ICYMI: Catching Up with Brad Maule (ex-Tony, GH)

Soap Opera Digest: You were hired to play Tony by GH’s legendary former executive producer, Gloria Monty. What comes to mind when you think of her?

Brad Maule: When she walked from the control booth out onto the floor, it was like The Green Miles for me. I was like, “I’m in the electric chair and I’m gonna die!” Not that she was mean, but it was just there was some basic level of truth that she was just about to bring you — and you better get it. She was really smart. She knew what she was doing. For me, I had that fight-or-flight kind of response going on in me when she was around.

Digest: What are your standout memories of your early years on the show, playing broth- ers with Jack Wagner (ex-Frisco)?

Maule: Well, I think it echoes the age that you were. We had such fun. I was not a very good actor [laughs]. I mean, I was just like a fish out of water for the first year or so, when I first came on the show. Hilary Edson Pope [ex- Tania] is still, to this day, one of my best friends in the entire world. Jack and I, we don’t see each other, but he’s just a good, solid guy and I love him. I feel that way about Jackie [Zeman, Bobbie] and Kin Shriner [Scott] and Lynn Herring [Lucy] and Tony Geary [ex-Luke] and Lester [his nickname for Leslie Charleson, Monica] and Stuart Damon [ex-Alan].To me, it was like a golden, happy, innocent period where we used to, I don’t know, spray each other with fire extinguishers and order beer off of the props budget. I would have fired all of us! And I’m sure that they thought about it [laughs]. What great times we had. Shell Kepler [ex-Amy] had the dressing room next to me, and Jack was down there, and we were just little monsters, you know? I went to lunch with Kin one day in the middle of filming and he talked me into getting a haircut! That is not a good thing to do in the middle of shooting. They had to shoot me from behind for the rest of the afternoon!

Digest: I know you’ve kept in touch with another of Tony’s wives, Jackie Zeman.

Maule: Oh, yes. Jackie’s so wonderful. She is one of the bravest people I’ve ever met and kind of a Mother Earth kind of person. So many times in my life she has said, “Oh, Brad. It’s all fine. Get over it. It’s good. Just move forward.” I would be thinking the world was falling down and she’s like, “I’m still here, it’s still there, it’s all good.” She is a survivor and a good-looking one — and those are not easy talents to come by!

Digest: Tony will probably best be remembered for his role in the story of Maxie getting B.J.’s heart, which you did beautiful work in.

Maule: Well, thank you. You know, over the years, I had watched the scene where I lay my head down on Maxie and all that, and my scenes with Jackie, but I hadn’t watched — or had forgotten about — telling Jack [as Frisco], the scene where he is all excited and happy about getting the heart and I say, “Well, you know, it’s my daughter’s heart.” He was so good, you know? Jack is a really good actor, so he didn’t always have to dip real deep inside himself, because he just knows how to do it, and he’s a star. But that day, it seemed like, to me, he dug deeper than he had to do. I don’t know, it was just really good. I am one of those people where if the person I’m working with is really good, then it’s really easy for me to step up to the plate. And they make me better. And I feel like all of those scenes helped me as an actor, actually, all those people. Kristina [Wagner, Felicia] was really good in that aspect, too.

Digest: You left the show in 2006 after having been on recurring status for a few years. You told Digest at the time that you had basically told the show that you would rather they kill Tony off, which they did, than reduce him to the insignificant figure he had become.

Maule: Yeah, I sort of drew the line in the sand. That’s what I tell people: “I drew a line in the sand and then they crossed it.” I just sort of jumped off a ledge there. I didn’t want to jump; I wanted them to come and say, “Brad, you get your act straight and we’ll get our acts straight and it will all be back to happy land again.” But that’s not the way life is. I teach college kids now, and I’m like, “You just think that the roller coaster goes up and then it levels off when you get a job and a family and all that other crap that you want and that it’s just gonna go till you peacefully die and everybody misses you.” It is not that way! You have to have redemption. You have to lose it all to gain it all. I think that’s really important that you understand that the down parts of life, which will come, are the important times. Those are the times you need to open your eyes, look around, taste it, feel it, sense it, live through it so you can rise again. I had 15 years in the wilderness having an incredibly wonderful life even though it was hard sometimes. Every bit of it, every single bit of it, is worth it. It gives me comfort and makes me sleep well at night and look forward to get- ting up the next morning, and that’s what keeps you alive.

Digest: So, after GH, you moved back to your native Texas and started your teach- ing career. Tell me about that.

Maule: Well, first of all, it made a sucky actor out of me! There’s nothing like teaching acting to ruin your abilities because when I came here I would walk into class and I’d say, “What is the deal? Just do it. You’re just not any good. Why can’t you just say your lines and be good?” And the kids were like, “Well, this is what I was taught in high school.” They wanted to be taught, and I had to start deconstruct- ing whatever it was that I did and turning it into little morsels of edible food. And now as I’ve gained more confidence as a teacher in terms of writing a syllabus and doing all of that teacher stuff, I’ve come back to my classroom now and I’m like, “Okay, I’ve taken you this far. You know all the notes on the piano. But if you can’t ever leave the page and let the spirit infuse you to play that grand piece, you’ll never become an actor.”

Digest: What do you teach?

Maule: Acting for the camera, which is about as far away from acting onstage as a person can get. There’s a few people that can do it, but not many can find that. I’ve spent a lot of times telling them, “Turn your acting switch off. Stop telling me how to think. Stop telling me how to feel. If I can see that and the camera can see it then it ain’t working, guys.” It takes them a long time to figure that one out.

Digest: You live out in a remote area, is that right?

Maule: Yes, I live in a 300-year-old town — and it looks like it. I mean, it’s like this hidden little village, no roads lead out, no roads lead in. I’m exaggerating a little bit, but people fish and I think there’s more oxygen there because it’s filled with pine trees. I see the good here. Other people are like, “It’s a little town and there’s nothing going on.” Well, that’s because you’re not really fully awake. There’s so much going on here. I love it. And I have great friends. The town is called Nacogdoches. My trees in my yard are 70-to-100 years old. My house is 100 years old, which is small in terms of time, but great in terms of — like, I found a hidden room here in this house that had a casket in it. I mean, it’s bizarre! I took a casket out thinking it was gonna be full of Confederate money or some- thing, but it wasn’t.

Digest: Do your children also live in Texas?

Maule: My son [Hunter] lives here with me and then my daughter [Lily] lives about two-and-a-half hours away. And that’s wonderful because I get to see my kids.

Digest: Last year, you came back to GH for a day as Tony’s ghost, and it was a big hit with the fans, and you shot an appearance on THE BAY spin-off, YA.

Maule: Yeah, that [YA] came out of nowhere! They were delightful. And [GH] was really lovely. I had concerns before [the script] came. I was like, “What if they’re sending me out there to just pop my face up and go, ‘Boo!’ and that’s it?” But instead, I got this lovely script. It was really beautifully written, actually. And true to my character. I mean, there was nothing that I went, “Oh, well, he wouldn’t ever say that,” you know? It was wonder- ful. I felt joyous when I got that script, because I read it and I was like, “Oh, yeah! This is not just using my character and taking advantage of it, this is like digging into my character.” I was really happy about it. [Coming back] was a good thing, a healthy thing, and a really sweet thing on their part.