The teen scene has been heating up the screen on General Hospital all summer long. One of the catalysts is the character of Kyle. A good-looking scallywag who impulsively makes choices that may not be the most prudent. Like putting images of Maxie (Robyn Richards) on the internet. We don’t think Kyle is a bad kid, just one who could benefit from a little more thinking-before-doing.
It all started when Andrew St. John was brought in for two days worth of work in the role of Kyle. They were taping four episodes of his scenes in two days. At some point during the taping, one of the writers approached St. John and said “I am writing you into another episode right now!” It is as if almost on the spot, St. John impressed the right people at General Hospital, and several months and recurring status later, St. John has become a real mixer among the younger crowd in Port Charles.
It just sort of snowballed. “It really did,” admitted St. John with a laugh. “They have given me a real chance to grow. I guess they saw some potential and gave me a chance to see what I could do.”
St. John plays a character with layers. Kyle has done some unscrupulous things, like sleeping with Maxie, videotaping it and publishing the video on the internet. However, he has also shown remorse for his deeds, feeling genuinely sorry for the hurt he caused Maxie. How does St. John enjoy playing that dual dimension?
“Oh it’s great,” he replied. “It’s like real life. How many personalities do we all have? We all have those days. We all go through phases. He is growing up. Kyle is a 17-yr old kid and he is growing up. We don’t even really know who we are at that age. So it is really good. (Seventeen) wasn’t too long ago for me, so I flash back to all those confusing moments when you really don’t know what you’re doing, but of course at that age you always thought you did! You go headstrong into everything you did.”
At that age, you’re always right, I replied. “Exactly!” said St. John, who just turned 21 years old.
This is St. John’s first role on a televison. “It’s the first time I’ve ever walked on to a set,” St. John revealed. How did he land the audition? “It was something that my agent had set up for me. And it was a long process. It took about three weeks.”
St. John kept getting call backs to read for the part. First for Mark Teschner, the casting director, and finally to read for the executive producer. “I got called back three or four times to read for the character,” he said. All the readings were done live, none on tape.
St. John had only arrived in Los Angeles about a year prior. He’d been auditioning around town while taking coaching and acting lessons through his management company. We talked a little about the highs and lows of auditioning and how to deal with whether or not you get the part.
“You just have to keep reminding yourself that you are not right for everything,” he said. “I am not what every producer or director has in their mind. I am not right for everything and I just have to remember that. I go in and give it my best shot, and hope that they like it. But that may not be exactly what they are looking for. It doesn’t mean that I did a bad job.”
St. John has a positive attitude about the process and credits his management with expertly guiding his career. “I try to always leave (an audition) on a good note,” he shared. “My manager always says that there are three things we should do: when (you) walk in the room you want to connect with the character, you want to connect with the reader and you want to have fun. As long as I accomplish those three things, I always try to be upbeat leaving an audition. If you set a goal for yourself and you accomplish it, you really can’t go wrong. Of course there are ups and downs where you really feel bad. You thought it was a great audition and you really were happy thinking that you really might get it, (but you don’t) so you really have to push through it.”
What was it like stepping out on to the set of GH for the first time?
“A couple of days before I was on, Maxie (Robyn Richards and Georgie (Lindze Letherman) talk about a party at Kyle’s house. Then, my first day was the party at my house. People just see me and then I walk up to Maxie and start talking to her. It was a very overwhelming day. It was my very first day walking on set and I remember that I had only booked the job the day before I actually had to work! I had to learn two episodes worth of dialog (overnight). And I was like, oh my gosh. I had to walk in there and just be so confident, because I had absolutely no idea what to expect. It was very exciting but it was a little intimidating at the same time."
From out of the fire into the frying pan. Or to use another worn out cliché, St. John was thrown into the ocean to see if he could swim.
“Party scenes make taping a little bit longer,” he revealed. Everyone on the set – all the partygoers – all have to be coordinated. They all have to be doing the right thing. There are so many more people to pay attention to. And so many more things that can go wrong. Okay, we have to reshoot that -- it wasn’t right. “
But shooting a scene with tons of fellow cast members actually helped St. John out. “It made everything go a little slower and I just watched and was able to pick up things,” he said. “Okay so they don’t like that, they don’t want this… note to self. It actually helped that we had the party scene and it went a little slower.”
How does he like working with his co-stars? “It’s great. Robin has amazed me time after time. She is a dedicated little actress. Everyone on the show – Scott Clifton, Lindze Letherman – it’s amazing how committed they are. I am the oldest one out of them and it’s amazing to see the commitment they have to the show and their characters. It’s a very admirable thing.”
Regarding the storyline: Does St. John have any personal traits that are like the character of Kyle?
