Soap Opera Digest: What do you think about this whole “Jason-and-Carly marriage of convenience” thing?
Steve Burton: Listen, I love Laura [Wright, Carly]. I guess the thing is that Jason and Britt are, you know, whatever you want to call them now — they’re kind of together now, sort of. They’re dating. Is that what the kids say [laughs]? Jason and Britt are interested in each other, so that’s the wrench in the works, right? They’re interested in each other but then the business side of things [comes into play]. I think it works perfectly; it’s like a perfect storm of [a marriage] having to happen. Look, what Laura and I care about is that we’ve had some amazing scenes. That’s what it comes down to for us. Overall story, if it works, awesome, but we’re finding something new for us, which we’ve never had, being on the show this long. That’s what’s intriguing to actors. And that’s what I think a lot of fans don’t really get, is that this is new for us, and this is cool for us because as actors we get to explore and do new things with new people and have new scenes and it’s pretty exciting.
Digest: The show has taken a lot of risks lately with breaking people up and switching things up across the canvas.
Burton: I agree. Do I think Sonny should come home? Yes. But overall, story-wise, I think they’re doing a great job by mixing stuff up…. Most people don’t like change, but sometimes you find some surprising things in that change where you’re like, “Oh, that’s new!” And that’s what I think the show needs. I think any show that has been on that long needs it because we know what Sonny’s gonna do, we know what Jason’s gonna do, we know what Carly’s gonna do — the fans know the characters so well that everyone knows what everyone is going to do all the time, so there’s really no surprises, unless you mix it up and put other people with other people and you see what comes out of that. That’s what we’re kind of seeing now. And now Jason and Carly have to get married, and that’s interesting to me. I think it’s great! I’ve been having a blast. It’s all new stuff.
Digest: Lying does not come naturally to Jason. How is he going to explain this engagement to his sons?
Burton: He’s going to have to lie! I mean, it is challenging. I’ve had some scenes already where I say, “I hate lying about this!” Like, “This is not what I do and I don’t like it. At all.” And you can tell, too, by how I do the scenes! I’m not gonna go [adopts enthused tone], “Hey, Carly and I, we’re so excited to get married! This is gonna be awesome, guys!” That’s not me. I’m like [very matter-of-fact], “Yeah, we’re getting married.” And they’re like, “Oh.” And I go, “Yeah.” That’s it! That’s all I can say. And I say, “It’s the best thing for the family, it’s the best thing for everybody that we get married.” It’s just a general, blanket statement.
Digest: I think fans will wonder, why couldn’t Jason marry Carly, but see Britt on the side? Why couldn’t he have a mistress?
Burton: Well, I think — I mean, look, it’s a soap opera, so I hate even answering questions, like, for real, but if you’re really into Mafia stuff and they are expecting you to kill Carly, or literally get rid of her, like have her move 3,000 miles away with her family so she’s out of the picture and there’s a clear handover of the power, that this is Jason’s territory now — these things have to happen, she needs to disappear one way or another, whether it’s, “Good-bye, Carly” or it’s, “Move away, Carly.” A lot of Mafia guys had their affairs on the side, so anything’s possible, but right now, Jason’s doing it by the book, right? It just doesn’t behoove him, in a power transition like this, in a power struggle where there’s violence and all these things happening, to sneak around. There is one thing here to accomplish, and that’s the goal of showing a united front with Jason and Carly; this is the best way to do it. Gotta cut the thing off with Britt and move forward for the family. That’s the mentality. And we are on a soap opera, so please forgive me!
Digest: Have you had the chance to get a reaction out of Maurice Benard (Sonny)? Does he know this is happening?
Burton: No, I haven’t talked to him about it. But I am sure he would not be surprised! And he would go, “Oh, you guys had to wait until I was dead to go get married.” That’s what he would say. He’s very jealous of us. But it’s okay, he’ll get over it. He’s hee-hawing with freakin’ Nina, so whatever. “You’re doing some square-dancing with Nina. You don’t get to talk ever again!”
Digest: How did Jason feel when he realized that Britt slept with Jax?
Burton: Not great! I mean, what do you expect, dude? I mean, that’s not great! It’s not good. I mean, if she wanted an Australian guy, she could have just gone to the Outback Steak House and just found some, like, server there! I don’t know what she’s going to Jax for, but whatever. I’m sure there’s a bartender there with an accent, but why Jax? It kind of sucks. I’m like, “Aw, man.” What do you do? I mean, is this the old Jason or the new Jason? The old Jason, he would be having none of it.
Digest: This is the second time Jason will be entering a marriage of convenience.
Burton: Brenda was the first one?
