Valentin Cassadine and Anna Devane’s dynamic has kicked up a notch now that the two have consummated their relationship on General Hospital. Valentin’s portrayer, James Patrick Stuart, talked to Soap Hub about Vanna’s romance and how he and Finola Hughes are appearing soon in New York and Connecticut.
James Patrick Stuart Talks Vanna & Appearances
Soap Hub: Anna [Finola Hughes] and Valentin have come a long way from his early days on the show as a damaged introvert.
James Patrick Stuart: When I first came on six years ago, Valentin was only supposed to be on a short time as that broken soul you saw. The executive producer [Frank Valentini] knew that Finola and I had known each other a long time. We’ve been friends for a while. It made sense to put Valentin in Anna’s orbit, and their relationship has evolved. I love the obsession Valentin had for Anna when he first came on. I find obsessive characters fascinating. I like the idea of playing somebody who never learned how to love, trying to figure it all out on his own.
It can turn into an attachment. I love that irony that Valentin could want someone so badly that he chased it away. That all fed into what Fin and I started to play. The writers picked up on it, as they often do. Working with Fin is great. We like to go for the darker stuff. It just fit. I think that Frank Valentini and the writers very wisely stripped everything away from Valentin — he lost his fortune, his house, his name…it’s that old saying, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Now, Valentin is finding himself in a situation where he finds he’s capable of being authentic without living in fear that he’ll lose himself.
Soap Hub: The bond between Anna and Valentin appeared to strengthen when he shared that Charlotte had been kidnapped by Victor Cassadine [Charles Shaughnessy].
James Patrick Stuart: Anna and Valentin had grown closer. They kissed a bit and were smitten with one another. Then, there was a scene poolside at the Metro Court where he straight up lied to her. You saw that he was going back to his old ways. [Finola and I] rehearsed it and discussed it before. We came to the conclusion that there was another way to play it — she knows he’s lying. That’s who he is. And she knows he knows. It was only a matter of time before he’d have to reveal his daughter was being held from him. Valentin realized that she was someone he could trust with that information. That brought them all the more close.
Soap Hub: I think the audience loves moments like that. They’re likely thinking, ‘Why can’t they be totally 100% honest with one another?’ And, then, they are.
James Patrick Stuart: It’s nice of you to say that. I believe that as well. Elizabeth Korte [GH writer] wrote those scenes where Valentin and Anna were in front of the fireplace before they went upstairs to consummate their passion. We felt as if they were building to that. Those scenes were very important to Finola and me. That part where they said they’d kill each other. That was the moment before they made love. That absolutely gave the audience credit for understanding those characters. On the surface, the [non-soap viewer] wouldn’t get that. You’d ask, ‘Who talks like that?’ But the Vanna fans were on board, and they got that these characters know each other in a way some people may not understand.
Soap Hub: Fans have expressed a concern online that there’s not enough ‘love in the afternoon’ — not like there used to be.
James Patrick Stuart: I’m right there with you. Recently, Fin and I were tongue in cheek — no pun intended — talking about it asking, ‘Wouldn’t this be nice if [Anna and Valentin making love] stoked the fire?’ C’mon Cameron [Mathison, Drew Cain] and Laura [Wright, Carly Corinthos] — your turn! I think love scenes on soaps can be beautiful. They don’t have to be gratuitous or base. Our director Allison [Reames Smith], our lighting department, and camera people were all on board. The feeling was, let’s make this something pretty and funny and sexy — let’s raise the bar a bit. This is what the show is about.
Soap Hub: There’s plenty of reaction to the show online — but there’s nothing like in-person feedback. You and Finola are headed to the East Coast for fan gatherings on Saturday, October 8, on Long Island, and Sunday, October 9, in Newtown, Connecticut. (For information on how you can attend, click here.)
James Patrick Stuart: I think when you go online, you’ll find that people say a variety of things. It’ll be nice to go and meet people in person because this is with fans who are really liking what they’re seeing. It’s going to be celebratory rather than facing the wrath that’s online sometimes. Fortunately, this is going to be a gift for everybody. We do get constructive feedback.
Soap Hub: It sounds like a quick trip. Will you have time for yourself?
James Patrick Stuart: It’s tough to go to New York and leave on the same day. There are too many good restaurants to go to. But we’ll be in town and see some friends.
Soap Hub: Fans gripe that there aren’t enough sets on shows, which is valid, but GH has a stable, the Quartermaine kitchen…and we just saw Anna’s bedroom. One of the GH directors said at the Daytime Emmys that Frank spends money on what people will see on air.
James Patrick Stuart: Frank is the king. I watch how he loves the show in the truest sense of the word. I see the energy he puts into it and the attention to detail. I’m not 100% convinced that the show would be around without him.
General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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