“The only thing I can say that I would be like the character is his confidence level. I am a very confident person like he is. I have a high level of energy. The way I wrote my backstory for him – my manager has always taught us that the writing only gives you so much. In order to become connected with the character you also have to create everything that isn’t there. Like who his parents are and what they do. In my mind, Kyle comes from a broken home. He doesn’t get a lot of attention back home, that’s why he doesn’t get in trouble for anything. Kyle kind of searches for the attention other places. Just going out and doing the wrong thing. And I don’t always think it is the wrong thing right away, it just seems like a great idea at the time. Kyle is 17 years old, so he is always right. Let’s just go with this, he thinks. He seems to always get away with it. He hasn’t quite learned yet, but he is slowly learning. Maxie is really hurt by a lot of his actions, and I am starting to feel for that. He is slowly starting to learn. He is slowly starting to feel remorseful and regretful. But he is still that running headfirst-without-thinking-first kid.”
We wanted to know if there were any similarities between Kyle and St. John. Had he ever done anything impulsively in his real life past?
“Oh my gosh, there are so many things,” he giggled. “I could never say there were things to the same degree (as Kyle’s antics ), but so many things growing up where I was just getting my grandma mad as hell at me, and I’d be outside in the bushes crying wishing I didn’t do it, thinking it wouldn’t be like this if I’d just shut my mouth. My momma always told me my whole life ‘shut your mouth and keep your ears open. It will keep you out of trouble and you’ll learn a lot more.’ That was my problem growing up. I never shut my mouth. I was a talker. I would yap, yap, yap right away until it got me into trouble. That was my problem.”
Did St. John have any idea regarding what might be upcoming for Kyle? Not a chance. St. John says he is just as blind regarding upcoming story as we are. As the scripts come in every day he learns what’s to happen that day, but that’s about it. He gets the scripts about 4 days ahead.
How did St. John get into acting? “As a child I was always that kid – you would think no one paid any attention to me by the way I acted. I was a momma’s boy. I got a lot of love and attention, but I always had to be the center of it. My mom always told me I was a drama queen growing up. I would always make a big deal out of nothing. I would always make a scene. I sang in a choir for a few years. I did plays in my elementary school. Acting was something that always really jazzed me. Except back then, I would get really nervous. I would get 104 degree fever and be throwing up to the point that my mom would say – you are not going. Then, as soon as I got out on the stage I would be fine. But I would get so sick beforehand.”
Lucky for us, St. John has outgrown that stage fright, thanks in large part due to training and coaching. “My manager has been so amazing. Out here I have learned through my management team. They are my friends, teachers, mentors. They have taught me so much. Not only about acting -- but about life. It has completely changed the person that I am. I am a more confident person now. I was always confident, but I am more channeled now. I had a vision and now I know how to make it work. Just being out here, they have taught me to be a better person through my art.”
St. John is managed by Simmons & Scott Entertainment. “We have a team of managers. Jon Simmons and Carl Scott are the two partners. Then there is Cary Anderson and Molly Sweet who handles a lot of the coaching for auditions. We never go out on an audition without being coached first to make sure that we made strong choices and that we are prepared. Molly Sweet books all of our auditions and gets us going out. She handles that aspect of it.” St. John credits this team with his growth as an actor and his success in landing the role on GH. He feels blessed to have their support. (Find out more about Simmons & Scott at http://www.simmonsandscott.com/)
St. John landing his managers is one of those real Hollywood stories. Simmons and Scott found St. John at a talent scout audition back east. “My grandmother was really excited about this big model and talent scout thing she heard about on the radio,” said St. John. “It was called ProScout. They were holding an event in Boston. They had a preliminary event in New Haven, ten minutes from my house. I went to that, and they took me to the second round in Boston. It was $600 or $700 to go to it and I was like, I am not going to do that. It’s not worth it to me to pay that.”
St. John never imagined paying. “I went to college for two years and I was going to major in Business and minor in drama, and I never really thought there was a career in acting (for me),” he said. “It wasn’t until I met Jon Simmons that weekend that he introduced me to the notion that I could have a successful career in this, even if I am not a super star. I could still make a successful living and be an artist my entire life. It was beautiful concept. My grandmother pushed me into it. She said she would pay it for me. She really wanted to see me do this. I went and met with Jon. There were 45 different modeling agents there, none of them liked me. Jon was the only call back I got. He said he was interested. That was March 31 of last year (2002). He asked me to send out a video tape of my choice, (performing) something that would relate to me.”
St. John sought advice on choosing the perfect scene. “I had an acting teacher at Southern (Connecticut State University). I went and talked to her. I knew she had a lot of resources. Her name was Kristen Graham. I told her about my weekend and that I really wanted to get into this and she helped me select a really good monologue about a kid that was angry with his mother who was an agoraphobic.”
