GH Casting Director Mark Teschner Reflects On Some Of His Most Memorable Finds
Anders Hove (ex-Faison): Faison was the first contract role I ever cast on GENERAL HOSPITAL and he was the first actor that I saw for the role. He tested with five or six other actors, because we were open to casting in a lot of different directions; there was a sense of, “Let’s find a great villain. Let’s keep the options open.” He was just mesmerizing. You can’t take your eyes off him! His presence is so dynamic and complex and interesting.
Steve Burton (ex-Jason): I felt on a gut level that he was [Jason]. He had been on a sitcom, OUT OF THIS WORLD, but I saw a real depth and complexity when he read for me. I thought, “This could be a great role for him to transition from that character into a more stoic, complicated guy.” He made it his own from day one. He’s a really exquisite, subtle, honest actor.
Jon Lindstrom (Kevin/ex-Ryan): We did a producer/network session, and after he read, they said they thought he didn’t show enough contrast. I said, “Let’s ask him to. Let’s say, ‘Go further, show the darkness.’ ” I called the front gate as he was leaving. They stopped him as he was pulling out, turned him around, and I pulled him aside and said, “Do your thing, but just give a little more contrast.” Immediately, he was like, “I got it. You want more danger, more edge.” He came in and did it, and that day we offered the role to him.
Vanessa Marcil (ex-Brenda): The moment I saw her, I just knew. There was a presence about her, a beauty. She was a very raw actress — she would be the first to admit it — but we tested her. In fact, she was the only actress that we tested for the role. That’s how much we were banking on her coming through. We did a number of takes, and each take she grew exponentially, and we realized, “We have a star on our hands.” Our gut instincts were correct. She was a huge-impact player instantly.
Antonio Sabato, Jr. (ex-Jagger): He’s an amazing-looking man, and there’s something about his presence, a ruggedness, that you don’t see every day. He was a very raw actor and we did the scene quite a few times in my office before I brought him to the producers. He just came along at the right time. Antonio was actually only on the show for two years, but he really left his mark.
Maurice Benard (Sonny): He was a guy we went after. He came in and they presented two roles to him, one of them being Sonny, and said, “You can choose. You can take the long-term role or the short-term role.” He took the short-term, and here we are 24 years later. I remember him sitting in my waiting room to meet with the producers. He was a boy when he was on ALL MY CHILDREN [as Nico], but he walked in and he was a man. It’s just interesting how one puzzle piece, the right actor in the right role, can really change the dynamic of a show.
Jonathan Jackson (ex-Lucky): He was the best 11-year-old actor I had ever seen. This was a kid who not only had skill, but was one of those old souls who was way beyond his years. In my mind, there was nobody else for the role, but we did test, I think, eight kids, and Tony Geary [ex-Luke] was like, “This guy is amazing. This is the guy!” We all knew that, as well. His talent was just crazy.
Sarah Brown (ex-Carly): Sarah came in to read for Carly when we were already set to test a whole group of actresses; she had been out of town shooting a movie, so she couldn’t make the original round of auditions. She came in with this studded leather jacket, this real rock ’n’ roll edge, and she read for me and the light went off. I went and got [then-Executive Producer] Wendy Riche and said, “You have to see this woman.” I brought her into my office and Sarah read and bang! There was something about her that was so different. From day one, she made the role her own.
Ingo Rademacher (Jax): Ingo came in and read and it was like, “Okay. He’s the guy!” He’s another one where immediately, we knew. He was new [in L.A.] from Australia, and we got him at the right time to grab him.
Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth): I had been auditioning Becky since she was 16 years old. I always felt, “We have to find something for this girl; there’s just something about her.” When you look at her, there’s a flawlessness in some way, but it’s not a remote flawlessness. It’s a beauty that is accessible. Even as a kid, she just had something about her. She tested for a role that she did not get and they created the role of Liz for her. The role she didn’t get was on the show for about a year, and Becky’s been on for almost 20 years!
