There's a lot going on for General Hospital's James Patrick Stuart's alter ego, Valentin Cassadine. Recently, Valentin discovered that his daughter, Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), had been stalking and terrorizing his lady love, Anna Devane (Finola Hughes). Unfortunately for Charlotte, her actions had dire consequences when she found herself on the wrong side of Anna's gun when Anna confronted who she thought was an intruder with deadly intentions.
Stuart recently sat down with Soap Opera Digest to talk about Valentin's troubles and where things go from here. The interview kicked off with Stuart being asked if he thought it was Valentin's fault that Charlotte had been shot, since Valentin had kept Anna in the dark about what Charlotte had been up to. "Well, yeah!" the actor said. He acknowledged that Valentin probably hadn't come to terms with that yet, but he has always rooted for Valentin because Valentin understood that the truth could set him free.
Stuart pointed out that Valentin's formative years had been filled with trauma, so the idea of being in a relationship where Valentin could be honest and his authentic self was a bit of a fairy tale for him. Stuart admitted that he'd always been aware that Valentin had known on some level that he would never be able to keep Anna. Stuart recalled that Valentin had once told Anna, "I can think of a thousand ways I'm gonna lose you." He suggested that for Valentin, it had been a self-fulfilling prophecy, and there was no denying that Valentin should have told Anna about Charlotte from the start.
Stuart conceded that Valentin had justified his decision to keep the truth from Anna by telling himself that he'd been protecting his daughter. He had wanted to buy time, and by the time he had realized that it hadn't been the smart thing to do, it had been too late. "He felt that there was a risk that he was going to lose Anna, so it was much better to just stay the course, hopefully get Charlotte some help, and brush this under the rug," Stuart said.
Next, Stuart addressed Valentin's comment to Nina a few weeks back when Valentin confided in Nina about Charlotte's troubles. At the time, Valentin told Nina that she understood him best. According to Stuart, Valentin needed someone to talk to, and Nina was a safe harbor. Stuart believed that in that moment, it had been true for Valentin because Valentin had been glad that he'd had someone to tell the truth to.
Stuart realized that Vanna (Valentin and Anna) fans were not happy about the comment, and he revealed that he had talked to Maura West (Ava Jerome) about these types of situations and how it would always be their turn in the doghouse. "You know when you signed up to be the dark horse of the Cassadine family that this is going to happen every once in a while," Stuart mused. He pointed out that Valentin was a broken human being who was incapable of sustaining love.
Next, Stuart opened up about the scenes in the hospital's stairwell when Anna slapped Valentin after he revealed that Charlotte had been terrorizing Anna. "I just love being slapped by Finola. Getting slapped by Anna is great!" Stuart said. He revealed that he had harangued Hughes all day, and he had even asked if she could hit him twice. Hughes had refused, so Stuart had invited her to smack him even harder.
All joking aside, Stuart acknowledged that the scenes between Valentin and Anna were heartbreaking, especially when he saw Anna lose all illusions. "They used to say in acting school that playing a loss of an illusion is about as low as you can go, when you thought you knew what the truth was and then you realize that you didn't all along," Stuart explained.
Stuart revealed that he and Hughes always make time to rehearse their scenes, even if they have to do it for 20 or 30 minutes over Zoom. The actors have known each other for decades, and they value their characters and their history, so it's important to them that they make the effort. Stuart believes the proof is in the pudding. Stuart and Hughes also watch each other work, and they share constructive feedback with each other. "I got to see her stuff with Maurice [Benard, Sonny Corinthos], just falling apart, coming to terms with having shot a child -- and the child of your lover! It's just delicious," Stuart praised.
When asked if Stuart had a message for Vanna fans, he revealed that he was a Vanna fan, too. He recalled in a previous interview with Hughes when they had been asked who the bigger Vanna fan was, and Hughes had said him. Stuart admitted that he had been blessed. After Michelle Stafford (ex-Nina Reeves) left GH to return to The Young and the Restless, he had wondered what he would do next, so Stafford had reminded him that he had Hughes.
"It's been so much fun, but the truth of the matter is that, especially in 2023 where people's attention spans are so short and we have to create three episodes a day, it's tougher on the whole process [of a soap opera] to come up with fascinating stuff where people are happy. It's just a much smoother machine when there's conflict, you know?" Stuart said.
When asked what's next for Valentin, Stuart conceded that Valentin was in a difficult situation because his father had poisoned Charlotte's mind, put her in danger, and opened her up to legal charges that could land Charlotte behind bars. Unfortunately for Valentin, Victor is beyond Valentin's reach because he was killed in Greenland. It's for that reason that Stuart suggested that Valentin was focused on getting his daughter the help that she needed to heal, and he would deal with the rest later.
"Valentin has been so good as the international man of mystery, but in moments of, you know, legitimate affection, he's always been so pedestrian, just so useless. That's one of the things I love about it, is the tragedy of it," Stuart said. He went on to explain that he believed that if we get screwed up during our formative years, then we could continue to create wreckage through our adult lives. "And that's what Valentin is doing," the actor concluded.
Are Valentin and Anna doomed, or is there room for forgiveness and understanding? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.