Just when you think Anthony Geary couldn't possibly dazzle us more, he does! The seven-time Emmy winner, who plays General Hospital's Luke Spencer, is once again causing trophy buzz, this time for his kickass turn as Luke's evil lookalike, who has been tagged Fluke — for Fake Luke — by the fans. Now for the bad news: Geary, who recently underwent major surgery, will be off the show until the fall for an extended recovery and vacation, so it will be quite a while before Fluke's true identity is revealed. But not so fast! TV Guide Magazine grabbed Geary before he jetted off to rest up at his home in Amsterdam and had a candid chat about his health, his art and Fluke's pervy scenes with Kiki!
TV Guide Magazine: First things first. How are you feeling? All is okay?
Geary: It's great. As I'm sure you know, I had a back operation. It's been a challenging year. I knew for a while that I had to have this surgery but I love my story on GH and didn't want to walk away from it, so I delayed the operation a bit. I had two operations, actually — one on April 21 and another April 23 — thinking that after two weeks I'd be able to fly home to Amsterdam. As it turned out, it took me two weeks before I was even walking. I decided to take six months off the show because I was told it would be an arduous recovery. I need to walk two to three miles a day to get my strength back and regenerate the nerves damaged during the operation. But the surgery was a success and I'm a fast healer. I have only myself to blame. My chickens finally came home to roost.
TV Guide Magazine: How so?
Geary: When I was a child I thought I could fly — thanks to Disney's Peter Pan — and I was always jumping off the top of the house. My mother would scream at me to stop but it went on for years. I was also a high jumper and a pole vaulter in school and then, when I was in my early twenties, just to be extra foolish, I worked for two summers as a cliff diver in Acapulco. I'd dive three times a day off of 60- and 80-foot cliffs, timing it with the tide coming in but sometimes hitting the rocks. I always had headaches. [Laughs] But, when you're that age, you just figure, "Hey, I'll just smoke another joint and it'll all be fine." I also worked as a dancer for a while, without any training, so who knows what further damage I did to my body. Now I'm paying for it. I was X-rayed and found out I had two almost complete breaks in my spine. It was pretty terrifying. I was one fender-bender away from being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.
TV Guide Magazine: And now you're bionic?
Geary: I'm a cyborg! I got a titanium knee a few years ago and now I have a metal cage around my spine. Not only can't I go through security at the airport without setting off alarms, if I walk past your house your garage door will open.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you at least have a cool scar to show for all your troubles?
Geary: I have a beautiful scar all the way down my spine, going from my pelvis up to my neck. As soon as it's healed I'm covering it with a tattoo of a zipper. [Laughs] When I go swimming you can say, "Hey, who's that in the Geary suit?"
TV Guide Magazine: Which goes well with the question GH fans have been asking: Who's that in the Luke suit?
Geary: I'm not allowed to say, of course, but I'll be back to raise more hell in October as the guy they call Fluke. [Laughs] That name started on the Internet and now they actually put it in the scripts!
TV Guide Magazine: You're clearly having a ball with this story and your work — especially in the scenes where Fluke met Luke — has been spectacular. I haven't seen you this turned on by the writing in years!
Geary: Thank you very much. That's wonderful to hear. Doing Fluke has been a real cleansing after all my years of complaining and wondering what happened to Luke's black hat. To be able to take something this far and this dark has been a real joy after 36 years. Of course, we had to do it with a different character, since Luke is not a sociopath.
TV Guide Magazine: I was starting to get the feeling that the current GH regime had either lost interest in you or had no idea what to do with you.
Geary: I think you're right. A year or more ago I went to them and said, "I'd like to exercise the out in my contract. I'm really not pleased with what's going on with Luke. I feel like I've done it and done it and done it." As you know, I have a wonderful life in Amsterdam and felt it was time for me to pack it in and go there permanently. And [executive produce] Frank Valentini and [hear writer] Ron Carlivati were wonderful. Frank said, "We don't want you to go, but we understand." Then, when I had about four months left to go, I realized it was going to be hard to walk away — a lot harder than I expected. This show has been my life for so long and I felt I still had something more in me. They said, "Great! What do you want to do?" I told them, "I'd like a story when Luke is proactive rather than reactive. I want him to cause problems for people, rather than helping them solve problems. I want to see a side of Luke we've never seen." When Ron came up with this Fluke idea he said, "Now, this is pretty far out. I don't know if you'll want to do it." And he got about three sentences into it and I said, "I'm in! Sign me up!" This storyline has revived my whole interest in the game.
TV Guide Magazine: The subtle differences between Luke and Fluke are stunning, and very eerie. When you play Fluke everything is slightly off-kilter — his voice, his energy, even his eyes are different. How are you pulling this off?
Geary: I started by researching sociopaths and decided that somebody as mercurial as Fluke would have to be really calm, really placid, with an exterior that wasn't overtly violent or volatile. From there I slowed my speech, found a different rhythm and pitched my voice to more of a whisper. When you say the eyes are different, I have to credit my brilliant makeup artist, Donna Messina, who did some really special, subtle things with my eyes to give me a predatory look. Those are the physical things. Then there were the personality changes. Luke is very expressive and has a great sense of humor, so I eliminated all that from Fluke. He doesn't use nicknames like calling Tracy "Spanky Buns." This guy has no joy in life.
