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Jack Wagner plays the brash and daring sea captain Dominick Payne, who shows up with a secret that even he is not aware of, on The Bold and the Beautiful. Jack majored in theater in college, attending the U. of Missouri and the U. of Arizona. Within days of moving to Los Angeles, he landed a job as a tour guide at Universal Studios. Retail sales and waiting tables paid the bills for awhile until 1982 when he landed his first professional job as Brent Masterson on the soap A New Day in Eden. Soon after, Wagner appeared on Knot’s Landing, followed in 1983 with his starring role on General Hospital. Portraying rocker Frisco Jones on GH also opened the doors in the music industry to Jack, who taught himself how to play the guitar. Qwest Records signed Jack to a record deal and released “All I Need,” an adult contemporary #1 hit, which was the love song for his character’s relationship with Tania. Jack returned to the theater, performing in the national tours of Westside Story and Grease. After a two year hiatus, Jack returned to General Hospital. In 1991, he landed the role of Warren Lockridge on Santa Barbara. When SB ended, Jack worked in theater, television guest spots and movies before creating the role of Dr. Peter Burns on Melrose Place, where he remained for five seasons. In January 2000, Jack returned to the theater in the starring Broadway roles of Jekyll & Hyde. Other credits include movies made for television Moving Target, Swimsuit, Trapped in Space, Ladykiller, Frequent Flyer, Echo, Dirty Little Secret, Artificial Lies, Nowhere to Land, Trapped (in the Snow), Cupid’s Prey (2002), and Ghost Dog (2003). Jack helped develop the series Off Course for ESPN in which he gets to know athletes, actors and other notable figures during a round of golf. As a member of the Celebrity Players Tour, Jack has gained respect as one of the top golfers on the tour. Jack is an avid supporter of AIDS research charities and served as Chairperson for two AMFAR Boathouse Rock events in New York’s Central Park. Wagner was born on October 3, 1959, in Washington, Missouri.
Jack Wagner: One on One
Jack Wagner has been described by the B&B cast and crew -- from Brad Bell (executive producer/head writer) to his co-stars -- as an absolute “professional.” He has hopped “onboard” the B&B mother ship as Dominick Payne -- the sea captain of a Marone Industries’ oil tanker. Ever since Jack signed with the show, he has managed to amaze his co-stars and the producers with his attention to detail when it comes to developing the character of Dominick. “He just lives and breathes this character of Dominick Payne,” Brad Bell exclaimed. “As soon as he was hired, even before he was hired, he had all of these ideas. He had thought of so much, all great stuff. He designed a tattoo for his arm, he decided what kind of cigars he would smoke after going through many different types. He’s so detail-oriented, and it’s just a pleasure to work with them. He is a professional. When you look to acquire someone like a Jack Wagner, you’re getting what you’re paying for.” When the executive producer and head writer expresses that kind of admiration for an actor, it can only mean one thing -- engaging storylines for your character.
Jack Wagner’s first tape day was no typical day on the set. His character Dominick is involved in a freak accident on the Marone Industries’ oil tanker that he captains. Jack is thrown onto the ship’s deck, as he struggles to maintain control of the tanker. We were behind the scenes as Jack played out these complicated sequences and the B&B crew and special effects professionals worked tirelessly to create the flooding and explosion of the ship. Once Dominick’s vessel goes down, he is thrust into a front burner storyline, as he comes into contact with Bridget (Jennifer Finnigan), Massimo (Joe Mascolo) and eventually Ridge (Ronn Moss). Stay tuned for Jack’s first air date on March 28. In the meantime, get to know B&B’s latest star as we catch up with him on the set.
Q: Your first day of taping has been quite involved with all the special effects and the replica of the ship, how are you finding it?
Jack Wagner: They have gone all out with the hydraulic boat and the stunts. When you invest in that, hopefully it pays off. If you have a nice story attached to it and be a little unpredictable, it may look a little different for the show, let’s put it that way.
Q: Do you know anything about your character Dominick Payne?
Jack Wagner: Yes, I do. It kind of came about when Brad Bell and I had both spoken about who this guy was, and once we settled into it we both agreed that he’s go to be in the unconventional direction. Let’s get him away from fashion and so the oil tanker is the business that they’re in on the side, that’s where he is. The sea is his passion. So, he’s going to be a little bit more of a pirate than a fashion entrepreneur. So, let’s just create a different balance for the show and hopefully create a different edge.
Q: So, he’s definitely more edgy, a bit more of a rough kind of character than the other Forrester men?
Jack Wagner: Yes, exactly. Edgy is a good word, but I like unconventional, because he just doesn’t feel comfortable on land. He’s kind of a fish out of water. When he goes into those corporate situations or with those people, he just doesn’t conform like they’re used to.
Q: Does Massimo know at this point that Dominick is his son?
Jack Wagner: No, nobody knows anything. We’re all dummies together. Don’t we love that?
