The Young and the Restless star Bryton James (Devon) will be making his way to Toronto on December 7th to take part in co-star Kate Linder’s third annual Opportuniteas for Independence High Tea benefiting March of Dimes Canada’s Conductive Education ® (CE) program for children and adults with neuro-motor disabilities. Joining Kate and Bryton will be their co-stars Mishael Morgan (Hilary) and Sean Carrigan (Stitch).
The actor, who has played foster kid turned billionaire Devon Hamilton on the Global and CBS soap for over decade was kind enough to chat about his upcoming charitable appearance, the social stories his character has had on Y&R and the popularity of Devon’s pairing with Hilary (Mishael Morgan).
How did the opportunity to come out to Kate’s event this year in Toronto come about?
I was approached by Kate Linder and she asked me if was interested. I had done one of these events with her in Vancouver, in 2011, and I had a great time. It’s always a great time when you get to interact with the fans. It’s for a great cause, so I was more than happy to accept.
Will this be your first time visiting Toronto?
Yeah, it’s my first time in Toronto. In Canada, I’ve only been to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. I’m very excited to come Toronto and I’ll be there with Mishael Morgan.
Mishael grew up here, will she be showing you guys around?
Yeah, she says that she has a couple of places [in mind]. We’re only there for a couple of days.
The proceeds from this event will help March of Dimes Canada raise money for their Conductive Education program.
Yes, for the Conductive Education program for children and adults. It’s a fantastic organization. This is my second time doing something with March of Dimes Canada, so [I’m still] learning as I go but they do a lot of great work for children and adults. It’s something that I’m very proud to be a part of. I’m very happy that they approached me through Kate.
What can the fans expect at the event? (Click here to buy tickets)
Based upon my last experience, there will be a meet and greet where we’ll answer some questions, shake hands and give hugs to everyone who comes out!
Devon on The Young and the Restless has been involved in two social awareness storylines. First as a foster child, when you first joined the show in 2004, and later he became hearing impaired. As an actor, how was it to play something that wasn’t the traditional soap opera storyline?
It was great. When people ask me about my time on The Young and the Restless, I always say that I’ve been so lucky to have gotten very relevant social stories and not the traditional “I’m sleeping with this girl today and we’ll see who else tomorrow!” They were amazingly challenging storylines.
Starting the show as a foster child… it was very different to my real life. Victoria Rowell (ex-Drucilla) pitched this story. She grew up in foster care and spent the first 18 years of her life in foster care. It was actually her idea to bring that story to the show. I got to learn about it through her and she actually when through most of that experience. I tried to understand how to portray this character from the person who went through kind of life and mindset. It was a big challenge.
My character losing his hearing was something that you can’t really understand unless you experience it, so you just try to do the best that you can. I did my research and I took sign language classes along with my castmates for the story. It was another amazing challenge and I’m very honoured that Y&R put those stories on my lap. It was a big responsibility to portray them and I hope that I did them justice.
The show is now doing a new storyline with Michael Baldwin (Christian LeBlanc) and prostate cancer. It’s an important story to tell, especially because Y&R has a large male audience.
Absolutely. I think that’s what has put The Young and the Restless at the top for so long, even before I got there, is that they are fearless in the stories that they will tell. They know which stories will connect with people and will resonate with the fans and they’re not afraid to tackle anything.
I know you aren’t involved in this storyline, but can we rest assured that this will be told responsibly and in detail. Nikki’s (Melody Thomas Scott) multiple sclerosis storyline recently just seemed like a plot point.
I’m not sure how in-depth it will go but I’m sure that it will do more than just scratch the surface. I think that this will be a detailed story that is going to go on for quite some time.
Let’s talk about Hilary and Devon, which I think has been the show’s best new pairing in years. You get couples that are just thrown together quickly and the show expects fans to root and care for them. But Hilary and Devon’s love story is organic. The triangle between Neil (Kristoff St. John), Hilary and Devon has been hot!
To be honest, it’s the first time that they’ve entrusted a real true love story for my character. To get this type of response from the fans this past year has just been amazing. I’m so lucky to have been put in this storyline. It’s been great to play and the writers have done a great job at making it a real story that has had a real beginning and have given it the pace it needs to grow and to get fans to root for us and get behind us…even though we are doing some questionable things! We’re hiding our relationship from the people that we love. [Stories like these] take time. Like you said, they didn’t just slap us together…they’ve given us some history and lot of things to play off of and play with. I couldn’t be happier than to be in the middle of this right now.
How long do you think Hilary and Devon can keep this from Neil? Or is there a possibility that he may already know his wife is having an affair with his son and is just playing everyone?
[Laughs] I don’t think he knows yet, with what is being shown on air at the moment. But, that’s a good question because we were wondering that the other day. Every time we get the script, we’re as excited as the fans are because we want to see what’s going to happen next. I do think it’s going to happen sooner rather than later. When it finally does, you can imagine that it’s really going to shake up the dynamic of the entire Winters family. Even for Lily (Christel Khalil) and Cane (Daniel Goddard). Everyone is going to be affected by this. Half of the family has been keeping this secret from the other half!
