General Hospital fans are slowly getting used to seeing Roger Howarth in the shoes of yet another Port Charles character, but it's not just viewers who have needed a little time to adjust to Austin. Howarth, who until very recently played Franco Baldwin, says that taking on the role of the new doctor has come with a learning curve for him, as well.
"As soon as I think I have it figured out, I'm reminded that I just don't. So, there's been some trial and error," the actor reveals to Soap Opera Digest about his new character -- the third that he's played on GH since he joined the show in 2012. "I'm learning to juggle and sometimes I drop the ball. But I have a lot of support; [co-head writers] Chris [Van Etten] and Dan [O'Connor] have a lot of great ideas and Frank [Valentini, executive producer] has chimed in with what he needs, and so for me, at the risk of overusing 'juggling exercises', I am trying to juggle a lot of different inputs and trying to stay on track and do what's expected. And it's been fun. It requires some concentration from me and different parts of my brain that I wasn't using."
The most challenging thing for Howarth is to make sure that Austin in no way resembles Franco -- outside of his physical appearance, of course (because seriously, outside of a different haircut, the guy is a dead ringer for Franco and Todd Manning!).
"I can't change the way I look so much. So, for this guy to be different, he has to speak differently and walk differently," Howarth says. "To be honest, I've had mixed success and it's taken me a bit -- I'm still kind of figuring it out. But I really like the process of figuring it out. I'm just really grateful that I'm getting the chance to try."
Prior to Howarth's reintroduction as Austin, fan speculation about who he might play included the possibility of Todd Manning, his former One Life to Live character that he brought to GH in 2012. And while he's happy to be playing Austin, Howarth says he would have been cool with Todd, as well.
"I have nothing but incredibly positive things to say about my experience playing Todd and at this point, I would pretty much look forward to it; he's a great character. That would be super fun," the actor shares. "But I'm glad that it's not an either/or proposition, because right now I'm really having a lot of fun with what I'm doing."
As for what fans can expect from Austin, Howarth enthuses that good things are on the horizon. "What I do know for certain is that I like him," he shares. "I hope the audience enjoys him, because there is some great story coming and it's exciting to me."
What are your first impressions of Roger Howarth's new GH character, Austin? Do you think that Franco is really gone for good? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.