Bradford Anderson is a native of Meredith, New Hampshire, and a graduate of New York’s University’s Tisch School of Performing Arts. As a junior at Inter-Lakes High School he landed a part in a local production of Joseph and the
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which involved him spending time at a kind of summer theater camp with many actors who were older than he was. He decided he liked acting and began studying drama.
In 2005 Bradford moved to Hollywood and obtained a recurring part on Veronica Mars. His other television credits include Ed, What About Brian, and NCIS. Bradford can currently be seen on the ABC daytime drama General Hospital as the character of Damian Spinelli.
Bradford will be joining the Soap Mania Tour and will be appearing in Montgomery at the new Convention Center on Saturday, May 16, along with Daniel Goddard (The Young and the Restless), Don Diamont (The Bold and the Beautiful), Brandon Beemer (The Bold and the Beautiful), Drake Hogestyn (ex-Days of our Lives), Darnell Williams (All My Children), and Debbi Morgan (All My Children).
Bradford very graciously gave Our Prattville publisher a phone interview:
This is she.
Melissa, its Bradford Anderson of General Hospital.
Hi Bradford, how are you?
Thank you for giving me an interview today.
Have you been busy today on the set?
Actually we’ve been off for about a week, transferring over to the high def cameras. The producers and directors and lighting directors have to get in there and see what everything looks like. So we have a bit of a break.
High def will be good.
(laughs) I hope so…there is nothing to hide behind, that’s for sure.
Are you looking forward to the Soap Opera Mania Tour?
I am. Some of these cities are places I’ve never been to. Our networks send us to really big markets so it’s really neat to go to some of these cities.
Have you ever been to Alabama?
I don’t think so. I’m from New England and I’ve spent time in North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. I’ve been in Texas, but haven’t been in Alabama or Mississippi.
Montgomery is a historical city.
Yeah the pictures I’ve seen of it are beautiful…when are we coming, May, yeah. May 16.
Yeah that’s right.
Is it going to be hot and humid, but not as bad as August?
No, not as bad as June or July either. But it probably will be warm. We have a 72 degree day going on now, but it doesn’t get humid until the summer. You’ll be in a nice new air conditioned building anyway so you won’t have to worry about it.
Did you volunteer for the tour?
The gentleman that is behind the whole idea is a fellow I’ve worked with on the Soap Cruise this year and this is kind of his brain child. They are trying to feel it out as they go – the first couple of events they are trying to improve as they go, so by the time they get to your neck of the woods it should be pretty near perfecto.
Yeah, Orlando was fun – I’ve been to a couple and they are a madhouse, but really fun.
These should be more intimate. My network, ABC, is trying to do events in other markets, but Soap Opera Mania is really focused on getting to the people.
Just a few questions about General Hospital.
Do you like playing the character of Damian Spinelli?
I really do. My character is kind of unique so I get to do a lot of different things. He’s a comedic character and has a vivid imagination so I can sing, I can dance, do physical comedy, and get emotional stuff… so every day there is a different experience. The more serious actors do similar stuff day to day, but for me, it’s refreshing.
You have such complicated dialogue. Do you have a particular method to remember them?
I really don’t. At this point it’s kind of muscle memory now. The words stick in my mouth now. It didn’t take me too long. It sometimes amazes me. I’ll read it once and go oh, my gosh, how am I going to memorize that and then I’ll read it again and I’ll memorize it. So I surprise myself.
Do they let you ad lib at all?
Generally whenever we adlib is when we forget a line. (laughs)
It looks like you have so much fun with Steve Burton…I don’t see how he keeps from laughing sometimes.
Yeah. Well, he’s a pretty funny guy himself, so sometimes the onus is on me to make sure I don’t laugh.
Especially when you’re talking and he stares at you…
I know, exactly. You know when two actors have great chemistry or they connect well…sometimes things will come up in the middle of the scene that you don’t expect and thankfully our producers are pretty open about allowing us to play with things..of course we don’t veer off of the story but if something happens in the middle of the scene we don’t ignore it. We try to be in the moment as much as possible.
