Meet the Teacher

Soap Opera Digest: What do you think of the soap format so far?
Eyal Podell: It’s fun, it’s challenging. It’s just great to come in and work. On episodic television, you do the same scene 15 times and by the third take, you’re done. One of the secrets in prime time is “Don’t waste it on the other person’s coverage.” So that ends up being some sort of conflict because if the camera is not on the person you’re acting with, they may not be as in the scene as you are and when the camera is on them, you’re spent. So being on a soap has its benefits in that it’s as close to live theater. It’s fun.Digest: Your character seems to have a little bit of an ego. What’s your take on him?
Podell: I think it’s more of just claiming his turf in relationship to the characters around him. Just like anyone when they have their thing they do and other people try to tell them how to do it, they’re going to have to sort of stand up for their territory. If I were a banker and Colleen came into my bank and said to me, “Well, I think you should invest in these funds,” I’d say, “Go get an MBA.” So it’s more like healthy banter and sparring of wits than anything else. So I think he has more of an ego like George Clooney’s character did on ER when he was talking to nurses and patients. It’s more like a way of interacting.Digest: What do you think about memorizing all those pages of dialogue?
Podell: I’m blessed with a good memory. The brain is just a muscle, anyway. Over the years, I’ve always had auditions so I’ve gotten used to memorizing 10 pages, three times a week. So that muscle, when it’s regularly exercised, definitely gets stronger.Digest: Have you watched soaps before?
Podell: My little confession is I’ve watched soaps twice in my life. When I was about 10 years old and my sister had domain over the television, we would come home from school and she would pop on SANTA BARBARA, when Robin Wright [ex-Kelly] and A Martinez [ex-Cruz] were on. Years later, I was doing summer stock and the only break I had was from 12 noon to 1 o’clock, so I would go back to my room and turn on my little 13-inch set. It got only one channel so I was watching DAYS OF OUR LIVES when Marlena was being held captive by Stefano. So I was a little familiar with the soap genre.Digest: What do you think of the Y&R folks so far?
Podell: They’re great. Everybody is so friendly. It’s just fantastic to work for a show that has such a rich tradition and where a lot of cast members have been on for such an extended period of time. Everyone has been very generous to offer their time if I have any questions. It’s a really great cast.Digest: The L.A. traffic is so crazy. How is your commute to the studio?
Podell: I actually live a half a mile away, which is just amazing. Digest: Sweet! How long have you lived in L.A.?
Podell: I’ve lived here since 1997. I moved out here right after college and I’ve been pounding the pavement ever since. I’ve been fortunate that I pretty much started working six months after I got here.Digest: What can you tell us about your personal life?
Podell: I’m married and expecting a baby this month [October]. We’re having a girl. We have a name picked out but we’re not telling anyone yet.Digest: Are you excited about having a daughter?
Podell: I was thinking I wanted a son because my best friend, who got married a month before me, just had a boy. There was a part of me that wanted to have a boy, too, but I thought, a girl is good because they mature earlier than boys do so I can dump all the babysitting onto her if we have another kid [laughs].Digest: Are you prepared for fatherhood?
Podell: I’m going to take it as it comes. Any sort of trepidation will mislead you because there are so many different things to be afraid of everywhere. If you’re always looking over your shoulder, then you can’t see what’s in front of you.Digest: Not just a little scared?
Podell: If you grow up in Israel, there’s always fear and terrorist bombings. I learned you have to live your life. So I’m not afraid about becoming a dad. I’m excited.

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