Kelly Monaco (Sam; ex-Livvie, PORT CHARLES): Kelly had auditioned for me a number of times and, although at the time she was raw as an actress, she had something, a presence, a charisma, a sensuality — all the things we were looking for in the role of Livvie. She read for the producers and the network exec in my office, and she was our unanimous choice. She quickly grew into a really lovely actress, and we certainly made the right move by bringing Kelly over [to GH].
Tamara Braun (ex-Carly): I was given a heads-up that Sarah [Brown] was going to leave, and Tamara had read for me for another role maybe a year earlier. I remembered writing down, “Great Carly recast.” I tracked her down through her agent and she told me she was almost on the verge of leaving acting, which is a remarkable story right there. She was amazing. Not only is she an incredible actress, but it comes down to the chemistry with Maurice, and just like Sarah, Tamara had it.
Scott Clifton (ex-Dillon; Liam, B&B): He was about 19 years old when he read for Dillon and he was just head and shoulders above the other actors. And not only is he an incredible actor, he’s a great guy. In a little twist of irony, he actually presented me with my first Emmy award. When he opened the card and he was jumping up and down, I had a feeling I was going to be called [laughs].
Ryan Carnes (Lucas): If you know Ryan, you know that he’s very soulful and polite, and he brought that to the character. When they brought the character back [in 2014], they were like, “Let’s get the guy that created it.” It’s a great journey to see from an actor, going from a boy on the show to a mature adult.
Dominic Zamprogna (Dante): That was a pivotal role for us, Sonny’s son, and we read so many actors. Dominic was living in Canada and I remembered him because he had auditioned for us years ago for something. His agent sent in an audition tape that he had made. I showed it to Jill Phelps [former executive producer] at my desk and she loved him. He drove in from Canada to read opposite Maurice. He was amazing, and the chemistry with Maurice was off the charts. Even Maurice was like, “This is the guy.”
Chad Duell (Michael): Chad read for us for a role that he didn’t get, a recurring role. We brought him in a few days later with new material, and he read with Maurice and he was incredible. He is a really lovely young actor, and it’s nice to see the success and the accolades that he’s received.
Brooklyn Rae Silzer (Emma): Brooklyn was brought in really young, but we stuck with her and she became an exquisite young actress. Some of her scenes are so beautiful and moving, and that’s a credit to Brooklyn.
Nicolas Bechtel (ex-Spencer): I’ve never met a kid like him. He is charisma personified, and he is so appealing and he’s so good that how could you not expand that role and give him story? As the casting director, you’re like, “Thank God that kid walked in.”
Vinessa Antoine (Jordan): She was one of hundreds of actors that read, but during the callbacks she was shooting a TV series in Canada. I felt so strongly about her that I asked Frank [Valentini, executive producer] if he would see her on a different day. When he saw her read, Frank looked at me and said, “Absolutely.”
Hayley Erin (Kiki): I saw her on AUSTIN & ALLY, and I wrote down in a notebook, “Get her in for a contract role.” She was thrust into a role that was very challenging to take over [from Kristen Alderson] and she has been fantastic. She’s great with every actor on the show. My daughter [Amelia] visited the set and she wanted a picture with her because she remembered her from AUSTIN & ALLY [laughs].
Donnell Turner (Curtis): He came in to read for Andre. There’s an ease about him, something effortless and charming. He doesn’t try to be that, he is that, and fortunately Frank and the writers saw that as well and said, “Hey, let’s not lose this guy, let’s create something for him.”
Robert Palmer Watkins (Dillon): We auditioned hundreds and hundreds of actors, and he tested with a really good group of actors and rose to the top. He’s soulful, and he’s likable even when the character is not likable, which is pretty tricky.
Matt Cohen (Griffin): He has a complexity to him, a mystery to him. He’s one of the most soulful actors I’ve ever met. He has presence and charisma, he’s great-looking — he’s got every requirement you look for. For me, he was the guy from day one and fortunately, everyone else agreed.