As Levi Dunkleman, the guy that everyone but Maxie hates on “General Hospital,” actor Zachary Garred is having a lot of fun. The Australian actor just attended his first General Hospital Fan Club Weekend in Los Angeles earlier this month and has a lot of twist and turns coming up in his story.
As GH fans know, Levi has done some questionable things since he first showed up in town as Maxie’s boyfriend. He clashed with Maxie’s (Kirsten Storms) roommate and potential boyfriend Nathan (Ryan Paevey), eyed Felicia’s (Kristina Wagner) Aztec treasures and rubbed Mac (John J. York) the wrong way. This week, Levi and Maxie are hoping to prevent Levi from being deported back to Australia by getting married. Will they say “I Do” or will Nathan and Mac get through to Maxie in time for Nathan to reveal his feelings for her? Fans can find out what happens next by catching “General Hospital” weekdays on ABC.
Daytime TV Examiner caught up with Garred, who portrays Levi, at the 2014 General Hospital Fan Club Weekend, to get his thoughts on his storyline, how he’s enjoying his time in Los Angeles and how he liked his new shorter haircut.
Check out the interview below:
Phyllis: First, we’ve got to talk about your hair.
Zachary Garred: It's changed a bit yes.
Phyllis: What made you decide to [cut it short]?
Zachary Garred: Levi does it for Maxie. [Executive Producer] Frank [Valentini] approached me about this suggestion for the character and I said absolutely. I always wanted to do something like that. The way it works with the character is, well can…I can’t really say anything. It's a really exciting few weeks coming up. This week it starts and it really ramps up a lot. It's going to be deep, it's going to be good.
Phyllis: Have you had your hair that short before or have you worn it longer for a while?
Zachary Garred: It's never been any shorter than my cheeks for about 2 years, so it's a big difference. I had my hair like this while I was doing a show back in Australia, so this is a very different exciting thing for the character so he cuts it off. Kirsten and Em [Rylan (Lulu)] got to cut it off. We donated the braids to Locks of Love. I always wanted to do something like that to where it means something. I mean its hair. It grows back, it's no biggie.
Phyllis: Well it looks great.
Zachary Garred: Thanks, that means a lot. Thank you.
Phyllis: Now the General Hospital Fan Club Weekend…people get really excited about it every year. It's your first one. What have you heard about it and what are you most looking forward to?
Zachary Garred: Every time I ask one of my cast mates about it, they kind of go, “Wow it's big.” So for like six months now I have this image in my head, like “Wow it’s big” and when I drove up in my car and I said geez this is a pretty flashy place. I'm a little nervous actually, but I'm excited.
Phyllis: I can understand you being nervous because of Levi’s actions but at the same time, it’s so much fun.
Zachary Garred: It's real… it's very surreal. I've never been part of a television show that has such an ingrained following as this. For such a long amount of time… I mean 51 years. It's phenomenal, so to be a part of something like that is it’s quite amazing actually.
Phyllis: Have you been in LA very long? Did you come here just for the part or were you here auditioning before?
Zachary Gared: My story is interesting. I came here, I worked in Australia for 10 years. I came for some meetings last year briefly and then I came in for pilot season. I only had enough money for about 2 months. In my third week in LA, I auditioned for this. In my fifth week I was cast. I was only here for 5 weeks. I was very fortunate. It was great because I met Mark [Teschner], the casting director, last year. When this job came up, it was the right place at the right time. It was still two weeks of waiting and wondering. I hadn't heard anything. The day before I heard about the call back, I called my manager and said, “Should I get my haircut? Should I make some changes? She said, “No don't get your haircut. Don't make any changes, don’t change anything. The next day they rang me up and said you’re meeting with the EPs next week and away we went. It's pretty surreal.
Phyllis: There are a lot of Australians that have become successful working on General Hospital so you have a lot to live up to?
Zachary Garred: I know. It is a very lofty standard the boys and girls have set. There's even a bloke who emailed me recently about a project I'm working on back home. His name is Nathin. He was on GH in 2011 for I think seventy episodes or so. His name is Nathin Butler [Ewen]. Then there's Ingo [Rademacher] and Thaao Penghlis as well. He's from Sydney. I had no idea. Growing up, you see these blokes that look familiar. It was on TV in the afternoon when my mum was watching it back home.
Phyllis: When you’re not learning lines or driving Mac crazy as Levi, what you like to do just for fun?
Zachary Garred: I'm still exploring Los Angeles. I live not far from Universal Studios. One of my favorite things to do is just to walk up to the movies up there. I’m a bit of a cinephile. I love feature film and I love TV. I love running in Runyon Canyon. I think I'm in LA and I still haven't seen this yet. I haven't been to Santa Monica, I haven’t been to Venice. I'll ring up someone like Ryan or Kirsten and they’ll say you got to go check this place out, so I'm still kind of being a tourist, doing a bit of a tourist. There’s Six Flags and you know there’s Knott’s Berry Farm. A friend of mine from Australia was saying to me recently, you got to go to Six Flags with me. I said I can't. I can't go. I had a few additions and I was working on the show as well. That's still on my list. I have to go to Six Flags.
For more info on General Hospital Fan Club, click here.
Catch “General Hospital” weekdays on ABC.