Justin Hartley has slithered into Genoa City as Adam Newman and the Newman heir has a new identity to go with his new face. Victor’s son is peacocking around town as “Gabriel,” while angling to somehow win back Chelsea. It’s quintessential Adam — and yet this is not quite the Adam The Young and the Restless fans remember.
“The cynicism, sarcasm and snarkiness — he’s funnier now, but he’s got reason to be,” Justin Hartley (Adam/Gabe) says. “He’s a dead man walking. That’s different!
“I wanted to make this character my own, because it was done so well before — by two previous actors [Michael Muhney and Chris Engen]!” he continues. “One of the ways they let me do that is by giving him this face change plastic surgery — which let’s admit, is ridiculous, but it’s what’s happening and it allows Adam to have gone through some trauma and come out a different person.”
Adam is still no angel, but Hartley balks at calling the presumed dead Newman a villain.
“It’s more than that,” he insists. “There are definitely things Adam regrets doing and takes blame for, but he’s faced with these people who want to paint him with a broad brush as a bad guy. Being Gabriel has given him some perspective on what these people think of him, because they’re actually saying it to him without knowing he’s there.”
Most fans are on board with his performance, but Hartley says it’s okay if you don’t think he’s cutting it.
“We have people here that have been doing this for a lot longer than I have and they had enough faith in me to hire me, so I figure if I bomb, it’s on them,” he quips. “I’m out of here scot-free and they’re going to take the blame.”
Joking aside, however, he takes this opportunity seriously.
“It’s a great time to be working in daytime television,” he raves. “That’s part of the reason I came back. Every single person you talk to, they’re proud to be where they’re at and they see good things for their show. And now you only have four [Y&R, The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital and Days of Our Lives], so it’s hard to get in, it’s hard to stay and it’s the elite.
“I love the competition between the shows,” he continues. “Any daytime actor would support another daytime actor in anything they’re doing, but whatever show your on, you want it to be the best one. It’s healthy.”
As Hartley fans may recall, he brings a unique perspective on the daytime soap scene. He got his start on Passions — the magical soap that launched Emmy winner Eric Martsolf, Galen Gering, Lindsay Hartley, Jesse Metcalfe, McKenzie Westmore, Natalie Zea, Ryan McPartlin and others — and that was right around the time everyone was prophesizing the death of daytime soaps. Thankfully, “everyone” was wrong.
After memorable stints on Revenge, Smallville and Mistresses, to name a few, Hartley looks back at his breakout role with both pride and a sense of humor.
“I came on three years into Passions,” recalls Hartley, who played Fox Crane from 2002–2006. “It was a fun, exciting, brand new thing. These were unchartered waters. We had seasoned actors and EPs who knew what they were doing, but us kids didn’t know what we hell we’re doing. We just followed them, and there were too many of us for them to wrangle. Sometimes, we were bad and we didn’t know we were bad. It’s horrible that I said that but I’m putting me in that category too.
“And that show, by the way, went about 9 years. It was a very successful show, so something happened right over there!”
The fledgling soap just wasn’t the “unbelievable well-oiled machine” that comes with 42 years experience.
“It’s great being around these people,” he says of The Young and the Restless. “They have this confidence about them — not arrogance, but confidence. They understand that none of them, individually, transcends the brand. We’re all under the red letters (Y&R) and dedicated to staying number one. We’re not interested in anything else. Whatever it takes to stay there.”
He’s determined to keep bringing his A game to Adam and the show. “I plan everything out,” he says. “Then you get to set, stand in front of the other actor and nothing happens the way you planned it in your head. But if you’re prepared, [you’re ready for that].”
Not that he’s claiming perfection. “You can throw curveballs to anyone and they’ll get them. I mean, no one catches every one. I probably have to apologize to all my castmates. They’re thrown to me all the time and I’m like, ‘That was funny! Oops. Blew your joke, there. Sorry.’ I try to be as professional as I can, but it’s also about having fun, right?”
It’s clear Hartley has no intention of leaving Genoa City or daytime soon — unless it’s for a side gig. His bosses at The Young and the Restless actually let him jet off to Canada in late March to wrap up his Mistresses love triangle, airing this summer.
“I did Mistresses on the weekend and Y&R that week,” he says. “It’s unbelievable. Not even the same network, but they’re playing nice with each other. They’re very good to me here. It’s a good place to be — And I get to see my daughter everyday. I love it.”
When is The Young and The Restless on TV? In Canada, The Young and The Restless airs weekdays at 4.30 et/4.00 pt on Global TV
Where can I watch The Young and The Restless online for free? GlobalTV.com/theyoungandtherestless streams full episodes of The Young and The Restless online for free, or watch with the Global Go app on your iOS or Android mobile device. Episodes are typically posted the day after the initial on-air broadcast.