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Exclusive: Michael Easton On Finn's GH Exit, His Painful Farewells And More

michael easton

Disney/Ricky Middlesworth

In the first part of Soap Opera Digest’s exit interview with Michael Easton, the actor discussed making peace with the show’s decision to write out Finn and what his fans’ support meant to him. In the final part of his candid conversation on the subject of his departure from General Hospital, Easton shares behind-the-scenes details of his difficult good-byes with co-stars like Jophielle Love (Violet), his thoughts on Finn’s exit arc and his hopes for his post-GH career.


Most actors expect something of a nomadic professional lifestyle when they enter a show biz career, but daytime stars like Easton often find themselves in one place for a long time. In his case, he first joined GH back in 2012 as John McBain, who Easton had played on One Life To Live from 2003-12. In 2013, McBain was written out as the result of a contract dispute between ABC and Prospect Park, which had acquired the creative rights to OLTL, but Easton was soon back on the canvas as Silas Clay. In 2015, Silas was killed off, and Easton returned again the following year as Finn.

In light of the longevity of the gig, Easton says, he had cultivated a strong affinity for Finn. “I saw Trevor [St. John, who recently wrapped his run on Young and Restless as Tucker, and who played Todd/Victor opposite Easton on OLTL] the other day and we were talking about that,” Easton reports. “We were reminiscing about you when you first started out [as an actor], you got a job, maybe you did a guest star role and you got three days, then maybe you shot a [prime-time] pilot and then maybe you got a series that went 10 episodes and you got three or four months of work, or maybe you got a series that did a whole year and you did a whole nine months somewhere. So, there was a lot of uncertainty at one time and there’s some uncertainty now, but that’s the life I chose. But there is an [increased] investment when you start playing a character for eight years, nine years. There is a harder time letting go, certainly, than when you do something that lasts a month. The residual of it stays with you longer, certainly.”

Easton points out that when acting on a daily drama, “You spend all day playing tricks with your own emotions. ‘I’m falling in love with this person. This person is dying on me. I’m saying good-bye to this person.’ You trick yourself, but somewhere in your heart, you feel a little of that, right? You’ve got to correct yourself and go, ‘Wait a minute. We’re just working today.’ And if you do that for a long period of time, there are some layers to it. It is tricky to say good-bye to characters that you’ve played for a while. I am thankful to the writers and producers for letting me work on the way out the door and let me have that [exit arc].”

A proper exit storyline was something Easton hadn’t been afforded when the show was forced to abruptly write out McBain. He recalls, “With McBain, I think they literally came down to me on like a Tuesday, like a lawyer came down and said, ‘You can’t play this character after Friday. Please sign here and here.’ And then on Friday, it was just a really quickly written scene with Finola [Hughes, Anna] where McBain just left and walked out the door. I played that character for 10 years, and it’s just one scene, you walk out of the door and the door closes, and that feels sort of unfulfilled.”

Finn’s Finale

Even though the downward spiral that saw Finn head to rehab unfolded relatively quickly, “I understand their circumstances and why they had to do that with the timing they did.” Still, he allows, “I would like to have had it happen a little more slowly and been able to play some of the things with addiction that [happen] where you’re angry with people and resentful that they’re trying to help you.”

Finn’s storyline finale also saw his relationship with Rebecca Herbst’s Elizabeth unravel quickly, ending on a sour note after Liz busted an inebriated Finn for taking another woman home. “Some of the things [I had to play] were very difficult,” Easton admits. “I mean, Finn was not a cheater, he was never going to leave his daughter — all those things were very hard for me to reckon with. He had a lot of faults; those were not amongst them, and they developed very quickly. It does make it very difficult and there were some things that were very unsatisfying about that ending. This is just my personal feeling — I would love to have had Finn and Elizabeth, even if it was emotional, volatile, bittersweet, I would love for them to have had it out. She [Herbst] is such a brilliant actress. I would loved for her to have had a scene where she found him in the room at the end of the night and I would love for her to have expressed herself, all the things, even if it was disappointment: ‘I trusted you, you’ve done this to me.’ I would love for Becky to have had that scene because she’s so amazing. I don’t think she gets a lot of those scenes and I thought it was a good opportunity. I love when scenes feel like a play, where they go on for five or six minutes and there’s not a lot of cuts and it’s just two people expressing themselves, whether it’s love or anger or hate or whatever those emotions are. But we had conflict in that moment and I would love for her to have just unloaded on Finn.”

While he feels the absence of such a scene was “a little disappointing,” Easton adds, “My real feeling is this: My feeling doesn’t matter.” What does matter, in his view, “is what’s best for the show, and I really feel that way because I have so many friends over in that building, both in the cast and the crew and I want it to be so successful. I want it to go on for another 60 years.”

michael easton rebecca herbst


She’s All That: Easton describes former GH leading lady Rebecca Herbst as “a brilliant actress.”

