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Follow the links to our archive of Thorsten's print interviews and articles about the characters he's portrayed.

Above: On the cover of the June 26, 2007 issue of Soap Opera Digest.

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Lord Of The Dance

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Thorsten Kaye Looks Forward To Gliding Through Many More Years On AMC

Soap Opera Digest

by Mara Levinsky, Published June 12, 2007

Thorsten Kaye (Zach, AMC) is always game for a chat with Digest - it's just that doing it on the record sometimes has him reaching for his internal mute button. Recently, however, he welcomed our AMC editor and her tape recorder into his dressing room, which he's decorated to pay tribute to his family (he and longtime love Su san Haskell, ex-Marty, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, welcomed daughter No.2, Marlowe, in January; firstborn McKenna is 4) and his beloved Detroit Red Wings. Stacy Haiduk (ex-Hannah) was also present; she came by to debrief with Kaye about the scenes they'd taped that morning and stuck around to watch Kaye hold court. As for Digest? We just pressed "record" and tried to keep up.

Thorsten Kaye: So, what are we gonna talk about? Chicks dig me.
Soap Dpera Digest (to Haiduk): Chicks totally dig him.
Stacy Haiduk: Oh, I can tell! People say to me, "Oh, he is handsome."
Kaye: And?
Haiduk: And charismatic.
Kaye (to Digest): Can I add more stuff later?
Digest: Let's generate a list together. Handsome, charismatic, great head of hair.
Kaye (patting his hair): Oh, stop.
Hajduk: Good arms, good chest.
Digest: Muscular.
Kaye: Great singing voice. A lot of people don't know that; I'm not ready yet, you know, to share that with the world. Also, I'm a classically trained dancer. Classical jazz, yeah. I like to tell story through dance. Sometimes you see it on set and you're not even aware of it, but it's there. I used to do a lot of dance on radio. DANCING WITH THE STARS ... How about DRINKING WITH THE STARS? You start out with a shot of Jack Daniels, then work yourself up. What are your questions? p>Digest: I'm sorry, I was still thinking of stuff for the list.

Kaye: You know what it is? If it was just us, it'd be easy. But I think she [gestures at Haiduk] gets so intimidated by no knowing things she should know, I don’t want to bring up ore stuff.
Digest: How gentlemanly. Let’s add gentlemanly to the list.
Kaye: Let’s!

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Digest: Now let’s talk about AMC. You recently renewed your contract. Are you a happy camper?
Kaye: I am happy. Without sounding completely corny, I think we have a good core of people and that we have the chance to do a lot better than we did [this past year]. I could probably find another job somewhere, but I think we have the possibility to do something great here.
Digest: Anything I your contract about rehearsal space or a ballet barre?
Kaye: That’s the thing about my dancing: It’s very organic. I never rehearse it. I never know when it’s going to start or when it’s going to stop.
Digest: Does it ever stop?
Kaye: ABC asked me to stop. Yeah. Yeah, so it’s kind of tough to talk about that now.
Digest: If you had decided to leave, there would have been protest letters stacked sky-high in my office.
My mother likes to write a lot of those. It’s hard to talk her out o fit. She’s a writer; she likes to express herself. And besides, I tell her what to write. No, I think [the show] is going to be all right. We didn’t get a lot of [Emmy] nominations this year, which I understand. I think all of us can do better.
Digest: Do you think you didn’t do great work that deserved a nomination?
Daye: Oh, I know I didn’t do great work. I did okay work, buy you don’t get Emmys for okay work; you get Emmys for great work. I got a little lazy this year, but a lot of us weren’t challenged. I mean, look at GENERAL HOSPITAL, Tony Geary [Luke] and those guys over there. They get some great stuff. And I think it’s coming; I think we’re gonna get some good things too.
Digest: Do you feel that the phenomenon that is Kendall and Zach has limited the way the writers have used you?
Kaye (mock scolding): It’s Zach and Kendall, not Kendall and Zach. But yeah, it’s hard to think that on a soap opera, you’re only going to have sex with one woman for six years. I mean, that’s why guys sign on!
Digest: Let the record reflect that Mr. Kay is being sarcastic.
Kaye: Yes, of course. You want to be part of something good and it is good, the two of them together. I just think it takes a good writing team to keep it going. Soaps are all about relationships. You always have to be involved with somebody and if it’s this same woman the whole time, that’s great. But you still need a story.
Digest: Out of curiosity, have you seen Patrick’s son on ONE LIFE? (Kaye played Patrick to Haskell’s Marty from 1995 – 97. Marty, recast with Christina Chambers, returned with teen son Cole in November 2006.)
Kaye: Yeah. It’s tough to tell that story without Susan Haskell in that role, first of all. But it’s fine. They talked to Susan about it, as you know, and she got pregnant so she didn’t end up doing it, obviously. But you know, wait for her! The story is important, but the actors and the characters are important, too. If you have a story that’s okay and a character that was interesting because of who played it, it’s only when you put them together that it works.
Digest: Speaking of Susan, how are the kids?

