November 24th, 2008  |  Leave a comment

THE BILLY MILLER INTERVIEW – THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

billymain.jpgMICHAEL:

Did you know that you were originally reading for the pivotal role of Billy Abbott on “Y&R” when you auditioned? How do you feel about this new guy you are inhabiting?

BILLY:

It was not quite clear what I was reading for. The jist of the role was definitely someone I know, and definitely a lot of fun. It’s obviously a little less devious than the character I played on “AMC”, Richie. But this guy definitely has got an edge, and he is a bit of a bad boy. It’s fun, but he is a bad boy you might want to take home, but he is not the kind that will slit your throat before you get there. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Billy did show some signs of humanity when his grandmother Katherine had died. He seemed genuinely upset.

BILLY:

It was more than that. It was his grandmother and the one person he can’t BS. Even though he had spent years away from his grandmother, you know he really doesn’t know who he is. He is stuck between two powerful families, and she was really a rock to him and a best friend to his father, and known what he is all about. So it was tough loss for Billy. It was awkward to be in that family home with the family he is about to double cross, and he is conflicted. Which side does he really belong on? With tragedies like ‘Katherine’s’ death, that wakes you up to where you are supposed to be.

MICHAEL:

How has it been working with your new on-screen mom, Jess Walton (Jill)?

jesswalton.jpgBILLY:

She is great. I had researched who I would be working with before I came on the show. Jess is a lot of fun and very helpful. We joke a lot, and Jerry Douglas, who plays my father John, has different sides and different back-stories of who actually was a better parent…Jill or John. He would say in jest, “She did not know anything about you. She is a schemer. I raised you. I loved you,” and it’s a real broken marriage. I love it. It’s great.

MICHAEL:

Elizabeth Hendrickson plays Chloe, and you had both worked on “AMC”. Did you know each other at all from back east?

BILLY:

She had left New York before I got there, and we have become good friends. All my friends that are still there are friends of hers. She is great. Elizabeth is a wonderful actress and she can turn it on and off. She is a lot of fun to hang out with here. Daniel Goddard (Cane) had a quote and I will steal it: “It’s easier to be jerks to each other than acting like that in real life,” otherwise, you don’t know how far you are going to take it. It’s fun, and also, Christel Khalil as Lily, is gorgeous and fun to work with.

MICHAEL:

So, is Billy trying to woo Lily?

elizabeth.jpgBILLY:

Billy not only came back for this Jabot deal, but he is one of those guys when he sees something he is a go-getter. He decides to go chasing and he does. His brother is the object of Billy’s spite. Billy’s last relationship was with his cousin Mackenzie did not work. So he had fun with Chloe, and she is a hot girl! Chloe was a little nutty and Billy is a little nutty, too. He is not a callous guy; he does not kick girls out of bed. He is like, “I am what I am and you are what you are. We pleasantly collided once in awhile with no strings.” But as you get older, those aren’t the rules you can live by.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Billy will soon have a revelation that Chloe is pregnant with his child?

BILLY:

Oh, he will have a revelation and I am not sure which way it will go. There are a lot of problems here. Billy is being pulled in a lot of different directions. He might always not make the best choices. He is in the dark about being the father. It could throw a wrench in all his plans. It certainly would throw a wrench in mine in real life. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

Peter Bergman (Jack) and you certainly have some smug scenes together as the conniving Abbott men. How is working with Peter?

bergman.jpgBILLY:

Peter was a big reason I got this job. I tested with him. He called me in New York to make sure I was being taken care of, because he moved from New York and “AMC” to LA. I also screen-tested with Elizabeth Hendrickson. Peter is like an older brother, and it’s interesting because Jack is more of a father figure to Billy than a brother. And since John is gone, and Jack is so much older, and the two of them are so much alike it’s difficult. Billy could be scummy where he could go down the road, but Jack can be really scummy. However, Jack would never do anything to intentionally hurt his family. Billy knows Jack is holding stuff over his head, and he has to help justify it for himself and carry on.

MICHAEL:

Did you know in advance from “AMC” that they were killing off your character, Richie; therefore, you could go after other roles?

BILLY:

Executive Producer Julie Carruthers at “AMC” explained to me in advance that they were killing off the character, but they wanted to keep him around for awhile and weren’t sure for how long. So I went on about auditioning, and put myself on tape when the “Y&R” role came about. I flew out to LA to test and I was still working on “AMC”. Then I found out I got it, and everyone at the set in New York was happy for the good news! So I went back to “AMC” to finish the role. I think I finished work five days before I had to start work out here. So, I had to move everything back to LA, and I got off the plane and came straight to the studio. I am getting used to these quick moves.

MICHAEL:

How was working with Melissa Claire Egan, who is now doing a fabulous job as your former whacked-out sister, Annie, on “AMC”?

melissa.jpgBILLY:

Melissa was great, and that was my freshman year, you know what I mean. We would tease the hell out of each other, as would Alicia Minshew (Kendall), Rebecca Budig

(Greenlee), Thorsten Kaye (Zach), and Cameron Mathison (Ryan).

MICHAEL:

Do you have any favorite “Richie” moments?

BILLY:

There are days when you go to work, and I take everything personally, not only in my work but in everyday life. There are days I am very competitive and more competitive with myself than anybody else. And there are days when I beat myself because that is not what I wanted to do. And there are days when I feel slightly satisfied, and those are the good days. I am not at the caliber that I am trying to get to. I am very lucky to have a job, but it’s also like a scholarship to learn to hang out with Jess Walton, Jeanne Cooper (Kay) and Peter Bergman (Jack). You should bring your notes and put your study hat on to be a better actor. That’s what I did in New York, and that’s what I am doing here. There are some good moments when I am believable, and there are times when I am bad and it’s not worth watching.

