When Jon Lindstrom joined GENERAL HOSPITAL as Ryan Chamberlain in May of 1992, “I was supposed to play what I call a surgical-strike villain,” he confided to Soaps In Depth. “I was hired to come in, create a wedge between Mac and Felicia, and then be exposed as the psycho-killer stalker. I figured I’d work till the end of the summer, pay off some credit-card bills and be on my way.” Instead, “they just couldn’t get rid of me,” he chuckled. “It became evident we had some gold, so why get rid of it?
Of course, it was good twin Kevin who actually got to stick around. After taking down his brother, the psychiatrist became a beloved character, helped launch GH spin-off PORT CHARLES and then fell for Laura. “Genie Francis and I were both blindsided by that,” Lindstrom admitted. “She said, ‘I thought that whole thing of getting paired up was long behind me. Then they go surprise us with this!’ It was a big vote of confidence. Listen, if you’re going to hitch your wagon to anybody, Laura Spencer is a great one!”
After a quiet year in Port Charles, Lindstrom is thrilled to be once again sharing the screen with his leading lady… and with himself! “I forgot how much I enjoyed playing Ryan — and those Kevin/Ryan scenes,” he marveled. “After shooting the other day, Genie looks at me and says, ‘Are you going to miss Ryan when this is done?’ Yes, I am — which is strange. You’re talking about a serial killer… but he has become one of the great villains of daytime, hasn’t he?”
Lindstrom has a theory about why that is, too. “Ryan’s not some raving, drooling, two-dimensional villain,” he noted. “I have to give kudos to the writers for being careful to make sure his intelligence is intact. He knew, for example, if he was ever going to be able to take over his brother’s life, he had to become a psychiatrist, to some degree. So he’s prepared himself. That’s the kind of killer he is. Very smart and very prepared. I just love that.” At the same time, Lindstrom isn’t just playing the killer — he’s playing Ryan playing Kevin! “The only time Ryan is himself with his guard down is when he talks to Kevin,” the actor explained. “He’s starting to loosen up with Ava, but he still has to keep up a certain amount of facade. He has to be extremely careful.”
For all his maniacal plotting, Ryan is desperate for a partner — in love and crime. “Unlike Kevin, Ryan never had the kind of nurturing he needed when it was most important, so he craves that attention now,” Lindstrom suggested. “But what he would equate as love is that simpatico of revenge.” Which is why his gaze has shifted away from sweet Felicia to a blonde with a much darker dark side. “Oh, Ava’s just his type!” Lindstrom winked. “She has this credo of living that Ryan can get behind. She’s all the things he thought Felicia could have been, personified.
“And she’s love-starved,” he continued. “She needs some TLC. It’s just… in what form does that come? That’s where the danger of it all lies. Sooner or later, she’s going to see something in him that lets her know this guy is dangerous in a way she’s never seen before. It doesn’t matter how bad D.A. Hornsby was — Ryan Chamberlain’s a whole new low! The question is, how much alike are he and Ava, really… and how far is she willing to go?”
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