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Interview with Kristoff St. John of "A
Baby for Christmas" on
UP and "The Young & The Restless" on CBS 12/8/15
Here is most of the
of our interview. (I missed the beginning) If the audio is not streaming well, please right-click on
this link and save it to your computer. It should work
better that way! I hope you enjoy it! I've admired St.
John for a long time, ever since he starred in "Generations"
as Adam 1989-1991. He went right on to "The
Young & The Restless" after that and has starred as Neil
ever since. This was a very fun interview.
It's been great to watch his character grow over the
years, as I told him in our interview. I also mentioned that
I had met him, years ago, in 1995, when he and some other
Moore, who played his brother, Malcolm) came to
Riverside, CA, where I was living at the time. They did a
charity softball thing with my husband and some other local
townsfolk. St. John said that he does remember driving to
Riverside for that event, so that's cool. I was very happy
to meet them both, since I was a big fan of theirs and of
the show. I believe the other actors at the event included
Fred Willard, Jonathan Silverman, Christina Applegate, and
Eddie Velez. I didn't very many good photos of the event,
I was able to interview St. John over the phone last
week, December 8, because of his role in the new UP movie "A
Baby for Christmas." It's the third movie of this popular
series, with the same cast of characters/actors, all about
the Chandler family. The first movie was "Marry Me for
Christmas," and the second movie was "Marry Us for
Christmas." Karon Riley plays Blair, and Malinda Williams
plays Marci. They were married in the second movie and are
now expecting a baby. The other characters are mostly
Malinda's mother, Stefanie (Victoria Rowell) and her aunts,
and assorted other family members and characters. St. John's
character, Larry, showed up at the end of the second movie
as he and Stefanie ran into each other after not seeing each
other for many years. His character travels the world,
helping people in disaster areas. The Chandlers all live in
Atlanta, and each year they have a very festive Christmas,
with lots of traditions. This year, as Blair and Marci try
to prepare for their new baby, Stefanie and her sisters get
involved with a local orphanage (even though, they really
don't have those any more in the U.S.). Last year,
I interviewed Victoria Rowell about the second movie. It
was great to speak with her, and now it's wonderful to speak
to St. John, since I loved seeing them for years as Neil and
Drucilla on "The Young & The Restless."
There were several "touchy subjects" that I was reluctant
to bring up, but he surprised me by bringing most of them up
himself. His firstborn son died a little over a year ago;
Kristoff and his family are suing the hospital that treated
him for negligence. He discussed both at length with me.
He's used to speaking to people about it, but for me it was
a little tough to know what to say about such a horrible
thing as a child dying and then having to
sue the mental hospital because they didn't properly
check up on him, even though he was on suicide watch.
Also, I wasn't sure if I should bring up Victoria
Rowell's lawsuit against CBS. While he didn't directly
discuss her case, he did make it clear that he shares her
concern about the lack of African-American writers on the
soaps. He said that he changes about 50% of the dialogue on
the show (and added that Rowell, and Shemar Moore, did the
same thing), adding that it is "because they won't hire an
African American writer for the show." However, he did
say that "good competent writing is color-blind; however, if
you have a television show with multiple African-Americans,
I believe that it's the show's duty to hire one, if not two,
African-American writers." They do have one African American
woman writer on the staff now, but he feels that voice is
not the same as his (or Neil's), so he's had to change the
dialogue to "give it some flavor." I can't disagree with him
because they should definitely have more diversity in their
writing and casting. Also, I think they should give
him some writing credit while they're at it. We
chatted quite a bit about how bad and unrealistic the
writing is on soaps, particularly Y&R, actually... this is
something I've been complaining about for years here on our
I told him that while I loved Neil and Drucilla together,
for years Neil was "the guy in the suit" and it seems like
they gave him a lot meatier stories after Drucilla passed
away. I mentioned that Neil was an alcoholic for a while,
and he got a lot more opportunity to show what he can do in
the more recent stories. He thanked me sincerely and is very
glad that he's gotten more story. However, he doesn't think
that the audience will ever accept anyone besides Drucilla
to be paired with Neil. "I'm fighting a losing
battle. Truthfully, I lost my super- couple status when she
left, and that's disturbing." I agreed but pointed out
that if they got the right actress it might work, and they
could maybe tell the right story. I think we had some sound
problems at this point, so I don't know if he heard me or
not. He did say that he's looking forward to more story next
year. I would also point out that "super-couples" are not
always so easy to make on the shows, and I don't think
anyone has any real idea how to create them. It's usually
just luck when it happens, with the right combination of
writing, acting, and that indefinable, elusive thing called
"chemistry." I wish I had thought to say this to him! Our
interview went so quickly, yet we were chatting for almost a
St. John was running errands when he phoned me for our
interview. He was very busy. He'd picked up his dog from the
groomers and took lunch over to the guys working on
remodeling part of his house (he's just a regular guy!). He
was also heading over to have an orthopedic surgeon look at
his hand. I hope he's okay! I didn't get a chance to ask him
about that. He had a little trouble at first with his
cell, but then we had a nice chat.
