Jon Lindstrom offers insight into his portrayal of Craig, whether or not he would return to ‘GH’ and the east coast approach to working on a soap in this exclusive TVSource Magazine interview.
Jon Lindstrom first appeared as Craig Montgomery in 2008, a character with a long standing history on CBS’ As the World Turns. Prior to joining the east coast based ‘World Turns,’ Jon entertained fans as Ryan Chamberlain (1992-1995) and Dr. Kevin Collins (1994-1997) on ABC’s General Hospital and Port Charles (1997-2003). Lindstrom appeared on Santa Barbara as Mark McCormick from 1985 to 1986. Along with being an accomplished actor, Jon has a talent for writing screen plays, directing films, and a passion for music.
TVSource Magazine was given the opportunity to conduct an interview with this talented, multifaceted entertainer. Our interview with Jon Lindstrom gave some insight as to feelings on on his character, time spent on General Hospital and how music and film directing fulfill his New York City lifestyle.
TVSource Magazine: How did you land the role of Craig on ATWT?
Jon Lindstrom: Just by answering the phone. I didn’t even know they were looking to recast the part. I was living in LA and most jobs are cast locally these days so I don’t even think it was generally known out West that the show was looking. It was kind of like getting a great price on a house before it goes on the market.
TVS: Stepping into the role of Craig, you followed actors like Scott Bryce and Hunt Block — men who put their personal touch and flair on this complex character with a long history. What, if any, were your expectations going into this new role?
JL: I knew there would be expectations of me, certainly by longtime viewers. But I also knew the writers and producers did NOT want to go backwards. Any time you recast a role with another actor who is known from something else there is going to be a change in perception of the character himself. I just tried to make it my own and not be influenced by those guys, who are real aces by the way.
TVS: Lynn Herring and Stuart Damon have joined you on ATWT. How does it feel to have the “PC gang” back together again on ATWT?
JL: You mean “GH/PC gang” don’t you? :) I had done GH for 5 years before the 6 years I did PC and all with Lynn and Stu. They’re great people to begin with and we share good memories so of course it’s a pleasure to have them with me.
TVS: Craig’s been a villain at various points during his time in Oakdale — including your introduction to the show. How would you describe him?
JL: I think he’s a man who traveled many miles and far away on the belief that he only paid a price for doing what he thought was right for everyone. But after a while out there waking up with no one to turn to, just himself in the mirror, he truly had to reassess his actions and take stock of the consequences. I believe he has a huge capacity for love but also for villainy, even evil if that really exists, but I think his effort to do the right thing is genuine. Whether it works for him in the end remains to be seen. It makes for a great character to play that’s very layered and interesting.
TVS: What do you enjoy most about portraying Craig?
JL: Being able to do it my way. I’m not being facetious. I truly enjoy getting a script now and saying to myself, “I know what to do with this” or “this I can run with and take a few chances” without having to ask a bunch of questions about the history of the show or Craig.
TVS: Do you like playing Craig the way he is or do you hope for more character development in the future?
JL: I always hope for character development. It’s a story; tell it any way that works best, man!
TVS: Name one thing you would change about your character and why.
JL: He’s a terrific plotter. I would love to have him conjure a very elaborate “plot” to show everyone up if things don’t go his way, vis-a-vis Rosanna and Carly. Only because I don’t believe his “change for the better” is as deep as he’s letting on. There’s always a chance the “old” Craig will surface. That’s not really a change, it’s just taking it further in a new context from before and that I’d want only because it’s dramatic and involving.
TVS: Will Craig be involved with Lynn Herring’s character Audrey and her story?
JL: Of course…but you’ll have to watch!
TVS: What’s it like working with your ‘World Turns’ co-stars — specifically Maura West, Cady McClain and Michael Park?