TV Guide Magazine: And he's such a horn dog, making cheesy passes at Kiki, Olivia and Jordan. But he never gets lucky.
Geary: No, he doesn't! [Laughs] And he thinks he's so f—king charming and suave and sexy. Tracy is the only woman who actually comes through for him, and he doesn't want her. Sure, he'll go to bed with her, but he's thinking of Kiki.
TV Guide Magazine: Fluke and Kiki — hands down, the most horrifying match in soap history!
Geary: Even I was shocked when he went after her! I thought, "God, I hope we're not going into pedophilia territory. But, hell, we're already on this ride, so let's see where it goes." I love that Kiki found Fluke so creepy. I think even poor Kristen Alderson was grossed out. After a few scenes with me she said, "Eeeee-w, I don't like this." And I'm, like, 'Thank you!" [Laughs] Because I live for this stuff!
TV Guide Magazine: You've also been pushing — make that shoving — the envelope with Fluke's dialogue.
Geary: During rehearsal, when Fluke was making a play for Jordan at the art gallery, I ad-libbed the line, "Here's the painting. Would you like to come back and make sure it's...well hung?" I was sure they wouldn't let me say that in the take, but Frank Valentini came over and said, "You are so saying that line!" He and Ron have pushed the envelope right along with me. There are a couple of directors at GH who were really disturbed by my choices but Frank backed me up and said, "Trust him. Let him fly." And I'm very grateful for that.
TV Guide Magazine: Fluke is so fearless that it borders on recklessness. It's like he doesn't care if he gets busted, and that leaves some of the other characters looking like idiots.
Geary: He has no filter and he doesn't care. It's fun to play that but it's been really difficult for the other actors, particularly for Jane Elliot [Luke's wife, Tracy]. Fluke's behavior is so obviously different from Luke and so extreme that you wonder why Tracy is buying it, but I think Jane has handled it well by drawing upon her character's vulnerability and deep need to be loved. That softens the blow a bit, but it's certainly been tricky. There are days when I've seen a script and think, "How the hell am I going to do this believably?" But then I remember that Fluke has no moral compass whatsoever.
TV Guide Magazine: This isn't the first time you've acted opposite yourself — 20 years ago Bill Eckert famously died in his cousin Luke's arms — but your Fluke-Luke scenes were even more awesome. Tell us about that.
Geary: Bill Ludel directed those scenes beautifully and seamlessly. I was just amazed when I saw it all put together. We shot everything in the same day. We did the Fluke shots first, then I had a break for two scenes so I went off and shaved my head and then we did Luke.
TV Guide Magazine: Let me guess, going bald was your idea?
Geary: Of course. [Laughs] At GH, it's all about the hair. You know that. "Change your hair, change your life." That's what Kin Shriner says. Of course, he never changes his hair because he's got a perfect life.
TV Guide Magazine: Don't all actors have a fantasy of playing a drooling vegetable in a nuthouse?
Geary: Everybody wants to do that! And the crazier the better. I figured Luke had been in that asylum so long and had undergone so much electroshock treatment that he'd be a drooling cabbage. "Tracy? Who's Tracy?" I'm very proud of those scenes and am so glad they were well received. I think next fall, when I return, there will be a real confrontation between Luke and Fluke. I don't know how it'll happen but it must happen eventually. Luke will get out of the madhouse and have to deal with Fluke. It's gotta be Luke who takes him down.
TV Guide Magazine: What's up with that Miscavige Institute anyway? After the Heather Webber fiasco, you'd think the Feds would come in and shut that joint down.
Geary: That's so true. Where the hell is this place, anyway? It's like something out of an old Joan Crawford movie, written by Stephen King.
TV Guide Magazine: We know you can't reveal Fluke's true identity but, when we finally do have all the facts, will we buy it? Or will it fly in the face of credibility?
Geary: I know who he is and what his motivation is, and I think it will be highly believable when all is revealed — and that's what was most pleasing to me when Ron pitched the idea.
TV Guide Magazine: Will you miss Fluke while you're away?
Geary: You know, I really will! You will be seeing a bit more of him. Because of my delay in leaving for Amsterdam, I was able to shoot several more scenes that will keep him on the air here and there while I'm gone — mostly phone and Skype conversations with Tracy and Julian. They sent a crew to my house to shoot some of it and I went into the studio for a day. You'll see Fluke getting in touch from his travels in Thailand and Tibet or wherever and Tracy whining, "Luke, come home!" He's supposedly working on getting the ELQ shareholders onto Tracy's side but I think he also has his own nefarious agenda. He's probably trafficking in eyes, kidneys and other body parts.
TV Guide Magazine: As you said, it's all about the hair, so one last question: How did you play all those extra phone scenes as Fluke when your head is shaved like Luke?
Geary: Simple. [Laughs] It's called the miracle of hats!