St. John sent out the monologue and Simmons loved it. He showed it to his partner, Carl Scott and he loved it. St. John was living in LA by June 1st. “Jon had shown my tape to an agent at Innovative by the name of Abby Bluestone and I had an agent before I even moved out here,” St. John shared. Every unsigned actor’s dream. “I met with her the first week I came out and she loved me and I was auditioning probably three days later.”
Speaking of dreams, what would be a dream storyline for Kyle? “It’s so hard saying, it really is. Everytime I think that we are going in one direction like a teen drug storyline, all of a sudden we get thrown a twist – Maxie’s down in the cellar passing out on the floor off X. Just crazy things. I don’t think that I could ever have a dream storyline because the writers over at General Hospital come up with these amazing ideas that just work. I just go with them.”
For St. John being cast on General Hospital is a rewarding on many levels. “It has been such an amazing ride to work with such creative people. The actors that I get to work with over there,” he said. “Everyone was so welcoming. It’s a steady job for all these people. They are there every day. That’s the beautiful part. They get to work every day. And they get to know each other. I was one of the new kids on set. Everyone was real kind to me. If I had any questions they were great. It was such an amazing feeling. I am in a medium where you can never get bored. You are always working on a new storyline, on anew turn a new twist, and you have no idea what the writers are going to think up next. You work with these other amazing actors and you have no idea what their choices are going to be. We film so fast that you don’t get the chance to rehearse. All of a sudden you’ll be up there and they will just throw ideas at you through their lines that you didn’t even think of and you just have to react off it quick. It is really such a beautiful process. It is a blessing to be able to work with such talent.”
I couldn’t resist asking St. John if he’d accept a three-year contract if offered.
“That’s the business aspect of this. That’s what I leave up to my managers,” he said. “I trust my career in their hands completely and they make all my business decisions for me. They have trained me to be an artist and that’s what I step up to do. That’s really out of my league. I just see myself being an artist and wanting to work and continue to work in this town. Which is a very hard thing to do. Whatever my managers feel is the best path for me that’s going to take me the furthest and be the most beneficial in my career, that’s the choice I will go with.”
Now that the character of Kyle has been airing a few days a week, fans are starting to recognize St. John. “That’s been really cool. I’ve gotten to meet some fans via ProScout. My manager scouts several cities and invites me along to be a guest speaker. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many fans that way. After getting down off that stage and seeing the response, it’s an amazing experience to see that people are affected by what I do. Even if I am not playing the most positive character on the show, people are affected by getting to meet me. They are affected by my work and it puts me in awe. It makes me so happy to know that I can make a difference to someone just by being nice to them. It really is a great feeling to put a smile on people’s faces like that.”
St. John wanted to share some insight with other aspiring actors out there and imparted these words.
“I just have to say always be confident. Always strive hard aim high. Never settle for less. But you have to know when to humble yourself. Know when enough is enough. Don’t stress over the audition process. Just walk away. You can beat yourself up sometimes and that’s just gong to bring you down in your head. You had a great audition. You really want this part. But nine times out of ten you’re not gonna get it – it’s just not gonna happen, you just have to know to walk away. Know you did a great job, that casting director has seen you. They will call you in again. Just walk away and go on to the next thing. Don’t live in the past. Always be moving forward. If you’re not going forward you’re going backwards. Always push your career forward. Do something every day to push it forward. This isn’t the type of career where you can sit back and let it come to you. You have to be aggressive with it.”
St. John, with his deep sexy voice and young rugged good looks would be a catch for any lucky lady. Is there a special person in his life? “I’ve been so busy – to put it in the best terms I can think of, I don’t have the time at t his time in my life to give a girl the attention she’d deserve,” he said. “I can’t say that I don’t have a relationship by choice, but I know (if I did have one) it wouldn’t be a healthy relationship because I couldn’t put my all into it. My heart is someplace else right now – acting. I am in love with this art.”
Having a relationship is one thing, but what about a casual date or two? “I rarely even go out,” St. John said with a chuckle. “I study so hard. I am tryng to stay as focused as possible. I feel that I have been given an opportunity at a career that is so impossible, that I want to make as much of it as I can. I don’t know where the next job will come. I don’t know what’s next, but I do know that I have been given this opportunity and I want to run with it.”
St. John had no idea how much longer the character of Kyle would be on the show. But from the way things have been going, St. John believes that if he keeps doing a good job with the character, perhaps they will continue to write for the character. Currently on recurring status, he works two-three days a week.
St. John hails from Woodbridge, CT. He has a pet pit bull named Lucy and enjoys working out at the gym, reading, and fishing. He celebrated his 21st birthday on June 9.
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