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ICYMI Y&R's Hunter King (Summer) and Michael Mealor (Kyle) Interview

SOAP OPERA DIGEST: What do you remember about the first time you met?

MICHAEL MEALOR: I think the first time we met was on the roof deck of the GCAC. I was filming when you came by while going to the production office or something like that. I think we had a funny sh*t-talkin’ banter from the beginning.

HUNTER KING: I always give you sh*t, so that makes sense. I gotta bring you back down to earth. It’s my job.

DIGEST: What were your first impressions of each other?

MEALOR: I had always heard fantastic things about Hunter. I remember when our executive producer at the time, Mal Young, told me and Melissa Ordway [Abby] at the same time that Hunter was coming back and Melissa freaked out. She was like, “Hunter and I can share a dressing room from now on. I don’t even need my dressing room anymore. Just bring her back!” Those were the kinds of things I had heard about Hunter before I actually met her. We just kicked off a friendship right from the beginning.

KING: I didn’t really give him a choice. I was like, “You’re gonna be my friend!”

MEALOR: She was very sweet, and you were a little quieter. KING: I’m really quiet with people I don’t know, and then I get to know you and you can’t get me to shut up.

DIGEST: What was your impression of Michael?

KING: I had talked to Peter Bergman [Jack] about Michael, and Peter had the loveliest things to say about him. I was obviously excited to meet Michael because he had been there for a while before I had come back. I was actually kind of nervous to work with a new group of people but Michael accepted me and my weirdness right from the get-go. He has a very warm, welcoming energy. You feel like you know him within five minutes of meeting him.

MEALOR: I don’t think we got the right Hunter on this phone call.

KING: Don’t let it go to your head. Anyway, I feel like we clicked very quickly but then once we started working together all of the time, we just got even closer. It was like boom, best friends. Sayonara.

DIGEST: Hunter, what did you think of how Summer was treating Kyle when she first came back? She was mean to him.

KING: Summer’s kind of a brat sometimes.

DIGEST: Kind of?

KING: Well, I feel like because Summer and Kyle have known each other their whole lives that it’s easy for them to be themselves around each other. I’m not like Summer. I’m not a player, so it’s really fun for me to play catty. But yes, Summer was a brat to Kyle. They work things out and then they go back down a rabbit hole and then they work things out again.

MEALOR: At the time it was really kind of an exploration for me as Kyle. I mean, I had always heard that Summer and Kyle were Romeo and Juliet in a way but it was always this push and pull. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t change their relationship.

DIGEST: What moment did you feel like you were besties and not just co-workers?

MEALOR: Maybe the moment …

KING: Oh, no.

MEALOR: When Kyle had to do the Magic Mike striptease. That was like, “Okay, we have to be friends now because I just had to do the most embarrassing thing in the world in front of you.” That was when Michael took off his shirt and whipped it around. Our producer was like, “Maybe not so over-the-top.”

KING: That was when Michael took off his shirt and whipped it around. Our producer was like, “Maybe not so over-the-top.”

MEALOR: He said, “That’s too dirty for daytime. We gotta shoot that again.”

KING: That was definitely a turning point. And also, we get coffee together in the mornings and when Michael first remembered my coffee order, I was like, “Wow!”

MEALOR: We also have an agreement that if only one of us can go, we bring back coffee for the other.

KING: Yep, his coffee and a cookie.

DIGEST: What do you think draws your characters to each other? KING: I think that it’s what we were saying earlier, the comfort of knowing each other for so long. And as much time as they spend apart or with other people, they just always have this chemistry that brings them back together.

MEALOR: Kyle doesn’t have to explain himself to Summer. He knows that there’s this unconditional acceptance from her that he hasn’t really found anywhere else. I mean, look at his history with his father.

DIGEST: Do you like to run lines together?

MEALOR: I do love it. We will always find the time to at least say the scene once or twice before we begin to tape.

KING: We just don’t get much rehearsal time on set, so it is nice to have that time to figure out what’s happening in the scene together. I’ll say, “Oh, my God, Michael, this line is driving me crazy. How the heck do I say it?” And he’ll be like, “I think maybe your motivation behind this line is….” But then we become distracted, get on another topic and then we have to wrangle ourselves back in with, “Okay, where were we?”

DIGEST: Other than both being actors, what else do you have in common?

