INTERVIEW

I’m Not A Lawyer But I Play One On TV: Kin Shriner (Scott, GH)

You actually started playing Scotty when he was still in law school. “I went through law school on GENERAL HOSPITAL in two episodes! I remember sitting at Denny’s getting ready to go into the studio after having breakfast and a whole bunch of lawyers came up to me and said, ‘We watch GENERAL HOSPITAL, but you got to go through law school in two episodes and we’re working like dogs to try to pass the bar and it ain’t easy!’ So they were a little hostile that I had become a lawyer in two little episodes.”

Having played a lawyer for so long, I feel like you deserve an honorary law degree! “Oh, I concur. You know, I fancy myself a lawyer in real life. I almost practiced down in Florida. They don’t really require a lot of certificates down there. I weighed in on different cases. I’d like to hang a shingle out in Fort Lauderdale and put scripted TV lawyer in my opinions. I had a girlfriend once that was in trouble in Fort Lauderdale and I went with her to her lawyer and I said, ‘Listen, if I was working this case….’ I have stepped over the bounds! I watch PERRY MASON four times a day. I watch anything that’s a legal drama. I really enjoy playing a lawyer and presenting a case and doing battles with other actors that play lawyers. And I fight with people like a lawyer: ‘Wait a minute, isn’t it true that….’ I present every argument that I get into as a case! I enjoy it.”

Who do you think has been Scott’s biggest cash cow client over the years? “Probably Ava or Julian Jerome at this point. Scott Baldwin has made money off of both of them.”

Did you enjoy Scott’s tenure as Port Charles’s district attorney? “I would like to be the district attorney again and clean up the streets! I mean, I have played the other side as a private lawyer, and criminal lawyers and mouthpiece lawyers make the money. But I’d love going back to being the district attorney. I thought when they made Tristan [Rogers, Robert] the DA that it was going to be fun that I would get to go up against him again. We had battles back when he was the [police] commissioner and Scotty was marrying Susan Moore on her deathbed to get ahold of Jason’s trust fund.”

Do you have a favorite moment from Scott’s career? “I once concocted a whole bit with Anna Devane that I think I’d seen in a movie where I struck a match on the jury box and blew it out. I kind of improvised the whole, like, opening statement and closing statement, went off script and made up some sort of fun stuff that was very theatrical. The tough thing now is when we do courtroom scenes, we usually do 35 of the scenes in a row because they usually want to put the courtroom [set] up and shoot it all in one day. I mean, to shoot 60 courtroom pages before lunch — the actors on THE PRACTICE, L.A. LAW, any of those nighttime shows, they would say, ‘That’s virtually impossible, to shoot 70 pages in a courtroom in four hours!’ I’d say, ‘Well, we have five cameras and they attack it.’ You’ve really got to come at it. The years of playing a lawyer have paid off because it’s just getting the words out properly in one take. There’s not a lot of room for improvisation like we used to have.”

Do you feel pressure to be word-perfect with your dialogue in courtroom scenes? “The first thing I say to the producer of the day, whoever is in the booth, is, ‘Your Honor, a little leniency, please?’ I’m basically saying, ‘Please. Let me have a little leniency just because it’s not the way it’s written, but it will be better, it will be more enjoyable, and it might be funnier if I use a different word.’ As I like to say, ‘Scotty-ize’ it a little bit.”

Are there good places to hide a script in the courtroom? “Yeah, you have a drawer right at your seat there. So you open the drawer and put your script in there and just close the drawer.”

Did you have fun getting to go even bigger than usual playing Tracy’s lawyer in the fantasy episode before Jane Elliot exited in 2017? “Oh, yeah. For that particular day, the only executive decision I made was that I thought I should have a bow tie. He has pocket squares and his fancy ties, but for some reason since this was a fantasy, I chose the bow tie. I always say to the wardrobe guy, ‘Wouldn’t it be great since we’re in court, and it’s summer, how about we put me in a seersucker suit?’ It’s always been nixed for some reason. Now that Michael Knight [Martin] has established his sort of Kentucky-fried, Colonel Sanders lawyer, that would be stepping on his turf.”

Would you hire a Scott Baldwin type if you were in need of a lawyer? “Yes, I would like a lawyer like Scott Baldwin that’s got tricks up his sleeve, well-dressed, pocket square, the whole works. He looks like he’s in charge. He’s a highly paid lawyer that comes in and gets the job done. Who doesn’t want a divorce lawyer like Scott Baldwin? A criminal lawyer? Or even go the opposite way, who wouldn’t want a district attorney that believes in right and wrong? Still believes that Sonny Corinthos should be behind bars. Who doesn’t still believe that? That was my whole gimmick when I was on the other side of the fence.”

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