‘The Young and the Restless’: Daniel Goddard on the Sex, Lies and Videotape That Triggered Cane’s Downfall

Michael Logan
Q&A Ed McGowan / Plain Joe Studios

Daniel Goddard and Christel Khahlil

He did a dumb-ass thing (several, actually) and now he’s paying for it. On CBS’s The Young and the Restless, cosmetics exec Cane Ashby (Daniel Goddard) got blind drunk on sake during a business trip to Japan and—though he has no memory of it—knocked up his coworker Juliet (Laur Allen). She walked away with a fat settlement from his company, and Cane was fired. Now he’s been kicked out of the house by his wife, Lily (Christel Khalil). Can life get any worse? Oh, you bet. Goddard spills it.

How could this happen to such a decent family man? Cane is one of the few good guys in soaps!

He’s almost an anomaly in this genre. Cane is not a bed-hopper like Billy or Nick. He’s a man of integrity who truly loves his wife and children. He sets the standard for family values. But he made a very stupid mistake and his world collapsed—and then he’s made it even worse by lying to keep his loved ones from being hurt and to stop his company from being ruined. [Laughs] My motto in life is: Don’t f--- up as much as Cane does, and everything will be OK.

Now he’s the town pariah and no one will hire him. He also used his kids’ tuition money to pay off a blackmailer. How bad does it get?

So bad he almost feels a sense of levity. He’s at rock bottom, going, “OK, everybody knows what I’ve done. I’ve got no more skeletons in the closet!” He’s got nothing left to lose and he can’t help but smile. It’s kind of liberating, really.

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Lily is insisting that Cane do the right thing and be there for Juliet, which sounds like a perfectly soapy opportunity for those two to bond. Can you see them falling in love?

The short answer: It’s possible. The long answer: I don’t think it will happen. Juliet was lying when she sued for sexual harassment—Cane knows for sure that he’s innocent of that—and he can’t deal with someone so unscrupulous. And who can say where this is really going? I track social media and there’s a lot of suspicion among the fans that Juliet faked the paternity test paperwork. [Laughs] Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time that happened on Y&R! And since we never actually saw the sex, who knows if it really happened? That’s allowed a certain sense of disbelief for the audience, which makes them stay interested.

Should Cane be getting high and mighty with Juliet? He’s got a very shady past.

I know! In the [sexual harassment] court case no one referred back to his early years and said, “When you came to Genoa City you faked your identity—so you have no credibility here!” [Laughs] They luckily left that alone. I was nervously turning the pages of each new script and when I didn’t see it mentioned I’d be, like, “Yes!”

You and Christel have performed all this with remarkable subtlety and restraint. It’s the lack of fireworks that makes the story unique.

Christel and I talked a lot about that. Don’t forget, Lily slept with Joe Clark twice and there was no alcohol involved, so there’s a level of guilt on her part that stops her from coming at Cane with a vengeance. She’s not squeaky clean and this has allowed the humanity to play out, as opposed to it being all about anger and retaliation. Whenever you see the submissions for the Daytime Emmy acting awards, it’s always about the guy yelling or the girl crying hysterically. I’m not a big fan of that. I operate within a more quiet, grey area. I don’t get loud until and unless I absolutely need to. Nor can I play every scene like Lily has Cane’s nuts in a vice.

You also steer clear of righteousness.

Being righteous never plays well with an audience. But if I play Cane as a man facing up to his errors, it’s different and surprising and we still have somewhere to go—like taking an unexpected little cobblestone street off the main highway. And let’s not forget how important Cane and Lily’s teenagers are to the [equation] and why that makes them try to hang in there for the sake of the family. It always plagues me when I see a guy and a girl together on a soap for years and have several children and then break up and act like they don’t know each other. That’s not the way the world works.

What makes all this so poignant is that Cane has made so many of his wrong choice for the right reasons. We can weirdly relate. Plus, we’ve all done stupid stuff while drunk.

Absolutely. Some people don’t get why Cane tried to make Billy look bad in that tape with the hockey players, like it came out of nowhere. But since day one, Billy has been manipulative towards Cane to the point where he allowed Cane to leave Lily and go and do the honorable thing by marrying Chloe and raising Cordelia, when Billy knew that Cane was not that child’s father. And then Billy moved in on Lily while Cane was off with Chloe! To me, that video was the perfect endgame for Cane. It was payback.

But doesn’t Cane’s attempt to get revenge on Brash & Sassy—and there’s more of that in the coming weeks—mean he’s screwing with Lily’s life yet again? Whatever she’s making in this half-baked modeling career of hers is the only money coming into the Ashby household right now.

I can only speak to my own feelings about that. When Cane was trying to take all his Brash & Sassy secrets over to Jabot it was less about vengeance than about providing for his family. He didn’t see it as damaging to Lily. If anything, he could bring Lily along with him to Jabot to resume her career. She started out as the Fresh Face of Jabot! [Laughs] At least that’s how I justified it. I’m always trying to find Cane’s motivation, even if it’s not obvious in the scripts. It wears me down and it keeps me up at night, but I gotta lay it all out in my mind. That way, amongst the catacombs of storyline, I don’t turn into a skeleton.

What the hell happened to Cane’s money? He’s been working as a top executive for years but, after just a few days of unemployment, he’s broke.

Even as a non-American citizen, I plead the fifth! [Laughs] Who knows? Though there was a mention that his money is deeply invested in stocks and bonds so he couldn’t liquidate fast enough. I won’t say I was disappointed, but I was shocked that Cane was taking money from his kids. I even showed the scenes to my wife and I don’t normally do that. I try to keep work and family separate. I don’t like my family to watch me act, and I don’t like to watch me, either. I get too self-conscious. But this time I had to [share]. I couldn’t believe what I was being asked to do!

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You do realize that this whole damn mess can be traced back to that outta nowhere bro hug Cane gave the Japanese business tycoon, right? Juliet had to step in and save the day…and then it all fell apart from there.

When I read that script and saw the bro hug I thought, “What are they doing to me?” [Laughs] But I just had to take the leap. That day on the set was quite the comedy of errors. Very Monty Python. We were laughing so much because it was all so idiotic. But I assumed it was just some odd little thing that would soon be forgotten. Little did I know that it was the beginning of all Cane’s troubles!

The Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS

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This article also appeared in the Aug. 7–20 issue of TV Guide Magazine

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