, ‘Congratulations, you got the job!’ It was just magical. It was awesome! I didn’t know until that day that I was going to be playing Danny Morgan, because the audition had [a dummy character name]. So on the ride home after getting the job, I looked Danny up [online] and saw that he was Jason’s son. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s going to be fun. Maybe Danny will be more of a bad boy like his parents and maybe I’ll get my own leather jacket someday [laughs]!”

How did your dad react to you being cast, given that he’d been a fan of the show? “Oh, he turned bright red! We were in Mark’s office and while I was saying, ‘Thank you so much,’ I could just see his face getting red so fast! The best part was calling my mom back in Chicago, FaceTiming her [with the good news]. That was so fun.”

On a scale of 1 to 10, how nervous were you on your first day? “Oh, 10! It was my first acting job, so I was like, ‘I don’t know how this is gonna go! Are the people going to be nice, or are they going to be like, “Oh, here’s the new kid.” ‘ But everyone was just super-welcoming and they were just great actors and crew members to work with. I remember getting so much help from the crew and my fellow actors. They were so friendly and told me what to do, just helping me out until I got the gist of it. It was nice because I got to do my first scenes with Hudson [West, Jake] and Scarlett [Fernandez, Charlotte] and got to meet them all that first day and we bonded really quickly. And then, like a week later, I ended up going to Six Flags with all of them, which was a ton of fun.”

Did anything surprise you about being on a TV set for the first time? “Yeah! When I was watching [shows on TV], up until being on a set like this, I always thought that they bought a house and made the house into a set. So being [on the GH set for the first time], I was like, ‘They just take this whole room down and put it back up in, like, a couple of hours? How do they do that?!’ I was just so fascinated, realizing that all the sets are built and perfected.”

This being your first acting gig, how have you been dealing with all of the memorization? “Well, I did take classes back in Chicago [where he lives and commutes to GH from], so I felt prepared for my first day. I didn’t have a ton of lines, but as soon as I got the script, I was working on them all day, every day.”

Speaking of studying — do you go to school on set on days you’re working? “Yes, I work with the on-set teacher and do a minimum of, I think, three hours of schoolwork a day. I can get all my assignments [from my regular school] through Google Classroom and I just knock them out.”

You’re also very active with baseball, right? “Yeah, I play on an organization called Elite Baseball. I’m a shortstop. It’s my favorite sport; I just live and breathe it when I’m home.”

How have your teammates reacted to you becoming a soap star? “You know, in Chicago, it’s not very regular that a kid becomes an actor, and I was just telling my mom, ‘I don’t get called Asher anymore!’ My friends just call me Danny Morgan. They love to joke around with me and sometimes I’ll be like sitting at lunch and some kid will come up and be like, ‘Is this you?’ and pull up one of my episodes. My favorite thing is that my first line on the show was, ‘Trick or treat?’ and so a lot of people — like, a lot of my friends and my friends’ parents — call me Trick Or Treat. Up until a few weeks ago, when I started being on the show a lot more regularly, they just thought that was the only line I had! So they’re like, ‘Hey, what’s up, Trick Or Treat?’ ”

What was it like watching yourself on the show for the first time? “I did watch myself in my first scenes but I don’t really like to watch myself. I was talking about that with Steve Burton and he was like, ‘Yeah, I’m the exact same way, I don’t like to watch myself because that’s when I overthink it way too much.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that is very true.’ I get cringed out when I watch myself!”

As you noted, you started out kind of slowly on the show, but your screen time has definitely picked up with Jason back in the mix. “Yeah, at first I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll probably just be here for a week or a couple of weeks and then [away for] four months. And when Steve Burton was coming back as Jason, I was like, ‘Since Danny never really had storyline with him, maybe I’ll come back out here a lot more and be able to do that with him.’ And then it happened! So that was pretty cool.”

What did it mean to you to know that the show felt confident that you were capable of being in a big story? “I’m just so, so thankful to be given this opportunity. I didn’t think anything like this would come of it, especially as my first job, so to see that they’re confident that I’m able to do it just makes me so grateful. What I really love about acting, and being Danny Morgan, is getting to play things like his mood [swings]; his mood shifts where he’s very happy and then he’s screaming at his mom or something like that. It’s just a lot of fun, switching the tones and moods with the character like that.”

Things are tense at the moment between Danny and Jake, but what is your own dynamic with Hudson West like? “Oh, he’s just a great guy! Whenever I’m out there, I hang out with him a lot. We love to go shopping, like thrifting and stuff. We’ve bonded a lot. We’ve gone bouldering, which was a ton of fun. We both play baseball. It feels like it was immediate that we were really good friends.”

Your GH grandmother, Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), also hails from the Chicago area. What has she been like to work with? “She is so funny. I remember doing some scenes with her one time and she just randomly karate-kicked the wall of the set. It made a humongous, loud bang and I just hear one of the directors go, ‘What was that?’ And then Nancy steps out around the corner and says, ‘Sorry, I was practicing my Kung fu.’ She’s always making jokes and is fun to work with.”

Viewers also really enjoyed your scenes with Adam Harrington (John) and Amanda Setton (Brook Lynn), by the way. Were those fun to do? “Those were a ton of fun. Honestly, the hardest part about the scene was that I do a little moment in the beginning where Danny juggles these chess pieces on the table. So, for like four days prior [to filming], I was just sitting in my room with tennis balls, trying to learn how to juggle. And I never learned it!”

There’s been a lot of talk on the show about how Danny is just like his dad, how he’s drawn to adrenaline and danger. Do you think Danny has the potential to get into some big trouble if his mom doesn’t keep him on a short leash? “I do! And I believe that would be a ton of fun to play. I think that will happen — I mean, I can’t keep count of all the times that people say, ‘Danny, he’s just like his dad!’ I think that if Jason doesn’t get sent away again, he and Danny will have a really great connection.”

Is there anything else you want fans to know about your experience on the show thus far? “Just that getting to work with all of the different actors and crew members has been so awesome, and the writers have done such a great job giving Danny scenes with a variety of [characters], like Alexis and Kristina and Carly and Drew and Sonny and Laura and Elizabeth and Brook Lynn and John, and of course my parents and Jake and Rocco. And Frank and Mark have been so welcoming to me and supportive from the start. It’s just been a great experience. They’ve all made me feel like a part of the family and I’ve learned so much.”

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