Deep Soap: Terri Colombino On Austin Peck’s Departure and As The World Turns’ Future

by | September 8, 2009 at 7:10 AM | Deep Soap

Terri Colombino (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Terri Colombino (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Terri Colombino has played Katie on As The World Turns for the past dozen years. She has played everything from wacky stories about being stuck on an island to realistic plotlines about divorce and infertility. Colombino phoned me from co-star Michael Park’s (Jack) house, where their kids were having a playdate. The actress spoke candidly about As The World Turns’ uncertain future, the impending departure of co-star Austin Peck (Brad), the return of Paul Leyden (Simon) and her brand new horror movie.

[Editor's Note: Due to yesterday's holiday, today's Deep Soap is running today]

There are a lot of rumors about Brad being written off ATWT. Are they true? How do you feel about his departure?

He is being written out. I’m upset of course because I think he’s such an asset to the show. The story that comes out of it, however, is really one of the best stories that we’ve had in years, I think. It affects so many characters throughout the show and really gives them something to work with.

The rumor is that Jack will kill Brad.

I don’t know where that came from. I guess there are grains of truth in everything but that’s not exactly [it]. It doesn’t even matter what people are saying because the way it unfolds is going to be so amazing to watch. I wish that no spoilers ever came out. Remember “who shot J.R.?” If you knew that he was going to be shot, but didn’t know who did it, how fun is that? You’d be like, “well we still don’t know who did it.” It takes away from the experience. I think that may be one of the reasons that soaps aren’t doing so well anymore. You know too much. You should just watch it and experience it.

This is a scary time for everyone who works in daytime. In a few months, after All My Children moves to L.A, ATWT and One Life To Live will be the only New York soaps. Does that feel weird?

Yeah. Within a year it went from four to two. It used to be New York was the place for daytime shows. Now it’s slowly dwindled down. I think that’s really sad. New York is so expensive but I can’t imagine that it’s not going to be extremely expensive to move an entire production to the West Coast.

When CBS executive Nina Tassler publicly stated to the Television Critics Association that As The World Turns’ future was uncertain, did that scare everyone who works on the show?

We’ve been hearing for years the rumors but when you hear it being said in a venue like that, it’s like, “Maybe it’s not just a rumor.” We are aware of it. We’ve been picked up through next September. They used to do five years at a time and then two and now it’s just one. So we’re all kind of just looking at it as out last year, go out with a bang. Maybe that will save it and we’ll get another couple years. At least we have a warning. They all called us down the day that Guiding Light was canceled before anyone knew. They said, “Will everyone please come to the studio floor.” Everyone was like, “Oh my God. We’re getting canceled.” People started crying, freaking out. We get down there and they said, “We have some good news and bad news. The bad news is Guiding Light got canceled. The good news is we still have another year. So take that opportunity and do something with it and just be thankful that I’m not telling you right now that we’re the ones being canceled.” At least we have a year. At least we know we can do this for one more year.

The show was going through a rough patch, where most of the fans online were unhappy with it. Then over the past month, suddenly it’s much better.

I think that’s what did it. The stories that are coming out are just really back to basics, just good storytelling: families, tragedy, love. All of that good stuff that [makes] people come back for more. I think they got too far into trying something new and trying to reinvent the wheel. These shows have been on forever. Just do what you’ve always done. People will keep coming.

That’s what the fans have been saying all along. ATWT has also brought in a lot of new characters in the past year. Some of them are great. But the fans want to see Kim.

I know. That’s the tough part. Actually Mary Clay Boland our casting director just won an Emmy which I think is really well deserved because she has brought in some really great actors. I’m one for sticking with the core characters but every now and then bringing in some nut job like Henry’s mother is great. They work so well together. It’s fun.

One of the big news stories of the Emmys is that Tom Pelphrey is joining As The World Turns. Is his character going to be interacting with Katie?

I have no idea. He hasn’t started yet. I don’t know who he’s playing or who he’s going to be working with. I was shocked when I found out.

Have you heard any rumblings of other Guiding Light actors or characters joining ATWT?

I haven’t heard anything and I’ve been asking because I was wondering. They did that with Another World, brought on some characters to try to get that audience. I’m like, “Do we get a little Zimmer?”

Katie has had a lot of different careers. Which one was your favorite?

The detective agency, the Early Bird Surveillance, with Henry was pretty fun because we got to do comedy and mystery at the same time and I love working with Trent [Dawson.] Of course I love Oakdale Now. That’s always fun because they did a whole thing where they were bringing on celebrities for one day to do the show. We had Sandra Lee doing a cooking segment. Football player Phil Finn came on for a day. The workout thing, not so much.

Katie and Henry have one of the most entertaining friendships on television. What makes you and Trent Dawson click together so well on camera?

We just love each other and respect each other so much. We just had a scene the other day and it got really intense. He just hugged me and said, “I trust you more than anyone to work with.” That was the best compliment ever because he is so deeply talented. It always looks like it comes so easy to him but it doesn’t. He really works on it and he appreciates it when you work with him and just let it go and have fun and be open. I trust him implicitly, too. The best gift you have as an actor is to have someone you can trust. Then great things happen. It’s difficult to be in that vulnerable place. He really, really taught me how to trust myself with the comedic stuff. Ever since then we’ve been able to do both and mix the two. He always puts in so many layers. He always played that he was in love with Katie even though they hadn’t written that at the beginning. Then they ended up writing it because you could just feel it with him and that made it so interesting.

It’s hard to believe that Katie has been in Oakdale for 12 years. It seems like just yesterday she was losing her virginity to Simon in the backseat of a car.

I know! And I love Paul Leyden. He’s coming back for a little while.

He is? When is that going to happen?

He’s filming in the next month and we’re about two months ahead so it’s not going to probably air until around Christmas. There’s a horror film he wrote that’s coming out [in January] that’s called The Factory. It stars John Cusack.

Wow. That sounds like a major movie.

Yeah. Joel Silver produced it.

You also have a new movie coming out, on DVD.

It’s the IMurders. I shot it about a year and a half ago. We’re very happy that it has found its home.

What is the movie about? Who are you playing?

I play Sandra Wilson who is one of five people who communicate through a chat room. It examines the relationships that happen on-line. These people can be some of your closet friends, but you’ve never met in person or had any contact or experiences together other than on-line and how you may not really know people as well as you think you do and you’re really not as anonymous as you think you are either. So, horror ensues. Be careful who you think you know.

Who is scarier: the villain in IMurders or Henry’s mother, Audrey?

Definitely the villains in our movie, although she would fit in just perfectly.

So many As The World Turns alumnae have become movie stars, including Meg Ryan and Julianne Moore. If the worst happens with the show, are you considering moving to Hollywood to pursue a film career?

That’s always been my focus. I probably wouldn’t move there because my family’s here now and I love New York. There’s good work here, too. My dream is to be bicoastal.

Any fun Emmy memories from this year?

It was a very odd Emmys. Seeing Big Bird walk right past me was pretty cool. It was kind of sad. It felt kind of like the last hurrah, though I hope that we have a resurgence.

Watch full episodes of As The World Turns here on Fancast.