He is definitely a man with opinions that knows what he
wants - which makes sense, since he grew up in show
business, with, as he put it "two hippie parents." He shared
that they lived in the mountains (in Idyllwild) and they
would drive him down to L.A. for acting jobs. They also
traveled all over the world. It sounds like he had a really
interesting childhood, filled with adventure (not always
necessarily the best kind). His father, Christopher St.
John, was an actor, too. Also, as Kristoff mentioned, his
family traveled to India and stayed with a "holy man" who
called himself God. Apparently he has quite a cult following
("50 million followers" according to St. John). His family
documentary about it. Wow, that sounds horrible. I'm
glad they were able to make the movie, though, and expose
In our interview, I first told St. John how much I
enjoyed his work, and he seemed genuinely grateful to all of
his fans that have supported him. I asked him about
shooting the movie, "A Baby for Christmas." His part is
fairly small (it's a big movie with at least 8 other main
characters), but it's a larger than he had in the last
movie. He's paired with Victoria Rowell again, which is
great for all their fans. He plays a rugged kind of
no-nonsense guy, which is a good contrast with Rowell's
flighty Stefanie. They shot his part of the movie in a
couple of days (the whole movie took about two weeks).
He was "in and out." He really enjoyed working with everyone
in the movie, some of whom he'd never met before. He spoke
in brief detail about how great they all were. "It was
just nice to work, once again, on a project outside of the
Y&R studio." He also praised director/writer
for her "keen eye" and said that "it was a real pleasure to
work with her. We had a lot of fun."
For the movie, they used the same property for shooting
that they did last time - a big old house in the Buckhead
section of suburban Atlanta that the owners rent out to
them. He said that the owners were wonderful about letting
them use the house. Of course, he particularly enjoyed
working with Victoria again.. Kristoff said that reuniting
with Rowell last year was "a true joy" and that he'd been
waiting to work with her again for a long time. He continued
that it was "a real treat" and that like riding a bicycle,
they picked up right where they left off.
He was very glad to shoot in Atlanta, which is beautiful
(I agree; I lived near there for many years before moving
here to Hawaii). Although he admits they have nice weather
in L.A., it is city living, so he enjoys getting away from
there from time to time. (At this point, we had a
short discussion about my living in Hawaii, which he
praised. I really enjoyed speaking with him. I hope you can
get a chance to listen to the audio of the interview above.)
I pointed out that I thought Victoria's character in this
movie was very silly, and very different from Drucilla. He
laughed heartily when I said that, which was great to hear.
