Brothers In Arms: GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Chad Duell and Dominic Zamprogna talk about life as the sons of Sonny
Soap Opera Digest: How would you describe your characters’ brotherly bond?
Chad Duell: It is really hit-or-miss. Michael knows that Dante cares for him and wants the best for him. But what Dante’s “best” is is not what Michael thinks is his best. Dante is always going against Sonny, and that is the person Michael looks up to most.
Dominic Zamprogna: Our relationship is not that strong because Michael has shot Dante down a lot. I know from Dante’s eyes he has looked at him as a true brother. He never had a father or a brother, and this is the closest he has come and he is trying to embrace it. He doesn’t take Michael’s harshness toward him to heart. It is just what Michael has gone through and misinterpreting what Dante has done as a cop as negative things toward the family. I think we are going to see changes, too. Michael is going to see he is not the only one who is not going to assume his father’s guilt anymore. I think he is going to be joined by Dante, and that will bring them together.
Digest: Dominic, did you give Chad any advice when he started?
Duell: He just let me swim with the sharks [laughs]!
Zamprogna: If there are natural things going on, I try to use that. There was a natural discomfort that I could see in him, and I don’t think it should have been comfortable because I was arresting my brother. I think any kind of nervousness on his part was good because it translated on-screen.
Duell: That’s nice, because I sucked. I felt like I sucked when I first came on.
Zamprogna: You did not suck! It is a different game. You get in there and do more material in a week than you do on an entire film. It is a kick in the butt at first, but he picked it up!
Digest: What is it like playing the sons of the town’s mobster?
Duell: Are we looking through our character’s eyes?
Zamprogna: Wait, you are not really his biological son? Being Sonny’s son is complicated, since Dante is a cop. Now we see a different side of things. He is not going to be presuming Sonny’s guilt anymore, which is a big thing for Dante. He has always written him off, even the
good things Sonny has done. He finds ways to convince himself it comes from a bad place. I think now, with recent events, he is going to change his thought process. He is still going to find things that are wrong, and if there is evidence, he still has to present it because he is a cop. I think the relationship is being strengthened.
Duell: He loves his father and looks up to him, even though he is not his biological father, and really the only other male figure to look up to besides Jason. The two people he looks up to and holds in high [esteem] are killers, mobsters. Since he looks up to them so much, he wants to be part of that world. He is always defending his father. It is like he has a block. Michael knows it is wrong, but since he wants to [be in that world] he defends Sonny. It is hard for them to tell him no because it is like the pot calling the kettle black.
Digest: Do you wish the animosity between Dante and Michael would subside?
Zamprogna: I don’t mind it because I think very few brothers are harmonious for long periods of time anyway. I think if you have a couple of scenes where we are getting along and laughing about something afterward, I don’t think that needs to stay. We are grown men and we are going to have differences of opinion. I think that is okay.
Duell: I would like it to be better, but his instant trigger is Sonny. Whenever Dante bashes Sonny, Michael jumps on him. [I do think] things have been better. I don’t feel like Dante is attacking Sonny as much.
Digest: How is it working with Maurice [Benard, Sonny]?
Duell: He wants to bring the best out in me and work out the scene beforehand. We have been really feeding off of each other. He is a lot of fun and jokes around a lot, too. He is a fun guy and I like working with him a lot! He is always boxing on set between takes.
Digest: How do you two get along off-screen?
Zamprogna: We are much more jokey and much less serious off-screen. He hasn’t been raped in jail in real life! We get along great. He is fun to hang out with. We just did a series of appearances together. He introduced me to Words With Friends. He keeps beating me with all of these word games, which is surprising. When we are at events signing photos, he can’t spell the name “Melissa”, but he can spell all of these words on Words With Friends!
Duell: I am not good with names! We talk about random stuff and play with apps on our phones.
Digest: Do you guys pal around off set?
Zamprogna: We have done lunch a few times, stuff like that. We hang out in the hallway and the dressing room.
Duell: He has to get back to his kiddie after work!