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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

‘General Hospital’ Star Robert Palmer Watkins Gets Gritty With Latest Role in ‘Last Three Days’

{Courtesy of Robert Palmer Watkins}

Whether you believe it or not, soap operas are everyone’s guilty pleasure. From the drama to the romance, these daytime series have long been a staple on the small screen for millions of audiences around the world, while boasting some of the most recognizable talents today, like Brad Pitt, Julianne Moore and Leonardo DiCaprio.

But while a slew of daytime darlings have found immense success on the big and small screen, there are others like actor Robert Palmer Watkins of General Hospital who are looking to make their mark on the industry and leap into film.

“I love taking on a role that’s got a lot of depth to it and a lot of layers,” Watkins said in an exclusive with The Hudsucker. “So far in my career, I’ve played a lot of really good, nice protagonist guys and I’ve kind of played the ass—-, cheating boyfriends, those types of guys — I’m ready to take on something a little grittier, something a little darker that stretches me as an actor.”

{Image Credit: ABC Television Group / Disney Press Room: General Hospital}

With a recurring role on ABC’s illustrious award-winning soap as Dillon Quartermaine and the upcoming film noir thriller Last Three Days set to release next year, the 30-year-old actor is a lot more than his charming looks and talent. Warm, congenial and thoughtful, the North Carolina native has a genuineness to his demeanor, along with a steadfast perseverance that plays to his strength when taking on challenges.

What many might not know is that prior to landing the ABC series, Watkins had actually tried for several other roles on the soap, but to no luck — that is until he put matters into his own hands. After auditioning for General Hospital more than once and not hearing back, Watkins took it upon himself to make an impression with the casting director Mark Teschner.

“Six or seven months went by after a potential callback, [but] I didn’t hear anything so I thought in my mind, ‘Why don’t I go ahead and take one of [Teschner’s] workshops — make sure he remembers me and really get to know him better,’” he said before sharing how his determination and daring move paid off. “A few months went by and finally I got that callback.”

Though it was a process for sure, Watkins then went in for another read with the producers who finally told him a screen test would be next.

“Even at the final stages, they were still deciding between six guys,” he revealed. “Ultimately, it ended up being me for their pick and you know it was one of the best days of my life.”

Though his mother, aunt and grandmother watched the series, Watkins was “unfamiliar with that whole world” when he first got the gig. However, he was still really amazed by how beloved the series was, sharing that he doesn’t take it for granted one bit.

{Image Credit: ABC, General Hospital; Twitter @robertpwatkins}

“I was kind of naïve to how iconic it was until I obviously started researching when I booked it,” Watkins said. “I’ve been on it for the past two and a half years [and] just seeing the fan base and platform I’ve gotten from it… it’s humbling and crazy how successful it is and how long the show has been going.”

Watkins has since been a part of several fan events for the soap opera, getting to meet and greet with many of the fans, whom he calls “amazing.” He adds that their passion is something he is most grateful for too. One example in the power of their fervency was when it got leaked he’d be bumped off his contract after a shift in storylines would bring back Steve Burton’s character Jason Quartermaine.

“[The fans] were so supportive and angry that the producers and writers had decided to bump Dillion off the canvas for a while, so that made me feel really good because you know, at least I saw that they supported me and liked me on the show,” he said of their awe-inspiring actions. “[The producers and writers] are going to keep me on as recurring now so that’s cool, I’ll still kind of pop back in and out.”

Though Watkins will be keeping busy with a plethora of upcoming projects thanks to his new status on General Hospital, he reveals shooting a soap opera is unlike anything he’s ever done since you “move so, so fast.”

But it is a bit like theatre, where Watkins first caught the acting bug while at the Center of the Arts high school in Virginia. The actor reveals he was able to star in several theatrical plays that really fed into his calling.

“I just loved it,” he said. “I loved the interaction from the audience and the stage, and the people I was working with were all weirdos, and creative and different and artistic. It meant something to me.”

While he had done sports and had a solid group of friends, he found that everyone was kind of similar in those roles, but not the theatre kids — they stood out to him with their big personalities.

{Image Credit: ABC, General Hospital; Twitter / @robertpawatkins}

“When you do a play in high school, most of those kids are all kind of out there and it was great,” he said. “It was fun for me — I related to that, you know, everyone coming together and doing something bigger than ourselves and then getting to put that on for an audience. Since then, I’ve never looked back.”

Watkins’ journey truly began though after graduating from the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in California that trains artists toward success in the world of the performing arts.

“I think [theatre] is the best training you can get as an actor,” he said of the whole experience. “I think it really teaches you a lot about work ethic in general, but also just the way they train in theatre and the way you can get that feed from the audience.”

He goes on to share that theatre not only imparts how to deal with situations or respond to fellow actors, but also allows you to see the story through the audience’s reaction, revealing, “It’s a different type of energy.”

Giving much respect to his time in theatre, Watkins shares one of the best parts about it is how actors not only rehearse for months, but gain a deeper appreciation for the writing and character.

“Sometimes that stuff is rushed on TV and film, so I think it’s just a really good place to start as an actor or a director, or writer because you really learn how to take on a hard role and figure out your character’s intention,” he said.