However, he thought that Drucilla had a lot of comedy as
well and pointed out their similarities. I'll take his word
for it because it's been many years and my memory is not
that great. Certainly, though, Y&R is a drama, whereas this
is a comedy, so it gives Rowell the opportunity to show her
comedic side more. He did concede that Stefanie is much more
"zany" than Drucilla, but otherwise, he thinks they're both
great mothers. The main difference, he said, is that
Stefanie is expecting a grand-daughter in the movie, whereas
Drucilla passed away before she got that opportunity. As he
said, "There's no grand-daughter for Christmas there, is
there?" I had to chuckle at that. Like most soap
actors, St. John is far funnier in real life than on the
show. Soaps tend to be so serious and dramatic, and they
seldom give the actors a chance to show any humor. I
realized this years ago when I met many of the actors from
"General Hospital" who are really funny in real life but
rarely crack a smile on the show.
I asked him about his character Larry in the movie and
whether they gave him much background on the character.
St. John pretty much plays it straight throughout because
that's the type of role it is. He's somewhat of a do-gooder.
He chuckled quite a bit when I said that Larry was kind of a
saint because I had inadvertently made the bad pun (as in
"St. John"!). He doesn't think Larry is a saint or
goody-two-shoes, but he does think that he's a "well-verse,
traveled man" who "loves to help with charity causes" such
as traveling to Africa to help with hungry children.
"His goal is to unify those relationships that are broken,"
including "mending his relationship with Stefanie after all
Since these movies are so successful, it seems likely
that there will be more of them, and that they might put
them out on DVD finally. Kristoff agrees with this, although
he hasn't heard anything specifically about that yet. He's
hopeful that next year's will be "A Wedding For Christmas,"
for Larry and Stefanie. That would be amazing!
We had a funny chat about whether these movies were a
real trilogy, including discussion of the "Star Wars" movies
and the "Godfather" movies. (Of course he's a "Godfather"
fan, like most men are, especially those born in the 60's.)
When I first mentioned that the Chandler Family movies were
a trilogy, he replied sarcastically, "Yeah, just like The
Matrix!" That really made me laugh.
I asked him about his own family's Christmas traditions,
but he doesn't really have any. They do celebrate Christmas,
but it's pretty low-key. He mentioned that he's been married
and divorced twice, and has three children, so that is part
of the reason. Also, it's because of his "hippie" parents,
who weren't big on Christmas or other holidays. He does
remember that his father would go out into the woods and
chop down a eucalyptus branch, or part of a pine tree, to
decorate their house. He admits that they did have presents.
He does remember, when he was around 6, how they had some
jingle bells playing outside, to make him think that Santa
was visiting. He says, "I thought for sure that Santa,
and his sleigh, and his reindeer, were right outside!" He
and his three kids always celebrated Christmas together, but
it wasn't a big deal. Now he has a 12-year-old and a
23-year-old. His oldest son Julian would have been 26 this
Since he brought up his about his family living in the
woods, I pointed out that he was
chopping some wood with an ax in the movie and wondered
if that experienced came in handy. I guess he thought this
was amusing, so he laughed and said, "You're funny. Does it
look like I have experience with an ax?" I laughed, a little
embarrassed...but I wasn't trying to be funny, though. I
explained that I didn't have any experience with axes
myself. He said that he'd learned from his limited
experience with axes to "stay far away from the sharp blade
and just try to hit the middle of the log." We had a
good chuckle over that.
I asked him what he was looking forward to in 2016.
He replied that he's looking forward to two projects coming
to fruition. One is the documentary mentioned above
("A Man Called God"), which should be in wide distribution
this coming year. The second project is the lawsuit, which
he hopes to win because he's "fighting the good fight for
mental health awareness" as well as trying to get justice
for his late son.
Finally, I asked him what he wants to say to his fans.
For Y&R fans, he urges you to watch this movie "A Baby for
Christmas" on UP. He stated: "To the fans out there
who have supported Victoria Rowell and myself, and the other
cast members like Malinda Williams, Chrystale Wilson and
GregAllen (Williams) - we're so proud and happy to be a part
of your lives, especially around the holiday time.
Look out for us in 2016 with potentially a fourth
installment. Keep visiting me and the rest of the people at
'The Young & The Restless.' We adore you."
Our Review of
"A Baby for Christmas"