INTERVIEW: Winsor Harmon dishes on bringing Thorne back to The Bold and the Beautiful

Posted Monday, March 21, 2022 1:44:31 PM
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The Bold and the Beautiful's Winsor Harmon on returning as Thorne Forrester, the sexiest things about the soap, why he loves Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke Logan), the magic of working with Susan Flannery (Stephanie Forrester), and more.

The Bold and the Beautiful celebrates its 35th anniversary this week, and in honor of the milestone moment, the CBS soap opera is dedicating a stand-alone episode to original character Brooke Forrester (Katherine Kelly Lang) and five of her former loves. Set to air on Thursday, March 24 (one day after B&B's birthday), the special episode will see the return of Winsor Harmon in his role as Thorne Forrester, a character he originated in 1996 but hasn't played since 2016.

Soap Central caught up with Harmon to get the scoop on what B&B has planned for the special Brooke-centered episode, what it was like for the actor to return after being absent for several years, and if a full-time return might be on the horizon. Plus, we asked the actor to share some of his favorite B&B memories for the soap's 35th anniversary celebration.

Soap Central: It's so wonderful to have you back at B&B for the show's 35th anniversary episode. How did you feel about returning for this special occasion?

Harmon: I was absolutely ecstatic and couldn't have been happier. The Bold and the Beautiful is one of the greatest jobs that you could ever ask for. It's one big family, and everyone on the show is fantastic, from the world's greatest publicist to great writers; we've got it all.

Soap Central: What feelings did you have when you received the call to return?

Harmon: Well, I actually got a surprise email [from the casting department] that said, "What is your availability for the week?" When I first read it, I had to read it again, because it just came out of the blue; I remember saying, "Did I just read this correctly?!" But I got right back [to them] and said, "I'm available. I'm always available for you guys; y'all know that!"

Soap Central: How did you feel about playing Thorne again after being absent for several years?

Harmon: It's been four or five years since I last shot, and I was quite nervous! I really was. Quite nervous. I even told Kelly right before we shot our scene, I said, "I'm a little nervous," and she started laughing and said, "Nervous?!" I said, "Yeah! I'm nervous, so, go gently on me." [Laughs] But there was a lot going on that day. I woke up around 2:00 AM -- I couldn't sleep because I was so worried about not being able to get to L.A. and get to the studio on time for my 7:30 AM call. I was up pretty much all night, thinking the alarm wasn't going to go off. And when I got there, you had Entertainment Tonight there, all the actors were there, they were doing the cake, they were shooting a cast photo, the president of daytime was there -- it was a star-studded event, and there was just so much going on.

Soap Central: It sounds wild but also quite meaningful.

Harmon: As an actor, you dream of this; here you are walking the halls of the legendary CBS and working for the legendary Bell-Phillip family in one of the all-time greatest television shows in the history of television, and you're working with such great people. It's funny; you don't look at what's happening in the moment -- you look at it when you're gone or when you come back. And when I first got there, I realized how significant that being on The Bold and the Beautiful truly was. I hope that I never took it for granted in any way; I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute that I was there. Being a small-town kid from Louisiana and Texas and having the opportunities to do what Brad blessed me with was extraordinary, and I just loved every minute of it.

Soap Central: We know that the episode you'll be appearing in is a stand-alone about Brooke and her various loves. Is there anything you can tease about the episode or how Thorne fits in?

Harmon: Let's just say that Thorne is a rekindler! He wears his heart on his sleeve. A long time ago, they discovered that Brooke could bring out the poetic side of Thorne, and it's something that I've always loved about the writing. It just happened in a couple of scenes one time, and it kind of went from there, and it actually changed the character quite a bit. The episode is going to bring back a lot of memories for people, and I, for one, can't wait to see it, because I know that there are some great things that are going to happen in it that even I'm going to be surprised by, from what I understand.

Soap Central: Did being in the episode and being back on set bring back a lot of memories for you?

Harmon: Oh, my gosh, yes, it did! It brought back so much, and we talked about it. Kelly and I were talking about it, and Jack [Wagner, who returns as Nick Marone], we were talking about it, as well, just reminiscing over the old times and scenes and funny things that happened, like not having shirts on and wearing Speedos. [Laughs] All of that good stuff that has made The Bold and the Beautiful what it is. Fashion and glamor and sex and California and Beverly Hills -- that's what it's all about!

