Grant Aleksander played Phillip Spaulding on Guiding Light from 1983-2009, taking a three-year break in the ’90s to portray Alec McIntyre on All My Children. He’s currently filming Tainted Dreams, where he plays Adam Clark, the mercurial Executive Producer of the soap-within-a-soap. Sound familiar?
“I’m playing the power thing,” explains Aleksander. “There’s a little bit of [Chris] Goutman, a little bit of Paul Rauch. Paul did this thing which Jordan Clarke [Billy, GL] brought to my attention. Powerful men don’t extend their hand – they make you come to them. Paul did that. I’ve done that a couple of times [in scenes]. Chris has this thing with his eyes where he takes a second and doesn’t say anything, he just gives you these intense eyes. He’d kill me for saying that. Chris trained me at ATWT [to be a director], I am forever grateful to him.”
Indeed, Goutman worked with TD on a few of their locations, like “the scenes Marnie [Schulenburg] and I had at the hotel.”
“It’s a little embarrassing,” sighs Aleksander. “Here are these beautiful young ladies in the full flower of all that, and I’m a 54 year- old guy with mummy skin. They should have gotten a younger guy.”
Wrong! Aleksander is perfect as the handsome, sought-after soap boss.
“He works very hard at maintaining his job,” the actor previews. “Whatever strong creative impulses he had at one point, he subordinates to maintain his station. And then, in a moment of madness, he does this crazy thing.”
Aleksander can relate… to a point.
“I did a lot of crazy stuff when I was very young, but Sherry and I have been together forever,” he says, referring to his wife of 26 years, attorney Sherry Ramsey. “So I didn’t have this period in my ‘middle age’ where I acted out. One of the great things about [soap operas] is that we get to go through stuff like that without suffering. I’ve always been too terrified of losing the best thing that ever happened to me, but I can PLAY a middle-aged man losing his mind.”
Grant and his fellow castmates lost one of the best things that ever happened to them in 2009 when GL went off the air.
“Oddly enough, Paul was working on getting the show back on the air before he died,” reveals Aleksander. “He had gotten pretty far with that, he was talking to big network executives. P&G was interested. When you look at what’s going on in Stamford right now [where AMC and OLTL have been filming], I don’t think P&G will just sit on a creative property if there’s a profit to be made.”
In fact, Aleksander has been observing the action as a director. “I really like what AMC and OLTL are doing up there. There are some great people working hard to produce material that is very true to what we used to do. It’s not some bastardized version. If that succeeds, others will follow.”
Would he consider reprising Phillip if GL was rebooted on the Internet? “I think if it happens, the response would be similar to what happened with AMC and OLTL. Older actors who have a long-term relationship with the show would be happy to sign on for obvious reasons: Being with old friends, making some money, and getting their insurance picked up!”
Which are some of the reasons so many veteran actors signed on to film TD.
“This has really been delightful,” he praises. “Sonia [Blangiardo, creator and director] is one of those rare people in this business that is every bit as genuine and delightful as she appears to be. Lots of people can put that on, but then you spend time around them and realize it’s bull. This business usually kicks people out like Sonia. She’s talented and bright and sweet – yet she managed to succeed in spite of it,” he laughs.
Tainted Dreams debuts in January. Complete details on where to watch and storyline previews coming soon!