This week marks the 10th anniversary of Lawrence Saint-Victor’s first appearance as Carter Walton on CTV2 and CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful. Carter came on to the B&B canvas as the adoptive brother of Marcus Forrester and has since become Forrester Creations’ trusted lawyer and COO, in addition to becoming Ridge Forrester’s (Thorsten Kaye) best friend and even bedding Eric Forrester’s (John McCook) then-wife Quinn (Rena Sofer).
The TV Watercooler had the opportunity to speak with Lawrence on this milestone to discuss Carter’s initial arrival, the pivotal scene he had to fight for, and what it’s been like joining the long-running soap’s writing staff.
Congratulations on your 10-year anniversary! You were originally brought in as Marcus Forrester’s (who was played by Texas Battle) adoptive brother. A lot has changed for Carter since then!
Yeah, that was fun! It was nice coming in because when you join a show, especially a soap opera that has decades in the can, it can be overwhelming. You feel like the new kind in school. So, to come on and [already] be connected to family right away made it much easier.
Of course, the whole cast was so wonderful and welcoming, but it was nice to know that I’d have a family member [on the canvas] when I was coming on, so that would connect me to that world.
What can you tell us about the mentorship you have with Brad Bell? You were first involved in developing the companion web series Room 8. How did that then transition into you joining the writing staff in 2015?
It was very organic. I first met with Brad before Carter was even created. I had a session with The Young and the Restless and that went really well, but they decided to go with another actor. CBS told Brad that he should meet with me. So, we met and just hit it off!
I grew up watching The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless! My aunt was watching them. I’d have to turn off the cartoons and she would throw them on. I was so fascinated with them! To watch Sheila (Kimberlin Brown) jump back and forth, for me as a kid, that was like watching Superman show up in Batman’s comic. There was so much drama between them! Brad picked up on my knowledge about the show.
It was around that time that my former Guiding Light co-star Karla Mosley would come on to play Maya. After Guiding Light ended, we created Wed-Locked together – which was a web series. YouTube was still fairly new when it came to scripted shows. Brad really enjoyed the creativity and writing behind Wed-Locked, so we talked about that [experience] a lot in our meeting as well, which kind of planted the seeds for later [when they’d create Room 8].
I would then also pop by his office, and we would just chat about the storylines – not Carter’s or anything I was working on – but just like “What if this happened? What if Ridge did that?”
Eventually, Room 8 happened, which was the show within the show for Carter and Maya. The spirit of Wed-Locked was connected to Room 8.
And then one day, Brad was like “Hey, have you thought about wanting to do any writing?”
“Yes, absolutely!” I replied. I then wrote some sample scripts. I wrote a few shows in 2015. A couple of years later, I did a couple more, and then most recently I’ve written scripts more consistently.
I’m one of the scriptwriters. Brad Bell and Michael Minnis come up with the story. It’s like they’re building the car and then telling us where it’s going. Michael then breaks it down and we’ll get the breakdowns, which is when we figure out what’s going to be said [in a particular episode].
We figure out how to make the story come alive within the characters, and we fine-tune the relationships.
Growing up watching Sheila Carter’s Reign of Terror, what was like getting to write for that character? How did you find her voice?
It’s fun because I feel like I have a “cheat sheet” since I’m also an actor and I get to be on set [with them]. When I was getting my first scripts for Sheila ready, I sat down with Kimberlin and asked her to tell me about Sheila so that I could hear her thoughts, her feelings, her passion, and what she’s created for herself all these years. I was able to be influenced by that.
I’m also able to watch the feed of the actors working on the set from my dressing room. I get to hear how they interpret the material. All that plays into how I’m writing for them. I’m not only watching the episodes as they air, but I also get to watch them work with the material.
Does feedback from social media ever influence what you write into the scripts? A fan could say, “Oh that character would never say that…”
It can’t. I feel like we have these wonderful fans – and as I said, I came up in this because my aunt is a day one fan. I was born into the fandom of this show. But Brads our guy. He’s our fearless leader and he’s the one that tells us where we’re going. [His] is honestly the only creative voice that I listen to.
