Where are They Now? Brian Gaskill (ex-Bobby Warner, 1995-97)

Gaskill and "Warner" Learn Life's Lessons Together

 

Brian Gaskill (ex-Bobby)

Imagine walking into a New York City Restaurant during the dinner rush and seeing the assembled Cortlandt clan breaking bread. In 1995, this was very much a reality. "Jill (Larson, Opal Cortlandt) would initiate the dinners I believe," Brian Gaskill said. "We went out to dinner a few times with the whole fictional family… good times."

These dinners were Gaskill's welcome to All My Children where he took on the role of legacy character and Cortlandt heir apparent Robert "Bobby" Clifford Thorne Warner in 1995. "My first scene was with her [Larson] and the other grandma (Daisy Murdoch, played by Gillian Spencer)," Gaskill said. "They told me all about Bobby's history, but mostly they remembered Bobby as a little kid. So, they thought the creative field was wide open to start fresh."

"James Mitchell (Palmer Cortlandt) and Jill Larson…at first, [they] were my 'family'," Gaskill said. "We had a great chemistry."

Gaskill was the first actor to portray an "adult" Bobby, though it was clear he still had a lot of growing up to do. "He was definitely what was on the page, a bad boy smart-ass," Gaskill said about his character. Gaskill's Bobby's early indiscretions included general disrespect to his elders, and eventually getting a young Kelsey Jefferson (TC Warner) pregnant out of wedlock.

When Gaskill first made his way to the studios, he was auditioning for a very different role, that of good boy next door Scott Parker Chandler, a role that would eventually go to child-star Shane McDermott. "But, they saw me more as the bad boy, an anti-hero I guess. So, they were always think'n of me as Bobby, and brought me back for that," Gaskill said.

Gaskill's fondest memory from that day was his screen-test directed by the late Henry Kaplan. "Boy, he was a cantankerous/loveable character… so tough on the actors, but I loved it," Gaskill said about Kaplan. "I later heard he turned to the others in the booth and said, 'If you don't hire this kid, you are crazy.' So thank you Henry."

Shane McDermott beat out Gaskill for the role of "Scott."

Kaplan was right about a lot of things. Gaskill was still very much green to the industry. He came to New York fresh off his run on Aaron Spelling Primetime soap opera Models, Inc. "[I] was hungry at the time to get back to the East Coast and be surrounded by theater. [I] started my own theater company at the time," Gaskill said. "New York in '95, being a lot cheaper to live than it is now… New York was awesome then."

"AMC turned out to be a great place," Gaskill said.

Though All My Children was not what brought him to the city, he always had a soft spot for the daytime serial. "Because of my mom, I grew up watching AMC, and all of ABC really," Gaskill said. "I have watched off and on my whole life pretty much. It was born the same month I was, I think."

"Pine Valley was always another home to me, to the point that it was weird working with Susan Lucci (Erica Kane)," Gaskill said. "It just felt surreal being in the same world as Erica Kane."

Being familiar with the program's storylines, Gaskill knew he had a large task at hand when taking on the role of Bobby, the first son of Pine Valley supercouple Cliff & Nina Warner. Taylor Miller reprised the role of Nina in 1996. "Her being there showed me how much things come together on show like AMC," Gaskill said about Miller's two week stint. "It is a strong tradition based family show. These connections are the glue that hold it together."

Nina's return not only gave Bobby more connections to the current canvas, it also added new dimensions to the character. "I guess I wasn't very likable [as Bobby], but when Taylor came on and baby Sam [Grey] was born, I went through a redemption that brought in the fans, "Gaskill said. "I love redemption and getting to see a character you thought you had figured out come to life in a different way. I loved it in life too. It's the base of life and art to me... change and growth."

Miller's presence also tested the young actor's stamina. "I had about 80 pages of work, so that was insane," Gaskill said about a particular episode. "I broke down on my mother's shoulder about being a teenage dad. I ended up really loving that pressure and it made it all work even better." Gaskill cites that moment as the turning point for Bobby. "It was the moment when everything changed for Bobby and the character was set in the direction he was meant to go."

Gaskill wished onscreen mother Taylor Miller (ex-Nina) could have extended her stay in Pine Valley.

"When I got to work with her for a few weeks, it was two of my best weeks there," Gaskill said about Miller. "I was sorry that she couldn't stick around for more."

Gaskill spent most his time onscreen with the younger generation of Pine Valley that included love interests Kelsey and Anita Santos (Darlena Tejeiro). "I remember it being kinda the teen "B" story that if given the chance could have been bigger... I do remember it actually being pretty successful," Gaskill said. Audiences responded positively to Gaskill's pairing with Tejeiro. "I guess Bobby and Anita were the typical bad boy and sweet girl couple, and he grew and changed through her blah blah blah..."

"But I had a great time with Darlena," Gaskill said, "even though she couldn't wear contacts so she couldn't see me half the time… which maybe, was a good thing."

Outside the love story, the class of 1996 teens in Pine Valley dealt with a scandal regarding homosexual high school teacher Michael Delaney (Chris Bruno). "Loved the story, loved Bruno," Gaskill said. "It was stuff like that that was one of the AMC cornerstones and what made it and makes it a great show… dealing with social issues while entertaining."

