Interview

ICYMI: GH’s Tristan Rogers (Robert) Tackles Your Burning Questions

Tristan

Credit: ABC

You Asked, He Answered! 

 

Longtime fan here, I have loved your Robert Scorpio from the very beginning. You have made me laugh, made me cry and pretty much every emotion in between. I am wondering if stepping back into the character is like wearing comfy clothes or whether you have to research any of the past for the present circumstances to make sense. Example: Did you have any idea that Robert had been to law school?

-Janie M.

A When the idea of Robert becoming DA was presented to me, I didn’t think it would actually happen. Then, when they made my brother the police commissioner, I thought, “Oh, okay so there’s got to be an element of truth to this!” And then when it actually happened, I thought, “Okay, we’ve got to make this plausibly justifiable,” so I kind of sat down and did a timeline. It was possible that he could have gone to law school. The fact that he never actually mentioned it is kind of weird; however, I went along with it. He kind of dismissed [his legal training] because the Bureau was his first love. That’s how I justified it. Was stepping back into the character like wearing comfy clothes? Yeah, kind of. Nowadays, he’s in suits. That’s different! It’s not the casual gear that I’ve been in for the last three years; he’s now back in suits, respectable, well-dressed, etc. So that was the only real difference.

Q During the Ice Princess storyline did you know how popular and life-changing it would become? 

-Stephen S.

A No. I mean, we all acknowledged that we were doing something crazy and a total departure from what soap opera was noted for. I probably thought, “This is a little bit of a stretch of the imagination!” but no one came out and said, “This is stupid. This is never gonna work.” We all knew that there was something going on there. This was where Tony [Geary, ex-Luke] and I sat down with the script — I remember distinctly the exact time it happened — and we started to mess with it. And finally he said to me, “Put the script down and let’s just work it.” And we did and suddenly we had something quite different. We were both pretty excited about it. We showed Gloria [Monty, then-executive producer] and she said, “Okay, I need this point here, and I need this point there, because they track to something happening in the next few days. And leave this part alone. This part here’s not that important. And the rest of it, have fun with it!” And that opened the door for us. After that, there was no turning back.

Q Looking back at the GH stories written for Robert Scorpio, is there one where you would change the outcome? –Lynn P. 

A That’s hard to say because a lot of them have kind of gone by the wayside for me. I try not to dwell on the past too much. I can’t truly think of anything that I would have changed. I think for the most part, his evolvement on GENERAL HOSPITAL has been a very good one. There has never been any real question marks on decisions that he’s made. He’s a guy that believes in law and order. And yes, he does bend the law, but I don’t think he’s broken it. I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with the way he’s evolved. And I think the public is, too. He’s looked upon as an honorable character, maybe the most honorable character on GENERAL HOSPITAL.

Q When you began working with Emma [Samms, ex-Holly], did you sense there was something special there? I know I did when I started watching this magical couple.

-Aaron D.

A Yes, no question about it. We had a spark. We would add a lot of things to the scenes and we would take stuff out. Gloria always went along with it. She liked what we did and the response from the public was very positive. It was originally intended for Holly to go back to Luke. But the public response was so powerful that they said, “No, we can’t break this up. We’ll find someone else for him.” And that’s what happened. It can’t work now, simply because Emma’s got a lifestyle in England. It’s too far away. She doesn’t want to keep flying back and forth and that’s the end of it. I know it’s not the end of it with the public, but it’s the foreseeable end of it as far as we’re concerned. That’s why they had me put in the line in a scene with Laura when she asked about Holly, and I said, “No, we’re not together anymore. The world got in the way and pulled us apart.” It was put in so there’s a clear break leading the way clear for someone else to come in [as a love interest for Robert].

Q Is there a performer in GH’s history you would have liked to have worked with more than you ever did? What about now? 

-Matthew W.

A The character I wish stayed on the show longer was Billie Hayes, who played O’Reilly. She was only meant to be on the show for a day and we managed to stretch that out for about three or four weeks. The pairing was so unusual and we got along so great together. I still think about that now. As for somebody now, if I haven’t worked with somebody, you can be sure at some point that I will because that’s what they’re doing with me. I’m working in and out of a whole lot of characters that I haven’t even met before.

Q Would you ever write a book about your life? I for one would love to hear all your stories from GH’s heyday!
-Edward A.

A I’ve been asked to do this a number of times; on two occasions I actually started. It comes up on a monthly basis — “When are you gonna do it? You have all this stuff to be proud of,” yada, yada, yada. But I’ve got a lot of things I want to do yet. I can’t commit to it.

Q Tristan, it puts a smile on my face to have you back in Port Charles. I actually cried when you left in 1992. Looking back, do you regret leaving GH then? 

-Julie I. 

