General Hospital dropped a surprise on viewers with the addition of former One Life to Live star Josh Kelly (ex-Cutter Wentworth) as new character Cody Bell. A friend of Dante's, Cody made a literal splash during his first appearance on June 1 at the Metro Court rooftop pool: just as a drunk Britt Westbourne (Kelly Thiebaud) made a remark about how finding true love was as likely as Mr. Right falling out of the sky, Cody parachuted out of a plane flying overhead and accidentally knocked Britt into the pool with him!
In a recent interview with Soap Opera Digest, Kelly reveals that he was inspired to return to daytime after a buddy of his auditioned for a role on GH last year. It got the actor thinking about how much he missed working steadily with a "little acting troupe family," and he texted the soap's executive producer, Frank Valentini (with whom he'd worked during his 2010-2011 stint on OLTL), to ask if there was a possibility of him joining GH. Valentini responded positively, and thus the "cool character" of Cody was created.
"It meant a lot to me. I'd always felt like I wanted to do more [in daytime]. One Life to Live was canceled kind of right when I was getting my legs underneath me and getting into my stride. So this, in a weird way, feels like I'm fulfilling my original contract," Kelly enthuses.
Though he's had prior soap experience and has appeared on shows like Unreal, Midnight, Texas, and Bluff City Law, the actor admits that he was a bit nervous before he shot his first GH scenes.
"I haven't done this much dialogue in this short of an amount of time, but that's the challenge and it's one of the reasons I wanted to do this," he says. "It's a good work routine, and I think it's good for your mind and your body. I came in for a COVID test on a Thursday, did a wardrobe fitting on a Friday and then on Monday, I was working -- out of the frying pan and into the fire!"
Fortunately, Kelly already knew many of his co-stars, including Michael Easton (Hamilton Finn; ex-John McBain, OLTL) and Roger Howarth (Dr. Austin Gatlin-Holt; ex-Todd Manning, OLTL), with whom he worked on OLTL; Tanisha Harper (Jordan Ashford) and Sofia Mattsson (Sasha Gilmore), with whom he worked on non-daytime projects; and Chad Duell (Michael Corinthos) and Kirsten Storms (Maxie Jones), who he met through mutual friends. Plus, Kelly is very familiar with GH, because he grew up watching it!
"My sister had control of the TV when we got home from high school, so, we would watch General Hospital, and then I would get to watch Batman," he shares. "The same thing kind of happened with my parents -- when my dad was in the Navy, pretty much his whole squadron became addicted to the Luke [Anthony Geary] and Laura [Genie Francis] saga. My family and friends are always happy for me [when I land a new job], but my sister seems to be really geeking out about this one. It's really cool to be part of such a legacy show."
As for what he wishes for the future, Kelly reports that it's really important to him that he does a good job in the role of Cody and makes fans proud.
"I'm not satisfied with any of the work that I've done because I feel like I should be a lot better," he shares. "But I was particularly proud of the work that I did on One Life to Live. I had so much fun there, and I love that it resonated with certain people. I know that some people didn't like me and won't like me and that's something that as a performer, you have to accept. But I'm going to try! I'm going to try to do really well and to entertain."
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