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Daniel Kennedy Interview: On His Exit from 'All My Children'

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Daniel Kennedy

Daniel Kennedy was born on October 24, 1983 in Tucson, Arizona, and is best known for his portrayal of the bungling, but sweet nerd Pete Cortlandt on the ABC daytime drama All My Children.

Other than acting, Kennedy loves opera and he became the first student in Juilliard’s history to major in both drama and vocal arts.

“I think we owe it to the fans to at least have a goodbye episode if Pete does indeed leave”

Since Juilliard, Kennedy played Alfred and Horatio in Baltimore’s Center Stage Production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, directed by Irene Lewis.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I think you’re hilarious on All My Children. Have you always known you wanted to be an actor?

Daniel Kennedy: Thank you. My parents say that I did. I don’t have any recollection of this but I used to watch Live from Lincoln Center on PBS and whether it was opera or ballet or a play, I was always really excited about it.

I’d watch that and make my mother speak in an English accent all of the time. I think I used to watch Masterpiece Theatre, too. She stopped using an English accent, so the story goes, and she tells me that I would throw tantrums. So, yeah, I always had a flair for the dramatic.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): So, you never really wanted to do anything but act?

Daniel Kennedy: Not until recently. I guess I always thought I would have to be an actor, but I’ve become more present to the possibility that I really could be anything. It’s just that I told myself when I was little that I had to be an actor … well, that reinforced my reality. But now, I feel like I could be an astronaut if I wanted to.

Daniel Kennedy

Daniel Kennedy (Courtesy of Daniel Kennedy)

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I read that you got your real estate license.

Daniel Kennedy: Yeah, I did. When I started getting fewer episodes on All My Children and we were getting budget cuts, I thought it would be smart to supplement my income. But, I think getting into real estate is just about as dumb as being on a soap opera right now in these economic times.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you on regular contract status now or on recurring?

Daniel Kennedy: I’m on recurring. In fact, my last episode that aired was the Halloween episode.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you know yet about any upcoming episodes?

Daniel Kennedy: No, I don’t. Chuck Pratt wrote me leaving Pine Valley … or something to that effect … without any goodbye episode, without anything like that. I’m sure that’s standard with characters on soap operas.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Well Pratt is gone, so do you think that might change?

Daniel Kennedy: Perhaps. I really don’t know who is responsible for having Pete gone … I’m assuming Chuck Pratt, and leaving him without any official goodbye. I had requested, once I found out about Pete leaving town that there be at least a few episodes leading up to his goodbye.

As you know, Pete’s character is basically defined by his love for Colby, so I thought it was completely out of character for him (after pining after Colby this last year and a half) just to skip town. So, I said, “Mr. Pratt doesn’t normally care about character integrity (laughs) …he’s more into storylines, but I think we owe it to the fans to at least have a goodbye episode if Pete does indeed leave.” But, that wasn’t granted.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Were you asked to go to Los Angeles when the show moves in December?

Daniel Kennedy: No, I was not. As far as I know, I will be in New York City.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Would you be interested in a role on another soap?

Daniel Kennedy: I’m open to it as long as it has me staying in New York City because I’m going to school next semester to finish my degree. So, it works out that I’m staying in New York.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What will be the degree?

Daniel Kennedy: It’s going to be in media.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did you get the role on All My Children, Daniel?

Daniel Kennedy: I auditioned for it. After years of trying to get representation, I got a manager and All My Children was my first audition. After the initial audition there were about three weeks that passed until I got a callback.

It was down to me and a few other guys. I auditioned with (who was then playing Colby) Brianne Moncrief and apparently I was her choice. They asked her whom she liked best and she said, “Daniel.” So I have her to thank for that.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you had any scenes with the girl who has replaced Brianne?

Daniel Kennedy: No, I haven’t, but she seems like a lovely girl and I wish her the best. I do think that the circumstances surrounding Brianne Moncrief being let go is really unfortunate.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What happened?

