‘Young and the Restless’ star Jason Thompson on soap operas, fatherhood and the Oilers
Jason Thompson is settling into life in fictional Genoa City. After a decade on rival soap opera General Hospital, he made his debut as Billy Abbott on The Young and the Restless in January.
“I’ve really enjoyed Genoa City. It’s been a fantastic place,” Thompson said from the set in Los Angeles.
“Playing Billy has been fun and really invigorating. It’s been a great challenge, which I was really looking forward to.”
In his first three months playing the legacy role, he’s recovered from a coma, proposed to his ex-wife, waged war on the great Victor Newman, got dumped and most recently, locked lips with his brother’s wife.
“I think that he gambles a little more seriously that I do. But I do enjoy sitting down at the blackjack table every once and awhile, horse races every once and awhile, a few drinks every once and awhile. I am Canadian. But no, there are some small similarities. But realistically he’s…got a little more kind of gusto than I do. So it’s fun to delve in, and get in his skin a little bit,” he said.
Thompson and Billy Abbott will soon have more in common: Abbott has multiple children, and Thompson is about to have his first.
“I think being a TV dad is going to mix into my real life with Paloma: my wife Paloma and I are expecting our first child in May.”
“There’s so many things involved with acting with kids. As they say with kids and animals: there is the patience, there’s the anticipation of what might happen, what might not happen. I think that has a lot to do with parenting, too. I don’t know if there’s anything you can really learn until you get in there, and with acting with kids is similar to that. And I just hope to be anything I possibly can for this little one,” Thompson said.
Thompson was born and raised in St. Albert. At age 18, he was discovered by an agent while serving at Earl’s downtown Edmonton. He spent the next few years walking the runways in Europe. By 21, he was living in Hollywood full time and chasing an acting career. Now 39 years old, he still returns to Canada at least a few times a year.
“My family is all still there. I am very close with them. I grew up in St. Albert. And so…I always feel like that’s home.”
“We’ve been open for 16 years, the first one. And it’s an amazing thing to go back and be part of the community still. To see friends that I haven’t seen in awhile, to have that ‘cheers’ every once and awhile, or a couple times a year. I think Edmonton has amazing potential. And I am really glad to be a part of it.”
He’s also a huge Oilers fan.
“I have always said that until my child–boy or girl–plays in the NHL I won’t be a fan of another team. But as far as my predictions for the Oilers, it’s exciting. I think we are on the right track,” he said.
“Within the next four or five years we will win a cup, I think it is time. We are close.”
Thompson admits there is no hiding his Canadian roots, even if they haven’t seen his Oilers jersey or his passport.
“Yeah, they definitely know I am Canadian. It’s not hard.”
“I talk about hockey often. I still play hockey. I wear lots of jean jackets and jeans. I play with the snow when it is part of the set. I just roll around in the snow, lick it and eat it, and all that kind of fun things. Because I miss it,” he said.
5 things you didn’t know about Jason Thompson
- Named “Sexiest Soap Star” in People magazine’s November 2007 edition of Sexiest Man Alive. (Matt Damon got the cover).
- Starred in a trio of iconic commercials for Gap in 1999: “Everybody in Cords”, “Everybody in Leather” and “Everybody in Vests”.
- Nominated for five straight Daytime Emmy Awards but has never won. (Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2011 and 2012 and Outstanding Lead Actor in 2013, 2014 and 2015)
- Shot a guest appearance on Castle, which also stars an Edmonton-area born actor who got his start on a soap opera: Nathan Fillion.
- Repeated Grade 2 but ended up graduating from St. Albert High School.
Jason Thompson in The Young and the Restless airs on Global Edmonton at 4 p.m. MT.
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