The old Hollywood catch phrase "quiet on the set" took on whole new meaning on Friday, May 20. That was the day awkward silence shrouded Stage 4 at the Prospect Studios, marking Tyler Christopher's last day on GENERAL HOSPITAL as Nikolas Cassadine. After completion of his final scene, no one moved. "Everybody was kind of, 'Okay... so... I guess... okay,'" Christopher laughs. "I had been there so long, nobody really knew what to say to me."
Read more after the jump!
Having created the character of Nikolas some 15 years ago, Christopher remained protective of him right up until the very end. To ensure Nikolas' exit was not just true to character but also emotionally satisfying for himself and for the audience, Christopher sat down with his TV brother, Jonathan Jackson (Lucky), and completely rewrote their final parting. "They had originally written him leaving very defeated and we changed it to him leaving a very proud man," Christopher says. "Jonathan and I often change the tone. He and I have a different take on what goes on. What we tried to do is keep the tension between the Spencers and Cassadines as it was originally intended, but without losing the humanity of the characters. I guess if I could sum it up in one word, it would be 'loss.' Whether he believes that Aiden is his child or not, it's about loss. And it's about Lucky's loss of Jake and how everybody emotionally deals with that. It's a very emotional send off."
The Chopping Block
Christopher's firing left him disappointed and sad in so many ways. In fact, the whole experience has left him with bad feelings and an unhappy memory. "I've done over 3000 episodes," he points out. "There's a certain way to deal with people, I guess. And I haven't been dealt with kindly. That's unfortunate. If you want to keep a show on the air, you might want to treat the people that have upheld that foundation a little more kindly. They don't care about that. They're looking at, 'How much does this guy make and how much does that guy make? Are we writing for him? No? Then let's cut him.' So, yes, to be honest, it has left a bad taste in my mouth."
All this unpleasantness, however, began under the leadership of GH's former headwriter, Robert Guza Jr. His replacement, Garin Wolf, has already penned Nikolas' return, which will air in late August. Considering Nikolas arrived in Port Charles to donate bone marrow to his ailing kid sister, Lulu, Wolf wanted to tie up that loose end with a meaningful sibling reunion. But will Christopher's three-episode return have lasting power? That remains to be seen. "Garin has a broader stroke, so how I fit into that, I don't know yet," Christopher says.
For more of our exit interview with Christopher, check out the new ABC issue of Soaps In Depth, on sale now.