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Catching Up With Brian Gaskill (Rafe)
By
Laurie Flesch
July 24, 2009

I caught up with the amazing Brian Gaskill recently. Although he grew up in New Jersey, Brian was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Brian began acting in the theater at a young age. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The State University of New York at Purchase. After graduation, Brian appeared in the play, “The Lion in Winter” in Cleveland, Ohio. Brian’s next stop was California where his primetime career began on Aaron Spelling’s “Models Inc.”

We all know and love Brian from his numerous daytime soap roles on “All My Children,” “Port Charles,” “The Bold and The Beautiful,” “As the World Turns,” and “The Guiding Light.”  Brian has also done his share of primetime television including “Models Inc.,” “Clueless,” and “The Pretender.”   

Brian and his wife, Tonya Watts, have been married since 2003.  They have one child – daughter, Alabama Zoe.   

Here’s what Brian had to say: 

You were born in Hawaii – is that right?   Did you spend much of your childhood there before moving to New Jersey? 

Sadly I left after a few months, and have never returned.  One of my goals in life is to go back…not quite sure why I haven’t yet…but I will.

Do you come from an acting family?

Well, my parents acted in community theater.  My mom played the lead in “My Fair Lady,” and I guess I spent a lot of time sleeping in the theater at two years old.  To this day, theaters are probably where I am most comfortable.

When and how did acting become your calling?

I always loved movies…as far back as I can remember…but probably after I played Peter Pan when I was 12 or so.  I pretty much lived every day from that day on like acting was my life.  I found out later that there are some detours, so LIFE better be your life, but still, actors are blessed to be able to reach out and help people feel things they didn’t even know they were feeling…or just plain escape.  I love what I do.

Was “All My Children” your first daytime role?   Had you auditioned for other soap roles? 

It was my first daytime role.  I had auditioned for “Loving” once I think.  “All My Children” was a great home - a great team to be a part of.

Was it at all intimidating working on such a popular soap as “All My Children,” considering some of the legendary actors you worked with?  Is there a particular memory that stands out for you about your time on “All My Children?”  Was there anyone in particular there who showed you the daytime ropes?

Not sure it was intimidating…but I do remember having a scene with Susan Lucci (Erica, AMC) and her character was strung out on drugs, and I didn’t know this, so I couldn’t figure out why she was acting so weird (laughs).   Also I was doing a scene with a character and woman (Susan Lucci) I had grown up watching my whole life with my mom, so it was a bit surreal.  Speaking of Susan, that is the one thing that always stands out - she was amazing to me, and I will always remember when she invited me into her room to talk, and was so complimentary to my work.  She kept to herself pretty much, so it felt like an honor.  She is always sweet to me whenever I see her.   So on the off chance that she may read this…thanks Susan!

Was it a difficult adjustment to go from “Models Inc.” on primetime to “All My Children” on daytime?

Not at all…primetime/daytime whatever…I just love to act and tell stories.  Plus, “Models Inc.” was way more “soapy” than what I was doing on “All My Children” anyway and New York was a blast.  I had a theater company (The Rorschach Group) I started there too at the time. 

Of all the roles you’ve played on daytime, do you have a favorite and if so, why?

The obvious answer is Rafe (“Port Charles”) I suppose and that is definitely true.  The response from the audience was awesome, and it wasn’t about me being loved…it was about this character seemed to inspire them to love, and love themselves.  Corny maybe, but true.   I had fun with all my roles, but Rafe was special for that reason.

When you were involved in a personal relationship, did you find it uncomfortable doing love scenes?

Of course.  I guess everyone finds it a little strange.  The job of an actor is a little strange overall.  But strange is good.

With the whole vampire craze of “Twilight” and “True Blood,” etc., do you think the vampire theme on “Port Charles” was before its time?  If it were on television now, do you think “Port Charles” would be more popular, since those topics are all the rage in TV, films, and books?

Well, I have heard that a lot lately.  I’ve even seen campaigns to bring it back.  It would have done a lot better if it came on after “General Hospital.”  Kids would have been out of school - who knows?  I loved it then, and I would love it now.   

How did you meet Tonya and did you know instantly she was “the one.” 

I met her on the set of “The Bold & the Beautiful.”  She was cute, quirky, and beautiful and she sorta took me by surprise.  We met up later at a rock 'n roll show, and we kissed in the crowd.  A few months later we were married.  I guess I just knew.  I was up for an adventure, and she was the perfect person to go on the adventure with. 

How would you say fatherhood has changed you? 

Not much really…I always knew I wanted to be a daddy, so it was always part of who I was.  It really just brought me to my destiny that I always knew was there.

I know you’ve been acting for over 15 years.  Is there something unrelated to acting that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done?

Not really.  I love the entertainment industry.  Well, I’m not sure I LOVE the business of it all…but (I love) the art and the storytelling.  I’m not sure what else I would like to do.  I would like to swim with dolphins, but I guess that’s not really a job (laughs). 

You directed two music videos for Tonya.  Was that your first time directing, and is that something you’d like to do more of, or is acting your true calling?

Yes, I want to do more directing for sure…acting, directing…whatever.  I love it all…it’s all good. 

Have you ever done any writing or do you have the desire to?

I have written poetry mostly.  My “epic script” is still hiding inside me, I guess.  I have the desire for sure. 

What’s next for you – any projects you’re working on? 

Lately I am living moment-by-moment, and open to anything that may be right around the corner.  I have taken quite a big detour in fatherhood.  I even stepped away from Hollywood for a few years.  But now it’s time to get back to work.  We shall see what the near future holds.

My interests are only as diverse and eclectic as my curiosity, which is huge, but at the proverbial “end of the day,” no matter how much turns me on and inspires my senses, my main interest in life is being true to myself, whatever that may mean…and loving a little girl named Alabama Zoe, who is my heart.

Thanks so much to Brian Gaskill for taking the time to answer my questions.  As you can see, he’s a talented and interesting man.  I hope we can talk again soon.  For more on Brian, visit his MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/samsonspiritwolf

Brian just directed, shot, and edited a new music video by Greta Gaines. The song is called "Pining Away."  Check it out on YouTube!

(click on above picture for larger one)


Read all of Laurie Flesch's celebrity interviews:

Melissa Archer (ex-Natalie, OLTL)  10/21/12
Sean Kanan (Deacon, Y&R)  11/20/11
Greg Cipes (JT, GH)  9/5/11
Colin Egglesfield (ex Josh, AMC)  9/4/11
Brad Maule (Dr. Tony Jones, GH)  12/13/09
Tim Gibbs (ex-Kevin, OLTL)  11/7/09
Louise Shaffer (Rae Woodard, Ryan's Hope)  10/23/09
Tobias Truvillion (Vincent, OLTL)  8/14/09
Brian Gaskill (Rafe, Port Charles; ex-Bobby, AMC)  7/24/09
Catherine Hickland (Lindsay, OLTL)  4/12/09
Senta Moses (Winnifred, GH)  2/15/09
Blake Gibbons (Coleman, GH)  12/5/08
Brad Maule (Dr. Tony Jones, GH)  11/23/08
Graham Shiels (Cody, GH)  11/19/08
Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH)  4/5/08
Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH)  1/11/08

Page updated 8/23/14

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