Q: Can you tell us anything about Dominick’s mother, Jackie, who is being played by Lesley-Anne Down?
Jack Wagner: I really am a little bit like my character. He’s going to be in the hospital where [he’s] unconscious, that’s kind of how I am right now. A little unconscious, which is perfect. That way I can’t take responsibility. “Sorry, I was unconscious.” [When he comes out of the coma] he’ll come right out of it, want a cigar, a shot of whiskey and he’ll want to know where the hell he is! Where’s his ship, where are his men. There’ll be a lot of grieving for the men he has lost in this accident. It’s a huge accident and it has a lot to do with the oil and the environment. It’s a reality here, it’s a tragedy and he takes the burden of that responsibility. So, I think it’s a lot of digging into what really happened, to then take the blow off him. That it wasn’t actually his fault.
Q: Does he feel responsible for the accident?
Jack Wagner: Well, he is. He’s the captain of the ship that went down, people died, it’s your neck!
Q: You were on General Hospital for approximately eight years and Santa Barbara for about two years. Are you glad to be back in daytime?
Jack Wagner: I’m thrilled.
Q: What do you like most about working in daytime?
Jack Wagner: I like the pace. I love the improvisation. I love to work on my feet. A lot of times, the things that you love are also the things that you hate. I mean, it’d be nice to have more time, but doing probably 15-20 movies for television for 10 years or so -- that pace is a grind. I like to get on my feet and go and it’s a half-hour show. The cast are pros, they’re ready to rock. When somebody new comes on the show, it’s usually hopefully a shot in the arm, which is what I’d like to be. You know -- impact -- make a different type of a character so it’ll elevate [the show]. Because when you’re here everyday, there comes a rhythm and sometimes it’s nice to shake the irons in the fire.
Q: You’ve portrayed a good guy on General Hospital as Frisco Jones and you’ve played bad boy Peter Burns on Melrose Place, which do you prefer playing?
Jack Wagner: Everybody loves to be bad! Dominick, I think is an innocent bad. He’s not manipulative like Peter Burns was. Frisco also was a heroic character. Dr. Burns really had some mischievous qualities. So, we’ll find that out down the road, probably. Right now, he’s a pretty endearing and honest. He’s a leader. The possibilities are pretty high.
Q: Have you been involved in any projects or films that we should be looking out for?
Jack Wagner: I just finished a really good picture for the PAX network that’s starting to air, it was called Ghost Dog. And I have a golf show on ESPN that is rerunning now, but cancelled.
Q: How is fatherhood?
Jack Wagner: Very difficult.
Q: Anything to brag about?
Jack Wagner: Other than myself? (Laughs.)
Q: Have you ever watched B&B?
Jack Wagner: I started watching it and, of course, whenever you’re working you’re kind of flipping through and you’ll catch something. I haven’t been an avid fan, but I have started watching it.
Q: Who would you like Dominick to become romantically involved with?
Jack Wagner: Can I reword that question? Who do you want to go to bed with on the show? Everyone who’s available!
Jack Wagner likes to do tons of different things
As if life for Massimo Marone wasn't tangled enough, now a mysterious sea captain, Dominick Payne, arrives in town in possession of the Marone family ring! But what does it all mean? Fans are chomping at the bit to find out! CBS.com caught up with B&B newcomer JACK WAGNER to find out his thoughts!
CBS.com: Are you excited to be back in daytime drama?
JACK WAGNER: Very. Yes, I am -- especially here [at CBS] because Brad Bell [Executive Producer and Head Writer] runs the show. You can come on the set, adjust your lines, work with the other actors and have a real collaboration, which is really what acting is.
CBS.com: Was that one of the reasons you decided to come to CBS?
JACK WAGNER: Huge. Absolutely a big reason because it's not happening in other places and I know that for a fact. I like to work; I like to work fast. I like to be spontaneous and improvisational and that's what I've been promised. That's really the objective.
CBS.com: Does your desire for those things come from having seen different sides of the business -- directing, acting?
JACK WAGNER: It's a detriment to me because, unfortunately, I like to play those roles. But when you're acting, you have to make sure you're out of the director's way or you're not trying to rewrite scenes so it affects other actor's lines. When I say collaboration, it's about being able to really dig in. That's why I've got the beard, the whole look is a little different. That's why this guy's going to wear hats. He's going to smoke because it's going to be a bit unconventional for this show. I think that blended with what exists here now and, hopefully, what I can bring, which is a different element, different feel, may cause sparks...I hope.
CBS.com: When Joe Mascolo (Massimo) first came on the show he said that what he enjoyed most was really being a part of developing the character. It seems that you're interested in the same thing.
JACK WAGNER: Absolutely. No question [about it]. The biggest downfall of daytime, I see, is a lack of freshness, sparks. It feels like it's getting a little tired sometimes. My objective is to come in and make something happen without having to use a lot of profanity or having to go to bed all the time. You can do that with just looks and appearance and attitude.