Digest: Yes. So, who do you think Jason could more tolerate marriage to, theoretically, Brenda or Carly?
Burton: Oh, Carly. Hands-down. Aw, gosh, that’s not even a question! Listen, Carly is Carly, and for some reason, Jason just has a soft spot for her that no other human being would have, he has a love for her that no other human being has. And for what- ever reason, it’s not difficult for him. With Brenda, that was difficulty. Constantly!
Digest: Britt was super-hurt when Jason broke the news of his impending marriage to her.
Burton: Yeah, you think? She is very pissed. I mean, she’s pissed, first, because she slept with Jax and it wasn’t that great! But obviously, I’ve hurt her, she tries to cover it, she has feelings for Jason and she’s very upset.
Digest: Well, I don’t know that you’re aware of this, but when Elizabeth and Sam found out, they went and got drunk together.
Burton: Oh, they did?
Digest: Yes, and they started a fire on the pier because Liz encouraged Sam to symbolically burn reminders of Jason.
Burton: I think that’s a little psycho! Hold on, hold on. She cut it off with me! So how is she burning stuff — she said no to me! Now you’re gonna burn my stuff? I didn’t burn anything of hers when she said, “Get out of here!” I didn’t freakin’ burn the phoenix and the dragon! Come on, man! That’s bullcrap! That’s messed up, dude.
Digest: Well, my point is that it’s a ripple on the canvas that affects all these other people and that’s what you want on a soap.
Burton: Yeah, look. It’s not bad to shake things up. I mean, we’re on a soap opera. You never know what could happen in the next freakin’ year — and then she’s going to be mad that she burned my stuff!
Digest: Well, that’s true. In July of 2020, you could never have imagined Jason breaking things off with Britt to marry Carly!
Burton: No, there’s no way. If you would ever have said, “Oh, Jason and Britt are going to be together,” you’d be like, “What? No!” Or Sam and Dante. You would never even think that. And I guess that’s what is good about what [Co-Head Writers] Chris [Van Etten] and Dan [O’Connor] are doing right now. They’re just mixing it up! And it’s okay to mix it up.
Digest: But at the same time, do you understand why it is challenging for fans who are so invested in Jason and Sam to imagine getting behind Jason and Britt, or even Jason and Carly, if they go there?
Burton: Yes. Of course. Listen, I totally understand. I get it. I’ve watched shows before where I’ve been upset, okay? So I understand that people get upset over things, for sure. The thing that I don’t condone or like is that people were attacking both Kellys [Monaco, Sam, and Thiebaud, Britt]. Listen. Everybody knows that I have the utmost respect for Kelly Monaco. We worked together for so long. We worked together every day for, like, eight years, and we created something awesome, for sure. There is no doubt about it. I am having a great time working with Kelly Thiebaud. They are both great to work with. But when people are attacking the actresses, that’s just when it’s not cool. I’m not on social that much anymore, but I saw some bad things being said about Kelly Monaco, and some bad things about Kelly Thiebaud, and that’s when I check out. That’s when I’m like, “Okay, I’m not even going to engage or read this stuff.” It is two real human beings that can be affected by those comments, you know? People are going to hate me or do whatever they want to me, they’re always going to do that and it’s fine, but to do that to the ladies is kind of upsetting to me. I understand that people get upset about story. That’s what the writers’ job is, you know? You see things and you have stuff to root for again.
Digest: That’s a great point — it is the writers’ job to give you an obstacle so that viewers can then root for you to get over that obstacle.
Burton: For sure. But I get why people are invested and I get why they get upset. I totally do. My wife and I watched something on Netflix and something happened and I went, “This is the stupidest show I’ve ever seen! I’m not watching this! I can’t even believe that they would do something that dumb!” I was so invested that at that point, I go, “I get why people get upset!” Like, “I’m invested in this thing!” This character did something so crazy and stupid I was like, “That’s stupid, that’s it, I’m done, I’m not watching this anymore, it’s over.” But then, of course, we finished it! You kind of settle down and go, “It’s a TV show. Get back to the freakin’ TV and watch the rest of it.” But I understand. I totally understand. But it’s the same thing with Jason/Elizabeth, Jason/Sam. People were attacking Becky [Herbst, Elizabeth], people were attacking Kelly. And we’re just doing our job, doing the best we can to tell the story that’s written. That’s what we’re doing. No one is coming down to us, trust me! Chris and Dan aren’t calling us going, “Hey, what do you think about this?” They’re not calling any actor, going, “Hey, what do you think about this story? Hey Sonny, what do you think about being a cowboy?” Do you think he would have been like, “Hey, I can’t wait!” Uh, no, he would not [laughs]!