Soap Opera Digest: Let’s start at the beginning. Was it always the plan to kill off Charlie?
Ron Carlivati: Yes. Oftentimes, we start stories not knowing where they’re going to end up, but this is a case of once we conceived the idea of who was the father of Allie’s baby and who raped Allie, that this character would ultimately be killed for it. So that was part of the whole pitch, that Tripp would be implicated and then there would be this long-lost brother and then he would start to date Claire and in the end, he would be exposed and ultimately killed because I felt that he was not really redeemable as a character and you were not going to root for a rapist, Todd Manning [from ONE LIFE TO LIVE] notwithstanding.
Digest: Mike Manning, who played Charlie, was embraced from the get-go. Did that give you any second thoughts about killing him off?
Carlivati: Look, in a way, that’s part of it. You don’t want to say, “Oh, let’s cast somebody bad because he’s going to die.” You want people to be invested, so we looked at a bunch of guys to play Charlie. There were actually a lot of good candidates in there and Mike came into that search a little bit more toward the end of it and we all liked him right away. I remember people going, “He’s great.” And I was like, “Yes, but don’t forget: He’s going to die.” So yes, when you see the initial feedback online and people are like, “Oh, I like this guy,” or, “Oh, he’s cute,” you’re thinking, “Oh, God.” Because you know where it’s going. Mike knew it was short-term from the beginning and he’s a lovely guy and a lovely actor. If the person playing Charlie wasn’t a good actor or wasn’t appealing, you wouldn’t care. So, yes, I’m sure there were some people who were disappointed that we “wasted” this guy. I saw a response to the character right away, which was great, but my heart kind of sank. And I was already thinking, “Well, maybe he’s got a twin brother.” I never thought about changing the story. I always knew that I didn’t want to redeem the rapist; I wanted him to die, and it’s tragic because we did play a lot about his backstory and there is no excuse for somebody doing something like this but you felt for him. You saw that he felt unloved and I think that haunted him his entire life.
Digest: So, how did you go about building this mystery?
Carlivati: What was great about this story was that almost anybody in town could do it. You have everybody in Claire’s family and everybody in Allie’s family, and then you have the backstory of who Charlie is, so you have Ava and Steve and Tripp and Kayla. So really, almost everybody on the canvas has a motive to want this guy dead.
Digest: Who is the No 1 suspect?
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