Monday, October 29, 2007

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: TONY CRAIG (DRAPER; EON) PART #2

In Part #1 of our interview, Tony Craig talked about how he got the role of Draper and what he's been doing since leaving it. In Part #2, we discuss his years on the mystery soap.

PGP: The AOL/PGP Classic Soaps Channel is about to start showing your biggest storyline - Draper's trial for the murder of Margo, his subsequent escape, amnesia, and the relationship with Emily while poor April suffers back home.

TC: That was the ultimate storyline for me. That went on for over a year. It only ended when people wrote in and said, "We hate Emily. You can’t let him sleep with her!" And so, as a result, I ended up going back to April. And then we had the whole thing at the amusement park. It was enormous. It was the most fun I ever had.

PGP: Draper's escape after the train carrying him to prison crashes was a lot like The Fugitive. Only on a fraction of the budget and in much less time. How was that effect done?

TC: You wouldn't believe me if I told you. It was all done on the soundstage. They had stock footage of a railroad car. They did everything in close-up, and they had me wandering in about six square feet of artificial trees. I told the director, "Just get a couple of cameras and follow me around, and I won’t go outside this perimeter." And sure enough, that’s what he did. We shot it all in one take on one soundstage with artificial trees and smoke pots. That’s all we did. I was so concerned about not getting out of the camera line and giving them as much as I could in terms of the movement, because it had to seem like I was going for miles, when I was only going six square feet, around and around. I guess when you’re young you can do anything. They ask you to do it and you say, "Sure. What the hell? I’ll do it!"

PGP: You mentioned the amusement park climax to the Emily story. That was shot on location?

TC: We got to ride all the rides all night long. The one thing I remember is that I was deadly sick. I had strep throat and a bronchial infection. I was so sick that night. But they’d booked the amusement park, it was costing them an enormous amount of money, plus they’d trucked everybody out sixty miles, so I had to do it. And I got soaking wet. We shot all night and then I remember I had to be back on the set the next morning at nine o’clock. It wasn't so bad. When you’re young! And it was all so exciting. I enjoyed every single second of it.

PGP: Have you watched yourself on EON since leaving the show?

TC: My best friend here in New York, his daughter, who was not even born when I was on the show, was on YouTube and she came across some episodes.

PGP: What's it like to see yourself?

TC: I don’t recognize myself. I was also in Tootsie and I looked at myself and I was so thin and my hair was so black. Honestly, it looks like a different person. I've heard other actors say that and it’s true. I was a different person. Everything about me has changed. Physically and emotionally. I don’t recognize him.

PGP: Do you keep in touch with any of your EON co-stars?

TC: Oh, yes. At least once a year we have a little mini-reunion here. Terry Davis (April) and her husband, Andy Weyman, who directed the show, come into the city. I got to dinner with Maeve McGuire (Nicole) every couple of months; we went to three shows this summer. She comes into the city from Maine where she lives. Ernie Townsend (Cliff) is a principal now in a high school in New York and we see him. Forrest Compton (Mike), too. We either have a party or a lunch. Retired soap actors are a very tight knit community.

2 comments:

jellisspear said...

Loved hearing Tony's story! I remember Edge very well and miss it to this day!

Tracy Rademaker said...

Do you keep in touch with Jayne Bentzen. She is one of my favorite characters and actors from the show.