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Interview with Daren Kagasoff of "The Secret Life of The
American Teeanager" on
ABC Family 6/5/12
Although it says "moderator" below, these are actually
questions asked by all different reporters.
ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Daren Kagasoff –
THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER
Moderator: Can you talk about how you got involved in the show?
D. Kagasoff: Like any actor, I auditioned and I actually was one of the
last ones to get casted. I never really knew what the show was going to
become. I don’t think anybody did and everybody just kind of has been on
the ride and we’re just all so thankful that it’s been the success that
it has been.
Moderator: What’s your favorite part about working on the show?
D. Kagasoff: It’s just such a great work environment. Going to work every
day—it doesn’t feel like a job to any of us. We’re all such great
friends and we just put as much input as we want in our characters with
talking to writers and the producers. So, it’s a very great work
environment I can say. So, we all have a blast doing it.
Moderator: What be in store as far as challenges that “Ricky” and “Amy”
will be facing next season.
D. Kagasoff: Well, the next episode is kind of a big one. I think the
“Ricky” and “Amy” fans have kind of been waiting to see if we get
married or if we don’t. So, I think the next episode is kind of the lead
into the next season. So, you can expect a lot of drama of course, the
big answer of are they getting married or are they not, and next season
you kind of get to see my character develop with “Nora,” his real mom, a
lot, which is actually pretty cool to see since he gets some advice from
her rather than giving her advice. So, you kind of see the tables turn
in the next season.
Moderator: Have you been looking into starring into any other roles over
the summer maybe in films?
D. Kagasoff: Yes, I have. There’s a couple of things that I’m looking at.
I just need to work them out as far as schedule-wise or if I want to
proceed and do them. But yes, there’s a couple of things that I’m
interested in doing after Secret Life.
Moderator: Could you describe for us in your own words “Ricky’s” current
predicament going into Season 5?
D. Kagasoff: the last season kind of left off with “Ricky” proposing to
“Amy” at the graduation. So, this whole season he’s kind of been just
wondering what is going on because “Amy” is kind of postponing the
wedding and she hasn’t been as thoughtful or nice to me throughout this
past season I don’t think as she has before. So, it’s been a difficult
road, I think, for “Ricky” from leaving off in the fourth season and
hoping that coming back from summer break that he was going to get
married and everything and just the whole wedding day postponed, I
think, is really getting to him. He’s really kind of wondering, “Hey,
does she want to get married, or is this just a game, or what really is
it?” So, I think fans are going to be excited to see what’s going to go
on in the Season, yes, I believe—I don’t know whether it’s 5 or 6 coming
on next week.
Moderator: What would you say is “Ricky’s” motivation, or for regular
people, what is it that “Ricky” wants?
D. Kagasoff: I think he just wants to be the best guy that he can be now
that he’s a dad. When the show first started, I think “Ricky” was just
kind of irresponsible, just didn’t really care about anybody else but
himself and to his credit, he did have a tough childhood. So, I think
just the whole turnaround of his character has been just so much fun to
play as an actor and I look forward every time they get a new script to
see what they have me doing.
Moderator: With the proposal weighing on everyone’s mind, what do you
think is the best option for “Ricky?”
D. Kagasoff: It’s hard to say because at the end of the day we are still
young kids. We do have a son. So, I think for every family, every
situation is different. So, it’s hard to say.
I think everybody wants to see “Ricky” and “Amy” together raise “John”
and just be their happy little family, but there are a lot of struggles
with “Ricky” going off to college and “Amy” still in high school that
they need to deal with. Hopefully they get through that and are mature
enough to really take that next step of marriage.
Moderator: Will things really be over between Adrian and Ricky?
D. Kagasoff: That’s hard to say. When the show first started, we were
together, hooking up. We never were very serious about each other I
don’t think. It was more about the sex, I think. That’s what they were
making it out to be. And ever since he got “Amy” pregnant at band camp,
I think his whole attitude has changed as far as what his values are,
what he wants out of life. So, hopefully he doesn’t go back to his ways.
Moderator: Your character’s past has been one of abuse. Did that inspire
you to get involved with the anti-bullying campaign or what did inspire
you to get involved with the anti-bullying campaign?
D. Kagasoff: It kind of happened when I wasn’t shooting too much of
Secret Life. We were on hiatus and a lot of stories were popping of teen
suicides and I just really wanted to, I don’t know, lend my voice to try
and make it relevant, more relevant. So, it’s tough to say. My
character’s past has been very bad and he was sexually abused, but I
really got involved with that because of the young teens that were
taking their lives because of being bullying or whether or not they were
gay or not.
