Marco Dapper, the ultimate eye candy, recently landed on the number one soap in the U.S., The Young and the Restless, and in the process gained a whole new audience of adoring fans. Dapper had already gained huge recognition from the gay community who first caught a glimpse of his good looks, stunning bod and acting chops in the cult-hit Eating Out 2. What followed was a succession of photo shoots and covers that were unrivaled for their steaming sex appeal.
Frontiers sat down recently with Dapper at The Grove, just outside CBS Studios where he takes on the role of Carmine Basco, who is involved in a hot and heavy romance with heiress Abby Newman, and found out what it has been like for him working on a daytime soap for the first time in his career, and if the series exploiting his looks is cool with him. Plus, we get the inside scoop on his workout routine, his stance on gay marriage and the struggles facing the LGBT community, and some other surprises along the way. We found Marco to be direct, witty, confident and disarmingly charming. So here’s our conversation and some exclusive photos with the Dapper one!
How did you come to the attention of Y&R? How did you land the role of Carmine?
It is not as exciting as you think it would be. My manager called and said he had an audition for me for The Young & the Restless and I said, “No! Pass!” And my manager calls me out, swear to God! He is like, “Marco! This year you are supposed to say yes to everything. That is supposed to be your whole mentality.” I go, “OK. You are right.” I decided I was being a snob and a brat. I decided to go to the audition and try it out. I guess one thing led to another and I kept being called back. Then I realized at the chemistry read with Marcy Rylan [Abby, Y&R] that I had so much fun with her, and she was a good actress. So I guess my “snobitute” was unwarranted. It opened up my eyes a little bit. When I got on set I then said, “I was an asshole and judging.”
Daytime has this stigma!
Yes and it’s unfortunate. I don’t know why, or where, or how that came about. I am far too young to know the soap stigma. [Laughs] But here is my soap stigma story: My mom watched the soaps when I was a child, and when I wanted to watch cartoons. She would be like, “No! I am watching the soaps!” I was mad, but not mad at her. I was mad at the soaps because they were in the way of my cartoons! I think that is where my bitterness for soaps originally stemmed from, being jaded as a child. I was bitter, but I have gotten over it now! [Laughs]
What did the powers-that-be tell you about the role of Carmine? That he would be a potential love interest for Abby?
I really did not exactly know. They told me it’s possibly a recurring role. I figured once they had me read with someone there would be some onscreen relationship there, but honestly, the whole adventure in daytime has been a pleasant surprise.
Who would you tell the Frontiers readers Carmine is if they have not watched Y&R? What is he about?
He is misunderstood. He’s the kind of guy that acts first, and questions later. He comes from Jersey. I think Y&R was riding the Jersey Shore wave with this, but to my happiness without the bad clothing choices. [Laughs] Those aren’t there. The Ed Hardy is not part of the plan. Not to name names. [Laughs] But, Carmine is not your typical Jersey Shore kind of guy. When I got to wardrobe they were like, “Well, we like what you are wearing now.” I was in a T-shirt and jeans. I am a various T-shirt and jeans kind of a guy. They asked me, what brands do I wear? So I wrote down some brands, and literally they went out and got the clothes! It literally looks like my closet at home. It was great. I thought, “At least I will look decent!”
Most people would assume there are only three shirts in your wardrobe at Y&R, because you would be shirtless all the time!
[Laughs] Actually, it took me 15 episodes before I was shirtless! I thought that was great. My buddy kept asking me, “Did you take your shirt off yet?” I was proud to say, “Well, actually I haven’t.” I thought, “Good. They are using me not for my body, but then 15 episodes in … It happened! [Laughs]
Let’s talk about Carmine and Abby’s relationship. What would you say is going on there? Are they just smitten with each other at this point?
It’s young lovers being smitten, kind of hot and fast. I think it is what everyone wants love to be. That very passionate, hands-on, touchy-touchy, can’t get enough of that person, that we all enjoy. We have had bedroom scenes and they were fun and went well!
The adorable spitfire Marcy Rylan is your scene partner on Y&R. What are three words you use to describe her?