MEALOR: We’re very introverted homebodies.

KING: And we love our families.

MEALOR: Yeah, 100 percent. I am dying right now being away from my family because they are all together in Georgia. I have a new niece and nephew and they’re growing up over FaceTime. I can’t go see them. It’s really sad.

KING: I feel very lucky. I live with my sister and my mom. We’re very close.

DIGEST: Were you surprised when the Kyle/ Summer marriage ended so quickly?

KING: I guess I was a little surprised, but I was like, “This makes sense. This checks out.” Surprised but not surprised. I feel like in the soap world you should never be surprised.

MEALOR: Yeah, it’s like, “What’s the biggest curveball we can throw?” I guess Kyle and Lola were just meant to be together for awhile.

DIGEST: But Kyle and Lola’s marriage didn’t last long either. MEALOR: I feel the divorce with Summer was a little more abrupt. The divorce with Lola, yes, the divorce came fast, but at the same time I do feel like [the writers] dropped little bread crumbs the entire way.

KING: The kiss at the hotel room between Summer and Kyle kind of started it off. And then when they had that moment at the Grand Phoenix where they connected after he and Lola broke up. I’m always rooting for Summer and Kyle because I love a good romance.

DIGEST: Are you surprised by how invested the fans are in “Skyle”?

MEALOR: I’m always flattered with how much the fans are invested. For birthdays and holidays and just random times, we receive the sweetest packages, like cupcakes and flowers, from them.

KING: We’re like, “Really? For us? We’re nothing special,” so it’s very flattering. They’re so kind and thoughtful, but I get it. I’m a crazy FRIENDS fan and that is not Jennifer Aniston, that is Rachel Green!

MEALOR: You took Summer from teenager to adult. And me, I had 27 Kyles before me?

KING: You are Kyle. There is no other Kyle.

MEALOR: Well, thank you. That’s sweet of you.

DIGEST: How do you like working with Sasha Calle (Lola)?

KING: She’s great. It’s always fun when you have your circle of people that you get to work with a lot. It’s so lovely getting to work with Sasha and seeing what she brings to Lola.

MEALOR: She is fantastic. Every time there’s a joke you know she’s there because she has such a distinct laugh.

KING: It just takes over a room. Her and Melissa Ordway have great laughs.

DIGEST: How do you like working with Tyler Johnson (Theo)?

KING: Tyler’s so great. He’s texted me a few times during this pandemic just to check on me. He brings such a vibrance to Theo and he’s just so fun to work with. He’s always saying, “How was that?” and “Do you think we need to change anything?”

MEALOR: For me it’s fun because there’s another guy my age on set who I can bounce stuff off of. As Tyler and I continue to get to know each other it comes out on screen. He’s so much fun to work with.

DIGEST: Have you had any memorable flubs or bloopers?

KING: When I threw a glass at Michael during our breakup scene.

MEALOR: She threw it a little too early as I was closing the door. It’s fake glass, but the shards went everywhere before I closed it all of the way.

KING: That was just by accident.

MEALOR: It was still very aggressive . I gotta tell you, I didn’t feel safe on set that day.

DIGEST: Hunter, what’s the best thing about working with Michael?

KING: That he’s become my best friend. When I think about going to work I get so excited. I’m surrounded by so many great people at work, cast and crew, and Michael just makes my day so much brighter. We always say that wherever life takes us, we hope that we just continue to work together on projects. [Pauses.]

KING: And … nothing! I take it all back.

MEALOR: No! I agree. It’s getting to come to work with someone who’s your best friend.

DIGEST: What can you tell me about each other that our readers wouldn’t know?

MEALOR: When we get coffee together she gets the same thing every time but she always looks at the menu like she’s gonna try something new.

KING: I knew you were gonna say that! Michael comes to my room to pretend to hang out with me but it’s really to steal my snacks.

MEALOR: Well, that’s true.

DIGEST: What would you like to see happen for Kyle and Summer?

KING: You’re gonna kill me for my answer, Michael.

MEALOR: Oh, crap.

KING: I want them to have a baby. I just want to work with a baby on set!

MEALOR: I’m the complete opposite.

KING: Oh, crap. What were you gonna say?

MEALOR: Mine was just that they have a devious side and plan a huge takeover of something.

KING: Oh, yeah. Cool. Totally. Forget about a baby!