So, it was just a matter of just me wanting to do something positive. I
tried to do something with a song. It was just fun. It was a lot of fun
to do and it was a great message.
Moderator: What advice would you give anyone that may be dealing with
bullies right now?
D. Kagasoff: Just to keep your head up high. When I was younger, there
were bullies at my high school at well and you just got to keep your
head up high, know that it’s just a phase, that it’s going to pass and
the stronger you are, the more that they’ll probably stop doing it. So,
I feel like bullies like insecure people. So, they go after the weak.
So, if you just stay strong and be proud of who you are and what you’re
about, people won’t mess with you.
Moderator: Are there any fellow cast dates you wish you had some more
screen time with or maybe that you’ve particularly enjoyed acting
alongside as your time playing “Ricky?”
D. Kagasoff: Yes, of course. Anne Ramsay, she plays “Nora” on my show, I
absolutely adore her. I love working with her so much and we do have
some scenes together. We haven’t been working as much together on this
next season that we’re working on. So, I’m hoping that we get some more
meaty scenes. I like doing more meaty stuff and it seems like our
storylines always have that type of meat that we’re both looking for
So, I miss that and also probably Greg Finley who plays “Jack” on the
show. We don’t get to work together too much because our storylines
really crisscross I guess. So, when they do I mean it’s fun. I love
working with Greg. He’s a great friend of mine. So, we always have a lot
of fun when we actually do have scenes together.
Moderator: How about any plot lines maybe you wish the show would explore
or that you’d be curious to see play out on Secret Life.
D. Kagasoff: To be honest, I think the writers do a phenomenal job with
the storylines. Now, I don’t really know what else I could tell them to
do. I think we’ve covered pretty much everything in five seasons that a
team could go through. So, I think if I throw out any ideas, they
probably have already done it.
Moderator: What’s next for “Ricky?” Like will we be seeing “Ricky,” the
college years? Will he continue working at the butcher shop?
D. Kagasoff: “Ricky” has the butcher shop in store for him. He’s got
college in store for him. I said it before, “Amy’s” still going to be in
high school. She’s going to be graduating, I believe, at the end of this
season. So, we’re going to see if “Ricky” and “Amy” can stay together
while he goes away and she’s there and meeting new people in college.
Some new characters come up and some new characters come back in “Amy’s”
So, I think the audience is going to be excited about the next episode
to see if they say yes, if they go through with the wedding and if we
do, how are we going to cope with that - with my being in college and
her still being in high school and still being so young.
Moderator: Did you ever see your character developing the way he has -
becoming a great father and class valedictorian?
D. Kagasoff: No, I never saw that coming. It came from about a mile away.
When the show started, I was kind of the jerk and didn’t take any
responsibility for myself and just kind of wanted to sleep around and
now my character it seems will be taking a full 360. So, I remember
getting that script when “Ben” had told me I’d be valedictorian. I
couldn’t believe it because there’s no way in hell when I was in school
I was anywhere close to valedictorian. So, it was pretty fun. It was
Moderator: Are there any guest stars that you’d really like to see on the
show that you haven’t worked with?
D. Kagasoff: Wow. It’s tough to say because I don’t think anybody that I
would want to be on the show would come on the show because they’re
probably too busy doing their movies and stuff. James Franco, I’m a big
fan of him, and you guys did General Hospital. So, he might be able to
come on Secret Life.
Moderator: How you most like and most different from your character?
D. Kagasoff: I think in order to get cast in roles, you got to be
somewhat similar to the character. I think “Ricky” and I have some
similarities and a lot of differences. I mean a similarity I can say is
I’m a very vulnerable person. I kind of hold my feelings on my chest and
I don’t think “Ricky” ever used to do that. He was always one to keep it
inside and let it build up and then kind of just let it out.
And now, it seems like he’s up front. He’s telling “Amy” how he feels
about her, what he wants. It’s a big change; it’s a big step for him.
Moderator: Do you think Amy and Ricky eloping might indicate a return a
little bit of that bad boy “Ricky” that we used to know?
D. Kagasoff: It very well could. I think the next episode is going to be
the big tell all of “Ricky” and “Amy’s” future. It’s either we’re
getting married or we’re not and I think since day one when we knew that
... was pregnant with my baby that everybody wanted us to stay together
and be the family that we should be. So, it’s just been—hopefully he
stays the guy that he’s been the past two seasons where he’s trying to
be a better person and grow up, mature. So, we will see. I think that
next episode is going to be the big tell all like I said.