Even as an actor, I tell myself “Shut up! Carter is going to do this because that’s [what’s written]. There’s no negotiation for me. If we’re going right, then we’re going right.
My job is to figure out how to make it as authentic as possible.
Who would you say would be the hardest voice to capture or write for?
There’s no one specific [that jumps out right away], but it was challenging when Krista Allen first joined as Taylor. She was new to the role, having taken over for Hunter Tylo. Usually, when writing for Sheila, Bill (Don Diamont), or Deacon (Sean Kanan), who I haven’t had that much of a chance to work with as an actor, I would go on YouTube and watch old clips, and then I can hear that voice.
So, when Krista came on the show, I didn’t have a frame of reference for how she’d interpret the role yet. It can be challenging when I haven’t been around the set with them yet either, but when I do get to see [them perform], it’s wonderful.
How does it feel to write and act with the people who you’ve grown up watching?
It’s crazy, dude. It’s like a dream. It’s surreal and weird to write a scene with John McCook and Katherine Kelly Lang playing Eric and Brooke. It’s not fan fiction! They’re actually going to go and do [what I’ve written].
Have you had the opportunity to pitch any long story yet?
No. I mean, Brad and I do talk and come up with ideas, but nothing that’s like “this is where we’re going.” It’s just shooting the breeze for now. But I’m always thinking, and I do have ideas. [That moment] hasn’t come just yet.
Is it hard to write for your own character?
It’s actually easier because I don’t have to do research. So, if I’m writing anything that is part of the Quinn and Carter love story, I don’t have to go down a YouTube rabbit hole or go back and read the old scripts. It does make it easier.
But sometimes, acting out my writing can be a little weird because in your mind, it went a certain way but then when you are on set with your director and you have the wonderful Rena Sofer, it ends up taking on a life of its own! You have to let go of how you wrote it and be present at that moment. It’s all fun, man.
Quinn and Carter ended so suddenly for the fans…
Yeah…and suddenly for us too. I don’t know the details around Rena’s exit. We just knew we were filming her last episode, which was when Carter and Quinn had dinner in the office. We knew that was her last day and if you look at those scenes again and look into our eyes when we’re telling each other that we love each other, and the amount of love and appreciation that we have for each other, there was no acting that day.
I think we both had to stop ourselves from crying because we felt like it was such a beautiful and wonderful goodbye. It wasn’t a goodbye for the character, so why would they be crying? But for us, it was.
I’m very fortunate to have gotten the chance to work with her.
Would you say that the Carter, Quinn and Eric triangle was your highlight from these past 10 years?
Absolutely. Before that, I had some stuff with Maya or I would have some great moments where I’d be part of some really great storylines, but this was the first time that Brad said that “We’re going to put this leading man ball in your court and see how you dribble it. You are going to be the guy.”
It was daunting. It was wonderful. I felt the responsibility. This storyline created the leading man version of Carter – not just the best friend, the supporter, the marriage officiant – but this guy could be the romantic lead and he is flawed.
He has issues. He’s not just this good guy who is a rounding board [for everyone on the show], but he has a lot of issues when it comes to romance, which is the point in soaps. These characters are flawed. They hope for the best, but they are flawed.
There’s this portion of the audience that doesn’t want drama or conflict. They want Hallmark. This is a soap opera where there’s supposed to be drama. People will do some shady things or will react differently.
It’s weird, right? They want Hallmark but then when it’s vanilla for a while and nothing crazy happens, or there’s no Sheila, it’s like “This is boring!” [Laughs]
Which one do you want?
You touch on playing a flawed character and there’s one moment of Carter’s that really sticks out for me, which was when they revealed that Maya was transgender. Carter had a strong reaction to it because they were once intimate. I felt that should have gotten a lot more airplay.
Yes! Yes. I remember doing that moment and we were really trying to figure out how far we were going to go with that story because we didn’t want to offend anyone – and this was fairly new in the media. We didn’t want to offend anyone at all, but we also wanted it to be true.
