Shhh… Much like GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Nikolas, Marcus Coloma spent his first days in Port Charles in hiding. “A lot of the cast didn’t know who I was, so I was kind of sneaking around the dressing rooms and hair and makeup” departments, he told Soaps In Depth. “People glanced at me but didn’t really know who I was. Then, slowly, as the weeks rolled out, there were rumors about who I was and what I was doing there. It was pretty funny, because it was definitely life mirroring art.”
With Nikolas’ return from the dead shrouded in secrecy, “I literally was not able to talk about this to anyone,” revealed the actor. “My mom found out when the mask came off — and she was a fan of Luke and Laura! I knew she would flip her lid. She’ll watch anything I’m in, obviously, but it’s exciting to be in something she’s actually been a fan of!”
With 20 years of credits to his name, Coloma has done his fair share of primetime shows. And while he admits he “foolishly passed” on a few daytime opportunities in 2004, a recent trip abroad changed his perspective. “I was in Australia, and they were playing a soap opera — and I had no idea they were so far-reaching,” he marveled. “And then this Uber driver told me about how this actor came and she got to drive him. She wasn’t talking about Brad Pitt — her highlight was meeting a soap-opera actor! It’s pretty cool to see that effect across the world. And sure enough, I came back and, two days later, got an E-mail saying they were interested in me for the role.”
At that point, however, he had no idea that the role was Nikolas. “He was described as a charming, dark character — which I got excited about,” Coloma admitted. “A lot of the things I’ve done in the past have been the nice guys. But this year, I was really focusing on these dark, emotional characters. I was reading One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and watching The Shining. It all kind of led up to the strange moment of being on the set and getting to explore all of these ideas I’ve been toying with!”
Once Coloma learned who he was playing, of course, the pressure was on. “This is such an iconic character,” said the recast (who follows Tyler Christopher, Stephen Martines and Nick Stabile in the role). “I had mixed feelings. It’s really hard to fill somebody else’s shoes… but what an exciting, rich, complex character. His backstory and history, with the family line? It’s very interesting.”
Coloma’s first step in preparing to take over as Nikolas was to research the Cassadines — and he went all the way back to the beginning. “I’ve watched hours and hours of GH, and I really love Mikkos Cassadine,” he grinned. “I enjoyed his power and the idea of this family orchestrating what’s going on in the world. Mikkos created this legacy that, to this day, has such an impact on the world. And then, obviously, Luke and Laura and my dad, Stavros. That whole storyline was complicated. There have been so many phenomenal actors on the show, and what I love is watching them put themselves believably in these situations that are so hard to deal with.”
Since the first day he walked onto the set, Coloma hasn’t stopped watching and learning. “I’m just blown away by how professional and good the writers, producers, directors, and everybody involved is,” he raved. “And the actors on the show are so compelling.”
But there’s one aspect of his latest gig that the Port Charles newcomer especially appreciates. “The thing I really dig about the show is how passionate people are about it,” he said. “Executive producer Frank Valentini is the same way, and that enthusiasm is contagious. Coming to GH was so the right decision, and I’m so lucky to be working with these people.”
For more from your favorite GH stars, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine
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