Fea­ture In­ter­view

Ja­son Canela (Ar­turo) is keep­ing Genoa City steamy this win­ter

CBS Soaps In Depth - - Contents - — Julie Mcel­wain

Ja­son Canela shares the ex­cite­ment of play­ing Ar­turo!

Ever ybody wants to put their best foot for­ward in a new job. For Ja­son Canela, though, it was a tad dif­fi­cult when he first started as the hunky Ar t u ro on THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS. “My first day on the set, I couldn’t even walk!” he re­mem­bers with a laugh. “I hurt my an­kle the night be­fore. It was so bad that I had to ask for a wheel­chair at CBS.

“When I met [ ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer/ head­writer] Mal Young and ever yone,” he adds, “they looked at me in the wheel­chair and were like, ‘What the hell? You were fine at the au­di­tion!’”

It got worse. “My first scene,

I had to go up the stairs!” re­calls the ac­tor, shak­ing his head. “It was only five steps, but that was the hard­est thing I’ve ever had to do in my life! But I was just so grate­ful to be there. I didn’t want to miss it.”

As dif­fi­cult as the sit­u­a­tion was, the Mi­ami na­tive says it wasn’t all pain and no gain. “It was as in­tim­i­dat­ing as hell know­ing I had to work with Eric Brae­den ( Vic­tor) and Melody [ Thomas Scott, Nikki],” he says, “but [my in­jury] sort of took the pres­sure off. I was so fo­cused on get­ting by that day, and I think every­body was ex­tra nice to me be­cause I was in a wheel­chair, so that might have worked in my fa­vor. I think that just by show­ing up, I proved to them how badly I wanted to be there!”

Do­ing The Twist

Clearly, Canela knows how to adapt to life’s un­ex­pected sur­prises, which is a good thing be­cause he’s had to be pretty fluid when it comes to deal­ing with sto­ry­line twists for his al­ter ego. “I had an idea where I was go­ing (con­tin­ues)

with this char­ac­ter, but then I see things in the writ­ing and am hit with a curve­ball!” he chuck­les. “Some­times I’ve read things about Ar­turo, and I go, ‘ Man, how can he have done this?’ But then I sit down and try to find the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the char­ac­ter.”

Early loop-de-loops in­cluded Ar­turo’s red-hot af­fair with mar­ried lady Nikki and, af­ter she re­turned to hubby Vic­tor, a new re­la­tion­ship with Abby. Still, none of that pre­pared Canela for find­ing out that Ar­turo’s es­trange­ment from Rey came about be­cause he’d slept with his sis­ter-in-law! “I’m like, ‘Oh my God, how can I be such a jerk to my brother? To my fam­ily?’ I think I said that when I was in the makeup room, and some­one said, ‘Oh, did you think it was go­ing to be all but­ter­flies and rain­bows? You’re on a soap opera, kid. Wake up!’” he re­calls, laugh­ing. “But it was a wake-up call, and I had to sit down and re­ally think how Ar­turo could have taken this route!”

Count­ing Bless­ings

That said, Canela is de­lighted with the jour­ney that he’s on, even if he doesn’t know what may be around the cor­ner for his char­ac­ter. “It would be good to know where Ar­turo is go­ing, but at this point in my life, I’m kind of fo­cused on the present,” he shares. “What­ever they want to

do with Ar­turo, I’m on board! I’m hav­ing so much fun with it! I never, ever imag­ined that the char­ac­ter would take the turn where he was dat­ing Abby, and when I get my scripts to see other turns ahead… it’s so cool.”

In­deed, the ac­tor says that he’s had plenty of “Pinch me!” mo­ments since join­ing Y&R. “The other evening, we had an event at [the out­door shop­ping mall] The Grove, which is next to CBS. I wasn’t work­ing that day, but I drove in and parked at CBS, and used my card to walk through CBS, and I thought to my­self, ‘Oh, man, these years I’ve been in L.A., I’ve walked into CBS, Fox, ev­ery­where for au­di­tions,” Canela shares qui­etly. “For the first time, I’m walk­ing in these hall­ways and am like, ‘ I can call this home.’ It was a re­ally cool mo­ment. It’s such a bless­ing to be on Y&R. I do not take it for granted. Not for a sec­ond!”

“Melody is not only an amaz­ing ac­tress but a re­ally won­der­ful per­son!” Canela de­clares. “I al­ways en­joy shar­ing scenes with her.”

Show­biz vet Will Smith was a big in­spi­ra­tion for Canela grow­ing up in Mi­ami. “The guy has brought to life so many amaz­ing char­ac­ters!”

The ac­tor would love to have more comedic scenes with his TV fam­ily. “I think there are a lot of funny things that we could fac­tor in!” he sug­gests.

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