Back in the day, I was obsessed with “General Hospital,” like all of my schoolmates. We’d race home after the last bell rang to follow the stories of Luke and Laura, Robert and Holly, and then Frisco and Felicia. This is going to age me, but who doesn’t remember listening to Frisco serenading Felicia with “Lady of My Heart”?
I got a chance to chat with Jack Wagner when I visited the set of Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart.” Wagner plays Forensic Constable (that’s an early 1900s version of “CSI”) Bill Avery on the show.
The Season 2 finale of “When Calls the Heart” airs Saturday, June 13 at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel.
Can you tell me about what’s happening with Bill this season?
They’ve given Bill a little bit of a dark side, which is great. They wanted to have him not be one note – more of noble savior – so he’s working on a case that brings up a lot of question marks about him, the way he handles it. He also has a past that comes to haunt him a little bit. That’s what’s so good about this season – we’re revealing that part about him.
He has real conflict with Abigail; he’s in the middle of a situation with a wife that had disappeared when he lost his son. It’s about telling that backstory and justifying any behavior and then again, what do you do with this guy? He’s become a little bit of John Wayne. He’s a man’s man and at the same time, we’re seeing a little color to him.
How do you like being in a period piece?
I love period pieces. When you get the wardrobe, everything, I think it always helps actors to feel a little different. There’s a certain etiquette and properness about this period. A sophistication moving back into Hamilton.
What do you think about the Hearties, and how do they compare with your soap fans? Have you met a lot of Hearties?
A handful. Just by Twitter, etc. There’s a real loyal “General Hospital” core fan base that were Frisco and Felicia fans. I think the Hearties are very much like those fans – loyal, really dedicated…opinionated. It’s great!
I watched “General Hospital” back in the day, and I loved those characters.
I just know by Twitter … I don’t want to call them diehards, but when you’re that age and you grow up with this romantic couple, it’s almost like hearing a song that reminds you of those feelings back then. I think that has a lot to do with it.
What’s it like working again with Kristina [Wagner, his ex-wife]? You guys seem to have a great rapport and relationship.
It’s very interesting. The first day, I must say, it was a little awkward at the beginning. We’re not Frisco and Felicia – this is a whole new deal here, right? It’s gotten a lot more comfortable, it’s really great to collaborate on the material. I find it to be like a new ride, and I’m really grateful for it.
Now I know you guys are divorced, but obviously, you’re still co-parents [to Harrison and Peter]. You still seem to have a great relationship/friendship. What’s your secret, if you will? Is it a mutual respect for one another? Something else?
I think Kristina and I … I think we have a deep love for one another. I love her to death, and I think she feels the same way. The fact that we’re not married really doesn’t change that. That’s what it is. We love each other, respect each other, have gotten past what didn’t work, and now really just appreciate each other for who we are.
Everyone on the cast seems to be musically inclined somehow. You and Dan [Lissing] sing and play guitar, Erin [Krakow] sings, Mark [Humphreys] plays the drums. Are you guys going to form a band?
We’re going to call ourselves The Hearties! Lori and Erin will be background, Kristina will be the dancer, we got it all worked out.
Do you guys ever get a jam session going?
Never. We’re too busy. And with our storylines, we’re not all together very often.
Are there any storylines you hope to see on the show?
I think triangles are great, given what we unveil about Bill’s past and being married or not. I just kind of do what I’m told. I do have input and I do give my opinion and tweak dialogue here and there, but I think the stories they’ve been writing so far have been good, so I just mind my business and it seems to work out. Anywhere in life, when I mind my own business, things seem to work out better!
I know you’re a big golfer, but what else do you do when you have the time?
I still tour. I still do concert dates. I still get out five or six times a year with my band. I just released a CD last year.
If you weren’t playing Bill Avery on the show, which character would you most like to play?
Favorite book or book you’re reading right now.
First celebrity crush?
Probably Farrah Fawcett.
My veggie egg white omelette I make every day.
Movie you can watch over and over again?
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Coffee or tea?
The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”
And finally … am I all that you really need?
[chuckles] Yes, you are!
PHOTOS: Jack Wagner in Season 2 of Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” | Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter