Interviews


When you’re front and center on a soap opera day in and day out, life can be a little hectic. Just ask “’” (Adam Newman), who verges on spending more time as his alter ego than he does himself! “With a character like Adam that’s always in the mix, the sheer content alone — the amount of pages that I memorize daily, with a front and center kind of character — it’s madness!” he says with a laugh. “But you adapt and you kind of get in your groove, and now I can’t believe how much this place feels like home.”

John Paschal/JPI Studios

John Paschal/JPI Studios

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Of course, getting into the groove of daytime wasn’t a complete solo act. The actor notes that (Victor Newman) is partially to thank for making it such a smooth transition. “On day one, I was in Eric Braeden’s dressing room, and we were talking about things, and by the end, we were sort of philosophizing about character,” he shares. “It was interesting: He talked to me about how you can protect a daytime character and what you do to keep a consistent voice coming from the character, regardless of who’s writing… so that voice is something that resonates with the audience.”

Muhney took that advice and ran with it. “I started becoming hyper aware in that first month of ‘What is Adam like?’ ‘How does he move and walk and talk and would he say this? Or would he say it like this?’” he says. “So that was something that has proved to be very helpful and priceless.”

Of course, the actor says that taking Braeden’s advice to heart isn’t always an easy task. “I have conversations about it with directors daily; it is a constant high-maintenance,” he explains of tweaking lines here and there to stay as close as possible to Adam’s core. “There were times in the past where, unfortunately, [some of the dialogue] was plot oriented, so I couldn’t change it… But just restructuring a sentence, it sounds like it’s more Adam than perhaps other characters.”

Funny enough, Muhney initially feared that the writers wouldn’t appreciate him pointing out ways he could make his dialogue more true to his character, but over time, he’s come to realize that they actually appreciate it. “One of the things Eric said was, ‘Michael, within a few months, you’re going to know your character better than any writer on the show, because any writer on this show has to write for 35 voices’… and he was right,” says the actor. “The writers welcome it, because everyone is on the same page of ‘Let’s all collaborate. Let’s make every character resonate the way they should, and let’s make this show as genuine as it can be.’”

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

When it comes to examples of instances in which he influenced major changes, Muhney can name several. But one that really sticks out in his mind is when Adam was temporarily blind and had to address a boardroom about Sharon Newman (). “When I read the scene, it had Adam come in and say to all of the board members, ‘She doesn’t have a degree. She has no experience, she’s nothing. She’s a woman, she’s weak. She’s this, she’s that,’ and it was so derogatory, and it was so antithetical to what Adam had been telling Sharon in the relationship that they had,” he explains. “He was always like, ‘I believe in you, and people should believe in themselves, and you should do it, and who cares what kind of education you have, you can do it, you’re smart and you know what you can do.’ So, if he’s that kind of a person, which he then went on to help Chelsea with her GED, he’s that kind of a person, so he’s not going to selectively look down on people at other times. So they rewrote the entire monologue — and it was like a two page monologue — to be the exact opposite of what was written, but still service the plot.”

In fact, when Muhney sees Adam using any kind of derogatory language, he does a double take. “I’ve never talked about this in an interview or even said it on Twitter, but a little idiosyncrasy of Adam’s that sets him apart from the entire rest of the cast: Adam is on a consistent basis since I’ve played him, beaten down and mocked and called names, both to my face, and then in scenes behind Adam’s back… and since there’s all of this name calling, one thing that I like to do is I like to scratch out from my dialogue every time that I ever allude to anyone by name calling — any kind of pejorative term. Because I think it’s judgmental, and Adam knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of name calling, so he doesn’t do it,” the actor shares. “I think that Adam is clever enough and intelligent enough, that if he wants to say, ‘F*ck you,’ he finds a really intellectual way to say ‘f*ck you’ to your face. And he doesn’t need to call you a name; name calling is when you can’t come up with anything intelligent to say to tear someone down. Adam is like, ‘Look, I’m so smart, I’ll come up with a really clever way to tear you down, and you might not even know I tore you down just now!’”

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Howard Wise/JPI Studios

The constant care and attention to detail is tiring, but Muhney says it’s just like having a kid. “I have three kids in real life that are my children, and I protect them under any circumstance, but in a way, I’ve kind of adopted one more child, and his name is Adam Newman,” he says with chuckle. “I’m very protective of him, and just like [with] my other three kids, if we’re walking through the Target, and I want them to behave themselves, I want Adam to behave the way I expect Adam to behave.”

But then again, unpredictability is key to successful storytelling, which is something Muhney simultaneously appreciates. “Adam can go so many different ways at any given point in time, and I think what’s so compelling about him is that you’re not sure if he’s going to make the good, sound decision, or if he’s going to be going down that dark road,” he notes. “You want the audience sitting on the edge of their seat wondering about any character, [thinking] ‘What’s going to happen next?’ as opposed to, ‘Oh, I know what happens with this guy. This guy always wins. Or this guy always loses.’ With Adam, you are always wondering. At least, that’s the hope!”

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WHAT DO YOU THINK? Comment Below...
  • lulu

    Great interview, he is very protective of his character, it is good to know and it should be a challenge with daytime soaps inconsistent plot writing with new writers (who don’t know the characters and their history most of the time) every new year..

  • Beacon

    He’s so protective and thoughtful about his character. Kimberlin Brown is similar when talking about playing Sheila. They really want to give the viewers content, not just form.