These are rough times for The Young and the Restless' Jack Abbott. First, the high-strung cosmetics mogul — played by three-time Emmy winner Peter Bergman — was shot during his wedding and paralyzed. Then he got addicted to painkillers. Now he's about to find out that he's the birth father of teenager Summer Newman (Hunter King) and that her parents, Nick (Joshua Morrow) and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford), have been hiding the truth from him. TV Guide Magazine spoke with Bergman to get a preview of the big reveal, airing Tuesday, July 9.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, you sure can't complain about a lack of Jack drama! Yikes.
Bergman: You're right! I have had so much over the last year, one thing playing right into the other — and the best part is that we're talking about huge, emotional struggles and honest efforts to get back on his feet, not crazy, fantastical stuff. Real human drama. And this thing with Summer...wow! It hits Jack right in his most vulnerable spot. All his life he's been striving for the thing he can't have — a solid, happy family. Jack's mother walked away when he was just a teenager. And he's so desperate to keep his dead dad around, he keeps conjuring him up! The loss of family is powerful, primal stuff that can haunt you for life.
TV Guide Magazine: Don Draper.
TV Guide Magazine: So how does Jack react to the good news-bad news?
Bergman: At first he's just gobsmacked. It's pure shock, because he's always felt a special connection to Summer. He really loves that girl and has long had a sense of envy that she was Nick's child. So, in that way, his dream has come true. But, then, he can't get to the bottom of things fast enough. How long has Nick known? How long has Phyllis? How many other people know about this? Jack has always had a soft spot for Nick. He helped raise the kid. He taught him baseball! I can't imagine them ever being friends or allies again. How do you get over that kind of deception?
TV Guide Magazine: Or get back all those lost years?
Bergman: Yes! Nick f--ked this up so royally there is no undoing it. Jack has lost such precious time with Summer. Think of all of her birthday parties he was invited to, where he felt like a fifth wheel. He felt lucky to be asked when, in fact, he had a right to be there right in the middle of things! This is such a huge betrayal — so huge that Jack doesn't have a place to put his emotions.
TV Guide Magazine: Where does this leave him and Summer?
Bergman: You know, it's funny. As an actor I always say that it's much easier to kiss a stranger on screen — someone who has just joined the cast — than it is to suddenly start making out with someone you've worked with for years. That's similar for Jack and Summer. If she had been a stranger who suddenly knocked on his door and said, "Hi, I'm your daughter," it would be much easier for him than making this Herculean shift to, "Wait, what? Summer is my daughter?" And it's the same giant leap for her. The scenes where the two of them are finally alone together are brilliantly written. I mean, what do you say under circumstances like that? It's some of the best material I've had in a long time, and Hunter is absolutely spectacular. And, of course, as you know we've lost Michelle Stafford. How does Jack maintain a relationship with Summer if there's no Phyllis around? That's going to be tricky. Plus there are more big things coming — something really major that will distract Jack from the situation with Summer in a huge way.
TV Guide Magazine: Should we be worried about his sobriety through all this?
Bergman: Oh, yeah. This is more than anyone should have to deal with and Jack lives in a world where pills and alcohol at the ready whenever he wants to step off. He'll be feeling a giant temptation to calm the voices in his head.
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