Friday, August 15, 2008

Interview: (NS) Jagger Returns to Port Charles

Antonio Sabato Jr. left General Hospital 13 years ago. In the time since, his fans have hardly forgotten him. He went on to stints on The Bold and the Beautiful and Melrose Place. Most recently, he won NBC’s Celebrity Circus, beating out the likes of supermodel Rachel Hunter and Christopher Knight of The Brady Bunch.

Now, however, after years of begging, GH viewers have finally gotten their wish: Jagger has returned to Port Charles in SOAPnet’s second season of General Hospital: Night Shift, which airs Tuesday nights at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

What prompted Antonio’s return to his old stomping grounds? Simple: They asked. “Before this, General Hospital had never come to me about coming back. My career was elsewhere; I was doing different things. But they came to me about it this year, and I realized that I really wanted to bring Jagger back, and the fans really wanted him to come back. The fan base has been unbelievable!”

Antonio also feels that Jagger’s return fits in well with where he currently is in his life. “It felt perfect,” Antonio says. “He comes home with his son, he’s more mature; I can relate to him in my own life, because I have two children myself.”

He was also excited to be returning to GH via Night Shift. Antonio explains: “Night Shift is a great show. It takes General Hospital to a whole new level. We have 13 episodes; we know where we are going and what the story arc will be.

“I am very excited and driven to make this a success. Everyone involved is so enthusiastic and energetic. I am just so thankful to be a part of it. The whole idea of the nighttime spin-off is great. It brings soaps to a whole new level.”

Fans will get to see a new side of Jagger. Yes, he is still drop-dead gorgeous, but now he is a father. “As we already found out in the first couple of shows, he comes back with Stone, who has autism. That’s what he struggles with. He’d do anything for his son. At first he can’t believe his son’s diagnosis, and he doesn’t want to accept it. Although eventually he does – he is driven and he has a big heart. Robin (Scorpio, played by Kimberly McCullough) helps him out a lot.”

Antonio also hints at a possible love interest for Jagger. “Throughout the process, he will get together with someone,” he teases.

It wasn’t difficult for Antonio to step back into Jagger’s shoes. “It was like going back home. This part, this situation – I like to put myself in that place. And I bring a lot of myself into it.

Working with the cast, old and new, has been wonderful. “It’s great seeing Kimberly again and working with her. I remember working with her when she was 16, and now she’s 30. I also worked with a director I used to work with – it’s like family. It really is like coming home.”