'Bold and the Beautiful's Matthew Atkinson Delves Into Thomas' Psyche
Bold and the Beautiful has seen its share of baddies over the decades, but Thomas Forrester (Matthew Atkinson) is giving them all a run for their money.
He’s relentless in his pursuit of Hope (Annika Noelle) and will use his position at Forrester and even his own son, Douglas (Henry Joseph Samiri), to make her his wife. And, if along the way, Thomas can have a hand in ruining his father Ridge’s (Thorsten Kaye) marriage to Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang), that'll be a bonus.
Atkinson, whose previous daytime experience was playing doomed adulterous Austin on The Young and the Restless, has delved into the role of the troubled heir with gusto. Read on to get his thoughts on how he justifies Thomas’ actions, taking those falls, and playing a TV dad.
Did you know how dark Thomas was going to get when you first got the role?
Matthew Atkinson: You never know with daytime because stories can go in a couple of different ways. I’ve experienced that before. You get the exciting times and the happy times. It seems with Thomas Forrester it’s always an exciting time. He’s got his manipulation tactics and relationships. It’s so much fun for me to play.
He was never a complete Boy Scout, but now he’s gone to new heights.
He has. I didn’t really know anything [about where the story was going] when I came on. I knew he was going to be in the middle of this baby storyline that was going on at the time. I knew that Thomas was going to see Hope as this mother figure for his son and he wanted her. Each time I got a script I went, ‘Wow!’ ‘Whoa!’ and ‘Here we go!’ As I began to realize the trajectory of this character, I learned exactly where his head space was and how he had these deep wounds from his past with his parents and Caroline’s (Linsey Godfrey) death. All of that had put him in a bad place.
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Thomas has had two falls – first, he fell off a cliff onto the beach. Then, he fell into – what we thought was a vat of acid – but apparently turned out to be a big bucket of BeLieF.
[Laughs] Of course, it had to be that – something a Logan would come up with!
OK, I have to give you major kudos for knowing your B&B history. [Note: BeLieF is a wrinkle-free formula that Brooke Logan Forrester created back in 1991 that changed landscape at Forrester Creations.]
I came across [BeLieF] in my research. As for the stunts, I do love to do as many of them as I can. The show, understandably, wants to protect their actors. I got to fall over the cliff a little bit. They had a pad for me and I was locked into this harness to make sure I didn’t go all the way over. The stunt guy went much further than I did. I totally respect the show not wanting [actors] to push boundaries when it comes to doing stunts. I was into [doing] the fall into that vat but the main fall was done by the stuntman.
The multi-talented star also looked back on his 'HIMYM' role and teased his musical projects.
Just when it looked like Thomas was beyond redemption, his son Douglas reached out to him when they were in Vinny’s [Joe LoCicero] apartment and he said that he knew there was a good guy in there. That was a key scene in Thomas’ journey this year.
Absolutely. That was a huge turning point for Thomas. We saw that there was a thought process as to why Thomas is so obsessive. Yes, you can say that he’s still acting [obsessively when it comes to Hope] but that moment was important to Thomas because it showed how he was feeling. Yes, he will destroy pretty much anyone who gets in his way except anyone in his family. That’s the core of this character. His family will always keep him grounded. When it comes to his sister, his father, his mother or his son, he will never go past a certain barrier.
Thomas has certainly appeared threatening, on occasion, to Douglas.
When he would, he never went to any real extremes depending on how you look at it. He never hit his son, but yes, he did get angry at him and scare him. [Douglas reaching out to his father] was huge. Thomas asked himself, 'who am I now?' That brought him back to reality. He’s still Thomas Forrester, who will do almost anything, but he does have a conscious. I’m very glad that [Henry and I] had that scene. It gave the audience a chance to see him in that moment.
What’s it like working with Henry? Does he understand it’s all pretend?
He’s a very smart kid. I told him, ‘You know I’d never actually do anything’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’ We goof off in between scenes, throwing the ball around or having some fun. He’s really the sweetest kid. After we did that scene where Thomas broke down and they called ‘cut,’ Henry said to me, ‘That was a really good scene!’
From 'Days of Our Lives' to 'Young and the Restless,' where does your favorite fall in the ranking?
There are social media comments on Thomas’ dynamic with Vinny. He’s a great ‘talk to’ in that I don’t think he knows just how far Thomas could go!
[Laughs] Vinnie’s kind of aloof and a little bit of a ‘doof’ at times. Thomas can be getting totally intense and Vinnie will say, ‘Hey, man! You seem a little tense.’ It’s a fun relationship. I love working with Joe. Thomas thinks Vinny’s not that smart and Vinny thinks the same thing! Objectively, Thomas thinks Vinny’s a little goofier. It’s a fun dynamic to see these two guys who feel the same way about one another. There’s so much comedy. I wish we could play it up more. I think we have the great makings for a [revival of] The Odd Couple.
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As we’ll see into the future, Thomas is continuing to manipulate in order to get what he wants. Who’s the one person he can’t seem to fool or trick?
That would be his sister, Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood). She’s the closet relationship Thomas has ever had in his life. He’s got his father, his mother, and his son. He spent time with Caroline before she died, but he spent his entire childhood with Steffy. Even though she’s the younger sister, she’s become the older one at times, taking care of Thomas. They’re forever attached and it’s the closest relationship in his life. When it comes to manipulating, Steffy has arguably gone down that path. He knows he can’t get away with anything when he’s around her. There’s an interesting relationship there. I love Jacqui so much. Every time we get to work together, it’s a blast.
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