I interviewed Carolyn Hennesy and she told me that the fans wanted her to turn out to be Spinelli’s mother.
That could be some really funny scenes there!
My husband is a computer geek so he kind of identified with Spinello rather quickly.
Oh neat…I always love it when I hear that gentlemen are fans.
He wanted me to ask you if any of the tech savvy carries on into your real life.
I’m just talking about the hacking…there is nothing that I’m doing. I would have no idea how to begin to do that on a real computer I don’t even know what hacking entails.
Where did the idea of the orange soda and chips come from – are they personal favorites?
No, I’m not sure…when they brought the character on they thought it would be interesting if that’s all he ate. In the beginning the character was like a stoner and all he could talk about was chips but now that the stoner has gone by the wayside it kind of just remained.
I never thought that Spinelli got completely over Lulu. Would you rather he be with Lulu or Maxie?
Well, it‘s kind of a win win for me because both Kirsten and Julie are incredible actresses. Lulu is Spinelli’s first love and he kind of found his heart with Lulu. We didn’t really know…Spinelli wasn’t really humanized until he found Lulu. That being said, I think what Spinelli and Maxie have right now is really interesting and I’m not sure where it will go – she has the potential to hurt him really badly and we might go there, but if she does that she’ll fight to get him back…it’s always a push and pull on a soap opera. I think regardless of the push and pull they will always be on each other’s radar.
I think there is good chemistry with Spinelli and Maxie.
The great thing is with Maxie and Johnny…with that stuff it forces Spinelli and Lulu to be around each other. The four of us really enjoy working together. Brandon and I are good friends – Kirsten and Julie are good friends so we really enjoy working with each other.
Do you watch yourself?
I do sometimes.
Some actors don’t like to do that.
Well it’s fun. I think if my character was just a version of me, I don’t think I would, but some of the stuff I do is so varied. When you’re shooting it you don’t necessarily know if it’s funny or what, so it’s useful to me to watch it to see that my timing is good.
Like you said your character is so much different than you are. It may like watching someone different.
I don’t look at the character. I can see moments when I drop out of character or don’t hit something exactly like I wanted to. In my eyes that character is on me.
Well you have a beautiful singing voice.
Oh thank you.
Will you be doing more of that on General Hospital?
Uh, it’s hard to say. Getting the rights to music is very very expensive. So unless they have a song that their people write…doing a popular song is really expensive so it couldn’t be on a regular basis. But I like to think that they remember what all of our skills are so I wouldn’t think it was out of the question.
You were on Broadway, right?
I never did a Broadway show. but I did a lot of musical theater in and around New York. I was trained in Broadway style but never did a Broadway show.
What would be your ideal role on Broadway?
That’s an interesting question. One of my favorite shows is The Fantasticks and I got to play that role. There is no singular role that I need to play before I die. I love singing, I love being on stage and I get to do that. Thankfully, with this job I have opportunities to do that… like a New York City charity event we did a few weeks ago so I don’t feel so distanced from it. That’s one of the great things about working for ABC – you get a lot of opportunities.
Were you interested in acting as a small child?
I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire so no one in my hometown ever went on to make a living as an actor. There was no laid out path to do that because no one did it so I didn’t really think about that as an option. My mom is musical and my sister is very creative so we were involved in our community theater and school productions…but when I was in high school, a summer theater company came in and used my high school auditorium in summers and the performers were college students so that was the first time I had met people beyond high school that were studying as actors so once I got in with them and learned that they were all doing it for careers I kind of thought about going to college for it as a career.
Do you have any siblings?
I have an older sister who when we were younger was the creative genius behind our home movies and when she got older she was more into academic stuff. She has a creative mind but she’s not involved in it anymore – she uses her mind for problem solving now.
So you only have one sister?
Yeah I have an older sister.
Do you want to get into films?
