Viewers of The Bold and the Beautiful were surprised last year when Eric Forrester (John McCook) revealed that he was suffering from erectile dysfunction, and their surprise quickly turned to being absolutely gobsmacked when the character dealt with the intimacy issues it was creating in his marriage to Quinn (Rena Sofer) by urging her to carry on with an outside sexual relationship with Carter (Lawrence Saint-Victor). The sensitive subject matter of male sexual organ problems and open marriages had never been explored on the soap opera, and needless to say, the controversial material was met with mixed opinions from fans.
However, one thing about the storyline that pretty much all B&B viewers could agree on was that the performances given by everyone involved were on fire, especially those from McCook, who's been recognized for his work with a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Lead Actor category.
Soap Central: Congratulations on your Emmy nomination!
John McCook: Thank you! I was very excited. My wife and I were squealing around for half an hour after the announcement. We were just very excited when we heard.
Soap Central: How did you find out that you'd been nominated?
McCook: Brad Bell [our executive producer and head writer] called me right away, and he was very happy... The special thing about this is that the storyline for Eric that I was nominated for doing was very controversial. Eric could not fulfill his wife's physical needs, and he made some bad choices, choices that I didn't agree with. Brad explained all of this to me before we did it. He actually had me up to the office, and he said, "How would you feel about telling a story about erectile dysfunction and about sending [Eric's] wife off to be with somebody else?" And I said, "Look, I don't mind making bad choices or wrong choices for Eric, as long as in the end, we can see why he makes these choices." And that's where the scene was that we showed -- it's Eric trying to explain to Ridge why he was allowing his wife, Quinn, to be off with Carter. But you know, it's very exciting that Brad gave me the opportunity to say, "No, I'm not comfortable doing that." And we talked about it, not at great length, but he said, "Okay, we're going to go with it then." And it was very exciting when it started happening, and we had a good year with it, we really did. It took a long time to tell that story.
Soap Central: What kind of fan reaction did you receive about the story?
McCook: The fan reaction was varied. There were a lot of people who were offended by it, and there were a lot of people who didn't think it was an appropriate storyline to be on a soap opera. But some of those people, all they want to see is triangles and love stories. However, many, many people -- and not just people of an age, people who are older and who have experienced this sort of thing -- a lot of people thought it was really interesting and engaging subject matter, and they were into it. They were horrified by the way Eric tried to take care of it, [but then they got to see] Eric resolve it in the end. So, the reaction was good. It was really, really good.
Soap Central: Was it difficult for you to take that journey and play any of the scenes that you were asked to play?
McCook: No, not difficult to play the scenes, no. And in fact, it's a great gift to be given scenes that are complex, even when you don't agree with them. It's a great gift for an actor to have to get your hands in there and work things around so that you can play the scenes in a real way, so that the emotions are real and not just manufactured. So, no, it wasn't difficult to play the scenes. It was difficult here and there, when I was reading the scripts a week ahead of time, going, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God, we're going to do this?!" Or, "I can't believe we're going to have to say this or do this." [Laughs] But then, when you jump into it, it becomes a wonderful challenge, and that's the reason we do this. Now, I want to give Rena Sofer a lot of credit for playing this with me, because she allowed Quinn to be very, very sympathetic toward Eric's quandary, his challenge, and she was very confused and not exactly enthusiastic when he suggested that she continue her physical relationship with Carter. She played it beautifully, and it was a very complicated and fun challenge for us to play.
Soap Central: Have you been in contact with any of the other nominees or anyone else from your show?
McCook: Everybody from the show has been calling me and texting me. I talked to Kimberlin [Brown, Sheila Carter] yesterday. She FaceTimed me from somewhere, and we talked about it, and she's very excited to be nominated. So, we were able to share that enthusiasm. So, yeah, that was cool. I've talked to all the actors on the show -- they've all called me and congratulated me. We're such a big family, and we've all been together such a long time. This is my fourth nomination, which is great. I talked to Peter Bergman [Jack Abbott, The Young and the Restless] last night, because Peter has been nominated 732 times! [Laughs] But really, he's been nominated like 20-something times and he's won three times, but he jokes, "It's not the point that I won -- I've actually lost it 20-somthing times!" But really, his expression is, "I'm just glad to be invited to the party almost every year." And I get that. It is nice to be nominated. It's very exciting. I could be happy with this now, between now and the Emmys in June, just to be a nominee. I'm very happy that the story we told got so much attention and that the scenes were deemed worthy of a nomination. I'm very happy.
Soap Central: Speaking of the ceremony in June, is there anything that you're most looking forward to about attending the event?
McCook: The fun part is that it's in person! The red carpet, that's all a pain in the butt, frankly, but... there's usually a really nice party afterward with booze and an open bar and music, and it's really fun to go there afterward -- win, lose, or draw! There's a fun picture of Peter Bergman and me with our tuxedo ties loosened, sitting at a table in that environment from several years ago, and we laughed because we're going to be able to do the same thing again this year. I look forward to that.
Soap Central: Are you the type to prepare an acceptance speech ahead of time?
McCook: Yeah, I'm the type to think about it, because I wouldn't want to be up there and just be agog, you know? [Laughs] But no, I wouldn't memorize a speech. I would know roughly what I want to say and who I'd want to mention. You just have to be careful because if you prepare too much, then you're under pressure, and it's not fun to be up there. If they called my name, it would be so exciting and so much fun, and what I want to do is just enjoy it, whether they call my name or not.
Soap Central: Did you celebrate receiving your nomination after the announcement was made, or do you plan to celebrate soon?
McCook: Sunday is Mother's Day, and it's all about that -- it's not about Emmy nominations at all! [Laughs] But I think we'll be doing a lunch gathering on Monday [at work]... so, that will be fun.
Soap Central: Well, congratulations again on your nomination! Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
McCook: Just that I'm tickled. I'm very happy to have been playing this part for so long, and to get a nomination every once in a while is really nice. The beauty for me is that I'm not 80 years old -- yet -- but it won't be that far in the future, and I'm still working. I'm a working actor, I have a good job that's been a huge, huge part of my whole career. People go, "Well, isn't it boring to do the same thing for so many years?" And I go, "No, hardly ever!" [Laughs] It's hardly ever boring. I get bored of the drive sometimes, but not the job.
What do you think about John McCook being nominated for an Emmy? How did you feel about his work as Eric Forrester last year? Do you think he'll take home the gold during the Emmy race in June? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.