Ryan Paevey on Meeting Fans, Catching Waves & His Jump From ‘GH’ to Hallmark Channel
What do you get when you mix the energy of Comic-Con with the fandom of soap operas and romance? Try RomaDrama Live!, which is gearing up for its next event in West Palm Beach. Among the top draws will be Ryan Paevey, who steamed up daytime on General Hospital as the late (well, is anyone really truly gone on these things?) Nathan West.
The star parlayed that success into a spot in the Gold Crown universe as a staple in Hallmark films starting with Unleashing Mr. Darcy. Attendees of RomaDrama Live! will get a peek at his latest, Two Tickets to Paradise, before it premieres on the network. We caught up with Peavey as he reminisces about his time on GH and his time with Hallmark Channel.
What do you think makes RomaDrama Live! unique?
Ryan Paevey: I’ve been attending conventions for about 11 years now. What RomaDramaLive! is doing is a grander scale. It’s more than just standing in line. It marries bringing higher quality venues, larger events, and fun activities for fans of this genre. We have a few things that will allow fans to interact with their fandoms in ways they can’t at other conventions. I’m super excited to be a part of it. I went to the one in Nashville [in 2021], and it was a blast.
Do you have one fan interaction that stands out?
I do have a fun one. It started out a little strange. I have a few friends who are musicians. One of them was having a concert. To try and drive traffic, I was helping them promote a bit. The night of the concert rolls around, and we get there to The Viper Room on Sunset. There is a gal waiting out front who I vaguely remembered through online stuff as a fan of mine. She lived in Nova Scotia. She saw I was going to this concert, and flew from Eastern Canada to Los Angeles. She showed up as I was helping the group. She was super sweet.
I had the choice of being a dick or acknowledging I had the chance to do something really cool for somebody. I’m not encouraging anyone to do this to your favorite celebs, but she seemed harmless enough. I invited her to come in to see my buddy’s metal band. We went in. I think the concert scared her a bit, being hard metal, but we ended up having dinner afterward, and it was totally fine.
Your start was really on General Hospital. How do you look back at the time when it was really trial by fire for you?
I wasn’t really an actor when I got the job. I had nothing on my resume. I look back on my career and think that I got really lucky during several strategic times in a row. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing stepping foot at General Hospital that first day. I also had massive food poisoning on day one. The universe was definitely testing me. I was super sick and had to learn 36 pages of dialogue. I got very lucky early on that the people I was paired with on the show were longtime veterans. They were really kind with their time.
Maurice Benard was really kind to me. His dressing room was right next to mine. A significant amount of my work was with Finola Hughes. And honestly, if it wasn’t for her I would have gotten fired. I didn’t know what I was doing as anybody on soap Twitter at the time can attest. The public was not terribly kind to me when I started out. I showed up completely clueless. Thanks to some giving people who showed me the ropes, they kept me from drowning. It built the fundamentals that I’ve built since.
Would you ever return to soaps?
I don’t have a burning desire to return to soap operas but never say never.
You’re pretty busy these days after signing a multi-picture deal with Crown Media Family Networks. That shows the confidence they have in you.
It’s rare you can find a place like Hallmark that will consistently serve feel-good stuff. We get the accusation that it’s a little repetitive. Powers that be know that. The fundamental storylines and equations are starting to change. Becoming more inclusive, embracing a broader range of content and subject matter to be more reflective of real life. The core of it is still the same. The stuff we have you should be able to smile a little wider after watching.
Do you think we’re going to get another Mr. Darcy movie?
I hope. We’ve been ready to go since we walked off the set of number 2. I’m in. I know Cindy [Busby] is in. I can probably call Frances [Fisher] and see if she would want to join us for a few days. I think we’re good to go. It’s a question of if the powers-that-be want to do another one. I know fans are pumped about the potential.
You have the film Two Tickets to Paradise coming up. Sounds like the perfect summer watch.
The structure is a bit different. We shot it in Hawaii, so the location is going to be beautiful, so if you don’t like me or Ashley [Williams], there is a nice background to watch. It’s activity-heavy. We go kayaking. There is a three-legged race. I got to surf. Really early on, I said they had to absolutely let me surf. There are surfing scenes. I said, “Do not hire a double. I will do it. I grew up surfing. You cannot bring me out to Hawaii for six weeks and expect me not to get in the water.” It was a really fun movie.
Is there anything you haven’t done in a Hallmark movie that you want to do?
Ride a motorcycle. I’m a motorcycle fanatic. I have five bikes of my own. I love bikes. I know productions have a tendency to get a little nervous when one of their leads is on something that can potentially kill them. My introduction to the Hallmark universe was me bailing on a film because I crashed and almost lost my right hand. But I’m sure there are characters out there that ride motorcycles. Someone mentioned I was like the Tom Cruise of the Hallmark universe. I would love to be the guy that does stuff. Up for anything. Climbing, surfing, kayaking bikes, whatever. Throw me through a wall. Let’s do some stunts. I’m your guy.
Two Tickets to Paradise, June 25, 8/7c, Hallmark Channel
RomaDrama Live! hosts its next event June 24-26 in West Palm Beach. Visit https://romadrama.com/ for full lineup and ticket details.