Already have an account?
Get back to the


Quick Take With Donnell Turner

There’s been massive upheaval in Curtis’s life: He was shot and it’s unclear whether he’ll ever walk again. What was your reaction to finding out about this new storyline? “I knew months in advance and it’s been difficult to keep it a secret because I was so excited about it. [Executive Producer] Frank Valentini called and told me about it and asked me what I thought and I about jumped through the phone! I expressed my excitement and he was laughing on the other end. He said, ‘I knew you’d like it. You’ve been saying you wanted something you could sink your teeth into.’ ”

Well, you certainly got that when Curtis was hovering between life and death and had an encounter with his late mother, Irene. What was that like to shoot? “That was incredibly emotional and emotionally jarring, even in rehearsal. I couldn’t keep it together in rehearsal and the director was bawling and then other actors came over to the set and they were bawling — and that was just the rehearsal. I didn’t want to rehearse it away from set. Usually, we’ll go into the green room [to run lines] but I just wanted to let whatever was going to happen [in front of the cameras] happen so that what you got on screen was organic. For me, it was a nod and a hug to my late mother [Lorraine Sylvester, who passed away in 2021], and I know she’s proud.”

Not too long before the shooting, Curtis and Trina got proof that they are indeed biological father and daughter. How do you think he’s been sitting with that news and navigating his approach to Trina? “I think he is excited. I think he’s encouraged to get to know her and make up for lost time. I think he’s cautious and doesn’t want to do anything that might push her away. At the same time, he wants to expedite the process of making up for lost time, no doubt. And so it’s a nice challenge for Curtis, who tries to stay in control of his life and the goings-on around him, to have to acquiesce to this young woman who’s a part of him and who he loves. Even though it might be challenging, I think he loves capitulating to what she wants and what she’s comfortable with and kind of like letting her set the pace in a way.”

As you played the scenes of Curtis regaining consciousness, realizing he’s survived this scrape with death but also learning that he has some big challenges ahead, what did you want to communicate to the audience about what Curtis is going through internally? “Well, he is a changed man. And I think the overall message that I want to portray to the audience is strength and courage and never giving up. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to feel what you feel, but that doesn’t mean you just give up. That is what I want to give to Curtis to give to anyone watching. Curtis doesn’t want the fans and the viewers to feel sorry for him. He wants them to root for him like you would for your favorite athlete.”