Colin is also involved! What has it been like acting opposite Tristan Rogers? That man is a soap legend. That’s got to be huge. (Rogers is best known to soap audiences for his role as General Hospital‘s Robert Scorpio)
Oh my gosh! Some fans were asking the same question just the other day and I said that it was like going to school. Getting to act opposite actors like Tristan, who has been doing this for as long as he has, you literally just get on stage and you learn. He’s an amazingly talented actor. It’s actors like that who you can learn from and better yourself with what they give you.
You touched upon how this is Devon’s first real love story. Your character was paired with Roxanne for a number of years and she was played by the talented Tatyana Ali. She basically had to just walk on screen out of the blue and she’d win her annual NAACP Image Award. Do you feel that the show wasted a huge opportunity with her? Especially since she’s a singer and we saw Devon has a music producer and they didn’t even care to explore that? Have Roxy sing and Devon produce her work.
To some degree, maybe. There was some story that they could have definitely tapped into. I know Tatyana has a huge fan base and they loved the character of Roxanne. And how could you not? She was amazing at it. I truly do think that my character needed the time they’ve had for the audience to see him as someone who could be a leading man with a love story. I think that I was seen more like a kid.
They still did a great job though – I didn’t have any love stories, but I had some amazing stories where Devon found his family. Finding my character’s grandmother, father and then a sister. I was then a producer with my own company and Angelina (Diana DeGarmo) was brought on. I do think they could have done a little bit more with Tatyana, but I don’t think the fans would have been ready back to see me back then as they do now in this love story. I think they can take it a little more seriously now, is what I’m trying to say.
Where would you like to see Hilary and Devon’s relationship go? As an actor, do you welcome the opportunity to play the scandal and drama or would you want to keep them together and have them be that couple that his always happy and together, but become very stale to watch?
As an actor, you always want to do what’s the most challenging. If something were to happen with that relationship where it takes a pause and it takes a character to a different place where you get to act differently, as actor, that’s what you want. For the show, I think it’s great to have these strong couples for the fans to get rooted in. Couples like Nick and Sharon (Joshua Morrow and Sharon Case), Dru and Neil (Victoria Rowell and Kristoff St. John) or Victor and Nikki (Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott), where no matter what happens and they may stray from each other, they’ll always come back to each other and the fans keep rooting in them. I really do hope that Hilary and Devon can grow into a couple like that.
I love the couples that you mentioned. It’s about time that the show came up with a new organic couple. It’s The “Young” and the Restless – a fresh new super couple to root for would be good. Devon is also the last blood relative of Katherine Chancellor on the show right now. They don’t explore the business side of things. They didn’t feel it necessary to bring back Mac when Katherine died. He is a Chancellor and yet they’ve got Victor Newman running Chancellor Industries unopposed.
Yeah and that’s a whole other area of the show where they could hopefully bring Devon into. As you said, Devon’s the only blood Chancellor left on the canvas.
Y&R has gone through so many writing changes in the past couple of years. What’s the mood like on set with another new writer, Charles Pratt Jr., coming on board? Is everyone hopeful for what’s to come?
Absolutely, I have nothing but confidence in CBS and Sony giving the show the talent in all the areas that we need to continue what we’ve been and to evolve. [Executive Producer] Jill Farren Phelps is doing an amazing job. So is [CBS daytime head] Angelica McDaniel, as she’s done with the entire CBS daytime lineup, especially with our show and the storyline that I’m in right now.
I think that with the history that the Bell family has created in these characters that we have or the actors that we have, it’s really hard to go wrong… It really is. I have nothing but good faith in what the future is to bring. It’s only going to get better. There was a lot of shakeups, with actors and characters leaving. It’s just a transition period and we’ve gotten through it in a great way. We had one of the best Emmy years and we’re still on top. We’ve still got great characters and actors – new and old. I’m not worried and the fans shouldn’t be worried either.
Can you preview some of the Winters family drama during American Thanksgiving this week?
It’s going to be a very interesting Thanksgiving because I believe Colin and his newly acquired wealth will be involved in it. There’s a lot of holding our breath and hoping some characters don’t let the cat out of the bag!
Hilary has to come up with this plan of fabricating a girlfriend for Devon to bring to this event. Does this girlfriend actually materialize? Is it someone we know?
I don’t know what I can say about that, but something will definitely materialize out of that!
The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on Global and CBS. Canadian fans can catch up with Y&R on demand or online at GlobalTV.com. To purchase tickets or find out more information about the March of Dimes Canada event taking place in Toronto on December 7th, click here. Fans who aren’t able to attend the tea in Toronto may also make a donation here.
Header photo credit: Ed McGowan / PlainJoe Studios.