James Patrick Stuart is coming up on his 8th year of playing Valentin Cassadine on General Hospital. The actor has seen a lot of growth in his TV alter-ego during this time. He’s got a clear grasp on who Valentin is no matter what the writers hand him. However, that wasn’t always the case!
James Patrick Stuart: Valentin’s Day
When Stuart debuted on the show, he wasn’t going by the name Valentin Cassadine. Viewers knew him as “Theo Hart,” a local fisherman who encountered a contingent of Port Charles citizens including Laura (Genie Francis), Kevin (Jon Lindstrom), Sam (Kelly Monaco), and others, who were searching for a missing Nikolas.
“I was supposed to be on for ten days,” Stuart recently shared at a GH Convention Q&A. “I grew a mustache for it and everything. I was playing ‘Theo.’ and I show up [one day to play the reveal], and I said [to everyone], ‘That’s right! I’m Valentine Cassadine!'”
What’s In A Name?
Oops. Stuart inadvertently added an “e” to the end of Valentin, which changed the pronunciation of his handle. Not surprisingly, the actor was curious as to why the action came to a halt. “Cut!” Stuart recalls hearing after he flubbed his character’s name. “Everyone in the scene is just staring at me,” he recollects.
James Patrick Stuart: Getting the 411
Who informed Stuart that he’d made an error? None other than GH executive producer Frank Valentini. “You hear Frank…[say,] ‘Nobody told him how to say his name?'” Once it was established that Theo was indeed the mysterious Valentin, Stuart’s story exploded. Viewers learned that he’d had a secret past with Anna Devane (Finola Hughes). The two made peace with that, which has allowed them to share a romance that has become immensely popular with the show’s viewers.
Valentin had a complicated lineage. At first, he was believed to have been the son of the late Mikkos (John Colicos), but eventually, it was revealed that Helena (Constance Towers) and Victor (Charles Shaughnessy) were his mom and dad.
Towers reprised her role as Helena last month when Valentin imagined his mother coming to him while he was in a drug-induced state. In Valentin’s imagination, Helena taunted her son. “That [was] great,” recalls Stuart, who adds with a grin, “Whenever I open the script and see that she’s coming to work, and I know it’s going to be a bad day for me.” And by “me,” Stuart means, of course, Valentine, er, Valentin!