Friday, April 10, 2009

Interview GH: Brandon Barash Wants to Bring Back Some of Johnny’s Rough Edges

Johnny Zacchara came to Port Charles in 2007 as a sort of reluctant mobster. Coming from the famed Zacchara family pretty much guarantees a life of crime, but Johnny, with the help of Lulu Spencer, has tried to overcome his presumed destiny. However, every now and then, a little bit of “mob life” slips into Johnny’s personal life.

It’s this constant walking on a tightrope that finally breaks up Johnny and Lulu. Brandon Barash, who originated the role of Johnny on General Hospital, pulled out all the stops while filming the heart-wrenching break-up scene.

Brandon explains: “It’s a pretty emotionally charged scene — a lot of upset people and upset feelings. Johnny does a pretty good job of raising his voice to her, and that sends her into an emotional tizzy. It’s always fun to go there. You can’t just turn that on and turn that off. You’ve got to really dig deep for what it is that is going on with these two characters.

“Rehearsing it, I wasn’t yelling at her, I was just firm. And then in the scene, we just started lobbing the ball back and forth, and that’s where it went. If you open your mind a little bit and really play with the material, some really good organic stuff can happen.”

While Brandon is sad to see the end of Lulu and Johnny, he is proud of the direction his story line is taking. “This is kind of a dose of real life. On soaps, the medium allows for some really outlandish things to happen. But this was really nice because couples go through this. Couples do break up — some of them get back together again, and some of them never see each other again. I think Johnny and Lulu are great together, so don’t misunderstand me there, but it’s nice to see something real going on, something gritty.”

Now that Johnny and Lulu are over, this leaves the door open for a possible romance with Maxie, a woman who is perhaps better suited to the lifestyle of a potential mobster. Brandon agrees and admits: “Something that attracts Johnny to Maxie is he doesn’t feel like he has to be somebody else for her. Johnny has a kind of a street mentality, and I feel like that attitude comes out more with Maxie than Lulu. I feel like Johnny is always held back with Lulu as far as who he really is.”

Whether Johnny and Maxie will end up as a couple is still up in the air; however, Brandon says: “It’s a lot of fun telling this story. I am not sure what the writers have planned for us.”

He has a suspicion that the mob life is in Johnny’s immediate future, though. “He realizes that no matter how hard he tries to escape it, it catches back up with him. He has known it all of his life and has seen the damage it can do, but at the end of the day, it’s really all he knows.

“The possibility is definitely there for Johnny to get sucked back into the whole thing. Right now he is still grappling with it. I like the edge that Johnny used to be written with, and I am hoping that comes back soon. He definitely has lost a little bit of his edge. I wouldn’t have any qualms about seeing him back in the mob; and I wouldn’t have any qualms about seeing him mess some people up like he used to when he was first introduced in Port Charles.”