Up Close and Personal
Last October, Guiding Light brought two new faces to the canvas. Tom Pelphrey who portrays the bad seed, Jonathan Randall and John Driscoll who portrays Jenna Bradshaw’s not often seen son, Henry ‘Coop’ Bradshaw. I recently had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with Driscoll. He may be a new face to daytime but read on to see the all the paths he has already traveled on his way to Springfield.
SOAPDOM: Presently you are portraying Coop Bradshaw on Guiding Light, but I read that you studied dance as a child in between practicing sports. And I KNOW that you can sing. When did you start singing?
John Driscoll: I’ve always sung. I sang in the church choir with my dad for a few years. It was fun for a while but I was very busy with sports practice, choir practice, etc. Now I prefer singing on the other side, the church pew rather than the choir. But I always sang in choirs. I love to sing. I started seriously taking voice lessons sophomore year in high school.
SOAPDOM: You initially were accepted to college on an opera scholarship? After two years of training?
DRISCOLL: I grew up singing. The Opera scholarship is really extended to someone with an openness to sing and to be molded. After four years of intense study, the opera training would have started to take hold. It’s more of a willingness to do so than to already have the nurtured talent. I still have that willingness.
SOAPDOM: But weren’t you interested in lacrosse as well?
DRISCOLL: Yes, I was accepted at George Mason University on a lacrosse scholarship. I was actually accepted at Lynchburg and Marymount Universities on lacrosse scholarships as well as Sacred Heart in CT. These were not Division 1. Sports was fun, but when I thought about it, there was no longevity in it and once college was over, what then?
SOAPDOM: Where does your modeling fit in?
DRISCOLL: Modeling came in during my junior and senior years in high school. I was actually working at the mall in Nautica (my first day), when an account representative gave me his card. I called him periodically to see if there was any work, but I was always genuine when I called. Eventually, the work did come in and I did both domestic and international work for Armani and Versace and catalog work for haute couture. I fit the look -- the tall, lean, boy next door type. It was because of modeling that I came to New York, but then it seems that the boy next door type was not in demand anymore. I set my sights on acting.
SOAPDOM: Getting back to singing, have you sung professionally? Could we have seen you somewhere?
DRISCOLL: I have not done any professional singing. I sang in school in the choir but singing was just a hobby. I’ve sung songs from Godspell and Joseph the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, but just as part of the choir.
SOAPDOM: If you could do a Broadway show, which show appeals to you?
DRISCOLL: They all do, especially Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Rent.
SOAPDOM: Guiding Light is not your first acting job, what else have you done? What was your first big break into show business?
DRISCOLL: My first break was a show on the WB called “Young Americans.” It never made it passed the summer pilot season, it was only eight episodes but I played opposite Kate Bosworth. It’s great watching what she has done since then. That was my first speaking role. Then came “Dawson’s Creek,” where I played a fraternity guy called Blossom who tried to get Jack to join the fraternity. Also, the following year, Greg Rikaart, Kevin on Young and the Restless, was also in Dawson’s and played Jack’s boyfriend. Then, there was a guest spot on One Tree Hill which brings me to where I am today playing ‘Coop’ on Guiding Light.
SOAPDOM: You have been at Guiding Light for almost a year, who is your best friend on the set?
DRISCOLL: My best friend on the set would have to be Tom Pelphrey (Jonathan). He’s a great guy. I mean we joke about a lot of things, you know, he can be a little overbearing sometimes especially when he slaps me on the ass or something, but it’s all in good fun. He’s a great guy especially since we were hired around the same time and we were going for the same role. I have nothing but respect for him, he’s just an amazing actor; he’s an amazing guy. I mean, all the partying and things aside, when you sit down and you talk to him you feel like you are really talking to him, you’re not talking at him or that he’s not really listening. He’s a great person; he’s a great friend. And honestly the other person I would have to say is Mandy Bruno (Marina), who plays my niece. I mean, she’s a doll. She’s a sweetheart. To be honest, it’s very difficult for me to say no to a lot of people when it comes to photographers taking pictures and stuff like that and she is the exact same way, she is very genuine and I feel that is a very important characteristic when it comes to friends. I think that both she and Tom kind of epitomize that.
SOAPDOM: I heard a rumor that Coop’s family lineage may be growing. Do you know anything about that?
DRISCOLL: You know, actors are the last to know about things like that. I haven’t heard anything.
SOAPDOM: You and Tom Pelphrey are becoming GL fan favorites. Do you really enjoy each encounter as much as it seems? At a recent celebrity event, a Celebrity Luau, you and Tom literally did not get beyond eight feet of the entrance.
DRISCOLL: Well, I guess it’s because we are the new characters on the show and when you are a new character, people want to seek you out. It’s people’s nature to want to get the scoop first and find out about the new individuals so when they come into the room they want to find out all about them. I think that people are so gracious to us and so welcoming. I mean our two characters; Tom’s character came into a great storyline so obviously you can see how he can be a fan favorite however with me, my character didn’t get the same exposure. But when I came in there, people seemed to know who I was. That meant a lot to me because people were taking time to find out who this guy is, you know, this guy who they have seen briefly on the show. And so that kind of commitment to a show, I think deserves the respect from the person who is playing the part. Just because I have the job it doesn’t mean that gives me the right to be a jerk and say ‘I don’t have time to do this,’ or anything like that. I signed on to do this and this is everything that is included and it just so happens that these are things that I like to do. I don’t mind talking to people. I might not even get in the room. I could be stuck out in the hallway, just because I am that kind of person. If I was in their shoes, I’d be the exact same way.
SOAPDOM: What would you like to see happen to your character?
DRISCOLL: You know what? I mean, I don’t even want to guess because they have so many things down the pipeline that are coming up. They are going to surprise me with that anyway. If I did have to choose something, you know what? An extended family member, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. I think that Coop does have a lot of inner demons that have kept him overseas. You know, he had the chance and the ability to come home at any time. I think that seeing (the hard truth) perhaps instead of the bubblegum “I’m going to defend my family” type thing is very important. It’s a great storyline, but the realizations of who he is as an individual, the mysteries behind him, because we don’t know anything except that he is home now and he has the temper of his brother and his dad and he loves his family.
SOAPDOM: Now that we know that you have studied dance, voice and acting, and that you started out in modeling, where does your passion lie?
DRISCOLL: I have no true passion. I enjoy performing. In this business you never know where the next job is going to come from. My true passion is I just enjoy spending time with my family. I mean, they were here before all this and they will be here after.
SOAPDOM: What would you like to be doing in 5 years?
DRISCOLL: I’d love to continue to act and perform. It’s all about being a stronger actor. Right now I love being with Guiding Light. I’m content.
Photos for this article contributed by Jean Suppa
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