One Life To Live Q&A: Tuc Watkins On Returning To Play David Vickers

Tuc Watkins attends the 'All My Children' & 'One Life To Live' premiere>> at Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York City, on April 23, 2013 -- Getty Images

Tuc Watkins was at a "One Life To Live" fan event a few months ago when a young woman asked him what fans could do to revive the show.

"I said, 'OK, look -- it's never coming back. We all wanted it to come back, everyone made a great, grass roots campaign to try and bring it back, but we have to face the fact that 'One Life To Live' is really gone and we all have to move on,'" Tuc recounted to in a new interview

"Cut to about two weeks later where I get a phone call saying, 'One Life To Live' is back, do you want to be on it?' -- once again proving that Tuc Watkins is usually wrong," he added, with a laugh.

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"One Life To Live" is indeed back, returning this Monday via Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes, and Tuc admitted he jumped at the chance to get back into the shoes of "The Boy with the Chipmunk Tattoo" star --David Vickers Buchanan, longtime on-off paramour of Dorian Lord (Robin Strasser).

"I'm sure people say it a lot -- we are kind of like a family after having done it for so long," he said of what made him want to return to the show in its new incarnation online. "So having the opportunity to get to sort of go back and make a sequel, in a way, was something I just couldn't pass up."

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In our new interview with the actor, Tuc shared more about the show's return, hinted at some financial drama ahead for David, and dished on boxing in the parking lot with Roger Howarth (Todd Manning). Tell us about the first day on set.

Tuc Watkins: It was sort of like meeting people in heaven because we all thought we were gone, we all thought we were done and the show was buried and then all of a sudden, there's a whole bunch of us thumbing through scripts by mailboxes as if we were waiting by the pearly gates to see who got in and who didn't (laughs).

Access: So was Luna there, or Gabrielle?

Tuc: That's a great question. I did have dinner with Luna [Susan Batten] that week, because she lives up in that area, but she was not there with the rest of us. ... She and I have stayed buds ever since the old 'OLTL' and she was basically just filling me in on where to go and what to do in Connecticut because we were all surprised to hear [we were shooting in] Connecticut.

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Access: What do you love about David Vickers? He's changed quite a bit over the years, but is so fun to watch.

Tuc: I agree -- David Vickers is the 'funnest' character that I've ever gotten to play and I'm lucky that I've gotten to play him for so long. When David Vickers first started out, he wasn't the David Vickers we know now. He started out being this cool, mysterious con man that Dorian hired to come get her out of jail and I did that for about a year, but to be honest, I was fairly unremarkable about being cool and mysterious. And one day, I accidentally fell down the stairs at the Llanview Country Club and everybody laughed and I was embarrassed, but then I realized, 'Oh, David Vickers isn't a cool, mysterious con man. David Vickers thinks he's a cool, mysterious con man,' and that's where everything sort of changed. That's when he started hatching plans and stealing diamonds and stealing babies, but not being very successful at it. I think that makes for longevity on a soap because I'm a really a threat to no one and I can attempt to murder people, but it always gets foiled. So, I'm never truly an evil guy, I'm just sort of a bumbling evil guy.

Access: How are we going to find David when the show resumes? Obviously he and Dorian were going to stay together, but be apart and make it work. But David has needs...

Tuc: Right... Well, he has gotten around. David obviously loves women of many kinds, but what he loves more than women and even himself is money, and he has had access to all of Dorian's bank accounts and he put that money to good use and you'll see that in the first episode.

Access: And when you say, 'good use' -- David Vickers' ideas of 'good use' are not probably the same ideas of 'good use' as, say, Oprah.

Tuc: (Laughs) That's correct. They are not selfless 'good use.' It is completely and utterly selfish.

Access: Are you saying he drained the Cramer financial bank accounts for his own purposes -- buying yachts to compete with Diddy?

Tuc: Well, he didn't completely drain the accounts because he knows that Dorian would kick him to the curb if he did that. He just siphoned off enough money to make himself happy, hoping that Dorian wouldn't notice. ... The audience will see what David spent his money on in the first episode.

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Access: Roger Howarth, who plays Todd Manning, is back in some way as Todd. David and Todd are the two funniest characters on the show. Will we see scenes between you two?

Tuc: Yes. We will.

Access: Do you two ad lib a lot?

Tuc: What we usually do is we rehearse in the morning with the script that's written and what we'll often do is, 'Hey, let's try this.' And we'll tweak a line or we'll invert a line. Sometimes the line that they'll write for David is funnier coming out of Todd's mouth. ... We don't usually ad lib on camera, because I call that 'ambush acting,' and you want to...

Access: Respect the people you work with?

Tuc: Yeah, you wanna respect the people you work with, you wanna respect the director because they need to know where is the cut. ... They need to know where the punch line is because the punch line has to be on camera, otherwise it's not funny. ... The work that we may improvise in the morning gets set throughout the day, but every now and then, we'll throw each other a curve ball, just to make sure the other one's paying attention.

Access: What's the relationship like between you two?

Tuc: Well, Roger and I have been friends since 1994, so we know each other's characters. ... We know each other as people really well. ... [As for our characters], David is dying to be Todd's best friend and Todd is dying for David to go away, so that kind of conflict makes for a good relationship. Characters that usually get along really well on a soap, don't have a lot of scenes together, unless it's your love interest. So, he and I developed a really fun relationship where I'm kind of like the little brother, like, 'Let me go. Let me hang out with you.' And he's like, 'Get the heck away from me.'

Access: Obviously you've had to get shirtless a few times over the years. What's your 'stay in shape' routine that you do?

Tuc: Well, I'll tell you -- I started doing 'One Life To Live' in my twenties and I am well into my forties now. ... So, I always have to mix it up otherwise I get bored and Roger and I actually started boxing, which I'd never done before. So, we'll go out to the parking lot and be sparring partners for each other. And I'm always looking for something different, otherwise it just gets kind of boring, so I go to the gym, and do sort of circuit training in my driveway, I play beach volleyball every Sunday, out in Santa Monica to stay in shape, but at my age there's also a whole lot of sucking it in and holding your breath.

Access: And you can always do pushups before they call, 'Action!' as well.

Tuc: You know what, I used to do that... but I think there comes a time in a person's life where you're just like, 'I think I'll let the kids do that now.'

"One Life To Live" and "All My Children" return Monday via the free online streaming service Hulu, the subscription Hulu Plus or on iTunes.

-- Jolie Lash

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