Soap Central: When you see clips from your early days on the show, do you feel proud, do you laugh at the fashion that was in style during those days, or...?

Harmon: It just depends. First of all, I have to stop watching the acting, because I'm really hard on myself. I think, "I could have done that better, I could have done this better, I should have done this, I should have done that." It takes me a couple of views to say, "Just enjoy the scene, Winsor!" I saw a couple of scenes recently from when I first started, and I was like, "Oh, my God, they actually hired me?!" [Laughs] They were scenes from Lake Como, which was my first year on the show. We were babies! But the sets were beautiful, and it was just like, "Wow! This is what you see in the movies!" The production value, it was glamor. And that brought back some wonderful, wonderful memories.

Soap Central: Speaking of the show's many glamorous location shoots, do you have any funny behind-the-scenes stories from your travels? Something not going according to plan or anything crazy that happened?

Harmon: Oh, there were plenty of them! [Laughs] But out of all the scenes I did on the show and all the years I spent there, I will never forget when we were shooting in Venice. We were coming around in front of the Rialto Bridge, and we had thousands and thousands of spectators and fans there. The guys were trying to get everybody quiet so we could shoot this scene -- it was the proposal scene. Thorne and Brooke were making their way down this beautiful Italian street, walking toward the canal and the Rialto Bridge, where Thorne could stand and propose to her. So, we're running our lines, we hear, "Action," and we start coming down, and it's so quiet, you can hear the water lapping against the edge [of the bridge]. But then, as soon as Thorne goes down on one knee, the crowd suddenly goes, "AAAWWW!!!" [Laughs] It still gives me goosebumps to talk about it; it's one of those moments you will never forget. You can't duplicate that.

Soap Central: How funny! How did you react?

Harmon: We have the greatest fans in the world, and they are very, very loyal, but to hear this, this very audible, "Aaawww!!!," I mean, I didn't know what to do because it was really loud, and they had to cut, because it went over my line! You wouldn't have been able to hear Thorne propose to Brooke, and we're not supposed to have fans cheering us on in the scene! [Laughs] But it was a moment I will never forget. I stood up, and I took a bow, actually. That was my response to it, and I waved, and of course, they screamed more! It was like being a rock star on a stage. It was unbelievable. I will never forget that for as long as I live. But we got the scene done, and she said yes, which is the most important thing! [Laughs]

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Soap Central: You've said in prior interviews that Katherine Kelly Lang is one of your favorite co-stars. Why is that? Besides the fact that she's a B&B legend, of course!

Harmon: She is! Kelly has this innocence. She's such a grounded human being, and she comes from a really good place in her heart and soul. For 35 years now, being around Kelly and knowing her so long, I have never heard her complain. She never complains about anything! She loves working, she's very present for you, and she's always 100% prepared. You can tell that Kelly really enjoys her work. One thing I love the most about her is that she is very gullible; I had so much fun, and I still do have fun, telling her [these outrageous] things that she believes, and I give her the look, like, "You know I'm kidding, right?" And she'll scoff and say, "You're bad! You're just so bad!" [Laughs] She's great, and I've had an immense pleasure working with Kelly over the years. She could be my favorite co-star of all time, without a doubt.

Soap Central: Since we're discussing legendary B&B stars, I must ask about what it was like working with Susan Flannery, who played your mom, Stephanie, for many years?

Harmon: Oh, man, Susan Flannery, the amount that she gives you to work off of is tremendous. My approach when I was working with Susan was I just learned the lines -- I never, ever made a decision about what I was going to do in the scene, because I didn't know what she was going to do, which is like in real life -- when you're talking to someone, you don't know what they're going to say, you just listen. When you worked with her, you just made yourself very present, because she was going to give you something that was going to cause a reaction inside of you that normally probably wouldn't happen, and if you could react to it and let that moment take over, then you were going to get some very real scenes.

Soap Central: Do you remember any specific moments where she surprised you?

Harmon: It started in our very first scenes together, where she delivered probably the greatest line in television, when Stephanie caught Thorne and Taylor together for the first time. She busted in on them hugging and stuff like that, and Stephanie said, "Thorne, get in the car!" [Laughs] It was like I was five years old! It was absolutely hilarious. So, I get back to the Forrester mansion, and I'm in the study, and I'm pouring myself a glass of wine, and she comes in and slaps the wine out of my hand, which I did not expect to happen, and she jumped on me, and I was like, "Why am I not good enough for Taylor?!" I mean, it was really a great moment between us. It was one of the first scenes we ever had, and she gave me a big hug afterward and said, "That was fantastic," and I said, "Thank you." We always liked to do our scenes in one take. With her, you just never knew what she was going to do, and man, that's brilliance. That's what you live for as actors, to be able to leave the ground in moments, and she provided that. I loved her.