The Farewell Tour

Behind the scenes, there was no studio-wide announcement of Easton’s departure, and he didn’t get to say good-bye to each and every one of his colleagues. “It is a bit of the day shift and the night shift over there,” he notes. “If you’re not in the same storyline, you go days and weeks without seeing [certain] people. Like, I probably hadn’t seen Kelly [Monaco, Sam] in two months, for example.” Among his castmates, “Some of them knew [I was leaving] and some of them didn’t.”

His most emotional in-person good-bye was with on-screen daughter Jophielle Love (Violet), with whom he’d worked closely since she joined the GH cast in 2019. “I look at pictures of Jophielle [Love, Violet] when she first started, and that visual tells the story [of my time on the show],” he says. ” ‘Oh, my God, I spent five, six years with this person, and I watched them grow.’

Easton describes shooting his final scenes with Love as “a hard day. It was kind of the perfect storm of a lot of emotion. I have such an affinity for Jophielle, honestly. I have a daughter and it’s very hard not to look at her and feel the same way for Jophielle. They were very difficult scenes. Jophielle couldn’t even rehearse them because the finality of all of it was pretty overwhelming. So we didn’t rehearse any of those scenes, which we normally do. We just went up to the floor and I spoke to Rob [Markham], the director, and said, ‘Rob, I don’t think we’re going to get through these if we start rehearsing them.’ And he said, ‘Let’s just do it live,’ and they just turned the cameras on and we went and we taped everything. She was amazing and she broke my heart. She’s pure magic. From the very first day I worked with her, we sort of had this really wonderful instant connection. She liked to fix my hair and tweak my nose and so we would do that before every scene, and we had little dances and stuff we would do in between takes just to stay engaged. Honestly, [those scenes] broke my heart. I haven’t seen them, but I know how I felt that day. When the scene was done and I walked out the door, the first thing I did was circle around — they had yelled ‘Cut!’ and started moving cameras and I saw her and she ran to me and I ran to her and we held each other as if we didn’t want to let go. It was very, very difficult.”

Another tough parting was with Jane Elliot (Tracy). “I’m so fond of Jane. I just think she’s brilliant and I have a very strong connection to her, as well,” Easton says. “Saying good-bye to her, although I hadn’t had as many scenes with her as I would have liked near the end, the scenes I did have with her were very, very difficult. The scene where she hugs me was not written [that way]. That was Jane. She did that and I mean, it took everything in me to hold it together when she held me.”

jophielle love, michael easton


Sweet Sorrow: Jophielle Love (Violet) and Easton were both brought to tears by their good-bye scenes.

Promises, Promises

As one of Easton’s final acts while still working at GH, he fulfilled a promise he once made to Maurice Benard (Sonny). “Maurice has always been good to me,” the actor says. “I have great respect for what he’s doing with State Of Mind and helping people [on the subject of] mental health. He had asked me [to be a guest] a few years now and he always kindly let me withdraw, and I had told him from the first time he asked, ‘I will do it before I leave here.’ And he goes, ‘Okay, I’m gonna hold you to that.’ I do always try to keep my word, so when I found out [I was leaving the show], I went to him. He was one of the first people who knew because I said, ‘Hey, listen, I want to do this before this date.’ He very kindly fit me in, and it was nice — I didn’t want to promote anything, I didn’t talk about my exit, it was just really pure to what Maurice is doing with State Of Mind. I didn’t want to come in and bring anything other than just talking about my own relationship with mental health, the losses in my life on this journey. It was emotional! Two guys who think they’re pretty tough wiping their eyes! It’s more vulnerable than I’ve been in a 30-year career, the last three weeks, I’ll tell you that much! It’s been really strange. But [our conversation] was very honest and very sweet.” Check it out here.

The Next Wave

Since he wrapped up shooting at GH, Easton says, “I’ve been spending time with the kids,” daughter Lilah Belle and son Jack. “It’s been really beautiful. They have me at home and they’re still at the age where they like having me at home! I don’t know how many more years I have of that, so that’s been really wonderful.”

He also took a surfing trip. “It was nice to get in the ocean for a few days. It just seems to sort of heal and cleanse everything — for me, anyway — being in the saltwater. I do come out feeling a little bit of a rebirth. We kind of traveled up and down the coast for about 400 miles looking for the perfect wave.”

Which directly relates to how he looks at his professional future. “I’m not done,” he declares. “I think I have more to give as an actor. But I think of it much the same — I’m just traveling up the coast and I’m looking for that right part. I’m looking for that next great storyline. I don’t know where that will come from, but I’m not done.”