Entertainment

Quick Take With Robert Gossett

We haven’t spoken since your very early days on GH. How has it been going for you? “I’m really happy being on this show. When I was first being considered for this job, my agent put me in touch with Mark Teschner, the casting director, and I don’t know if he was trying to sell me on the show — I don’t think he was — but he was saying how nice everyone involved with the show is. And that has never been more true. Everyone — starting with Emma, the security guard I see when I first come on the lot — is just supportive and beautiful. It’s such a good place to work. I wish you could work here! But this work is no joke. It’s work. It’s not easy!”

I imagine you had a particularly intense day at the office when Marshall finally revealed to Curtis that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. “Yeah, that was. It was work. But the writers did such a good job, I must say.”

As you understand it, why was Marshall ready to come clean at last? “I think he’s gotten to a crossroads in his life and he had to decide what was more important. This secret, this shame? I thought about that as I’ve been doing the part. Mental illness, even today, is something a lot of people hide. Would I want someone to know I’m schizophrenic or would I just keep it quiet? People have their own ideas about what that is, and you wind up holding it close to your vest. So, that moment for Marshall was, ‘I’m just going to put it out there and hope you can still love me.’ So, Marshall does that, and thank God, Curtis says, ‘You’re my dad and I still love you now that I know the truth.’ ”

What do you think Curtis’s acceptance means to him in that moment? “It’s a relief, of course. I think it raises the esteem that Marshall has for his son, Curtis. When you are able to lay something that heavy on someone and they respond in a mature, thoughtful, caring way, that’s big. It gives Marshall an appreciation for who his son has become. And not just his son, but TJ, Stella — who his family actually is. He realizes, ‘I am part of this wonderful family and I’ve been hiding this from them for all these years.’ And maybe there is some sort of regret that, ‘I’ve been such a fool to not trust that there was all of this love and understanding and compassion that was always available to me. But in my haste, in my need to protect my family, in my fear of what schizophrenia is, I ran away.’ He ran away from the family in order to protect them from what he thought was ugliness, yet what his family is saying is, ‘We don’t care!’ And that is a wonderful thing for him, to know his family would have accepted him no matter what he may have become.”

What was it like to actually perform the scenes? “I’m a sponge. If I walk in and people ain’t right, they’re kinda cranky or whatever, I feel that, and that kind of affects my work. But here, everyone is so wonderful and supportive and kind and patient that between the words ‘Action’ and ‘Cut’, I just let go. I just do what I do. Between me and the actor, it’s freedom. I’m more free during those times than I am in regular life! I felt free, I felt like I could do whatever came to my mind. Now, I don’t know, the other people might have been thinking, ‘What is this guy doing [laughs]?’ But I had a ball!”


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