‘General Hospital’ Star Matt Cohen on GrAva’s Future & Returning to ‘Supernatural’

Matt Cohen as Griffin Munro on General Hospital
ABC/Craig Sjodin
Matt Cohen as Griffin Munro on General Hospital.

Griffin Munro (Matt Cohen) is stuck between a rock and a hard place these days on ABC’s daytime drama, General Hospital.

Fans of the long-running soap know that former priest Griffin is in his first real romantic relationship with Ava (Maura West), and while they’ve hit their share of bumps in the road, they’re working hard to make their union work. Griffin also has an allegiance to mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Bernard) that could end up being a big problem given the fact that Sonny’s Alzheimers-ridden father Mike (Max Gail) recently kidnapped Ava and Sonny’s daughter, Avery (Ava and Grace Scarola).

As we saw on Friday’s episode, Avery was recovered unharmed. And while Sonny contends Mike didn’t actually kidnap the child, Ava isn’t having it and is also not going to let their daughter go to a home where Mike is also living. Will Griffin be able to reason with both sides to keep everyone happy? Or could it cost him one relationship — or maybe both?

Fan favorite Cohen chatted with TV Insider recently about his romance with Ava. He also talked about his loyalty to Sonny and how that’s going to be a point of conflict. Plus, we had to ask about those shirtless scenes and whether he’s game for a return to The CW’s Supernatural, where he’s played both archangel Michael and a young John Winchester.

Maura West with Cohen.

Sonny and Ava are at odds because of Mike kidnapping of Avery.  How’s that going to work out for Griffin, given his relationship with both of them?

Matt Cohen: Sonny has got a special place in Griffin’s heart. They have had a connection through the church and through Griffin just trying to help Sonny see the light through numerous situations. Now, there’s this situation, which Sonny is holding a lot of blame upon himself. There’s no way to describe it except it’s just a terrible situation dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia and Griffin sees what Sonny’s going through. Griffin has always seen that Sonny really has a great, big, full heart.

Do you think Griffin’s allegiance to Sonny comes from his time in the church or is it just who Griffin is?

A lot is learned through the church and through Griffin’s journey through there. I think he also learned a lot about himself through his mother. We don’t talk about Griffin’s mother a lot but we touched on it very early on in his life when she became pregnant and she was in love with Duke. He knew Duke was in love with Finola’s character [Anna] so he sent her on her way. When Griffin realized that information — that his mom chose the happiness of another human over herself — there’s some of that in Griffin and it’s shaped who he is. In combination with working in the church for so many years and trying to figure out who he was and what his job was here on this planet, that all comes out with Sonny.

Me, as Matt, and standing across from Maurice as Sonny, we have a real connection off set. We connected quite quickly through our love of boxing and we just shared many, many heartfelt stories about our families and stuff. When we get on set, the connection is so there. Griffin and Matt want to help both Sonny and Maurice get through these situations.

OK, let’s talk about GrAva…

Yes! It’s the best, man.

Griffin has things to learn from Ava since relationships are new to him. What do you think she could learn from Griffin?

This is a complete two-way street with the sinner and the saint. While that’s a very divisive divide, since there’s a little bit of saint in the sinner and a little bit of sinner in the saint, Griffin is learning that, at the end of the day, you don’t have to put everybody first and you don’t have to serve everybody first. Sometimes you need to follow your gut instinct and those small sensations that your senses pick up on. You have to listen to things like that.

Ava, on the other hand, her takeaway from Griffin is that there are truly good people out there that bad s**t happens to. You can be defined by the things that happen to you or you can let the things happen to you and figure out a way to rise above them. I think Griffin is a breath of fresh air for Ava and I think Ava’s badassness is a breath of fresh air for Griffin. It gives him a little backbone, a little edge. I think these two characters will only learn and grow from each other.

Not to mention being a new guy in the soap world and getting to act across from Maura and Maurice, these people deliver. You come on that set and we’re doing 60, 70, 80 pages of dialogue in a day with one take. I can only get so lucky to be working with Maura and Maurice, and these very heavy storylines, and Max, and just everybody that’s kind of surrounding my immediate storyline is only making me better. They drag me into the stronger decisions and I’m extremely grateful for it.

Maurice Bernard, Cohen and West in General Hospital.

The situation with Mike is really tough on everyone. How has Griffin been able to juggle helping Sonny while also being there for Ava? Sonny and Ava aren’t exactly BFFs!

Half of Griffin’s heart lays with Sonny and half of it lays with Ava. You want to say the 51 percent is with Ava, because he’s moved in with her and he cares about her so much. But there’s truly a loyalty to Sonny in this situation. I think it’s going to create a very unique triangle. I mean it already has created some confrontation between the three of us and the audience will see these situations arise. I’m excited to see where it goes, to be honest with you. There’s so many angles to be played here.

If you could get in the writers room and write some scenes between Griffin and some characters he doesn’t normally get to interact with, who would it be?

I’d love to work more with Billy Miller [Drew Cain] and Kelly Monaco [Sam McCall]. They’re just two friends of mine that I care for very much, and just two tremendous, tremendous actors. We don’t cross paths all that much, but I think with the storylines coming up, we may fall into each other’s laps a little bit more.

I know being a part of the daytime world, shirtless scenes are par for the course. Are those good days or not so good days for you?

You know what? My take on this is weird. I used to feel like, ‘I’ve got to go do a shirtless scene. Let me worry about what I eat today. Am I going to look bloated or skinny, or this and that?’ I’ve given up on all that over the last four or five years, I’ve given into fully living the healthiest lifestyle I possibly can. If it happens to be the night before I do a shirtless scene, where I have to eat those extra cookies or not, I’m going to have them anyway. I’m committed to living a healthy lifestyle and eating two cookies doesn’t make your six pack go away in one night. You have to be realistic about it.

A lot of it’s mental. With actors, we are all complete head cases! That’s why we’re actors. We’re emotional as actors, we’re walking around the town. Every day I work out and every day I try to feel good about myself. I mean, this is the business I signed up for. If I’m scared to take my shirt off, I should go do something where I wear a suit every day.

Cohen (l) with Jensen Ackles in the 2008 Supernatural episode, “In The Beginning.”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about Supernatural. If timing worked out, would you do the show again?

You can write this in bold-faced, capital letters with exclamation marks on the top to bottom and both sides: Before the end of Supernatural, John Winchester, my version of John Winchester, or my version of Michael, will be back on that show. I have not gotten a call from the writers, directors, producers, anybody from them, but I assure you by the end of time, by the end of the run of Supernatural, Matt Cohen will be back on there.

Supernatural (which was just renewed for season 14) is going to run forever, so I think there’s a good chance…

I owe it to the fans! It’s been so fun to play with those fans and that sci-fi world. I’m definitely going back there. The writers may not know it yet, but Matt Cohen does and enough nagging gets anything done in Hollywood.

General Hospital, weekdays, ABC

Supernatural, Thursdays, 8/7c, The CW