At the end of November, during a trip to Europe with his wife Michele, Sean Kanan stopped a few days in Paris. We were invited to meet the interpreter of Deacon Sharpe by the chain RTL9 which airs The Bold & The Beautiful series under the title “Top Models“.
Sean also wrote a dedication specifically addressed to French fans, because he was in Paris. But we can obviously extend it to all French-speaking fans without betraying his thinking…
Soap-Passion: Hello Sean, can you tell us about the path that allowed you to become an actor?
Sean Kanan : In May 1987, I moved to Los Angeles to complete my degree in Political Science at UCLA and pursue my dream of becoming an actor by taking classes at a very famous school of Dramatic Arts. About a year later, I landed my first role. Then quickly I was offered the role of Mike Barnes in Karate Kids 3 and it was gone!
SP: How did you discover your two passions: martial arts and cooking?
SK : I was born in a small town in Pennsylvania and I was a chubby child, wearing glasses, insecure, often the victim of teasing. I ended up participating in martial arts workshops and little by little I gained confidence, self-discipline, concentration… In a way, the ugly duckling became a swan. Over the years, martial arts have taken on considerable importance in my life.
I love to cook. Unfortunately I also like to eat a lot, but I love to cook! When I was a student, I didn’t have a lot of money but I noticed that knowing how to cook was an asset in attracting girls. It was going pretty well (laughs) Now I like to cook for my wife. The kitchen allows reconciliations like when we break bread together, for example. I consider that by feeding someone, we participate in their survival in a certain way. For me, there is a difference between cooking and baking. In pastry, you have to follow the recipe precisely, methodically, that’s my wife! I love slicing, mixing, the taste is never the same twice, there is a lot of improvisation and I love that aspect.
SP: In October 2016, a star in your name was inaugurated on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame… (Contrary to what had been relayed, she is not in front of her own restaurant)
SK : It was a great honor. And my wife has also just received hers; the ceremony took place two weeks ago (Editor’s note: Michele Kanan is a screenwriter and director). We own a home in Palm Springs, so it’s a great honor for both of us to be recognized as part of the arts community in that city.
SP: In 1989, you interpreted the role of Mike Barnes in Karate Kid 3 which you have just taken over in the Netflix series “Cobra Kai”. Was this return a good surprise?
SK : It’s a fantastic experience to take on a role that we performed thirty years ago. This character still has a place in the hearts of fans and this program has a worldwide success. It’s incredible !
SP: When fans pass you on the street, do they recognize Mike Barnes or Deacon Sharpe?
SK : It depends… Both. Right now it’s more Mike Barnes because of the success of the show, but it’s more like 50/50.
SK : The main difference is that episodes ofLove, Fame and Beauty / Top Models last twice as long. In the Flames of love there are a lot more actors, the configuration is much bigger because there are two huge shooting studios, more sets, more actors. Everything is bigger.
Love, Glory and Beauty / Top Models is directed by Bradley Bell, the son of the series creator, who controls everything. Les Feux de l’Amour is, I think, more under the influence of the channel (Editor’s note: CBS) and of sonyamong others.
When I shoot in Love, Glory and Beauty / Top Models, I’m at home, I know everyone, every face, it’s very important to me. I recently returned to Les Feux de l’Amour, but before that I had been there for almost 10 years. On my return, of course, I knew a lot of actors, but there were also a lot of unknown faces; there is not the same “family spirit”.
On a global scale, in many ways, I think Love, Glory and Beauty / Top Models has a lot more influence than The Young and the Restless, which allows me to be known in many countries.
SP: Despite his “Bad Boy” side and all his misdeeds, Deacon still appears as a character appreciated by the public. Do you know why ?
SK : Because it’s funny. I don’t think humor is present enough in daytime programmes. He does bad things, but in a funny and sexy way. He’s not a bad guy, he did badly, it’s true, but he’s all shades of gray. Very few people are all black or all white. Good people do bad things and vice versa. I think he’s trying to find some absolution, to reconcile with his daughter, to become a better man…
SK : To be completely honest with you, when they asked me to come back on the show, they had to jog my memory. I had never played with the actress who interprets Diana (Editor’s note: Susan Walters). At the time it was Maura West.
But it was very nice to come back, to work again with Melody (Editor’s note: Thomas Scott). For me as an actor, the interest was less to be part of this story and to give information, than to find Nikki. Their relationship interests me much more than the plot. The moments with her were emotionally charged.
SK : Sure ! I adore Adrienne, it’s fireworks. She’s a terrific actress. Deacon and Amber had incredible chemistry. I would love to work with her again.
SK : He didn’t really have a choice. Sheila is a very dangerous individual and she decided it would be like this… I have a theory: If you lock two people in a small space for a long time, they will either kill each other or they will have sex together. I think Sheila is dangerous, sexy, funny and crazy. We have an expression in the United States: “Crazy in her head, crazy in her bed” (“Crazy in the head, crazy in the bed”).
SP: Do you think they can fall in love?
SK : They already have feelings for each other, but it’s so abstract. They are like in a bubble in this tiny apartment and at any time the police can come and arrest Sheila…
SK : I don’t know… I hope not… I think it wouldn’t be good at all!
SP: What future would you like for Deacon?
SK : I would love for Deacon to finally find out who his father is. We don’t know more about his mother either. I think he misses his dad because apparently he didn’t grow up with him. This is surely a missing piece of the puzzle for him. I also think it would be interesting for him to reconnect with his son, Eric. From a psychological point of view, I think he needs to build a family because he never had one. I think he wants to prove to himself and to others that he has values. I don’t know how he’ll get there, but that’s one of his motivations.
SP: In all these years playing Deacon, what is your favorite scene or story?
SP: What is your relationship with the other actors?
SK : I have a very good relationship with each of them. We spend a lot of time together during filming, but as soon as the clap is over, we are in a hurry to find our family. So we hardly see each other outside of work. But between actors, we must create a bond of trust. We expose ourselves emotionally all the time. It’s like playing tennis. We have to know that the other is going to pass the ball back to us. We share something special, our common denominator is our work on the show and sometimes we spend time together outside, but not very often.
SP: What is your filming pace?
SK : It all depends on how many scenes I have to shoot and what time of day they are placed. Filming days generally start in the morning at 9:00 a.m. (but we must arrive around 7:00 a.m. for make-up). If my scenes follow each other, I can finish at 11:00. If they are spaced out, I can stay all day. But in general, they arrange so that we shoot our scenes as quickly as possible.
SP: Finally, do you have a message for your French fans?
SK : First of all, I am honored to be in this magnificent country with an incredible history, a very beautiful architecture and a very strong national pride. It’s great to be in Paris, I haven’t been here long enough. The last time we went as a family to see the Eiffel Tower and its illuminations, it was magnificent.
I sincerely thank the fans for their support and kindness and hope they continue to watch Top Models and Cobra-Kai.
Sean Kanan is the author of Way of the Cobrabook in which he exposes the philosophy of life which allowed him to bring out the Cobra dormant in him and thus to cross the tests which were put on his way.
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