MICHAEL:

Looking back on “AMC”, was Richie a tough role-playing that evil?

BILLY:

People who are bad don’t believe they are bad. There is a lot of vulnerability to Richie, too. Richie was messed up. He was locked up for seven years as a kid.

MICHAEL:

Richie also fell for Babe Chandler, originally played by Alexa Havins. How was working with Alexa?

billyblack.jpgBILLY:

She was great! As soon as I got on the scene, she and her husband Justin Bruening (Ex-Jamie) showed me around, and I screen-tested with her, too. I have yet to see them since I have been out here in LA. Justin is so busy working right now, and he is such a nice guy.

MICHAEL:

How would you compare working at “Y&R” to “AMC”? Are they completely different?

BILLY:

I think there is just an overall difference in energy in New York. LA is a more laid back town, and so much traffic, too. In New York, its go, go, go. I don’t know how that translates. Maybe because I was at “AMC” it was kind of rushed. I thrive on that. I like that. When they give me a call time that was suppose to be an hour earlier, that is the fun stuff. I hate sitting around. The storylines and the pace have more of a rhythm here at “Y&R”, and the storylines are simpler here, more family oriented. You don’t have an outlet here with a character like Richie, although, it was fun to play that. I look at it as; I wish I were less worried about how long I was going to be there. I loved playing Richie’s ghost, and then there was the writer’s strike and how that affected things. When it came to a definitive end, and you knew who the guy was, it takes about a year for all that to materialize. It became fun! Richie, the ghost, was more entertaining then Richie. He was scary, and downright evil, and did not try to hide it. Ritchie’s ghost was actually the alter ego of his sister’s character, Annie, because there was no ghost.

MICHAEL:

Now at “Y&R”, what would you love to see happen to Billy?

BILLY:

I don’t know yet. I am enjoying what they are doing. I would like to play more with Chloe, because the actress is great, and it’s a great character. She is good, and it’s an interesting character. I like this Billy with an edge.

jeanne.jpgMICHAEL:

How has it been to work with Jeanne Cooper (Katherine), who just celebrated her 80th birthday?

BILLY:

She is brilliant, man! Jeanne comes from an era where she had to be really theatrically trained. You see a lot of actors who cut corners in their training. She is so funny and she has earned the right to say whatever comes out of her mouth. Whenever there is a cracked joke, it breaks the ice. She is brilliant, and she knows what she is doing. Jeanne knows what she wants from somebody else. It’s good to have support, not that fluff, going, “That’s great kid.” Jeanne will say much more than that, which is so wonderful.

MICHAEL:

Would you venture off to do primetime, or is daytime a comfortable home for you right now?

BILLY:

The money is always better in primetime. Sometimes you want to build a career, because you never know when it’s going to end. But, there is something about daytime work that is immediate. You get to work everyday. You have a lot of dialog to say, and sometimes in a way other people wouldn’t say it. There is a rhythm and a challenge in soaps, and you don’t get that anywhere else. On primetime sets, you sit around for a few weeks and say a couple of pages. I like daytime because you work all the time. I am a workaholic, and I need to be doing something. If “Y&R” wants to work me everyday, I am here. I have nothing else I would be doing. I am learning everyday.

MICHAEL:

You are taking on the role as a recast of a once popular character on “Y&R”. At least now, enough time has past since David Tom made his mark in the role of Billy Abbott. Does this type of situation cause any hurdles for you as an actor?

BILLY:

This role is a big role. It’s not something to sneeze at! It’s tied into major families and major characters and it’s difficult. I am filling the shoes of several people, including David Tom, who was a fan favorite as Billy. At times, fans can be difficult, but you can understand why. They don’t want to let go of something they had back in the old days. I saw it with Sabine Singh as Greenlee on “AMC”, trying to replace Rebecca Budig. I have been lucky with the feedback. The fans have been nice, so we will see. They are entitled to their opinion. They have watched the show for thirty some years and over 9,000 episodes. So come on, they get to pick what they like, and it’s your job to try and deliver.

billyhand.jpgMICHAEL:

Did you study or watch the other Billy’s work?

BILLY:

I watched it on You Tube because I needed to research the role for the job. I saw David Tom, who did a great job and is a great actor. I just thought being cast off out of your home and being exiled, does put an edge to a person. I wanted Billy’s return to be a more formidable guy, not somebody who would be afraid of Cane.

MICHAEL:

What are your holiday plans?

BILLY:

I am going back to Texas for a bit to see my family. I am staying in LA for Christmas, and get reacquainted with the city, and finish unpacking. I have a dog, Jones, who I will spend time with. My dog is a mix of English American Bulldog and Bull Mastiff… my type of dog. I love big dogs, being from Texas.

MICHAEL:

What do your parents say about your soap opera success?

BILLY:

They are very happy, and it’s paying off, and it’s fun. I am very lucky, and persistence can pay off. My dad is a huge 260 lbs Texas guy. He has “Soap Opera Digest” in his briefcase for work and he goes, “Looky here! This is my son. He is on TV, kissing all those pretty girls!”

  1. natalie says:

    does billy have a girlfriend!!?? LOL

    Reply

  2. bmfan says:

    I think he said before that he was dating somebody, but I could be wrong. He is so hot.

    Reply

  3. Julie says:

    Oh man Billy you are HOT HOT HOT and SEXY SEXY SEXY

    Reply

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