Powell native on General Hospital'

Posted 7/13/10

Cummings, a 23-year-old Powell native, moved to Los Angeles in January 2009 after being encouraged to do so by an agent who saw his acting skills while he attended the University of Colorado, Denver.

Following a number of auditions in L.A., …

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Powell native on General Hospital'


"I didn't, like, graduate high school and in my yearbook write, ‘Be in a soap opera,' as future plans,” said Daniel Cummings, a 2005 Powell High School alum.Nevertheless, today (Tuesday), Cummings will make his television debut in a recurring role on the long-running ABC soap opera, “General Hospital.”

Cummings, a 23-year-old Powell native, moved to Los Angeles in January 2009 after being encouraged to do so by an agent who saw his acting skills while he attended the University of Colorado, Denver.

Following a number of auditions in L.A., Cummings' agent told him in late April he'd been chosen to play a new character on “General Hospital” — a daytime soap opera that follows the fictional drama and intrigue of a community of residents living (and sometimes meeting untimely ends) in Port Charles, N.Y.

Cummings previously auditioned for a totally different “General Hospital” character and didn't land the part.

“But I made a good impression on the casting director, and he kept bringing me back, and I kept reading for him,” Cummings said. He actually got this role without an audition.

His character, Taylor Wallace, who debuts in today's 12,098th episode of the show, is a new classmate and study partner of character Kristina Davis, a high school student.

Kristina is the daughter of a Port Charles mob boss, who earlier this year got out of an abusive relationship when her then-boyfriend was hit and killed by a car that was taking her to the hospital following one of his beatings, and also recently ended a different, pretend relationship with one of her father's enemies (to make her father mad) that nearly proved fatal when her dad did get mad and blew up the man's car.


When asked what soap opera-worthy developments are in store for his character, Cummings quipped, “I can only hope that there's a dramatic twist and maybe I'll be some sort of evil super-villian.”

“For right now, he's a nice guy,” he said.

Cummings has shot two episodes as Taylor, airing today (Tuesday) and Wednesday. Shooting on a third episode — to air Aug. 11 — is scheduled for this week. The script, he said, seems to be moving his relationship with Kristina forward, with a possibility of romance.

He said the show's producers are testing the waters on the Wallace character.

Cummings said he was told, “If it clicks, it can continue indefinitely.”

Soap opera fans can be vocal in their like or dislike of certain characters or storylines, but Cummings won't be keeping tabs on the viewer feedback.

“Jessie (Cummings' wife) has already banned me from reading the forums,” he said.

“I don't want you getting all depressed if someone doesn't like you,” he recalls Jessie telling him.

Cummings said he hasn't gotten used to being on the set of a TV show, but said the work does have some of the familiar routine feel of any other job.

“In your mind it's kind of a big deal, but everyone's like, ‘Hey, there's coffee in that room,'” he said.

Still, there are moments that just don't happen in places like Powell, Wyo. Cummings recalled getting stumped by the show's costume designer.

“She was like, ‘Where do you like to shop?' And I was like ‘Target ...? You know, Goodwill is a big store of mine,'” Cummings said with a laugh. “It's definitely a different world.”

Soap operas shoot on a speedy production schedule, typically running through scenes once for practice, and then putting it on film.

“Unless something went terribly wrong, (you) shoot it and you're done,” Cummings said. “Pressure's on.”

Soaps typically aren't known for high acting and production values, but Cummings said as a newcomer to the acting profession, he'll take what's available.

“People always want these overnight (success) stories, but it doesn't work that way,” he said.

Cummings said he believes the work on “General Hospital” will be “a really good jumping-off point,” supplementing a resumé that previously consisted of mostly college theater performances and some student films “no one ever saw.”

In a city packed with aspiring actors, Cummings said getting some connections and experience is crucial in getting parts. Otherwise, “They're always going to go with the guy that's been in L.A. acting since the age of 7,” he said.

Cummings does have some commercials under his belt, but you probably haven't seen him on TV yet. He appeared in a U.S. Army spot, “but I was just some dude in the background working on a truck.” He also was in a commercial for KFC, but the fast-food chain hasn't picked up the ad.

“I'm hoping that it (the role on “General Hospital”) kind of opens a few other doors,” said Cummings.

“Some people stay on these (soap operas) their whole life,” he said. “I don't know if that'll be me.”

A handful of well-known actors — such as Demi Moore, John Stamos, Richard Dean Anderson of “MacGyver” and Mark Hamill of “Star Wars” fame — appeared on the show before they went on to become household names.

Cummings said his personal goal ultimately is to get involved with film work “that affects people in a positive way or changes the way they think about something.”

“I think that's really the point of all this,” said Cummings. “It's not to be on TV or make money.”

The two episodes Cummings has filmed paid about enough to cover one month's rent, he said. Then he reconsidered, recalling that actually, most of that money went toward acting union dues and initiation fees.

For now, the money-maker is a waiter/bartender gig at an Italian restaurant.

“That's how we pay the bills around here,” said Cummings, who, with Jessie, also of Powell, is expecting a baby. “It will definitely be a while before the craft is supporting (us).”