Moderator: Do you miss playing a little bit more of a bad boy or do you
like the happy ending?
D. Kagasoff: To be honest, I do miss playing the bad boy because it was a
lot fun, not that this isn’t fun because it still is. It’s a lot of fun
playing the jerk. I mean it just is and there’s no way around it.
Moderator: Your character “Ricky” has become a good father to “John.” Has
the show influenced your ideas about parenting?
D. Kagasoff: One hundred percent. I grew up in a family where my parents
had been together for like 28 years. I’m very lucky that my family has
been so stable since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted kids since I was
younger. I always did, but I guess working with “John,” not that he’s
not—he’s amazing. They’re amazing boys, but it makes me realize that,
hey, one mistake can change your entire life.
So eventually, yes, I would love to have kids, but I don’t think right
now, even at 24-years-old, am I ready to have a child. So, thinking that
“Ricky” at 18 and “Amy” at 17 or they had the baby at 15 and 16 having a
baby, I mean I just couldn’t even imagine it. It’s got to be absolutely
just—my heart goes out to anybody that is going through a teen pregnancy
or went through a teenage pregnancy.
Moderator: What kind of father, if you decide to have children, do you
think you would be?
D. Kagasoff: I hope I’d be a great dad. I mean I hope I’d be a great
data. That’s all I can ask for. Luckily for me, I grew up with a great
father. He was amazing to me. So, I guess follow in his footsteps and
raise my kid the way he raised me.
Moderator: What would be your dream acting job?
D. Kagasoff: I haven’t done a movie yet, so I would love to do a film and
somewhere probably outside of Los Angeles would be ideal and just
something that is where you watch it you feel. I’m not necessarily into
the big budget movies or any of that stuff. The next project I do I want
it to be gritty, raw and real. That’s all I can say. Maybe an
independent movie is in my future.
Moderator: Do you have like any favorite genre of movies?
D. Kagasoff: I like them all. It depends on how I’m feeling that day I
think. I’m a movie buff.
Moderator: Since working on the show, what have you learned about
yourself that you’re surprised to find out?
D. Kagasoff: What I have learned about myself? I guess a lot. The
business of being an actor is a very weird business. When you’re
working, everything is good. When you’re not, it’s kind of like, “Wow,
what do I need to do to get better?” You’re always striving to do more
and sometimes you’re on a show—we’re in our fifth season. It’s kind of
difficult to show up every day, not that any of us don’t because we all
show up every day and do the best job that we can, but when you’re
playing the same character after five years, it’s hard to find new
things about him and keep it fresh.
So, I guess the thing that I found with myself with playing this
character over the years is that you can’t give up on him regardless of
how many times you’ve gone over the same storyline with other
characters. You just got to keep at it because at the end of the day,
the fans are the only people that you have. If you don’t have the fans
then you don’t have the show.
So, I think it’s just always showing up ready to play and knowing your
lines and just having good work ethic. I mean that’s one thing that I
really try to have every time I’m on that set - knowing my lines and not
holding up anybody. So, I guess just being a professional.
Moderator: Why is it important for you to be a part of Twitter and
interact with your fans?
D. Kagasoff: I think it’s important to let fans know what you’re up to,
what you’re doing. I’m not saying on a daily basis, but I think it’s
good. I think people want to know not necessarily that I’m eating a
turkey sandwich, but it’s just good. If I have anything to promote,
like, for example, about the bullying, anti-bullying; if there’s
something that’s good that’s going to send out a good message, I’m all
for it. I’m one of those people that kind of Tweet dumb stuff and I
really try not to, but to be honest, just because my actor doesn’t mean
my life is crazy, crazy, exciting all the time. I mean I’m just like
So, it’s a lot of fun to be able to connect with your fans and know how
they’re feeling, know what’s on their mind as far as storylines and what
they want. So, maybe you can kind of go back and brainstorm with the
writers and say, “Hey, I’m getting a bunch of Tweets that “Amy” and
“Ricky” should be getting married. Can we kind of go towards that way?”
So, it’s good. Social media is great.
Moderator: What would you like to say to everybody who is a fan and
supporter of you and your work?
D. Kagasoff: What would I want to say? Thank you so much. I mean I got
into working as an actor just to make people feel. I don’t know. So, I
portray something that somebody’s been through and people, whether or
not they’ve been through it, just I want people to be able to relate to
me. I want to be likable. So, I’m just thankful that I have any fans and
thankful to be on a show that’s going over 100 episodes now. It’s been a
dream come true.
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