INTERVIEW

Sean Kanan (Deacon) Opens Up About His Latest B&B Return

Sean Kanan couldn’t be happier to be playing B&B’s Deacon Sharpe again, a role he originated over 20 years ago. “I know I’ve said this before, but it really does feel like home,” the actor smiles. “There are so many members of the cast and the crew and the production team that I’ve worked with since I was first on, and there’s such a wonderful feeling walking into a production where you know a lot of the people, in front of the camera and behind. I’ve got so much history and emotion wrapped up with filming BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL — and in CBS Television City, because I also filmed Y&R there, too — so it’s pretty incredible.”

Kanan admits he was surprised to get the call about a return engagement. “[Wife] Michele and I basically left and moved to our place in Palm Springs,” he explains. “I figured after 35-plus years, that was kind of a wrap on Los Angeles for me, and as soon as that happened, I got the call from Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer], and before I knew it, I was back in L.A.”

Getting the opportunity to play Deacon again meant a lot to him. “First of all, I’m the only guy who has ever played Deacon and in daytime, there are so many recasts that I’m very protective of the character,” Kanan notes. “I feel honored that I am the only guy who has played him. He’s complex because on one level, he really wants to do the right thing and has always wanted to be accepted in mainstream society and yet, because he has made mistakes throughout his life, he always finds himself relegated to situations that require him to come in through the back door, under the radar, and not in a way that is always acceptable and aboveboard. He’s not a malevolent villain. He’s a guy who has his own weird code of ethics and honor, and aspires to try and do things the right way but very quickly realizes nobody is going to give him an inch. So, he has to do what he has to do.”

At the top of Deacon’s priority list is getting reacquainted with Hope and meeting Beth. “Connecting with Hope has always been important to Deacon,” explains the actor. “But I think the chance of meeting his granddaughter, especially, affords him the opportunity to connect with someone who has no real understanding of his past and who doesn’t carry the biases that everybody else carries. It’s a chance to have a clean slate and to be a loving family member to someone who has not been tainted by the perceptions of others. That’s something that is very attractive. It’s also a way for him to have, between Hope and Beth, two things in his life that are pure, that really are good and not colored by all of his misdeeds.”

Kanan is having a ball getting to know his new TV daughter, Annika Noelle (Hope). “She is really funny!” praises Kanan. “She’s really smart, and it’s fun looking at her sometimes because I get to see how other people perceive what my daughter would look like physically, but she exudes an intelligence and a confidence and a warmth and a vulnerability that are qualities that make any character compelling. I’m really looking forward to having scenes with her when the two characters can really talk. The scenes we’ve had so far have either been with other characters or one brief scene that’s interrupted by somebody else, so I’m really looking forward to when we can do scenes where Deacon talks about what some of his hopes and aspirations were and the mistakes that he’s made, and also really listening to Hope and getting to know who she is as a woman and as a parent. I think, ultimately, what this is all about for him is seeking some kind of redemption: ‘If I can do this one thing right, if I can finally have a relationship with my daughter and prove that I am not the guy that everyone says I am,’ and I think that’s one of the reasons that he’s fighting so hard for it.”

Another actress new to Kanan this time around is Kimberlin Brown (Sheila), with whom he hadn’t crossed paths on camera in the past. “She is a B&B legend!” he raves. “She is an accomplished professional in her own right and to play scenes with her is just the best, and the more off-the-wall it gets, the better. I think, or at least I hope, that the fans are going to enjoy this partnership.”

In addition to B&B and his Emmy-winning digital soap STUDIO CITY (see sidebar), Kanan is busy promoting his latest book, Way Of The Cobra, in which he discusses playing another bad boy, Mike Barnes, in Karate Kid III — and he gets personal about his own real-life struggles. “I’ve found a lot of people can relate to this book,” Kanan shares. “I’ve experienced my own personal highs and lows, just as everybody else has in their own lives. When I’ve been at signings and appearances and things like that, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that the book has helped them see that they are not alone. We are all in this together, and I can’t tell you how rewarding that feels. I’d been working on a book with this content for a long time and then I figured, let’s piggyback on this incredible zeitgeist that is COBRA KAI [the hit Netflix series based on The Karate Kid films], which illustrates lessons from the book. I reformatted the book like, ‘I’m the sensei. You’re a student of my dojo,’ and that turned out to be a wise thing to do. I also figured if I’m purporting to be the sensei and my reader is the student, I had to be rigorously honest with what I share because otherwise they’re not going to trust me. So, I really shared some stuff about my own life, about mistakes I’ve made and how I’ve overcome those, and I think it creates a real bond with the reader.”

Despite juggling multiple projects, Kanan’s focus is squarely on B&B. “I can’t wait to see what Brad has in store for Deacon,” he muses. “I can’t tell you how exciting it always is to get that next script. I know Brad has a plan, and it’s so wonderful to have that door open to come back again.”

Hot Child In The City:

B&B is not the only production keeping Kanan busy. He’s also focusing on making a new season of his Emmy Award-winning serial, STUDIO CITY, happen. “There will be a new season if I have anything to say about it,” he declares. “I was doing Maurice’s [Benard, Sonny, GH] podcast, State Of Mind, and I just threw it out there to him and said, ‘Maurice, would you be willing to come on STUDIO CITY?’ and he said, ‘Yes,’ and I said, ‘Okay, you heard it first here that he’d do it!’ We are going to have a lot of really great people coming on. I’m also looking forward to possibly going to a longer format. There’s a lot to discuss. We’re figuring out what’s next but now more than ever, our cast is just so enthusiastic about being a part of it, especially with everything that we went through, the obstacles and the challenges. It really solidified us as a creative team. That’s one thing I’ve learned after all these years in daytime: The soap must go on!”

Just The Facts:

Birthday: November 2

Hails From: New Castle, PA

Spouse In The House: Wed Michele Vega on July 8, 2012.

Soap Roster: Deacon, B&B, 2000-05; 2012; 2014-16; 2017; 2021; and Y&R, 2009-12; ex-A.J., GH, 1993-97; 2012-14; ex-Jude, SUNSET BEACH, 1999.

Trophy Case: In June, Kanan and his wife won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Limited Drama Series for their digital sudser, STUDIO CITY. “I am grateful,” he says of his digital labor of love, which began production in 2019. “I’m happy for all the actors, myself included, and winning best show is hard to describe. To have been nominated two years consecutively for STUDIO CITY and then to win? I mean, it’s just incredible. Even now, it’s still a little surreal.”

That Kelly Girl: “Katherine Kelly Lang [Brooke] is a beautiful person inside and out. She’s got the most infectious laugh, and I think we managed to capture lightning in a bottle with that storyline [when Brooke hit the sheets with her son-in-law]. That is something that I will always remember and cherish.”

Dear Ol’ Dad: Of his GH father, Stuart Damon (ex-Alan), who passed away in June, Kanan says, “Those were really fun times, working with the Quartermaines when I first came on the show. I’m ashamed to say that as the years went by, I did lose touch with Stuart but I never stopped having a place in my heart for him. He was always incredibly kind to me. He’d been around for a long time as an actor and I loved hearing the stories he would tell. He always had such wonderful stories.”

Did You Know:

Kanan can currently be seen in Survive The Game  — sporting a Mohawk! — opposite Bruce Willis, available now on multiple digital platforms and DVD/Blu-ray.

Besides Way Of The Cobra, Kanan has written two other books: Success Factor X, co-authored with Jill Liberman; and The Modern Gentleman: Cooking and Entertaining with Sean Kanan.

The actor competed on the Italian version of DANCING WITH THE STARS — BALLANDO CON LE STELLE — in 2006.

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