CBS.com: Fans seem to love the quick paced storylines and the surprises that B&B produces. Brad Bell is so good at what he does.
JACK WAGNER: Right. I'm from Melrose [Place]. That's the last big, big series I was on. That was the cutting edge of cultural unpredictability. So, I'm ready for some more.
CBS.com: When you left daytime drama years ago, did you know you'd someday return to the genre?
JACK WAGNER: Not really. I've been very fortunate in the last ten, twelve years since I've been on a daytime show. I've done a ton of different things. I've experimented in film; I've done a lot of movies of the week. I've shot in Montreal, in Toronto, in Vancouver, in Dallas, Australia and New Zealand, and really some neat places. Plus, I've done Broadway. I just finished Broadway a couple years ago. When this meeting with Brad happened I went, "What am I doing?" And then I met with him and it was like, "That makes sense." It's about digging in and making an impact. That's what I felt was the biggest attraction to me, being able to have a collaboration.
CBS.com: So you choose projects by getting a feeling about it, not by deciding it's in the genre you'd like to work?
JACK WAGNER: Sometimes you just want to work. I think any actor will tell you that. I don't think you can name any big film actor where the majority of their work can't go in a sh-- bucket. A lot of things aren't very good, but you're possessed by wanting to work. I really felt this was a way, for a certain period of time that I've agreed on with Brad, to really satisfy that need. I don't want to go from a little independent film to an independent film and then I just did a golf show on ESPN last year. I felt like I wanted to do something a little more solid. I thought, half-hour, The Bold and the Beautiful, big European market, Melrose [Place] was the biggest show over there -- let's follow it up with something new.
CBS.com: You have experience in all entertainment genres it seems: daytime, primetime, theatre, film, acting, directing. What has been your favorite part of your career?
JACK WAGNER: Directing. No question, not even close.
CBS.com: What makes that so?
JACK WAGNER: I think I have an eye for bad material and I think I can make it better. I also feel as though I have a knack for directing acting. I've worked with actors on scenes and the directors are there for a reason and in daytime, quite frankly, it's usually just to set shots up. I'm much more of an actor's director. When I was directing Melrose [Place], I was so fortunate that the actors were really open to [my directions]. [I'd say,] "Let's really dig in and see what this is about. We've got a couple minutes." Actors need another eye. All they have as choices usually are running their lines or memorizing their lines. They need somebody to come in and say, "Let's take a little off that. Let's play the subtext here. Let's not be so big with this. Let's underplay this." Actors feed off that. They're dying for any type of direction that quite often doesn't happen when you work fast. Directing [is my favorite] because, even today, I caught myself going, "Wait a minute. He's a captain of a ship. He's in charge of all this. There's a disaster. Is he frantic on the phone or is he like Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now when bombs are going off around him in Vietnam and he doesn't move?" One, the ship's tilting so you can't be totally still, but to be frantic doesn't sound like a leader to me at all. You try to direct yourself as much as you can.
CBS.com: When you first started out as an actor did you realize that you would go on to direct?
JACK WAGNER: Directing is something I've loved since my theater background. People would never know that I've done over 45 theatrical productions around the country in the last 25 years. But it doesn't matter because, hopefully, it will come out in the work. That process of theater really taught me how I wanted to direct. It really gave me that bug inside where you piece it all together everyday and you rehearse and rehearse again and stage it and then it's act two. That process is what it's about. This [daytime drama] process is much faster so you have to be on your toes.
CBS.com: Daytime is very quick paced. It has a different rhythm than other genres.
JACK WAGNER: I imagine you could go to every daytime show and quote five of the actors that have been there for a while and all of them who have worked with character actors on films [would say] that those character actors fell apart on the set. They just weren't capable to go four scenes in a row and all of a sudden had three new pages with new dialogue thrown at them. It's just not the way it's meant to be. [Laughs] They're not necessarily wrong, that it's hard for them, but it's a medium all of its own.
CBS.com: Tell me what you know about Dominick Payne.
JACK WAGNER: Not a lot. I do know that he's going to be unconventional. I don't want to know a whole lot. Knowing things in advance really doesn't serve you for the present. I'm just taking it a day at a time.
CBS.com: Did you know any of the other B&B cast members before coming to the show?
JACK WAGNER: I've known several of the actors just in passing or having worked with them before. I call [my first day taping] an interesting first day of school.
CBS.com: How does Dominick come into the scene?
JACK WAGNER: I think he's going to inadvertently be connected to the head family somehow from the past with his mother that he is naive to. So, you're going to have a guy who is married to the sea, a man's man. I call him the B&B pirate because he's going to be that. He's going to be very uncomfortable in the fashion world, suit and ties, conference rooms. He's going to live on a boat, not in a high-rise. He's going to be frequenting a new bar, that's like [filled with] roughnecks, guys at the marina, you know? And that's what I know about him.