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Sean Kanan offers insight into his alter ego

What do you like most about playing this character? “I like the latitude that I’m given to put my personal stamp on it and to infuse the character with humor that we don’t always get enough of in daytime. That’s what I love about being on B&B, and I’ve only experienced that with this character. The trust that production puts in me is definitely taking some risks and it’s on me to make it work. Most of the time it works, but they’re not all winners and they are very patient with me. It’s not often that you are given the freedom to take chances and go out on a limb when you’re doing something like a soap, which is so ingrained by structure and schedule. Between the directors and everyone in the booth, I feel like they have faith in me — and that hasn’t always been my experience throughout my career. When you have a creative team that has faith in you, it adds a lot to better my work.”

What has been your best storyline and why? “I think the original storyline with Deacon and Brooke was really electric. That was a pretty darn good storyline, when Deacon first came on the show with Bridget and he was at war with the Forresters. That was terrific. I’ve had some fun stuff with Sheila since I’ve come back, and I feel the best is yet to come. I’ve really enjoyed working with Kimberlin [Brown, Sheila]. It has been a really great collaboration. I love working with Annika [Noelle, Hope] and I like working with Thorsten [Kaye, Ridge], too. I really like everybody I work with. I’m really fortunate. Each one of them brings out a different side of me as an actor. I never get bored. They are all really strong, committed actors, and you get to go and play. It keeps you on your toes.”

What is something you and Deacon have in common? “He’s always reading, because I want to demonstrate that this guy is trying to better himself. He doesn’t have a classical education by any stretch of the imagination but he is a smart guy, well, at least focused. I imagine he must have done a lot of reading in prison and I just think he needs a shot. That’s one of the little things I try and put in every chance I have. We have that in common. I like reading a lot, too. I’m a bit of a bookworm.”

What family member is he closest to? “He is closest to Hope, but he’d like to get closer to Brooke.”

What do you consider to be Deacon’s greatest strength and greatest weakness? “His greatest strength is he’s resilient. He is a survivor. He’s a cat with nine lives. I would say his greatest weakness, and apparently it still has proven to be that, is his emotional impulsivity.”

Do you think Deacon needs to move on from Brooke? He and Taylor seemed to share a spark. “Deacon never had much of a relationship with Taylor but she came to Il Giardino and they started talking and laughing. Then he goes by her office and surprises her and in an unexpected turn of events, Deacon starts acting as her therapist. Of course, his rates are cheaper. But there was something fun in these scenes and I started doing my approximation of what I thought Sigmund Freud might talk like [imitates Freud] — ‘Yah. Yah. Tell me more about zees’ — so I did that silly thing and was making her laugh and they discovered an unlikely connection. It would be nice if that’s reconsidered. There are so many ways that could open up, too. Romantically, that would be nice but it would be interesting if they started having sessions and what we could learn about Deacon’s past. It could be stuff that even he doesn’t know about.”

What do you think Deacon would miss about Brooke if he were to move on? “It’s always great when you can enter Brooke’s house without knocking.”

Who is the one who got away? “It’s got to be Brooke but I would love to see him resolve things with Bridget and I’d love to work with Ashley [Jones] again. There is a lot that Deacon needs to say to Bridget, and it would be interesting to see if all these years later they still had some feelings for each other. She would be understandably hesitant and rightfully so, and it would be incredibly complicated but hey, who knows?”

How do you think Deacon spends his downtime? “That’s a good question. I’d like to think he’s continuing his training in martial arts. I think Deacon daydreamed a lot about things while living on that cot in a storage room. He tries to resist temptation, lamenting about the past, and he tries to think about the future. If he just gets a shot, he’d see Hope and Brooke as much as he can.”

