One of the publicists for CBS' "As the World Turns," who happens to be a big Jeffery Deaver fan, saw the interview and suggested that the author be invited to appear on the show. Soon afterwards, Deaver was contacted in New Zealand during a book tour, and asked to appear on "As the World Turns." A delighted Deaver said he couldn't say no.
"I was floored and terrified. I have never acted in my life," Deaver tells co-anchor Rene Syler Wednesday. "It's interesting. I get into the minds of my characters from my books. In 'The Vanished Man' my villain is a sleight-of-hand artist who steps into roles to get close to people and kill them. But that's mental. For me, I have never actually become another person as I did on the show. And I found that extremely helpful for my work."
At first, Deaver thought he would just play a dead body that was pulled out of a river, but he soon learned that the show's producers had more in store for him. Deaver was asked to learn lines for 12 scenes. Viewers can watch Deaver's acting ability on "As the World Turns" this week from Wednesday through Friday, when his character is finally killed.
Deaver plays Jeffrey Starr, a tabloid reporter who tries to blackmail a serial killer, Dr. Rick Decker, in the town of Oakdale. Actor John James plays Dr. Decker, or "Dr. Death" as he is called in one scene. James is well known for playing "Jeff Colby" in the old TV series, "Dynasty." All of Deaver's scenes were with James and it is Dr. Decker who strangles him at the end of the week.
As for Deaver's acting, James says, "I thought he was great. Actors on the first day usually are just a basket case. He was wonderful."
Deaver says everyone in the cast and crew of "As the World Turn" were helpful and treated him professionally. He says that he received excellent advice on acting.
Pointing at James, Deaver says, "I must say this gentleman really got me through it. He's a true craftsman and gave me very good advice, made me relax. I thoroughly enjoyed it."
Speaking about soap operas, James says there is no room for improvisation. "It's got to be learned. The difference between 'Dynasty," - we would do eight pages a day. And 10 pages, 12, would be fabulous day. We're doing 70 pages in the afternoon. I'd be in bed at 8:30 at night and then up at 5:00 working on my lines. You have to know them. Every line's a cue for the camera."
On Deaver's last day on the "As the World Turn," the writer's soap character was killed in a fight scene. Deaver says a stunt coordinator helped him prepare for the tussle with James without getting hurt.