JL: Having never been a “New York Actor,” and I use that as a noun on purpose, I had never really experienced the kind of East Coast/New England approach to the work as I have here. Cady, Michael and Maura have been working in this city for a long time and bring with them a total professionalism that I appreciate and frankly did not encounter as often in LA. There’s always an understanding among us that we are there for the work, and then we go live our lives. Having no agenda other than doing the job right alleviates all the other crap that can get in your way and negatively affect the work. This work is hard, and therefore anything that messes with your concentration is unwelcome. But there is a way to stay focused and have a good time doing it if you all are playing the same song. It’s almost like being in a rock band again; we all know our instruments and how to play them. You work together but the drummer should never play riffs over the lead guitarist’s solo. It’s bad form.
TVS: If you could switch characters with one of your fellow cast mates, who would it be and why?
JL: None. I like what I’m doing. And I like what they do. I couldn’t do it better. I mean, could you really see me trying to do “Henry”?
TVS: Fans were surprised you joined ‘ATWT’ as Craig instead of returning to ‘General Hospital’ Kevin. For you, is the door still open for Kevin to return to ‘GH’ at some point? Would you jump at the chance to go back as Kevin (if you weren’t working on ATWT)?
JL: Coincidentally, I wound up walking a picket line with a few of the GH writers during the long strike (I’m a big Guild supporter) and that opened the door to start talking about returning to the show. I only had one requirement: I did not want to go backwards. And they (one terrific writer, really) came up with a great idea that I would have done (I won’t tell you about it here) had the timing been right for everyone. Turns out it wasn’t. So, I suppose I wouldn’t count out ever going back to GH — under the right circumstances. But I’m an actor, and therefore an “artist” (if you’ll forgive that bit of pretension) and I don’t believe artists should revisit a theme or style just because some people want you to. You should follow your own growth and mine brought me to Craig Montgomery. A lot of people want Woody Allen to make only comedies, but he’s given us so much more than that.
TVS: Do you still keep in touch with John J. York? Do the two of you ever reminisce about your Norma and Eve days on GH?
JL: I talk to John now and again. I consider him a good friend. But shaving our legs is something we’d probably rather forget. And I don’t think I can still do my Cher impression.
TVS: To many fans, you you will always be Kevin Collins & Ryan Chamberlain. How difficult was it to play the dual roles? Did you enjoy it?
JL: Twins are never easy for any actor — or writer, for that matter. I’m happy I am remembered for doing it, since it was such an uphill climb to get the work done and I think it was about the best version of that in the medium. So intelligently written and presented. But it’s double duty, and even one role a day is tough. It would be easy for me to say that memorizing the dialogue was the hardest part of it all, but it wasn’t. The scenes where I was essentially talking to “myself” were certainly taxing, but it was finding ways to differentiate them that was really the challenge. The audience had to feel like two different people were relating to each other. Creating little quirks that could be repeated as peculiar to one or the other, that’s hard.
TVS: In your opinion, what was it that made your most your pairings with Julie Pinson (Eve, PC) and Lynn Herring (Lucy) so popular with the fans?
JL: Personally I believe that if you really enjoy what you are doing, that makes it 80% easier for the audience to enjoy it, too. I love Julie. I love Lynn. They’re both close friends of mine and I found it easy to go as far as we could together because, like the people here at ATWT, we were pros about it. I don’t mean to brag, but we were. We imposed standards on ourselves and tried to live up to them. Give them your best. If you don’t they’ll know it and they won’t watch.
TVS: Besides being an accomplished actor, you have a passion for music. Has being a musician always been a part of your life?
JL: It has. For most of my life just being in a band was very important to me and The High Lonesome kept that part of me satisfied for 10 years or so. Here in New york I keep my electric drums set up so I can wail away and not be evicted.
TVS: You direct short films and write screenplays. Do you have any projects coming up or soon to be released?
JL: I’m going to shoot a short film in September that’s been gestating awhile. I love making shorts. I acted in one last year called “The Sacrifice” that’s been doing very well at festivals. We went to see it at the Holly Shorts Festival in Hollywood, where it won the Audience Choice award, and we were amazed at the quality of the films in competition. We decided that short films are the new “indies.”
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