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2009 - 25 years of Santa Barbara

Michael Brainard : «The Santa Barbara writers had a greater imagination than I ever will!!!»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, August 2009

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On August 05 and 06 2009, Michael Brainard agreed to take on his time to answer exclusively the questions of Santa Barbara : le site Francais. The actor talks about his debuts, the Santa Barbara years as the second interpreter of Ted Capwell and his relationships with his comedy partners, and at last about his life since the end of the show.

The beginnings before Santa Barbara

At first, I'd like you to tell us a little about you : How old are you today ? Where do you live ? Do you live in couple or have children ?

Check my site : michaelbrainard.com

To know you better, what did you brought of yourself in the character of Ted ?

Well, I was on All My Children for a few years prior. I played a young man with young man problems. Boring. So when I started with Ted, immediately the content was for an older character, so I just behaved as I should have for a 25 year old millionaire!

When did you know you wanted to be an actor ?

I guess when I was in high school. I was cut from the baseball team, so I tried out for a school play. That's fate for you.

How did you start your career ?

I did a few professional things before All My Children, but All My Children was really the kicker.


The time of Santa Barbara

How did you start in Santa Barbara ? Did you ever watch the show before ?

Never watched the show before. My first day on set was on location in San Francisco, a beautiful city. We were shooting there for the days. It was all a mystery for Mason and Julia as I was sneaking around trying to remain anonymous for some reason.

Todd McKee was the first actor to play Ted between 1984 and 1989. Is it difficult for an actor to play a character that was already played by another actor ?

Not if the money is the same ;)

How did Ted was presented to you at first ?

I finished All My Children. Six weeks later I auditioned for Ted. Then waited a few weeks. No news. Then another round of auditions. Two different screen tests. Then they gave it to me. I was very lucky.

Did you try to invent to yourself a past for Ted to justify his evolutions in the show ? Do you have an idea of the differences between the Ted of 1984 and the Ted of 1991 ?

I had no idea what was going on before I got there. Some of the cast filled me in, but that didn't really inform how I played things. Whenever the script brought up the past, then I took it as it came.

Ted and Lilly turn to be two perfect lovers - what was very far from being obvious when they first shared the screen in 1986. For you, what character was the best female partner for Ted between Lilly, Katrina and Angela ?

The Angela storyline was the most fun for me. The writing was different than for the other two. Though Paula Irvine was the most fun to work with.

To play family siblings on a show do create particular relationships between actors ? Can you describe your relationships with the actors who played some other Capwell siblings ?

I got along well with Eileen Davidson quite well. We also had fun with our scenes, as Ted and Kelly were fond of each other as well. Gordon was a pleasant bloke too. We all had fun whenever we had scenes in the Capwell estate together.

Most of Ted's storylines were about his different love stories. What other storylines would you have liked for Ted ?

Well, getting handcuffed to a bed by Angela... surviving a broken leg due to a mine shaft cave in... jumping into a hot tub fully clothed... doing remote shoots in San Francisco, Dallas and Laguna beach... outside of getting shot out of a cannon I can't think of anything. The Santa Barbara writers had a greater imagination than I ever will!!!

What were your favorite male and female acting partners as Ted Capwell ?

Jack Wagner, hands down the funniest guy I've ever worked with. I enjoyed whatever scenes I was given with him. And Sydney Penny, I guess. But Paula was so much fun on and off the set.

You were one of Santa Barbara actors to know the very last episode of the show. When did you learn that Santa Barbara was definitively coming to an end? What do you think may have saved it ?

We had many reprieves, so when we finally got word it wasn't really a shock. What would have saved it? Well, since the only people who watched in the states were three or four Canadians and my mother (she taped every show I was on), I'd say that viewership was the issue. More watchers in the states and it would still be on today.

What was your best remembrance from the show, on a relational and on a professional level ?

I miss working. Period. I miss the actors to the stage crew, everything about it. Best remembrance? Just walking onto that set every day and laughing my ass off. We had a lot of fun. It was a very creative place.

Did you keep in touch with members of the cast or the crew after your departure ?

Believe it or not, I have only seen one or two people since then. And I live in Hollywood!!! I keep in touch with Robert Fontaine (Rafe) every once in a while.

If you hadn't play Ted, what character would you have liked to play ?

Mason. Mason worked every day. More days more money!!!!!!!


These 16 last years after Santa Barbara and now

You played in daytime soap-operas, movies, live theatre (where you also directed)... What difference do you find in all these kind of programs as an actor ? Which one do you prefer ?

They are all different. Very different. I prefer stage work the most. It's funny, because soap operas are very close to stage work. You run through an entire scene before you cut. Which for an actor is great, you can build up emotion on a real scale and not have to stop and restart and stop again, getting your emotions up each time.

Can you come back on the following years of your career since the end of Santa Barbara ?

I hope I hope I hope!!!! I took some time off after Santa Barbara, about 2 years, and it turned out to be the kiss of death on the momentum of my career at the time. I've been building that momentum back up ever since. Perhaps one day I'll get another shot at TV.

Do you have projects for this year ?

Well, the horror film Killing Ariel that I star in was released to DVD last July. Go see it!!! And I am currently writing a screenplay that I will direct and act in. I hope to begin shooting this fall.

What would you like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world ?

You guys are crazy!!!!! And I love you all!!!!!!


Once again all my thanks to Michael Brainard for his time and his spontaneity.

Bonus > Read a press article about Michael Brainard never seen on the site !