A I kind of had to get away from it. I was about to become a parent. I was very unhappy being on the show at that time. I didn’t like the direction it was going. I had a real yearning to do something else. I started to research a project about motor racing because there wasn’t a similar project out there at all. I couldn’t do that while I was on the show. I said, “I’m going.” Nobody believed it! I left and went off and started to develop FAST TRACK, which was the name of the show. The downside of it was that we had to do it in Canada. That just wasn’t part of my plan. I had it all set to do it in Charlotte. I had all kinds of doors opened. I even had it financed. Unfortunately, Showtime had production facilities in Canada and that’s where they wanted to do it. But I don’t regret leaving at the time. I mean, I passed up a lot of money. A lot of people had said to me, “If you stayed on the show, it never would’ve gone in the direction that it went.” I don’t know about that, but I think if I had stayed, it certainly would’ve had an impact on how the show evolved.

Q I love the twist of Mac and Robert working together in law enforcement. What do you think of it?

-Nancy L.

A To me, putting the Scorpio brothers as the head of law enforcement is a no-brainer. That should’ve happened a long while ago. The fact that it’s happening now, okay, fine. I think the fans are going to like it. There’s something going on with this Shiloh character, and there’s a kind of a weird, uneasy friendship between Robert and Sonny. Again, this is a good idea that should have been done seven or eight years ago. I don’t know where that’s going to go, but Maurice [Benard, Sonny] and I both see the possibilities of that relationship.

Q I have rooted for Robert and Anna since the day she tied him up on Valentine’s Day. Do you think he has any lingering feelings for her?
-Lara R.

A Well, the term “lingering feelings” can be interpreted in many ways. They’re older together and they’ve evolved together. I think one of the best scenes they ever did wasn’t on GENERAL HOSPITAL; it was on NIGHT SHIFT. Anna turns to Robert and says, “At the end of the day, when we can’t do this anymore and we haven’t met somebody else, how about margaritas on the beach?” And Robert says, “Yeah. I’d be in for that.” That basically said it all.

Q Would you ever write a book about your life? I for one would love to hear all your stories from GH’s heyday!
-Edward A.

A I’ve been asked to do this a number of times; on two occasions I actually started. It comes up on a monthly basis — “When are you gonna do it? You have all this stuff to be proud of,” yada, yada, yada. But I’ve got a lot of things I want to do yet. I can’t commit to it.

Q What would you think about Robert pursuing a relationship with Laura? It is something I always wanted to see, as much as I love Laura with Kevin.
-Mary Elizabeth E.

A These two have an enormous amount of history together. I know Genie [Francis, Laura] would go for it, but I just don’t see it happening. Not now. I think the connection with Jon Lindstrom [Kevin] is a solid one and I just don’t see them putting the two of us together. It wasn’t going to happen while Tony was around. The public wouldn’t have gone for that and the producers wouldn’t have gone for that. They kept on trying to find ways to put Luke and Laura back together as an item, but ultimately, it never happened. What we have now, we have hints of what could be. I don’t think this is accidental. I think this is deliberate. Where it can go, I have no idea.

Q What do you think it was about the combination of you, Finola and Kimberly McCullough (Robin) that just worked so well? Hope we will see you all together again on the show!

Dana S.

A Well, she was a very smart little kid, Kimberly. She’s probably the smartest kid I’ve ever worked with, next to Brooklyn [Rae Silzer, ex-Emma]. Robert had never been a parent before. Little Kimberly comes along, smart as a whip and could carry an ad-libbed scene, could keep up with us… It just was one of those rare moments that it just all worked. And then she starts to grow up and we stayed the same parents, to a point, except when Fin and I left. She stayed with my brother. She was always a member of the Scorpio family. It doesn’t always happen like that. But in this particular case, it happened and it worked beautifully. And it still does. We don’t see each other all that often, but whenever they’re all together, it’s the Scorpio family. We pick up where we left off.

Q What do you like most about Y&R [where he played Colin on and off from 2010-17]?

-Sharon A.

A A number of things. I mean, you’re always going to have good people to work with because that’s the nature of what daytime is. Y&R in that sense is no different from GH. They shoot in a similar way to GH. The facilities there are terrific. All of the directors are great. I think where my character was concerned, they kind of didn’t know what to do with me. It worked out really well working with Jess Walton [Jill]. I was only booked for 10 days. I was brought onto the show to take Cane off it, and that didn’t work out. It was apparent really, really quickly that Jess and I got along great together. I was told before my 10 shows were up, “Don’t go packing your bags just yet.” And sure enough, they offered me a contract over Christmas. Jess is such a pro that she picked up a lot right away on the nature of the character. She’s wonderful. In terms of characters, Scorpio and Colin, I didn’t want one to bleed into the other. And to that end, it worked.

Comments