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Kaye: They’re great. I love being a dad. The 12-week-old is kind of quiet, but she’s starting to smile, starting to get a personality. And [McKenna], she’s good. She’s having a bit of a tough time; part of it is being a big sister and part of it is being 4.
What do you two talk about?
We talk abut a lot of things. I don’t want to say she’s my best friend because it sounds corny – and it’s not true: I’m not supposed to be her best friend, I’m supposed to be her dad. It’s hard sometimes because she does things that are fun – and I can see that they’re fun – but I’m supposed to tell her, “no.” So, I try to have Susan tell her [laughs]. I’ll be the bad guy soon enough, trust me, when boys come in.
I love your scenes with the little girls who play Spike.
Kaye (eyes lighting up): Cool, right? They’re so cute, just great. They were on THE SOPRANOS the other day. They did all right.
Do you give them notes?
I give everybody notes. That’s probably why I don’t stay around very long at any of these shows. People get bored with me. Those girls are great, though I don’t know how long we can keep them, because Spike is a boy and they’re getting prettier and prettier. The good thing is, Spike’s not Zach’s child, so if he does get pretty, we can blame Cameron [Mathison, Ryan]. Cameron is very pretty.
If you got to choose what came next for Zach, what would it be?
That’s a tough thing to ask somebody; that’s like going into a bar and saying, “I’m gonna look for the redhead,” [when] it’s about finding someone you connect with. For me, it would be something that makes sense, that’s character-driven, that hopefully involves other people who I enjoy as actors and as people. I can’t sit here and go, “Oh, it would be great if he hit the bottle!” and all that actor bullshit. I don’t mind being in the crowd if it’s interesting.
Who are the folks you most look forward to sharing scenes with, not to say that you don’t love everyone you work with?
I don’t! I think you know that. This is a place of work. I didn’t come here to make friends. It’s not that I like or dislike people; I don’t like laziness. Being an actor is a privilege. If I see people being lazy because they’re pretty or somebody told them they were pretty, if they come here unprepared and hungover because, “Oh I had to go to that party last night,” that I don’t like. But to answer your question, I love working with Michael [E. Knight, Tad].
Who’s funnier, you or him?
Kaye: Uh, have you been sitting here?
Let me rephrase: Are you the funniest man in America?
Kaye: Well, I have a following of people who love comedy – and dance – and that’s the thing about dance, too. I hate to go back to it --
I wasn’t aware we’d left!
…but language is not a barrier for me. I can dance in Hindu. And I have. But is Michael funnier than me? No, he is not. Walt [Willey, Jack] is. That’s why I don’t like working with Walt [laughs].
Anything else we should cover in our time together?
Just…[to] people who we may have lost in the last year or so, you gotta give us another shot. I get paid the same either way, but I think we’re a better show than people give us credit for. I signed up because I think the product’s gonna be good. I know it sounds corny, but at the end of the day, that’s what gives you satisfaction – when you think, “You know what? I told a pretty good story.”