Interview

ICYMI: Mark Grossman Interview

Mark Grossman Is Bringing A New Spin To Y&R’s Adam

Growing up in a small town in Arizona where outdoor activities reigned supreme, show business wasn’t even a consideration for Mark Grossman. “It was a horse town,” the actor shares. “There were horses everywhere and people riding quads and dirt bikes, and going to the lake. Golf was also big there.”

Grossman’s choice of recreation was riding, but not equestrian. “When I was 11, one of my friends had a quad, so I really wanted a quad,” he shares. “But as soon as I saw people riding dirt bikes, I was like, ‘Forget the quad. I want a dirt bike!’ All of the other team sports just fell by the wayside. Riding my dirt bike was all that I cared about.”

That would ultimately lead to motocross, a form of off-road motorcycle racing. “I was obsessed with it,” Grossman enthuses. “When I became old enough to start working, all of my money would go toward my dirt bike or the gear or the track fees. When I got my driver’s license, I would go to the tracks on weekends to race and it just consumed me. My father hated it cause I was always breaking my legs and wrists. He wasn’t happy about picking up the hospital tabs.”

Although Grossman performed in a production of Beauty and the Beast in middle school (“I played the Beast and I still have it on tape somewhere”), that wasn’t his area of interest. “I can’t even remember who was in the high school theater program or anything like that,” he shrugs. “It just wasn’t really on my radar. I had one friend who was trying to do acting and modeling for a year, but it was background noise to me. Then he got burned out and stopped doing it. That was really the only person around me that was doing anything like that.”

In the meantime, Grossman was aiming for a career in motocross. “All I wanted was to be a pro racer,” Grossman states. “I rode the class right under pro level. I was pretty good, but I just wasn’t good enough. My life kind of took a different turn and I had to start thinking about adult stuff.”

The first step was enrolling in a community college. “The original plan was to do two years there and then go to university, but then I was kind of flailing around,” Grossman admits. “Then someone got me interested in selling insurance, so I decided to stop going to school and I became an insurance agent.”

That endeavor lasted five successful years. “I enjoyed talking to people on the phone and doing that whole salesman thing,” he says. “But I tell you, it was so hard to keep my butt at a desk for 8 hours a day and be on the phone. That was very challenging for me and I was getting really burned out with the insurance; it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.”

Now and then, Grossman would attract the attention of modeling scouts but he “brushed it off, until I eventually decided to give it a try,” which turned out to be a fortuitous choice. “When I got hooked up with an agency in Arizona, I had no idea they did acting, too. I was like, ‘Oh, this is something [I] can actually do.’ So, I just jumped in headfirst and started going out on auditions. I got exposed to the entertainment world in this Arizona community and I was just all in, like, 100 miles an hour in that direction!”

Soon, modeling, commercials, short films and independent projects were coming Grossman’s way, and after a year, he decided to relocate to Los Angeles to expand both careers. “First I signed up with Next Models, then I moved to L.A.,” he recalls. “I booked a few things, but I didn’t know L.A. at all. I wasn’t living in a good area and I didn’t have an agent for acting. After seven months, I moved back to Arizona for almost a year and saved money. When I came back, I got a manager, then an agent. I was going out on these acting auditions, so I stopped modeling because I really wanted to act.”

Grossman landed lead and supporting roles in made-for-TV movies and independent features,where he usually played the bad guy (“I guess I just got one of those faces, the jerk face”), then recurred on Freeform’s FAMOUS IN LOVE as a stalker. “I was only supposed to do one episode and it ended up turning into six,” he relays. “That was really fun. I was really grateful and I got to work with some cool people, like Bella Thorne. [Producer/Writer] I. Marlene King, who did that show, became wildly successful with PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.”

Y&R, it turns out, was “just another audition. I had no idea it was for the Adam role, because it was under a code name.” For the initial tryout, Grossman was given three scenes to read and left. “Two weeks went by and then I got called back,” he reports. “It was for a screen test with Sharon [Case, Sharon] and Joshua [Morrow, Nick]. They were fitting in my test in between what they were shooting that day. We talked a lot and they were nice and very helpful. Two days later, I was called back to actually screen-test with Joshua and Sharon again, but this time on a set.”

It wasn’t until after Grossman won the part that he discovered that he would be playing Adam, so he immediately started to research the character (“I went online and read everything I could on him, and watched scenes of the previous actors on YouTube”). Grossman’s first day on the job “was scary,” so he was elated that his scenes were with Case. “By that point, we had become friends and we spent a lot of time talking about Adam,” he notes. “She filled me in on a lot of stuff, so I felt really comfortable with her by the time we shot it. I had never done a soap before, so I had to get used to the pace and the blocking. That was all new to me. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, they go so fast,’ and then Sharon turned to me and said, ‘Man, they’re going slow today.’ I was like, ‘What? This is slow?!’ ”

Grossman is aware that Adam’s darker impulses might not be a turn-on for fans. “You really want the ‘I love to hate you,’ and not just the ‘I hate you!’ ” he muses. “I think Adam does have a heart and is vulnerable. You hope people see that and they don’t think you’re pure evil. At the fan club event [last June], people were really nice and said, ‘You’re doing a good job.’ ”

And while Y&R’s hectic schedule leaves little time for a social life, it suits Grossman just fine. “I pretty much just work and try to get to the gym, or see some friends, or go to a movie, and that has been my life for the last five months,” he says. “But I’m happy that work takes up most of my time. This is what I wanted to do, so I’m really glad I can do it.”

Just The Facts

Birthday: February 3

Here And There: Born in Columbia, MD and grew up in Cave Creek, AZ (“near Scottsdale”).

Relationship Status: “Single but I definitely want to have a family one day.”

Side Job: “Catering is the perfect job for actors and people in the industry because you usually work nights and weekends and then your days are open for auditions. It was a good job to have and I did that for years. It kept my bills paid.”

Cruise Control: “Doing the catering stuff, you’d see a lot of celebrities and you had to play it cool, but I feel if I saw Tom Cruise I would be pretty starstruck.”

Musically Inclined: “I listen to such a weird mix of music. I still listen to ’80s classic rock and trendier stuff. My dad roped when I was younger, so every once in a while I’ll listen to George Strait ’cause I grew up on him.”

Go-To Cheat Food: “I go straight for pizza, ice cream and burger with fries. Anything with honey mustard and ranch. Oh, and bread and butter. All the things that aren’t good for you.”

Favorite Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake

 

 

Praise Be

Here’s what Grossman has to say about a few of his co-stars. 

Eric Braeden (Victor): “I feel so lucky that I get to work with him. It’s such an honor and it’s been a lot of fun. And people would be surprised to know how funny he is.”

Joshua Morrow (Nick): “Joshua takes the work very seriously, but he’s extremely funny. If I have any questions, his door is always open and he’s more than happy to talk about it. He’s such an easygoing guy.”

Michelle Stafford (Phyllis): “Michelle is a trip and keeps you on your toes. You never know which way she’s going to go in a scene, so you have to make sure you’re really listening and present. Michelle is so good and she’s really a lot of fun to work with.”

Sharon Case (Sharon): “Sharon is so great and a total professional. She kind of took me under her wing and I appreciate that. We spend so much time just talking about scenes and the characters.”

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