Quick Take With Roger Howarth

Now it can be told: Austin is related to the Quartermaines! Are you pleased about this? “Oh, 100 percent. He’s looking for a place in the world and acceptance from a family. That’s something that I think everyone can relate to. He wants to know where he fits in. He has always felt marginalized and the dialogue was, ‘I always wanted to know what it was like to grow up in a home like this.’ I don’t know how they’re going to edit it, but I will say that when we shot it, it was one of my favorite moments as an actor, ever.” Can you articulate why? “Because it’s incredibly human for a person to still be searching for meaning in their life; even if they are of a certain age or have accomplished certain things in their lives, they can still be looking for meaningful connection in their life.” You just had your first Austin scenes opposite Steve Burton (Steve). What does Austin make of him? “I think Austin is motivated to have a relationship with him and is trying to figure out whether or not that’s possible. But just by virtue of birthright, it’s already charged.” That seems pretty consistent across the board — he’s sizing up the Quartermaines, and they’re sizing up him. Is that fair to say? “100 percent. I think Leslie [Charleson, Monica] is trying to figure out what Monica’s take on this guy is and I think it’s interesting because it seems to shift from show to show and from scene to scene, which is good. The show is smart.”

I wish Jane Elliot (ex-Tracy) was here to be part of this! “Well, maybe she will be!”

You’ve also been working more with James Patrick Stuart (Valentin). How has that been? “JP Stuart has become one of my favorite people. He’s a rock. He’s a really solid dude and I really like what he does. He’s such a smart actor that yeah, there’s a lot of potential there. I hope they explore Austin and Valentin. I’m interested to see what they come up with.”

Speaking of new dynamics, you’re finally playing someone on GENERAL HOSPITAL that Kelly Monaco doesn’t have to hate as Sam. Congratulations! “[Laughs] Yeah, I’ve arrived!”

On the other hand, there have been some familiar “Franco and ‘Denise DeMuccio’ ” vibes in your recent scenes with Maura West (Ava). “Yeah, I think it can be argued that they are parallel stories.”

What does Austin make of Ava flirting with him? “Austin is clever enough to realize that he’s in the middle of two people toying with one another and gaming one another and he is amused by it and is really just kind of trying to keep up. I think when Austin said the line, ‘Stuff like this doesn’t happen to me in a small town,’ he really meant it. And I think on some level he’s amused at how human beings behave. One of the things that I like about Austin is that both Franco and [ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s] Todd were both intensely worried about what other people thought about them. Austin seems to be above that level of insecurity.”

On another note, Robert Hogan, who played Briggs, Todd’s editor at The Sun, recently passed away. What was he like as a co-star? “Robert Hogan was one of the loveliest people I ever met in my life. He was just a light. The guy was so open and vulnerable and solid at the same time and he was accessible as an actor and as a human being. He was generous, he was friendly and funny. Just a really supportive, beautiful man. He was great.”