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Interview at CBS.com, February, 2005

 

Getting the Girl

photo TRENT DAWSON has been a fan favorite for years playing Henry Coleman, Katieís sidekick and partner in crime who always provided comic relief. Fans always clamored for more and ATWT delivered when Henry confessed his unrequited love for Katie to Jennifer, which has propelled the character into a front burner storyline for the first time. CBS.com caught up with Trent about finally getting a story of his own.

CBS.com: Youíve been on ATWT for a while. Whatís it been like to finally have a meaty storyline of your own?
TRENT DAWSON: Wonderful. Itís been unique in that thereís a real core to it. The whole love affair is really well grounded. And top of that is still Henry Ė wonderfully zany. Itís been an interesting joy to combine the two.

CBS.com: Were you surprised when you were told about the story?
TRENT DAWSON: Totally surprised. Terri [Colombino, Katie] was on maternity leave and the Nikki [storyline] wound up and I booked a theater gig in Baltimore. So, they just put me in jail for a couple of months while I was doing that. [Laughs] Towards the end of that gig down in Baltimore, I got some scripts and I was like, ďWhoa!Ē When I got back to the studio, they said, ďYou guys are going to get married.Ē And I was like, ďYeah, right.Ē They say a lot of things, and things happen that I didnít think were going to go through, and then they did. Itís been very shocking and wonderful Ė wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

CBS.com: Have you gotten fan feedback about your story?
TRENT DAWSON: Yeah, a lot. Somehow I went from being the comic villain to being the most sympathetic character on the show! [Laughs] Terri [has gotten fan mail saying,] ďIf you break his heart, weíre never going to love you again!Ē Iíve gotten a lot of feedback, especially on set, from the crew, [who] is incredibly excited that Iím finally getting a girl. The writers and the producers, their response has been very, very positive as well.

CBS.com: What does Henry think he will gain from marrying Katie, when he knows what her true motives are?
TRENT DAWSON: Well, these are two characters that exist in a world of denial. What they did was have me come out to Jennifer of all people and say, ďIím in love with her.Ē What that did for me was set some ground rules and set a very specific objective, which was very helpful. Iím in love with her, but itís never going to happen. But I finally came out and said, ďI am in love with her.Ē That is sort of the cornerstone for how I approached everything after that. Heís hoping [the wedding] will happen, but heís waiting for the other shoe to drop. When we were shooting the wedding stuff, we had to do an insert shot of just me waiting for her to come out in her wedding dress. And this is after Margo had come out and said, ďSheís going to marry you.Ē And so I knew she was going to marry me. They shot it for a few seconds and the director came over the microphone and said, ďTrent, you look like youíre in pain.Ē And I was like, Iím sure this isnít going to happen Ė even though Iíve read the script and I know it does! Heís just driven by this love and hoping it will work out but somewhere inside he thinks itís not. But itís a different Henry. Itís not the same Henry thatís like, what can I gain? All he cares about is her happiness.

CBS.com: Do you think Mike still has feelings for Katie?
TRENT DAWSON: Oh, yeah. Thereís still chemistry there.

CBS.com: What do you think is the future of Henry and Mikeís relationship? Henry has always been really nice to Mike, in spite of the situation.
TRENT DAWSON: Yeah, I helped with [Mike and Katieís] initial wedding plans and that sort of thing. Itís funny, Iíve gotten a lot of response on that. Mark [Collier, Mike] and I get along very well, but we didnít anticipate hitting it off as well as we do on screen. Thatís been a really fun element to play, because [Henry and Katie] are lying to [Mike] and setting him up, and at the same time I think itís a very painful thing for Henry to do. Iíve tried to bring that out. Iím trying to play like eight different things at once. He loves Mike and he doesnít want to hurt Mike, heís also jealous of Mike, heís also trying to set Mike up to make him jealous. You try that! [Laughs] The bottom line is that he cares about Mike deeply. I think down the road Ė this is a soap, Iíve got to get my heartbroken somewhere Ė that relationship will come back into play.

CBS.com: Could Henry end up with someone else?
TRENT DAWSON: I donít know. Weíve sort of put all our eggs in one basket here. The lines Iíve had have been, even if we never even consummate [our marriage], youíre the only wife Iíve ever wanted. Heís really madly, desperately in love with Katie. I think thatís going to be the point of focus for him for a long time.

CBS.com: What is it like working with Terri, who youíve worked with for a long time, with this totally different dynamic?
TRENT DAWSON: Itís been great. I had a little apprehension about and she did, too. But then we found out that weíre both good kissers! [Laughs] What helped me was [the] declaring the love issue. Itís not something that all of a sudden [happened], this is a long-term development. This is best friends who find out that theyíre good dance partners, you know what I mean? Weíre having a blast with it.

CBS.com: Did you miss Terri when she was away on maternity leave?
TRENT DAWSON: Oh, God, yes. The best acting I do is when Iím with her on the show. Itís a lot of pressure; itís an hour worth of television a day. Everyone there is really good, but I really, really listen when she talks, and thatís the key to doing good work. For some reason, she just brings out the best in me that I can do. And I missed that a lot.

CBS.com: Have you seen a change in Terri now that she is a mom?
TRENT DAWSON: I have. I also knew Ė this is weird Ė when she was pregnant. I saw her walking down the hall and she hadnít told anyone and I sort of tilted my head to one side and knew it. I knew around the time she was supposed to deliver. I was in my apartment thinking, ďHmmm.Ē And about five minutes later she called and said, ďIím in the hospital and I had the baby and sheís beautiful.Ē I donít know what thatís about. Sheís a woman; sheís not a little girl anymore. I donít know how to express it; it just sort of comes through after [having the baby]. Sheís still a goof ball. I donít know how to describe it, but itís just lovely.

CBS.com: How about a job or career for Henry?
TRENT DAWSON: Thatís actually been something Iím trying to figure out. Heís fallen into this lush lifestyle, but when you look back at the beginning, he wanted to be the next Lesley Stahl. He wanted to own a media conglomerate and get rich. He was very driven. Now, heís into the horses and martinis, which is pretty good. [Laughs] Job-wise, Iíve heard some things tossed around, so Iím really curious to see [what happens]. I think his whole focus now is Katie, whatever will make her happy.

CBS.com: Now that Henry has his own storyline, do you think weíll ever see any of his family or learn more about his background?
TRENT DAWSON: Every so often they drop something in [about Henryís past]. Iíve mentioned sisters and stuff like that. I want them to bring Henryís mother [on the show]. Iíve mentioned the past, and you can never tell if Henryís lying or straight, but itíd be great if they brought in [his] mother.

CBS.com: Whatís ahead for Katie and Henry now?
TRENT DAWSON: Itís interesting. After they tie the knot, itís kind of like the end of The Graduate where they finally [run off together] and they get in the back of the bus and are like, we did this amazing, exciting thing, what do we do now? Thereís lingering love and lust she has for Mike that plays a part, but she turns a corner.

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