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Interview: chatting with Bryton James of 'The Young and the Restless'

Bryton James of The Young and the Restless
Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

On “The Young and the Restless” things are heating up for Devon (Bryton James) and Hilary (Mishael Morgan) as Hilary finally admitted that she has feelings for him despite being married to Devon’s father, Neil (Kristoff St. John). Says executive producer Jill Farren Phelps, “Just when you think you know what’s coming with Devon, Hilary and Neil, there’s going to be a big change.”

Daytime TV Examiner caught up with James, who plays Devon, at the CBS TCA Party to get his thoughts on his character and what’s going through Devon's mind as the story unfolds.

Check out the interview below:

Phyllis: So I hear that the storyline between Neil, Devon and Hilary is going to heat up even more. How are you feeling about that story line?

Bryton James: I'm thrilled about it. In ten years this is my first love story storyline.

Phyllis: That’s right. It seemed like you would get one or it would be teased a little and then it would be dropped.

Bryton James: Yes, they had Tatyana [Ali] on for me and Roxanne for a while but they never really got into the meat of us and the real passionate love story there. This is…it’s a great challenge because I felt like I've done everything else under the sun there. So I'm happy that the fans enjoy it and they are believing it.

Phyllis: I know you guys have been tweeting and keeping in touch with the fans, doing live chats. What are some of the reactions that you have gotten from fans so far as you chat with them?

Bryton James: It’s back and forth really. You’ve got the fans of me and Hilary being together and you’ve got the fans of Neil and her. More people are on my side but I get the ones who are really outspoken about how they feel about what I'm doing behind my dad’s back. I understand, they can get pretty passionate, which is a great thing because it means that we’re doing a good job.

Phyllis: When you first heard about the storyline did you and Kristoff have a conversation about how it is this going to go? Do you have conversations just before a big story starts?

Bryton James: Not really. We do throughout the storyline and always kind of talk about where it can go, where we would like it to go and what's already written so we can make the best of it, but Kristoff and I have been in a lot of storylines together so its… he’s really like my second Dad. There's a lot of unspokeness that happens. We don't need to say too much when we’re in scenes. I still learn from him every time I step on stage with him - so that's the best part about it.

Phyllis: How is it bringing Mishael into it? When I talked to her, she said that you guys are so welcoming and willing to work with her. What is it like bringing somebody new into the mix…someone essentially new to daytime?

Bryton James: That’s the one thing that I always used to say in interviews and I still do about my experience coming into Y& R because I am still new. There are people that have been there 20 years, some 30 something years. This year it will be a decade for me. That’s always been the case with Y &R and it made me feel so good about getting the job when I got it. Everyone is [welcoming] on the show. My first scenes were with Eric Braeden (Victor) - just him and me. Everybody was so welcoming, so warm and everybody shines. It makes you shine. It's really a team; to see new actors come on and especially if the actor is open to grow and to learn and pick up stuff. It’s probably one of the most difficult forms of acting in all of entertainment, to me anyway. I've done some single camera stuff. I've never done a film, but compared to the amount of dialogue that you have to learn in a short amount of time, there's a lot of factors that go into making it a strenuous job so...

Phyllis: I know you have a lot going on and it may be hard for you to watch the show, but are you a fan of any of the storylines going on currently or any past stories?

Bryton James: Absolutely. There are probably too many to count on my own show. Right now I really enjoy the stuff that they have with Ray Wise (Ian). He’s fantastic.

Phyllis: Yeah, Oh, he’s creepy is a good soap opera way.

Bryton James: Yeah, he is such a great asset to the show and I'm loving the…what else is good? I’m loving the stuff with Doug Davidson (Paul) and him finding out about his son and all that. It's great.

Phyllis: Oh I know. I find myself tuning in to see what’s happening there as well.

Bryton James: Yup, that’s what's keeping me interested…the stuff with Sharon (Sharon Case) trying to figure out… getting her stuff back. That's really intriguing. Also they never fail to come up with great story year after year, especially since I’ve been on. It's all fantastic.

Phyllis: Devon has experienced a lot of loss. He lost Katherine and his Dad. How do you think that has affected him to be the man that he is right now?

Bryton James: All of it had made into the man that he is now. When I started he had already had so much loss from the get go, so he was never one to expect anything more than to be let down and to lose. So when he came into The Winters Family, he was given so much. and it took a long time for him to trust that, wow you do deserve to have this and this could be your life along. This can be your life, there’s nothing wrong with it. These a sense where he does know that and has also accepted that but also he still feels that kind of underdog role of himself, even having 2.5 billion dollars. I still think to him, it’s still not real. You don’t hold onto things too tight when they’ve been taken away from you all your life. He found out who his father was, he found out who his grandmother was then lost her, tragically. It wasn't her fault that he lost her tragically, by those circumstances. All of that – it’s molded him into the man he is now.

I think with the love story that he is involved in…I think he feels that he deserves to be as happy as anyone else. To have that partner and that romance that he has, especially when the other person is giving it back. Hilary loves him too and it's just the turmoil of doing the right thing and not hurting the one man who really saved his life.

Phyllis: Lastly, I forgot to ask you about Lily's role in all of this. How do you feel about the Lily and Devon dynamic in this story?

Bryton James: Lily has her own reasons for why she's against Hilary and Devon completely understands... It’s going to be interesting to see where the writers take their relationship. It will affect Lily's relationship with Devon, the family - even Lily and Cane’s relationship might take a turn because Cane’s been lying to everybody knowing Devon’s secret. At the end of the day, no matter what happens, I can't imagine the family really just tearing apart and never coming back together. I think they're going to go through one of the most dramatic happenings since Dru [Drucilla (Victoria Rowell)] died.

Phyllis: I’m looking forward to seeing what’s happens.

Bryton James: Me too. I can't wait. I watch it like everybody else or I’m looking at the scripts when they come in wondering what’s happening next. They’ve done a good job at writing the pace of it and getting the people on board with both sides.

Phyllis: It’s great to see fans so excited, passionate and happy about it.

Bryton James: I know and I’m very happy that they’re happy.

Catch Bryton James as Devon on “The Young and the Restless” airing weekdays on CBS.

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