The actor has had many stories during his Port Charles tenure and although his TV dad Duke Lavery (Ian Buchanan) was killed off a while back, the two actors managed to share screen-time when Duke appeared as an apparition in 2017.
The daytime vet also reflects on receiving a Daytime Emmy pre-nomination for the dual role and what to expect next from Ryan.
Cohen says his exit is amicable and the door is being left open for his return. He’s tackling directing next, helming the film Mama Bear, which is already getting positive response as a short at festivals. It stars Cohen’s wife, Mandy Musgrave (whom veteran Days of Our Lives fans may recall as the original Chelsea).
Read on as Cohen reflects on his GH experience, whether or not he’ll pop up again on Supernatural, and more!
Why are you choosing to leave GH?
Matt Cohen: I did three years at the show. It was a great time and I had great fun playing the character, but I’m a guy who gets uncomfortable when he gets comfortable. I need to give Griffin a little rest right now. I talked to Frank [Valentini, executive producer]. We’re leaving it very open-ended. There are a couple of directing projects I’m looking at right now. There’s always the chance I’ll come back. I have a real family over there with the actors and especially the crew that keeps that show afloat.
I’m a guy whose OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder] travels with me. I wasn’t bored with the writing or the storyline, but I’m bored if I don’t have an extreme challenge in front of me. My next big challenge is about directing a feature film. I have to embark on that. Maybe I’ll pop into GH every once in a while? That’ll be up to Frank and the writers as to what we do.
When Griffin had his back to Ryan (Jon Lindstrom) I thought he might be his next victim. Were you happy they aren’t killing Griffin off?
Yeah. There is no greater compliment to be paid to an actor than to have the possibility of a return. The fact that Frank and everybody over there at the network would even consider allowing that is a great thing.
The show had a cake for you. What’s it like being the center of attention where you’re asked to make a speech?
I wanted to keep it short and sweet. We did it on a break. The hustle is very real. I didn’t want to take up a lot of time. But I wanted everyone to take away one thing from knowing me, which is we need to care for each other a lot. When you’re working on a show that has a cast of 30 people and a crew, heads can butt and best friends can get in fights. I want everyone to know I love everyone there and I was so grateful for them. I want everyone to just be good to one another. Any one of us could walk out of that building and that could be the last time we ever see each other. There are so many beautiful, talented hardworking individuals. I said to everyone, ‘Go enjoy your break and I’ll be back.’
Port Charles hasn’t seen the last of Jasper Jacks.
Wonderful sentiment. How did you feel about being cast as Duke’s son and what was it like finally getting to work with Ian?
After I joined the show, I became quick friends with Finola [Hughes, Anna]. She was always singing Ian’s praises. When Finola says somebody’s great, then somebody’s great. Meeting Ian was spectacular. We only had to a few minutes to work together. It was an honor to play [the son] of a legacy character who is so embedded in the show’s history.
Can you talk about Mama Bear?
I’ve wanted to direct some feature films for a long time. I directed a ‘proof of concept’ [which shows I can do the entire film]. It runs about 13 minutes and we’re shopping it around. We have several interested buyers. We’re winning awards at the film festivals. It’s won best director twice, best picture twice, best actress, and original score. I have stayed true to a vision and a passion. People told me I can’t direct. I said, ‘Well, I’ve studied and followed directors.’ I felt I was ready and I think it came out great.
What’s the film’s story?
It’s about an undying love and devotion of a mother to her child. A friend and fellow actor/director told me to do what I know. I took that and put a stick of dynamite on one end and a rocket ship on the other and I let it fly. The only thing I’ve known the last three years is my wife and the great power she’s gained by coming into motherhood and her love for our son. Nothing can get in the way of her child.