I remember kind of fighting for Carter to have that reaction. I was like, “So far, Carter has been a wonderful person. If he gets angry now, I don’t think the audience will think he’s evil. He was with a woman who he believed was completely honest with him.”
It turned out really well, but I do wish we could have had more, but we almost didn’t even have that!
Rick (Jacob Young) was fine with it. I think a lot of viewers expected him to have issues with it, and not Carter. It was good to have different perspectives and I feel like you need that with these types of stories, so people can learn and grow.
Which is why I really fought for Carter to have that reaction. Everyone would have assumed that he’d be okay with it and Rick would have blown up.
That was a wonderful storyline to be part of and it was also wonderful to watch Karla and Jacob work it. Our wonderful directors just worked on that story and took out all the love and nuance that these characters had before this storyline. If Rick and Maya didn’t work before, then we couldn’t have told this story.
That was a special time for the show. The Avant family had a strong presence back then. It was so brief, but it was wonderful. Do you think having a half-hour format works against the show when it comes to developing more of an inclusive cast or families that weren’t there when the show premiered?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot, regarding our half-hour format. We’re still doing 100 minutes a week, which is more than any nighttime show. I don’t know if we’re limited in time, I just think that the focusof the show has always been the Forresters and the Logans, and everything that branches off [from them]. I think that even if our show was an hour, we’d still have to balance these two families and how the other families are connected to them.
The Avants did a really amazing job, but they were still only connected via Maya. They didn’t have a fashion house (like the Forresters) or publications (like the Spencers). I think that if there was a desire for that family to have that, then they would have been able to stand without having Maya on the canvas.
So, I don’t know if it’s our timing, I think it’s the focus on which families need the attention.
What advice would you have for anyone who’d like to write for daytime dramas? With only four of them left, what strides can the industry also take to make the writers’ rooms more inclusive? How can people like us who grew up watching these shows be part of their creative teams?
Well first, I think you’ve got to watch them.
We use the terms soap opera and daytime loosely. The Bold and the Beautiful cannot be any more different than Days of our Lives, which cannot be any more different than General Hospital. They are not the same shows. They have a similar structure in story, but on Days of our Lives, a woman can be possessed by a demon, and that works in their world. General Hospital can have a whole mob scene, which works for them. But on our show, it’s a fairy tale where you do fall in love at first sight. Or where you also fall in and out of love like [our characters] do. Those are the rules of our world. We’re romance in the afternoon.
So, I would say, watch and understand the shows and you can pull out their differences. Then, kind of write fan fiction – and not just the story, but think about how do you have this story go on for 300 days? That’s every day. 5 days a week. Without any off-season!
As for how to get in, I don’t even know… When it comes to strides [in the industry], they are taking [them]. As a black man who is both an actor and writer on the show, they are doing it. I can’t speak to the other shows, but our show is taking strides. We have a black woman writer, Michele Val Jean, who has come from General Hospital and offers a different perspective. I think that it is happening!
What can you tease us about Carter and Katie (Heather Tom)? There was some closeness between the characters but now Katie has become preoccupied by Sheila and Bill – which has also come out of left field! Could Carter position himself as a protector of sorts should Katie and Sheila face off?
I think Carter has a Superman complex. He is the guy who will always fall on the sword. Even with Quinn, he was prepared to marry Paris (Diamond White) and be long-suffering so that Quinn’s marriage could stay intact. Dude will take unnecessary blows. [Laughs]
If there’s someone he loves, he will protect them… to his own detriment.
So, in this case, absolutely! He will protect Katie. He cares deeply about her. Even if they weren’t together, she’s just a good person! She might be one of the better people in this town and Carter recognizes that.
As far as where they are going? That’s a good question… They don’t have drama, but the world around them has a lot of chaos. Her ex-husband, the father of her child, is literally sleeping with the devil! So, that will have to have some residual effect [on them].
We’ll see. We’ll see together!
The Bold and the Beautiful airs weekdays on CTV2 and CBS. Canadians can also stream B&B on CTV.ca, the CTV app, and on Crave.