'Bold and the Beautiful's John McCook Shares Why Quinn Is Eric's Future

Rena Sofer John McCook Bold and the Beautiful
Q&A
Sean Smith/CBS

Despite the lush and romantic setting of Palm Springs for Eric (John McCook) and Brooke’s (Katherine Kelly Lang) wedding, Bold and the Beautiful viewers – and Eric’s ex-wife Stephanie (Susan Flannery) – suspected the union wouldn't last, given the bride’s feelings for her stepson Ridge (then, Ronn Moss; now, Thorsten Kaye).

Those underlying emotions only add to the drama of today’s re-airing of the 1991 episode, in which Eric and Brooke are joined by their family and friends for the marriage ceremony, which culminated in the couple taking off in a hot air balloon!

TV Insider sat down with McCook to talk about this memorable wedding, why Eric’s heart is now with his wife Quinn (Rena Sofer), and staying in touch with daytime fans while most everyone is self-quarantining. Read on for the scoop!

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This wedding episode from 1991 is going pretty far back into the vault, which is nice.

John McCook: I’m really glad that they reached that far back. I thought they might not show any from the really early days. I’m glad. A lot of our fans have never seen that stuff and we also have fans to whom all that stuff is important. I remember thinking we were all so excited to be on the show and shoot on location. We didn’t know about Portofino [Italy where we’d later go] yet! But we loved going to Palm Springs and then going up in the hot air balloon. It was nice to see us have production values that were not known to daytime. It was a great story for Brooke and Eric.

Shifting Brooke away from Ridge to Eric was brilliant; it brought Brooke and Stephanie’s rivalry to a new level.

To start the show, they stayed with the young characters, which was good. They were all young and beautiful and capable. But there was a huge amount of interest in the relationship with Eric and Stephanie – adult characters who were interesting based on their history. I was thrilled when they started to write Eric reaching out to this beautiful ,young woman whom his son had stepped on. It only lasted as long as it did. I think Eric may have known all along Brooke would go back to Ridge. Of course, she would. But it showed that Eric open to love even if it meant going somewhere else. Why was Eric always looking outside the marriage? It was all about conflict with Stephanie. Everything was a challenge.

The first 25 shows of B&B are on CBS.com. We learn in the second episode that Stephanie skips Eric’s fashion show. He comes home and says right away, you’re wearing an Adolfo – another designer. Ouch!

I’ve seen the first episode a few times. But I haven’t seen [the second]. I don’t even remember that line. Of course, it’s fantastic! [Their conflict] was built-in right away. I remember using the word ‘malaise’ to describe their relationship. No one uses that word in conversation. It’s a really good adjective that no one else was using.

Eric and Stephanie were so miserable they had their own special word. Getting back to Palm Springs, was it just you and Katherine and a cameraman in the balloon?  

We had someone operating the balloon, too. He’d reach out from under this black fabric and lessen some air. We had ground crews following us.

What are your memories of shooting on location?

It’s almost guerilla-filmmaking. You plan to shoot in one place, but you may have to adjust. You finish one thing and race to the next. It’s fun. That’s what I like about it. Our crew had a positive attitude about that. We kept going. It wasn’t just doing that in Palm Springs. In later years, we’d go to Lake Como and other locales.

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I have to give credit to Brad [Bell, executive producer/head writer] and to [show creators] Bill and Lee Bell. They would take us all out to dinner after the day’s work. It became a necessity in Italy. If we split off, we’d all get mobbed. We’d take over a restaurant and people would peek in the windows at us. It was a wonderful way for us all to be together. One time, Laurette [Spang-McCook, my wife] was not with me. The cast all went to a big long table and it was her birthday. We got everyone at the table to sing happy birthday to her and we sent it to her…there’s a really warm enthusiastic thing that comes with shooting on remote, especially overseas.

What was it like being up in that balloon?

I’m not a good judge of how high up we were. Maybe a few thousand feet? It took your breath away. It’d be so quiet, but the firing of [the gas] up would be jarring because you’d go from it being so quiet to hearing that noise. It was really beautiful and romantic, as the show intended. It was wonderful. I can see how it would be wonderful for a newly wed couple.

Jessica Hromas/CBS

There were so many dynamics going on in the episode. Stephanie coming to the wedding and painfully watching it all, hoping Eric would be hers again someday. Brooke’s lingering feelings for Ridge.

Sure, all that stuff is always there. If Stephanie had been played by any other actress, she’d be a long-suffering heroine. But Susan’s Stephanie powered through and took as much control as she could. That’s the difference between her playing it and any number of other women.

You must be thrilled for your daughter Molly McCook’s success on Last Man Standing.

I’m so proud of her. She came in and took over a role [of Mandy] who had been played by another actress [Molly Ephraim]. She has made the role her own. The show’s been great to her. Her talent’s always been there. It’s fun to watch her skills sharpen and become more versatile.

Did you give her advice?

She said, ‘I got this, Dad.’ She wasn’t waving myself or Laurette away, but she was saying, ‘I’m OK. Don’t be afraid for me.’

 

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Another Friday.

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You did a shout out video on Instagram, connecting, saying 'we’re all in this together,' acknowledging this is hard. What prompted you to do that?

Frankly, I’ve been watching Sam Neill (Jurassic Park). He’s been doing these types of videos. I’ve been following him. Almost every day, he talks or cooks or goes on a walk with his pig. He’s not singing or dancing. He’s just talking about this or that. I was impressed. That’s the attitude. Now, everyone’s doing one where they are singing or dancing. I think that’s cool, too. I’m overdue for another one. I thought it was really good that Sam is doing this.

Back to Eric, we recently got insights into Quinn and Eric’s romance in the Monte Carlo episodes. Quinn’s tough, but she shows a romantic side with Eric.

Rena has that wide spectrum of capability. She can bring that softness and romance to what she feels towards Eric. At the same time, she can be this terrible manipulator. Eric loves this girl. She’s wonderful. There’s a need to nurture these feelings in her and in him. Is Eric going to defend Brooke to Quinn? Yes. Laurette always says Eric should defend his wife!  It would make Eric weak to allow Brooke to say these bad things about his wife. I have to be aware that Eric standing by his wife is a gesture of commitment and love, but he can still confront her.

Bold and the Beautiful, Weekdays, CBS