Curtis Ashford was a bit of a mystery when he arrived in Port Charles in November of 2015 despite being the former brother-in-law to the police commissioner, Jordan Ashford, and the uncle to her son, TJ. He started out as a private detective hired by Hayden Barnes to find out who was trying to kill her and clear Shawn Butler’s name. Actor Donnell Turner recalls his first day on the set of General Hospital.
Donnell Turner: Shaping A Shady Character
Turner fielded fan questions at a recent Zoom event hosted by Coastal Entertainment. The first question on their minds was did the actor remember his first day on the set and who was in the scene with him?
It may have been eight years ago, but Turner recalled Curtis’s debut like it was yesterday. “I remember my first day on set, I was supposed to be a scruffy, unsavory character. Kind of dirty and unpredictable,” he shared. “My first scene was with Rebecca Budig, who played Hayden.”
The actor described how the character was written in the script. “When we first saw Curtis, he was sitting at a bar, and he had a cigar. They had me smoking a cigar,” he said incredulously. “They told me when they hired me to keep my beard and, you know, my earrings and my swag is what they said. But, they were also trying to make me scruffy.”
Things don’t always play out as written on a page. “So when I showed up,” he said, “I just groom myself the way I normally do, and Rebecca had the funniest line. She was about to say her line, something like, ‘You’re scruffy and disheveled, and I can’t trust you,’ but she couldn’t say the line. She says, ‘Look at this man, he looks like a model.’”
The Revisioning Of Curtis Ashford
Often things change on the fly during the production of daytime dramas when a scene just doesn’t work as written. “So, the writers came out,” he continued, sharing how they addressed the problem. “We changed the words on the fly. It was really funny. I think at that moment, Curtis was changed, and I told them that I don’t smoke cigarettes and I don’t really want to promote, you know, tobacco use with my character. I don’t think that’s what Curtis is here for.”
Turner mused at how his GH journey began. “It was just something that I can’t forget that, you know, this guy was a cigarette-smoking scruffy guy, and we changed lines on the fly that day.” The rest is history.