Since debuting as the volatile son of certifiably insane mobster Anthony Zacchara, GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Brandon Barash has been enjoying his walk on the wild side.
Soap Opera Weekly: What’s it like playing a loose canon like Johnny?
Brandon Barash: It’s a lot of fun playing someone who’s called crazy, but at the same time you can’t judge Johnny as crazy. The fun part is trying to figure out why he does what he does, why he says what he says, why he snaps. What happened years ago in his childhood that makes certain things set him off at any given moment and makes him so dangerous?
Weekly: Did you like working opposite Bruce Weitz (Anthony Zacchara)?
Barash: It’s a blast. It’s not hard to act when he’s on the stage with me. He gives it to me. Bruce is very playful and generous as an actor. It’s been a pleasure working with him.
Weekly: As a veteran performer, as he given you any tips?
Barash: No. He and I usually talk about his gardening and what we’re doing on the weekends. We haven’t really had a heart-to-heart about acting.
Weekly: Is GENERAL HOSPITAL your first stint on daytime?
Barash: Yes. I’d only done nighttime before. I went out for a handful of projects after I got out of [USC]. I auditioned for GILMORE GIRLS and booked it. That was my first role and it was recurring. I played Paris’ boyfriend, Jamie.
Weekly: Have you had any other memorable prime-time stints?
Barash: I played a wrongfully accused naval officer on NCIS last year. In the beginning, I had to play the villain to get the payoff of the hero at the end. I also recurred on 24. I played a CTU agent who was actually named Brandon. I didn’t work with Kiefer Sutherland (Jack), because I played a tech who was in the office and he was out in the field. But I got to work with William Devane (Heller) and Alberta Watson, who played the CTU director at the time. That show was a lot of fun. It was my favorite show before I even auditioned for it, so it was cool stepping onto that set.
Weekly: Have you always wanted to act?
Barash: No, I had wanted to be a doctor, which is strange. When I started college I was in the BFA acting program, but also in pre-med. I was pre-med for almost two years. I wanted to be an orthopedic or cardiac surgeon my whole life. But late in my sophomore year I realized I only had time for one thing, and my passion to be an actor had become greater than my passion to be a doctor. So I decided to take a risk. I guess I made the right choice.
Weekly: When were you bit by the acting bug?
Barash: Getting involved in acting was a complete accident. I was in high school and on the basketball team. All I did was play basketball. All I wanted to do was play basketball. Then, I injured myself. The doctor said I either had to have knee surgery or find something else to do. I reluctantly quit the basketball team. My girlfriend at the time was in the school musical, Big River. She and my family had always thought I should get involved in acting, but I wanted nothing to do with it. So without telling me, she arranged for me to audition for one of the lead parts. I was furious, because she had committed me to this audition and I wanted nothing to do with it. But I said, ‘Since I want you to have a good name with this director because you’re in the play, I’ll do it.’ She said, ‘Fine. Here’s the material. Just learn it, and you’re auditioning the end of the week.’ I went home that night and absolutely fell in love with the whole transformation process; everything about it. I ended up getting the lead part.
Weekly: What was it like getting up on stage for the very first time?
Barash: I experienced something I never thought existed. I remember walking off the stage that night after the show and thinking about the journey I’d been through and hoping that I’d affected at least one person in the audience. It was the greatest feeling.