Daniel Kennedy: She was initially told that she was going to Los Angeles. She is from California so she was really looking forward to going back home and being with her family. She’d also made plans with her fiancée to move there.

Then, a couple of weeks later they took back the offer and in the same week recast her. I guess I would call this one of the most disenchanting things about soap operas – you can be written off so quickly or replaced so quickly.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You joined the cast in July of 2008. Was there an actor (or actors) who took you under their wing to show you the ropes?

Daniel Kennedy: David Canary definitely did. I had so many scenes with him initially – there are some great scenes between him and I. He is a very generous, very lovely man.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did it feel to work with legendary actor James Mitchell?

Daniel Kennedy: I worked on two episodes with him and I wish there were more. But, he is very nice. I have to say that there isn’t a single person at All My Children I haven’t gotten along with or who hasn’t been encouraging.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I would think also that Michael E. Knight would be very encouraging to a young actor.

Daniel Kennedy: Yes he is, very much so. He has a great sense of humor and it shows in his work. We get along because we have a similar sense of humor.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): They probably let him ad lib some – he just seems so naturally funny.

Daniel Kennedy: Oh, I think so, he can definitely take his liberties and it works.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you know if James Mitchell is still acting?

Daniel Kennedy: I believe he’s in Los Angeles so I wouldn’t be surprised if All My Children uses him more often if he’s feeling up to it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Well, you’ve certainly already answered my question as to what is next for Pete!

Daniel Kennedy: (laughs) Well, not much under the old regime, but who knows what this new head writer will do. I’m actually going to correspond with the new head writer (whoever that is) and request that he or she pick up where Chuck Pratt left off even if it’s just a goodbye episode or a story leading up to the goodbye.

I think it’s so out of character for Pete just to leave town after being dedicated to Colby this past year. That just doesn’t make sense, but apparently that didn’t stop Chuck Pratt. That’s probably the reason he got fired (laughs)!

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Were you around when Kelly Ripa was taping scenes for the 40th anniversary to air in January?

Daniel Kennedy: No, but I got to meet her husband, Mark Consuelos. I came by to borrow a suit from my wardrobe and I ran into him in the hall and just said a quick hello. I’ve been watching since I’ve been in kindergarten and that was around the time that he and Kelly was a hot couple on the show.

My mom watched … every day when I came home from school it was on. So, I just told Mark that I’d been watching him for quite some time and, “Nice to meet you.” He was very gracious.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you remember your mom’s first words when you told her you were going to be on All My Children?

Daniel Kennedy: I can’t remember, there might have been screaming. I know it was a shock.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You grew up in Tucson, Arizona. Any siblings?

Daniel Kennedy: I have one sister named Marissa and she’s graduating from the University of Arizona this year with a Degree in Education.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you currently have someone special in your life … are you seeing anyone?

Daniel Kennedy: Oh, I’m a bachelor right now.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is that a confirmed bachelor?

Daniel Kennedy: Um, I’m willing to be surprised, but right now I’m focusing on my next job and school – I’m trying to make those a priority.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I know you were interested in opera at Juilliard. Can you see yourself as a singer or being on Broadway?

Daniel Kennedy: Yes, today, in fact, I have an audition, a callback for a Broadway play, which requires quite a bit of singing. It’s at 2:00 and I haven’t warmed up yet … I was thinking I probably should warm up (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is it a well-known play?

Daniel Kennedy: Yes, but I probably shouldn’t say which one it is because I don’t want to jinx it for myself, but it is.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What are your plans for Thanksgiving, Daniel, to be with family?

Daniel Kennedy: No, I went home about a month ago and saw my family. I was going to go again, but I thought All My Children might be using me for those episodes I had requested, so I set aside time for the next few weeks. But, again, it never happened.

So, I’ll be joining a classmate of mine and having Thanksgiving dinner with her family in D.C.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Well, I appreciate the time today Daniel and wish you luck … or rather break a leg … at the audition today.

Daniel Kennedy: (laughs) Thank you, that’s very nice.

© 2009 Smashing Interviews Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.

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