In 1997, Gaskill announced he was leaving All My Children while still very much on the front burner of storylines. "I had signed a two year contract and I refused to see the potential in staying longer 'cuz I was young and had a bit of a wanderlust," Gaskill said about his departure. "So I was leaving no matter what. They tried to get me to stay, but I had a plan." With Gaskill leaving, producers slated onscreen love Tejeiro to depart as well.

Gaskill admits in hindsight there was still much for Bobby to do in Pine Valley. He noted a growing chemistry with Eva LaRue (ex-Dr. Maria Grey), his onscreen son Sam's adoptive mother. "It could have gone anywhere, there was a connection building from when I told her she could have Sam," Gaskill said. "I think they could have been friends and maybe a little older woman action for Bobby, even though she [LaRue] wasn't that much older than me. We just had a chemistry that could have been developed in any which way."

Bobby's blossoming love story with Anita also had an abrupt conclusion that had the star-crossed lovers going to college together in Chicago. "I guess we both left the show before it had a chance to really take off super huge," Gaskill said. Anita and Bobby were mentioned as having married off-screen. "Looking back I wish I had stayed a little longer 'cuz Bobby was really just gettin' warmed up," Gaskill said.

"It is a strong tradition based family show. These connections are the glue that hold it together."

-Gaskill's view of All My Children's defining factor

Gaskill's career after All My Children continued to blossom. His next major role was as ABC soap opera Port Charles' angel turned flesh and blood Rafe Kovach. The role propelled Gaskill to leading man status. "I loved being an angel for a few years and seeing first hand the light that was able to be shed on some people," Gaskill said.

But Gaskill was not content to just return to his original status as a fan of All My Children. "I often felt like I was off-screen as Bobby, and I wanted to jump onscreen and finish what was started," Gaskill said.

Gaskill would be given that chance in 2003 when then Headwriter Megan McTavish announced plans to bring Bobby and Anita back to Pine Valley. Port Charles had been cancelled earlier that year. "I was approached, and I regret not going then. I decided to stay in California at the time," Gaskill said. Gaskill instead took on the role of Oscar Marone on CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful, before moving cross-country again to star on Proctor & Gamble's As The World Turns as BJ Greene. The role of Bobby was recast with Christian Campbell in 2004. Campbell lasted less than one year in the role.

"Maybe I will get the chance someday to finish what I started [as Bobby] and leave a real legacy," Gaskill said. "Although my real life legacy of [daughter] Alabama Zoe is the true legacy." Gaskill credits staying in California after Port Charles as how he would meet his wife Tonya Watts and conceive his daughter. "So I can't really regret that choice," Gaskill said.

Darlena Tejeiro (ex-Anita) and Gaskill left Pine Valley together in 1997.

Gaskill has his own ideas of what Bobby would be up to now. "I see him as a low rent criminal who really is a great person at heart and you would see that with his relationship with Sam and or one special girl," Gaskill said. "But everywhere else, he is up to no good."

Life back on the East Coast has afforded Gaskill the opportunity to revisit some facets of his past life. "I sometimes stop by the studio and say 'hi' to Judy Wilson (Casting Director), Michael Knight (Tad Martin) and whoever else I run into," Gaskill said. "That studio was home for me for a great two years of my life." Gaskill's former Port Charles cast mate Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater, Port Charles' Ian Thornhart) now calls the same studio home. "Believe it or not, the person who made me laugh the most on set was Thorsten Kaye… since he is there now, I thought I would share that," Gaskill said.

One regret for Gaskill was not keeping in better touch with his colleagues offset. "Unfortunately I have tended to be too much a of a loner when working on a show, maybe because of the feeling that in this business it always will eventually end. I don't know if that comes from coming from a broken family and all that garbage," Gaskill said. "Anyways, I always regretted not getting closer to my cast mates."

That is not to say the days of Cortlandt family reunions are only a thing of the past. A recent chance encounter with Larson reminded Gaskill about his old friends. "I bumped into her last year at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I was in the middle of prayer and it was as if she was an angel," Gaskill said, "I felt so warm inside to see her again."

Gaskill with his true legacy, daughter Alabama Zoe.

"Jill was always amazing and I still carry a fondness for her," Gaskill said.

Gaskill now spends his time working on his start up production company, Gadrock Entertainment, which specializes in developing film projects and shooting music content for Internet distribution. The company also shoots and edits weddings. In terms of mainstream projects, he is developing a series based on a short film and is always open to a return to television be it in Daytime or Primetime.

"Whichever great story comes my way first," Gaskill said.

In April 2008, Soap Opera Digest reported rumors that Gaskill was in talks to return to All My Children as Bobby. Gaskill has spent the last year recurring as Dylan Lewis on P&G's Guiding Light. "Although technically I think I am still recurring at GL, though I haven't been seen in quiet a while, I have no contractual obligation there," Gaskill said."I guess the rumor got started by some wishful thinkers, and maybe someday soon there wish will come true."

When asked if he would consider a return to All My Children, Gaskill replied, "in a New York Minute."

 

For more on Brian Gaskill check out his Website
For more on Bobby Warner check out his Quick Guide Biography
Interview conducted on July 30th, 2008