Marcy is smart, fun and sexy. She reminds me of the Reese Witherspoon of Y&R. She has that Legally Blonde thing going for her. She is that cute, approachable girl, which works great for her.
Since you have taken your clothes off all the time in your career as a physique model, when they tell you it’s time for you to take your shirt off in a scene, are you like, “Oh good. I get to strut my stuff?”
I am comfortable with my body. Obviously, sex sells, we all know that. That is tried-and-true. So I know that. But it’s not like I go, “Yippee! I am going to take my shirt off!” No, no, no! Either way, I don’t care, as long as we get the story across, and right now the story just happens to be we are being hot for each other, and physicality is a big part of that. I think it serves a purpose. But if something doesn’t serve a purpose for me, and its just gratuitous, then I don’t follow.
The LGBT community knows you originally from your performance in Eating Out 2 and all the subsequent shirtless and body shots. Was this the career path you had carved out for yourself and envisioned?
It just happened that way. I got a big following from Eating Out, and then photographers would approach me to say they want to shoot pictures of me. I thought, “Sure! Why not? What have I got to do on a Tuesday?” So then I got a modeling agent out of that and I made money modeling. But, I was an actor first. I was not trying to be a model. But it started with Eating Out, and then I got the cover of DNA, the Australian magazine. Then it became about being half-naked. But I was an actor as a kid. The modeling got me sidetracked there. But hell, I was waiting tables or selling shoes at Big Five, so yeah, I am going to do it and take the money. Look, if it’s a choice between taking my shirt off or selling a size nine, I will take my shirt off! [Laughs]
You gained a very big following from the cult-film Eating Out 2!
Absolutely! It was a very welcoming environment and they were supportive. The thing was so many people told me that doing that film was going to ruin my career. And my whole thing was, I don’t care. I am not going to subscribe to fear. With that kind of film, I put myself on the map. This was a 100 percent gamble. Eating Out 2 was a risqué film. Let’s be honest with ourselves. I took the risk and I had a lot of fun with it. I had a great community follow it. There was no guarantee I would get support from the gay community. I feel lucky to have gotten that support and I rode it. It’s all about the risk-taking. I had a fun time on that shoot, and it is my roots, man, absolutely.
What is it like being you? Do you get hit on all the time? When you get a compliment, do you take that in and acknowledge it, or do you deflect it?
I am really bad at taking compliments. I shy away just because I don’t know how to respond to that. Sometimes I feel people make compliments because they want one back. You know someone will say, “You look really great! “ And they are waiting for me to say, “And so do YOU!” And I don’t want to lie to them if it’s not true. [Laughs]
Do you feel pressure being a hunky guy on a soap to keep up the looks?
I guess in some ways, sure. I got this job and I have to keep that physique the same. I got this job when I was working out really hard. So I have to keep that going. There was awhile there that I let it go. I thought I did not want to be the in-shape guy anymore. I noticed then I didn’t book very much! [Laughs]
See! What did we learn?
Take more acting classes! [Laughs] I am not the tallest guy on the block. You have these guys that are 6'2'' and they are very handsome men. They have that tall, lean, dark thing going on. I thought if I have a better body than these guys, at least I have an edge on them! Let’s be honest. I go on auditions all the time. These guys are the Supermen of men. I am like, “holy crap!” These guys are chiseled. I am thinking, “I am not going to compete against him!” Bottom line is, I am a product. How do I sell? I figured at 5'10'' I have to have a better body than these guys and have that edge. If I can have that, then maybe I can be in the running, and make it hard for people to choose who they want to go with for the role.
So without giving all of your secrets away, what is your workout regimen like?
I am pretty old-school. I don’t do CrossFit or anything like that. My dad taught me to lift weights when I was a kid in the seventh grade. I was a scrawny child and my dad was always in great shape. He was an athlete type of dude. He bought me a weight set at 5 years old! But I did not use it for a few years. Now I just do a very basic routine. I do free weights and I don’t like machines. I don’t get a good workout on them, but for some people they do. It’s all personal preference for me. I am lucky that I have a really good metabolism as well. I use that to my advantage. I do every bodypart once a week. Rest is key, and the thing that helps your muscles grow. I am a slacker on cardio, though. I quit smoking three months ago and my first cigarette was when I was 11 years old. I was a bad kid, smoking weed, drinking and the whole nine yards. I was the pothead kid. I grew up in the Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., area, which was more of a hippie culture at that time.
