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PROFILE

Star of the Week

GENERAL HOSPITAL Interview

Steve Burton (Jason, GH)
— ABC

Five Minutes With Steve Burton

— By Tom Stacy

Soap Opera Digest: Steve, what was your initial reaction to such a major storyline change?
Steve Burton: At that time, I was really contemplating leaving the show because I wasn't working a lot and I wasn't feeling it. That's when Maurice [Benard, Sonny] came to me and said, "Hey, listen, you're good. You've got something there. We just need to work on it a bit." Then I got fired up again about acting and started, [still] as Jason Quartermaine, working with Maurice on my stuff.

Digest: How did that go?
Burton: It's funny because one of the producers noted that every scene I played, I played like somebody was dying [laughs]. That was my first assignment from Maurice. He's [a] method [actor], so you want to go deep on things, depth of character was what we were working on, so I was really into it. I would work on it at home, all night, all day long. So anyway, I had a dinner scene with Senait [Ashenafi, ex-Keesha] and the producer, Francesca James, came out and said, "What's wrong with you? Lighten up!" And I lightened up. It was a funny moment because I didn't tell her what I was doing, but Maurice and I got a laugh out of that one.

The Enforcer: If not for that pivotal car accident, Jason (Steve Burton, r.) might have succeeded his father as G.H. chief of staff instead of taking orders from Sonny (Maurice Benard).
— Michael Yarish/ABC

Digest: And that's how the change in Jason came about?
Burton: I guess the writers started seeing something that was happening and they had the idea of making me a new character and basically starting from scratch. It has been a great journey for me as an actor and for me, personally.

Digest: What from Jason's past would you rather not remember?
Burton: The gold mullet, the Christmas sweater and holding a teacup. That's three strikes and I'm out. Any one of those combinations is bad enough, but you put all three of them in there and I'm feeling a little weird. It makes me uncomfortable to even think about it [laughs].

Digest: What do you have trouble remembering in real life?
Burton: The whole birthday thing. Family birthdays. I don't remember anything about that. That's where my wife [Sheree] saves me. I forget stuff all the time. I'm pretty good at remembering lines, though [laughs]. But that ability definitely sacrifices other parts of my life that I can't remember. My brain is the size of a peanut, so I don't know how much I can fit in there!

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