News Column

'AMC' at home on OWN; Local actor Eric Nelsen getting his big break.

July 15, 2013


You can say Eric Nelsen came to star in the soap opera "All MyChildren" two years too late or exactly at the right time.

The soap had aired on ABC for 41 years until it was cancelled inlate 2011. But it found new life as a web series on thisyear -- just as Nelsen, 22, who grew up in West Palm Beach as a BakMiddle School of the Arts student, became a series regular.

And then came the golden kiss: Oprah Winfrey signed "All MyChildren" for a 10-week limited engagement on the Oprah WinfreyNetwork. The show airs Monday through Thursday at 1 p.m., startingtoday.

"The people have spoken, and they want it back on TV," Nelsen said."It's a big turning point for the show."

It's also a big turning point for Nelsen. He moved to New York withhis mother and younger brother Matthew at 13 so his brother couldstar in a Broadway production of "Beauty and the Beast."

Eric Nelsen, who thought his career would be in dance, attended theProfessional Performing Arts School, which produced the likes ofClaire Danes, Alicia Keys, Britney Spears and Sarah Hyland of"Modern Family."

His brother, meanwhile, has gone on to appear on stage and in film,most recently on the new FX series "The Americans." Eric Nelsenbegan taking acting lessons and auditioned for a role on the soapopera "Guiding Light." His first day on set, he realized where hisfuture lie.

"Once I got a taste of life on a TV set, I knew that's where Iwanted to be," he said.

Now, he is on every episode of the soap that launched Susan Lucci.

On "All My Children," Nelsen plays exactly the kind of convolutedrole you expect from a soap opera as A.J. Chandler, whose motherdied protecting him and whose alcoholic father would marry hisaunt. And that's just the part you can understand without watchingall 10 weeks worth of episodes. Still, there's nothing likewatching your name scroll on the intro of every episode.

"There's a moment when you think, 'Oh, my God, I think I've madeit,'" he said.

If anything, these kinds of roles help develop complexity forbigger roles. Nelsen has had guest roles in a number of televisionshows and movies, including several scenes with Liam Neeson on theupcoming film "A Walk Among the Tombstones."

"I knew it was where I was supposed to be," he said, "and I didn'twant it to stop." Twitter: @Carlos_Frias

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