I’ve done a few films. I did an American Pie movie. I like daytime better simply because the pace of it is faster. When you’re shooting a movie it’s very slow going and maybe do twenty takes for each scene where we get one take…so I like the spontaneity of daytime better. With film you can be picky about the art of your character and it’s a painfully long process but you get to perfect your performance so it’s a different skill, a different craft. I’m the kind of actor that I’ll do anything. I kind of enjoy everything. I don’t have any grand aspirations, but I don’t have doors that I don’t want to walk through.
I can see you as a big comedy star in films.
That would be fine.
Do you have people or other actors you look up to?
My favorite kind of actors are ones that kind of disappear into their character – the ones if you run into on the street you wouldn’t know how they would be…like people like Gary Oldman. I really enjoy him because every time you see him he’s a different person. His body language, his voice…and that’s really fun for me. I really enjoy him and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Johnny Depp I really enjoy watching. People that play different variations of themselves – they are fun to watch, too.
Congratulations on being pre-nominated in the Daytime Emmys.
The prelims are…the great things about the prelims is it’s the peers on your own show that make those selections. The prelims are almost more of a…for me, it’s really gratifying to be selected because on my show especially my category…in the best supporting actor category, there are a litany of great actors on that show. This next level is people who may not know me or my character…it would be cool to be nominated, but the real award is just having a job.
Have you already sent in a tape?
In years past we have submitted episodes…last year you had two you could submit and this year you have one to submit so it’s hard to find a single episode in a year where I feel I did my best in comedic moments and drama moments so I’m not sure I found the best one, but I found one that was mostly comedy with people I like to work with…so it’s a crap shoot. Daytime Emmys are kind of a celebration of our community in a sense and we try to reward the best work but it’s kind a celebration of daytime so it is what it is. But I’m honored to be pre-nominated and if it doesn’t go any further than that it will just be less pressure and it may just be a party this year.
Oh yes they are having problems airing it.
Yeah it won’t be as fun for the fans but for us we can wear jeans and t-shirts. It’s always fun to get dressed up. I’ve been to two Emmys since I’ve been around. I got to bring my mom last year. I’ve had that experience and I’m very grateful for it.
Probably a special moment for your mom.
Yes it was and for me.
Tell us something about Bradford Anderson that we’d be surprised to know.
I save my energy for my work and for my fans. I think I’m older than most people might think… and my life is pretty low key. My priority when I’m not working is relaxing so I love to have fun and anyone that knows me knows that but when it’s just me…it’s my girlfriend and my dog…
I’m sure looking forward to meeting you in person.
Oh me as well Melissa – lovely talking to you.
I’ll be covering the event there for our news magazine.
We’re promoting the event and giving away 4 free tickets on our website.
Anyway I’m looking forward to meeting you in person.
Do you think people are excited about the event? Do you know how many people know about it and what kind of response you’re getting…are people excited about it?
Oh people are absolutely excited about it. This is the first time this has been done, this tour, so they are very excited about it. Which city are you in first?
The first city I’m doing is Raleigh, North Carolina.
There are two cities in North Carolina, right?
Right, first is Raleigh, then I think Greensboro.
How many do you have after Montgomery?
I think they are doing about two a month and maybe try to match the talent…like if it’s a heavy CBS area or ABC area…they try to match the talent with the area.
There were nine coming at first, then seven are coming.
The list I have that was given to me back on the Cruise…Darnell and Debbi from All My Children, Brandon Beemer from The Bold and the Beautiful, Don Diamont now on The Bold and the Beautiful, Daniel Goddard from The Young and the Restless, and Drake from Days of our Lives, and that will be fun for me. I know Brandon Beemer pretty well and I was on a cruise with Don Diamont, but I don’t know Daniel Goddard and I’ve never met Drake. I’ve met Darnell and Debbi briefly at an ABC event.
You were my number one choice for an interview.
Oh, thank you.
I’m very pleased to get to talk to you today.
I’m really looking forward to seeing you in Montgomery. We live now about eight miles outside of Montgomery right now but I was born and raised in Montgomery so I know all about the city if you want to take a tour.
Oh great, well I’m very excited to be down there – it’s always good to get out of L. A.
Thanks again, Bradford.
Of course, Melissa.
Interview by Melissa Parker
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