You talk about being surprised how good everyone is on daytime soaps. Have you watched other actors on Y&R? Who do you think is great at their craft?
All of them. Not to sound cliché or anything, but everyone has wowed me in their own way. I like to sit on set, even when I am not working. I think it is fun to sit back and support everyone doing their thing, and learn from them and their mistakes. Everyone at Y&R has to be so on and do their jobs fast. Christian LeBlanc [Michael, Y&R] is one of my favorites. He is a ball of awesomeness, that man. He is a funny dude. He has been the one who honestly took me under his wing when I first got there. He made sure I felt welcome, and felt like part of the soap community.
Since you look the way you do, and seem to be on the surface a very confident guy, is there something that has shaken your confidence in the past?
Some ex-girlfriends did shake my confidence. They made me question myself, and that I am not good enough for somebody. And, sometimes acting is a brutal sport! It will beat your soul up. The person that I am today is so different than years ago. My soul has changed so much for the better. I have been through the ringer many times. But it is not for everyone. That is why after nine years I feel I am coming along, but I have a long way to go. I think why I survived is that I don’t care if I am the best. I just want to work. I just want to have the dream of being paid for doing what I love. My philosophy is very Goldilocks. I am all about the middle. You don’t want to be eating Top Ramen, but you don’t want to be so famous that you can’t even go to a ballpark or a restaurant. That is a nightmare in itself. It’s all about working and doing the craft and living a normal life, and enjoying life, and not running away or hiding from it.
Being a friend to the LGBT community, where do you stand on the issue of gay marriage, and what has happened with Prop. 8, and how it is brought up in the current presidential political campaigns, etc.?
Straight marriage ain’t doing so well! There is like an 80 percent divorce rate. So why not let the gay people be as miserable as the straight people? Seriously! [Laughs] Look, it’s absurd the laws and the stipulations of marriage. I am very middle-of-the-road, both conservative and liberal, and grew up in a conservative family. I grew up in Catholic school all my life, so I know all about Jesus. And what I know about Jesus is that this guy, if he was around today, he hung out with all the rejects of society and wasn’t very popular, either. So what do you think he would do in this situation? I may be going out on a limb here, but I think he would be very cool with the gay marriage thing. That is the vibe I get off of him and all these leaders, Gandhi, Buddha, etc. I would say all would be cool with it. They are all about love and not rules. It’s about two consenting adults doing what they want to do. This is America. Aren’t we the land of the free? I feel bad, honestly. It’s not a pity sorry, but I have a lot of gay friends, and it sucks!
All things being equal, would you like to keep working on a soap and Y&R?
I would love to continue at Y&R! No one wants to go home from the party, unless they are puking. And I am not puking. [Laughs] Who knows? I have a whole new respect for the genre.
Recently, there was a huge backstage shakeup at Y&R. Maria Arena Bell was let go as both series executive producer and head writer, and she was replaced by Jill Farren Phelps and Josh Grifith, respectively. What do you think of your chances of staying on the show with the new regime change?
I hope everyone gets what they want from this whole changing of the guard. I have had people ask me if I will be canned because of the new writer and new EP. I was like, “That is a possibility if they are cleaning house, and they are going to have to get rid of some old items and new items that they don’t need.” Soap fans are very loyal and very protective. So when a new guy like me comes into play with things, most of them aren’t so ready to open their arms. They are very stubborn and that is fine, but I think the powers-that-be are looking at that going, “What can we do to improve ratings?”
I think Jill and Josh, and the production and writing teams will have a meeting and say, “Let’s keep him on the show, so we can have more shirtless scenes!”
Actually, even if they killed off Carmine, they could preserve him shirtless. We can preserve a mold on the wall as a memory of Carmine! [Laughs]
For more on the soaps, visit MichaelFairmanSoaps.com. All Photos by duffimages.com.