Fans of As the World Turns last saw Scott Bryce back in 1994 in the role of anti-hero Craig Montgomery, the role he originated in 1982. Since then, Craig has been played by Hunt Block and Jeffrey Meek. Block had started to gain fan favor as Craig, but then left to pursue other things. Poor Meek never really took off with fans Craig's story line is a big part of ATWT.
What's a show to do? Call in the original!
"It all happened so fast," Bryce says. "I got a call from Chris Goutman (executive producer of ATWT), and he asked me to meet him for coffee. I thought he was going to offer me a directing job. Instead, he asked if I would like to come back to the show as Craig. So I went home and asked my 4-1/2-month-old son, 'Should I take this?' He smiled at me, so I said yes to the offer."
The offer came at a great time. During Scott's time off from the show, he wasn't resting on his laurels. He had a regular role on the cult hit show Popular during its run, along with numerous guest-starring roles on such shows as Judging Amy, ER, Reba and Law & Order, as well as a short stint on One Life to Live. He had recently been working on a show called Waterfront with Joe Pantoliano, which was canceled before it even aired - which is too bad because early word was that it was going to be a good show.
So, it was during this brief lull in Scott's career that ATWT came a-calling. When Scott came back, he explains: "It felt like I had amnesia for 12 years. When I left, everyone loved me; now they hate me. I was like, 'What's going on?'"
His first few days were not like riding a bike. "It was awkward at first. My first episode was like a deer in the headlights. Thank goodness my first scenes were with Liz Hubbard (Lucinda Walsh). It's always fun sparring with Liz. But it's been a long time since I was this character - so much has happened with him. I had a three-hour crash course to catch me up on what has been going on with Craig."
Also, the actual production aspect has changed since Scott's previous experience on the set. "I had to adjust to the new reality that there's not as much production time. Homework and preparation are extremely important. There literally is no rehearsal, it's 'Let's go!'" Not that Scott is complaining. Before, he might have had to work into the night, or even into the wee hours of the morning. Now, Scott gets home at dinnertime and actually has time to spend with his family, which is very important to him.
Many fans are eager to see Scott's return to the role of Craig because he humanised the character. He doesn't just want to be the dastardly villain who twirls his mustache as he plots out his evil machinations. Craig is who he is because of "his desperate need and desire to excel, to improve, to find love. You have to find the substance and the reason behind the action. Deep inside, what are his deep vulnerabilities? He was a bad boy who was cured by love and family. Now his family has disintegrated, his son died.Everything he thought he could live by was pulled out from under him; now he doesn't trust."
Scott's history with the show and long-term knowledge of the families and people involved should serve to bring a wealth of back story to the role. "As long as we stick to the core of relationships and family - which is what this show is about - we'll be all right. I need to find the humanity that propels Craig's villainy."
Scott sums up Craig perfectly with: "He's not the character you love to hate; he's the character you hate to love."
- Cindy Elavsky