When Prospect Park took over One Life to Live, fans of the popular soap worried about how the show would be altered and who would replace some of their favorite characters. Changes to the cast of long running and much beloved shows can be hard for viewers to accept even when it breathes some new life into the series. People still argue over which Darren was better on Bewitched and which Aunt Vivian was their favorite on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, long after both shows have ended. Letting go may be hard, but when the new actor stepping in has the boyish good looks, charm, and talent of Rob Gorrie, it tends to soften the blow.
Rob Gorrie was cast earlier this year as the re-booted version of Matthew Buchanan on One Life to Live, and has seamlessly integrated into the show’s original cast adding some serious sex appeal to the Prospect Park revived soap (the peanut butter scene, anyone?). When I spoke to Gorrie for this interview, his enthusiasm for the role (and the soap in general) was palpable and watching him as Buchanan for even a few minutes shows how clearly it transfers over to the screen. Gorrie was kind enough to talk to us a bit about taking on the role of Matthew Buchanan, filming One Life to Live, and some fun personal details during a brief hiatus from his busy filming schedule. Read on for the full interview…
The Daily Quirk: When did you first realize you wanted to become an actor?
Rob Gorrie: I would say sixth grade, when I did a school play, The Christmas Carol. I landed the role of Scrooge and fell in love with performing.
TDQ: You have experience performing on both stage and screen. Do you enjoy either one more than the other?
RG: I would say screen. My dream job would be a sitcom because it’s a live audience so you get the live feel and then it’s on camera also, so you get the best of both worlds.
TDQ: How has filming for One Life to Live been different than a traditionally aired television show?
RG: Most stuff you see on primetime is shot over the course of maybe seven to ten days. There’s quite a bit of rehearsal and you film in bits and pieces. It usually takes longer. A soap opera is very much like a machine. We get a script for a whole day, it could be ninety to one hundred twenty pages and we’re filming every single page during that day. It’s more fast-paced.
TDQ: Let’s talk some more about One Life to Live. Fans can currently see you as Matthew Buchanan on the show, which just made its return to television in addition to being available on Hulu. How did the role come about?
RG: I got the call for the audition initially from my agent. I went in and read for Alison Goodman who casts the show. She also does All My Children. I thought I did a really good audition and I was happy about it. I heard probably a week later that I got the callback. I went in for the callback and Jennifer Pepperman was there, she’s the executive producer, and I worked with Jen back in 2006 on As the World Turns so her and I knew each other. It just felt like a really good experience. Also, Kelley Missal, who plays Dani on the show, was there to do some chemistry tests for the audition and I thought that went really well. And I found out that night that I got the role.
TDQ: What attracted you to the role?
RG: I definitely identify with Matthew in that he’s coming of age so to speak and trying to create that adult relationship with his parents, which is something that I just kind of went through with my own parents. So, I definitely responded well to that aspect of Matthew. I also like that he’s a little bit of a trouble maker. He’s a gray character, you know? The audience loves to hate him kind of thing. I like that about Matthew. He’s a good guy at heart, but he makes some decisions that upset not only his parents but his friends too and that’s obviously relatable as well.
TDQ: What was it like joining the cast as one of the newcomers to the show?
RG: I can tell you right off the bat they were very, very nice to me and welcoming. The first day that I met everybody was at the initial cast photo shoot, I believe it was in March sometime. I met everybody and it just kind of felt like family right away. I got along great with Bob Woods, who plays my dad. That was a really cool experience, meeting him for the first time. Erika Slezak was really super cool and took some time to talk to me and welcome me aboard. They’ve all just been really fun to work with and I feel like I’m part of a family now.
TDQ: Is it fun playing a character who’s still trying to find himself and making mistakes?
RG: Absolutely. It’s definitely fun to make mistakes, especially in make believe and not in your own life. It’s really been a blast. I love playing Matthew.
TDQ: In a recent episode, you got some advice on the topic from Snoop Lion? What was that experience like?
RG: Honestly, it’s probably the highlight of my acting career so far. I’ve been a fan of Snoop since I was little. I had all his CDs. I was watching a rerun of the movie Old School the other day and he had a cameo in that. He’s done a lot of stuff on TV too. He’s sort of become someone I’ve always wanted to work with and then to have that opportunity was amazing. If you watch the scene, you can see the first couple beats of the scene I’m smiling because I couldn’t really believe it was happening to me [laughing]. It was surreal.
TDQ: Besides shooting with Snoop, do you have a favorite scene you’ve shot so far?
RG: I really enjoyed a scene I did where I’m on the phone with my mom and I call into her radio show. Basically, it was a growing moment for Matthew and it was one of my favorites.
TDQ: They seem to like to keep your wardrobe to a minimum over at One Life to Live. How do you prepare for all those scenes?
RG: I’ve been working out pretty consistently for the past two years so I was ready to lose my shirt. I wasn’t embarrassed or anything. It was a little uncomfortable at first because you’ve got all the crew there looking at you, but once you get over that it’s fine. Before some of the takes, I would do some push-ups or some sit-ups. It’s kind of what everyone does on the soaps. I hope I didn’t just give away a secret…
TDQ: Your character is lucky enough, or un-lucky enough depending on how you look at it to have multiple women vying for his affection. How do you make each relationship feel real for viewers?
RG: Well, I mean I spend set off time with them too, getting to know them as women first of all and then I try to put Matthew in the situation that it calls for in the scene and try to make the responses and the relationships as real and organic as possible. But I would say the key is just getting to know them when you’re not on camera. They’re really cool. I enjoy working with them.
TDQ: How will you be spending your hiatus?
RG: I actually just got back from California. I spent two weeks there on vacation. I had some meetings. I got to enjoy the sun a bit. Now I’m back in New York City. Hopefully, I’ll go on some more auditions and hopefully do something before we go back in September.
TDQ: I noticed that you have a writing credit for The Crop Duster’s Diary. Are you a writer as well?
RG: Yes, I am. The screenplay was already completed, but it needed some major revisions and myself and my writing partner, Brady [Kirchberg], sort of rewrote some of the dialogue. I enjoyed it and it was actually my first thing that I’ve done for film. In my spare time, I’ll write some poetry, short stories, and even some commentary, like editorial type stuff.
TDQ: I also saw that you consider yourself a foodie, is that in the cooking or the eating sense? Or both?
RG: I would say both. I enjoy eating much more than cooking. I like to try new restaurants and I’ll try anything once. I like to try new foods. I like to pair wine with food too. I think that’s a really fun experience when you’re eating. I love food [laughing].
TDQ: And we always like to end with some fun question, so in the same vein what is your favorite meal?
Now that it’s summer I would say oysters and sushi. But I can’t really prepare oysters or sushi at home [laughing], so I would say if I’m preparing a meal steak or chicken, or some kind of salmon or some fish.
TDQ: And if we looked at your iPod right now what would be the most played song?
RG: Right now it would be ‘Holy Grail’ by Jay-Z off the Magna Carta…Holy Grail album.
TDQ: Is there any other news that you would like to share with readers?
RG: We launched on OWN, Opera’s network. Fans will be excited that we’re back on TV and I’m excited that they’ll get to see us on Opera’s network. We’ll hopefully get some new viewers and fans can re-watch every episode too it airs Monday-Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Rob Gorrie for taking the time to chat with us! To find out more about Rob, you can follow him on Twitter and “like” his official page on Facebook. Be sure to tune into One Life to Live currently airing Monday-Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time on OWN and online on Hulu.