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Article from CBS Soaps In Depth.....
as posted by RogerD on TRO message board...Feb. 26, 2001
(Thanks, Roger!)

"Going To Extremes"

Paul Leyden (Simon) likes to stir things up....

Still a relative newcomer to daytime, native Aussie Paul Leyden debuted as con man Simon Frasier on AS THE WORLD TURNS in February 2000. But in the past year, he's had a crash course in soaps, playing action, adventure, romance and even a quickie wedding. "Simon's gone from one extreme to the other," he marvels.

Taking Charge:
As the tortured Lily/Simon romance stalled, Leyden found his character not only spinning his wheels, but losing his edge. "I think over the last three months, they castrated him," the actor jokes. "Simon, as the original character, would have walked after about a month."

But Simon's attitude did a complete 180 afer the split. "Sure, the breakup with Lily affects him," Leyden allows. "That's what Simon's been about for the past six months. But it affects him in a bit more self-destructive way."

The Dynamic Duo:
Bride Katie, however, is doing everything that she can to keep Simon's mind off his troubles, mostly by causing trouble of her own. "It's a really interesting relationship," Leyden observes. "There's a great dynamic between Simon and Katie." While Leyden doesn't believe that the duo could ever become romantic, he wants the pair to join forces in another way. "There's no one really stirring up trouble like these two have the capacity to do," he says excitedly. "I think they could really mix it up." While there's little love there, Leyden believes that if Katie left Simon, he would miss his missus. "He hasn't got too many friends in Oakdale," he explains. "Katie's probably the only one. So if she leaves, he has nothing. He'd be a very lonely soul."

Big City Life:
After uprooting his life in Australia to move to NYC and join the cast of ATWT, Leyden knows what it's like to be an outsider. "But I've totally settled into New York," he reveals. "I mean, New Yorkers actually call me up now and ask ME what places they should go do." Although he admits that it's difficult to get back to Australia as much as he'd like, he made sure to spend the holidays at home because there's one thing about Gotham that he just can't get used to. "I went back over Christmas and New Year," he smiles, "basically to get some sun. I can't stand the cold!"

Getting Out & About:
While Leyden explores Manhattan, he'd like to see Simon do the same in Oakdale, but without Lily. "Despite the fact that, as an actor, I love working with Martha [Byrne (Lily/Rose)]," he says, "I think it would be detrimental for the character to ever get together with Lily. Because he then becomes part of a loving relationship, and that just cuts down your capacity to mix it up on the show."

Having learned the soap opera rule that happiness is boring, Leyden wants to keep Simon on his toes, and knows just the girl to do it. "I think with Katie, there's more of a chance for a warped kind of happiness," he predicts. "There's so much interesting stuff to play."

Birthday: December 16

Broadway bound?: Although he's been approached by some theater producers, Leyden admits that he needs more singing lessons. "I sound like a fighting cat when I sing right now," he laughs.

Sanctuary: Central Park remains of the Australian import's favorite NYC locales. "It's a really amazing sanctuary up there," he says, "especially during the summer."