Soap Central: How do you think Stephanie's bold parenting style influenced the man that Thorne has become?

Harmon: When I first started on the show, Thorne's relationship with his mother was very interesting because it was such a second child syndrome, with the second child never feeling he was good enough for his mother. When a child goes through that, it's almost like an abusive pattern; a child who is being abused by someone has the tendency to stay close to that person. It's a very odd thing, and it's something that I had actually read about, and it made me realize, "I think a great way to attack this character is to make Thorne more like Stephanie, to copy Stephanie, the way she does things and the way she handles situations." I talked to Susan about it, and she even said, "That's absolutely quite amazing that you came up with that, Winsor," and I said, "Well, thank you very much!" [Laughs] "Don't be so abusive to me in the future, though!" But anyway, I did approach certain scenes in that way, and it gave us an interesting dynamic.

Soap Central: When you think about Thorne's past, is there anything that you feel could or should be reexplored at some point?

Harmon: Absolutely! I wish Susan could have been there so we could have played it, but when Thorne found out that he was actually the firstborn, that was a great moment, and I think it still could be played with Thorne and Thorsten [Kaye] as Ridge. I think we could get some great moments now, along with his father, as well; his father would probably feel the same pain that Thorne felt over the years, not knowing that Ridge was not his son, and that he still chooses Ridge. There are a lot of dynamics there that could be played that would be really good. What's so great about B&B is, here you have this amazing, extremely successful, wealthy family, but they are so dysfunctional in so many ways! I mean, there are so many women on the planet, but Brooke just took us all! [Laughs] It's just wild! But those are the dynamics of it, and I think it would be fantastic to get back and explore a lot of those possibilities there from the past that molded Thorne into who he is as a person, because none of it was true, to an extent -- the second-child syndrome all those years and feeling like he wasn't adequate or good enough, and that Ridge was always better in everything, and it turns out, he's not! So, there's a lot to explore there.

Soap Central: If the opportunity came up for you to come back and explore these things or even other storylines, would you be open to it?

Harmon: I'd be lying if I said no! Because, yeah, of course I would. I really would. It's always been a home to me, and it always will be. 25 years of my life, which is almost half my life, I spent there. It was one of the greatest jobs in the world, so, I absolutely would.

Soap Central: Do you have any other projects going on at the moment that you'd like to let fans know about?

Harmon: I'm the lead in a movie called Sarogeto, but I'm not sure when it's coming out yet. My co-star [Ikumi Yoshimatsu] is a very well-known actress out of Japan; she plays my wife in the film, and it's a movie based on Japanese culture and what they're willing to sacrifice for their family and their culture and what they believe in. It's a very interesting movie, and it's doing very well at independent film festivals. I'm very proud of it.

Soap Central: What can you say about the character that you play and what it was like bringing him to life?

Harmon: He was a very wealthy businessman and is not aware of what is going on [at home]. Eric Roberts played my wife's doctor in the film, and it was great working with him. I mean, he's a legend! He brought my character to life, to see more than his business, to see his home, because in the end, [not seeing the full picture] costs him pretty much everything, without giving away too much of the movie. I learned a lot about Japanese culture, and it was really interesting talking to Ikumi and some of the other actors from Japan. She did a scene where she went through five hours of makeup one day to be a geisha girl, and she was telling me about geisha girls, which was really fascinating. But the makeup was extraordinary. It really was.

Soap Central: Five hours! That's a long time. How long does it take you to get your makeup done at B&B?

Harmon: I'm ready when I get there! [Laughs]

Soap Central: Of course, you are! Is there anything else that you'd like to add before I have to let you go?

Harmon: I'd just like to congratulate B&B on 35 years of pure magic, and to say congratulations on their two-year extension with CBS. I send blessings to everyone involved. What a journey!

What do you think about our interview with Winsor Harmon? How do you feel about the actor stepping back into Thorne's shoes for B&B's 35th anniversary? Would you like to see him return to the show full-time? If so, what storylines would you want to see written for Thorne? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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