{Image Credit: Last Three Days / IMDb}

With a deep value on characters constructed with depth and a wheelhouse of emotions, Watkins is excited about his latest role in the independent flick, Last Three Days set for release in March 2018.

Treading the days of classic crime noir thrillers and hard-knuckled dramas, the film follows Watkins’ character Jack who gets mixed up with a dangerous crime syndicate and wakes up one day to discover he is missing his partner (Thomas Wilson Brown), his wife Beth (Deborah Lee Smith) and three days of his life.

With an element of time travel imposed as Watkins’ character is able to go back over the past three days and retrace what he can do to change the outcome of his current situation, the actor shares he was intrigued by the intensity of the role as it had “a lot of deep layers” to it. Moreover, he had to get into the proper mindset of playing a cop with law enforcement experience, which he called “a lot of fun.”

“I had to learn how to use guns,” he said eagerly. “Went for training at the range [and] did my own stunts. It was really fun and refreshing to do something new.”

One of the other rare aspects to the film for Watkins was finding out it was loosely based on a friend of writer and director Brian Ulrich’s who was an undercover cop.

“When I booked the role, [Brian] set me up to meet with Steve and we talked, I learned of his story, how he struggled in his relationship and had the same issues as what Jack went through,” Watkins said. “I just got to know what he was feeling during the time he was a cop — he had just gotten married, had this crazy job at the LAPD, [and] he was sucked away from his marriage, ultimately having to decide what was more important to him.”

Watkins says of Steve’s visits to the sets that the biggest thing for him when trying to get into that mindset of a law enforcement officer was understanding and recognizing how it affected Steve emotionally.

{Image Credit: Last Three Days / IMDb}

“When you see the trailer, you don’t realize there is that much emotional depth to it, you just think, ‘Oh, it’s an action movie,’” he said. “But no, it’s really a movie about Jack deciding what’s more important: my wife or this career that I’ve fought to have for so long.”

Evidently passionate for audiences to watch, Watkins says his experience on a soap opera has actually made him an asset in film thanks in part to the pace he grew accustomed to on General Hospital.

“We’re shooting three episodes a day — you get rehearsal for blocking, then you shoot it [and] you really only get one or two takes, if you’re lucky,” he said. “[But] in film, you’re doing multiple angles, one shot of one actor, then they do the one shot of another actor — then they flip the camera around. It’s very detailed and strategic, but it’s nice coming from the soap world [and even theatre] because I’m more prepared as I’m used to just getting one or two takes.”

Watkins goes on to add that when he gets on a film or primetime TV set, he’s usually just “ready to go” and that’s “been kind of cool.”

Aside from the soap opera and its fan events or an upcoming motion picture, Watkins loves working on original music (“I do this thing called Funky Friday, where I’ll release a song on Friday and that became its own thing”) and co-starring in the web series, Bad Sex With Good People on Girls TV that airs every Friday. But one aspect that fans might not know about him is his philanthropic efforts. Most recently collaborating with the Long Island based organization Contractors for Kids that assists families in financial need, Watkins says it’s important to give back to the community.

Watkins taking part in Soap Fest Charity Weekend this past April, raising money for Camp Able and Children’s Theatre. {Image Credit: Facebook / Robert Palmer Watkins}

“The nonprofit basically steps in and helps a family when they need financial help because, perhaps, they have a sick child, so their bills are stacking up; or they can’t be home to take care of their kid, so they hire a nurse or someone to be there with them. Or they can’t afford medication, surgeries, or even a car payment — they step in and help them financially,” he said of the organization first discovered during fan events for General Hospital.

“I just clicked with them as people and the more stories I heard, [and] the more photos I saw, I just knew I had to be involved,” he continued.

Another campaign Watkins is a big fan of and supports is the Dream Loud campaign that features a plethora of Hollywood actors and singers supporting the arts in school for kids.

“It’s really cool because as a kid, if I didn’t have the arts, I wouldn’t have found that creative group of people that have led me to where I am today,” he said. “I think the arts are just as important as athletics or math, you know? I think it’s crucial that kids get to express themselves creatively…I want to do more, I think we can all do more.”

With plenty more to achieve and share with audiences, Watkins’ persistence over the years has kept him energetic and definitely wise, crediting change as a major factor in his growth as both an actor and person.

“Acting is basically reflecting life and in life, we never stop learning — that’s what’s so cool about being an actor, it’s that you’re never going to be finished learning because you’re kind of reflecting what acting is basically,” he said. “We’re thinking about new things all the time and re-evaluating how we feel about things, so as that changes, of course we as actors change too.”

{Courtesy of Robert Palmer Watkins}

He goes on to say it’s something he has definitely noticed over the years with every role he has taken on and has learned to listen more, while being present and aware.

“I love that you can take on different characters who are most often real people with real emotions,” he said. “Like, going from Dillon on General Hospital who is an artist and photographer, to a cop that’s newly married and getting run over by cars [in Last Three Days], it’s just a different role every time — in a totally different world.”

Eager to take it all on and learn more about the complexities of every character or living being, Watkins loves finding himself in another world.

“I’m excited to see what characters I play in the future and what I get to learn about,” he smiled. “Hopefully, I’ll just continue down that road and just really keep learning — it’s been so much fun!”

Keep up with Robert Palmer Watkins by checking out his official website and IMDb for more projects, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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