'General Hospital's Parry Shen on If Brad Can Keep His Son's Paternity Secret

Michael Maloney
Q&A Walt Disney Television/Todd Wawrychuk

Soaps are all about secrets and right now, General Hospital’s Brad Cooper, played by Parry Shen, is carrying around the mother of them all!

Actually, make that the father of them all! Brad knows that little Wiley (Erik and Theo Olson), the son that he and husband Dr. Lucas Roberts (Ryan Carnes) are raising, is not the infant they adopted. Sadly, that baby died and Brad took new mother Nelle (Chloe Lanier) up on her offer to give him her baby fathered by Michael Corinthos (Chad Duell) as a substitute.

Brad’s finding this secret harder and harder to keep under wraps. In the October 21 episode, he receives some flowers — are they a romantic gesture from Lucas? Or are they an ominous message from someone who plans on exposing his secrets? Tune in to find out! And read on to get intelligent insights from Shen about Brad’s dilemma!

(ABC/Rick Rowell)

Does Brad think the flowers simply might be from Lucas? Is his husband a "sends flowers" type of guy? Is Brad?

Parry Shen: Brad’s initial thought is that Lucas sent them. They’re both very loving and thoughtful to each other, so in Brad’s mind, it wouldn’t be anyone else.

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In addition to Nelle, who else does Brad think could have sent them?

Besides being delivered to the wrong "Brad," Brad knows that he’s got a fan base of maybe three to four people in Port Charles. So, perhaps Britt (Kelly Thiebaud) or Willow (Katelyn MacMullen)? Maybe Wiley accidentally pressed an app that sent the flowers?

Recently, Brad tried to enlist Julian (William deVry) to help him keep Wiley’s paternity under wraps. Was that a mistake? Does he feel Julian is an ally, an adversary, or neutral?

Brad enlisted the perfect person that he thought had a vested interest and skillset to keep the baby swap secret. However, he made a grave error in lashing out his frustrations upon Julian because you don’t want to be on his bad side. He, who was once his ally, has now become his adversary (currently, unbeknownst to Brad).

(Walt Disney Television/Matt Petit)

How would you describe Brad’s state of mind right now? He’s having to think quickly on his feet — knowing Nelle and Julian are wild cards in his big secret. Is he holding together well?

If Brad could have another set of eyes implanted into the back of his head to keep a lookout for threats, he’d ask if his insurance would cover the procedure. The guy is on high-alert — every time he gets a breather to enjoy his family, another variable rears its ugly head.

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Sonny (Maurice Benard) will not be happy if the truth comes out that Michael’s son has been kept from him. How much of that weighs on Brad’s mind?

Having the wrath of Sonny focused on Brad is always a looming threat. But not having really been exposed to that world of violence on a first-hand basis, it’s a very ethereal threat. What really frightens Brad, is Lucas discovering his secret — because then, his life as he knows it is over anyway.

 

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Aw, man... no fight? Sad Brad. #GH

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Brad has come a long way from being Britt’s ally and blackmailing Michael. How would you compare his early days to his life now? How high are the stakes for him?

Back then, Brad really couldn’t care less what anyone thought about him. But once he found someone to care about (Lucas) and he, in turn, exposed Brad to the wonderful things that could come from being a part of a community and a family, and belonging. It’s made Brad want that for himself, which has blindly led him to making a family happen for him and Lucas, no matter what the costs. So, the stakes are tremendously high, because this family is now everything to Brad.


Brad’s reaction to Nelle’s parole being denied was classic. It walked that fine line where Nelle couldn’t see that Brad was thrilled but the audience could. Did viewers respond to that moment?

Well, first we need to be accurate when we define "viewers" here. Because the viewers that can’t stand Brad, aren’t gonna notice and appreciate that stuff. However, the fans of Brad caught it and loved it. It’s why they enjoy Brad, for his "Brad-isms," e.g. in hysterics rewinding Sam (Kelly Monaco) falling on the red carpet, when he said Drew (Billy Miller) was gonna throw the first punch at Jason (Steve Burton), and then gave a quick aside to Lucas when Sam disagreed.

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Also, Brad’s chiming in "I did!" in response to Epiphany (Sonya Eddy) when she says no one could have predicted Robin (Kimberly McCullough) showing up at Patrick (Jason Thompson) and Sabrina’s (Teresa Castillo) wedding. Sheila Rutko, a fan on Facebook, summed it up perfectly, "This is one of the many reasons I love Brad... Not a villain. Not a good guy. Just himself."

 

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What is Brad afraid of losing the most: Lucas? Wiley? His job? His standing in the community?

Lucas — he’s his anchor and reasoning for this elaborate mess he’s gotten himself into.

There’s an old showbiz adage about never working with kids or pets, but you seem to have fun working with little Wiley. What’s that like? The "crayon mustache" social media post is adorable.

Well, I’m a dad to two girls and totally being objective — kids have always just loved me. Maybe it’s because I’ve got fun hair, or am goofy, do magic, and am really creative. [Smiles] Wait, I think I might have a clue as to why kids like me.

 

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Anyway, being a parent really helps in knowing how to hold the kids, keep them engaged and calm. Which is why I was super impressed watching Jason Thompson (ex-Patrick) when he would interact with Brooklyn Rae Silzer (Emma), because back then he didn’t have any kids, but you wouldn’t know that at all with how comfortable he was with her. The toughest part was actually having to pretend I didn't know how to hold a baby — because Brad wouldn't know how to and be awkward. The scene where Britt hands me her baby during the Halloween party was terrible — I purposely held the baby stiff-armed, so that he'd fuss... and he did!

Have you ever had to (or gotten to) do some funny ad-libs off something "Wiley" might do when you’re taping?

Yes. The most well-known example is when Sam was leaving Kelly’s and Wiley was blowing kisses "goodbye" to her and I just went with it as if Brad had taught him that. I usually just need to listen/watch them — and just play off their actions accordingly within the confines that make sense in the scene.

 

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Those Brad/Wiley/Lucas "Funkos" sure look real! What response did you get from fans on that? I bet they’d sell like hotcakes!

Well, again — fans of Brad — loved them and wanted them. Other people probably wanted to melt him down (without Wiley, that is). I used to do a bunch of promos making a Lego version of Brad, and thought I’d update it a little with Funko Pop! versions.  But basically, the telltale sign that my fans know is spotting that Pear logo with an “e” in the center ("Pear-E") — if that’s stamped on something, it always means I created it, and it doesn’t really exist... yet!

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"Brad Cooper" – what was it like when it was revealed (long ago) that Brad shared his name with a famous movie star?

I thought it was just a placeholder until they could figure out a real last name of the character (and maybe that was really the case and they just kept it). But he was only slated for four episodes, and usually those kind of jobs — the character doesn’t get a last name. But then on my third episode, I saw this desk nameplate with the actual name and went, "Whoa. My wife’s gonna be really excited when I tell her tonight that she’s married to Brad Cooper!"

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