How would you describe Deacon’s evolution since we met him in 2000? “I think, as happens with most angry young men, a combination of age, wisdom and life experience hopefully manages to wring some of that out of him, and that certainly happened with Deacon. Being loved by Hope has done enormous things for Deacon’s character. I think, for the most part, Deacon has been a fairly honorable guy. Sean, personally, I don’t condone how he behaves with Brooke and Ridge’s marriage. That is not something I would do but I think he has learned to like himself a little more. He still feels like that guy who’s on the outside looking in. If I were Deacon, I would be thinking now more than ever, ‘What the hell am I going to do? I don’t want to be working at Il Giardino for the rest of my life. I want to make a move. How am I going to accomplish this?’ I think that is Deacon’s inner monologue. He’s around these fabulously wealthy people and does his best to hide the fact that it’s probably humiliating for him because he’s the guy who cleans the toilets when his daughter and her husband come into Il Giardino. But he has a strong why, which is, ‘I’m going to do this and stay out of jail and be a father to my daughter,’ and there is honor in that. God bless him.”

Do you have a signature storyline? “Certainly marrying Melody Thomas Scott [Nikki, during his crossover to Y&R]. Marrying Nikki was just so out of the blue. That was a ton of fun.”

What comment do you get most from fans? “The fans really seem to like Deacon, which is wonderful because there’s a lot to not like about him, or at least there was. It means they are responding to the humanity that the writers infuse, and I try to infuse, into this character. Deacon had a very difficult home life but managed to evolve and figure a lot of stuff out. I would love to see that explored more.”

What would you say was the happiest time and hardest time for Deacon? “Some of the happiest times with him were the moments back in the day when he and Brooke were in the bubble. That was happiness for him. Up until that point in his life, that may have been the only true happiness he’d experienced, which is why he holds onto it so desperately and clings to the past. Why do we love the music from our high school period and think it’s the best music ever? We’re not fully formed human beings experiencing massive emotional events and growth and that’s the soundtrack that accompanies it, so it’s reinforced neurologically and mentally and emotionally, whereas as an adult, generally things aren’t.”

What about the worst? “He’s not focusing on that. He is anything other than the sum total of his past. He’s just fighting so hard to not have that as a self-fulfilling prophecy, regarding other people’s perceptions of him. When it comes to [deflowering Bridget while he had Ridge and Eric listen in] back then, I don’t think Deacon would consider that one of his worst moments. I think he would consider that to be one of his most inspired ones. Now, he would look back on it in disgust. I don’t think he’s that guy anymore. That was an incredibly cruel and unkind thing to do.”

What would you say was a personal turning point for Deacon? “I remember there was a scene I did with John McCook [Eric] where Bridget was in a car accident and two guys that hated each other, Eric and Deacon, wound up actually comforting each other because they were just so distraught emotionally. I think that moment came together for Deacon, that he really did care about Bridget and he was truly afraid of losing her. That was a terrifying moment for him.”

What has been a highlight for you in the Deacon/Sheila storyline? “Kimberlin and I have been friends [off screen] for years and now to get to play this out? It’s a gift. We’ve been having such fun with it. I love that she had this great disguise, and it was such a great moment when she took the mask off and he’s like, ‘Holy s–t! It can’t be.’ I’m so glad they kept, ‘Mama’s back.’ Kimberlin and I talked about it because when she was sleeping and he’s feeling good that he’s still got it, I said the line, ‘Daddy’s back,’ and then she takes the mask off and says, ‘Mama’s back.’ What a great moment. The best way I can describe Deacon and Sheila is what I recently said on the show: ‘I don’t look for trouble. Trouble finds me.’ ”

Me vs. Him

Who has the better house? “Considering Deacon was living in a supply closet and now has a room above the restaurant where he works, I think I do … That’s not saying much [laughs].”

Who has a better wardrobe? “I think I do. At least, I hope so.”

Who is luckier in love? “Oh, that is definitely me. There is no doubt about that. I am a very lucky man.”

Who has better judgment? “Considering that I’ve never been blackmailed into harboring a fugitive, at least not yet, I have to go with me.”

Who is more motivated? “Me!”