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ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS



NOT SO SIMPLE SIMON



Soap Opera Weekly
November 13, 2001

NOT SO SIMPLE SIMON

By Tonya Lensch
Photography by Robert Milazzo



ATWT's Paul Leyden is just as dynamic and complex as his character.

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Sam and Diane. Lucy and Desi. Simon and Katie. "Simon and Katie are the Moonlighting-type couple," smiles Simon's portrayer, As the World Turns' Paul Leyden. "There's a lot of love there, but they still argue."

There's more love and less bickering this week as the pair consummate their marriage by recreating their first night together. "They get another convertible and make love in the car," previews Leyden, adding that Katie obsesses over making everything perfect. "She doesn't want to get it wrong, and he's like, 'If we get it wrong, it's going to be okay, we'll just keep practicing and practicing,'" he adds with a laugh.

Obviously, Leyden has fun with the offbeat matchup. "I love the dynamic between them," he declares. "Simon's a bit of a drifter, an adventurer, and he doesn't want to be tied down. But he's found someone who really challenges him, really excites him. As Paul, when I'm not working with Terri (Colombino), I miss her and it feels weird, so that translates to the character. When Simon's not around her, he just doesn't feel the same ... Terri is one of my best friends, so I kind of just have to look at her, and it's easy. I could work with Terri and Martha (Byrne, Lily/Rose) the rest of my life and be completely happy."

Simon and Katie are hardly a conventional couple, even by soap standards: They got married, then fell in love. Leyden hopes that unpredictability continues. "I would be so upset if they didn't maintain the humor of the couple," he states. "I hope they won't get lovey-dovey, Holden/Lily style, where is just becomes banal. You have to keep them adventurous, keep them on their toes."

Simon may still be on his toes, but he's a far cry from the con man who first wandered into Oakdale with a get-rich-quick scheme in his bag. "I don't think he takes himself so seriously," Leyden remarks. "He's probably a little less impulsive, which isn't a good thing, but in a small town like Oakdale, how can you be spontaneous? I think the fact that he stayed in this small town and he has a reason to stay means he's changed. He isn't looking so much for the bigger picture, he's content with being happy in the moment."

Leyden understands why it took Simon so long to admit his feelings for his impetuous wife. "I think everyone has been in that situation where they are just so stubborn. I've been in those situations in my real life, where I've liked someone but I'm afraid to change my life and adapt when I should," he confesses. "When you find that right person, you know, and you will change. I think Simon realizes that if he doesn't give it a go, he'll never know."

When Leyden first joined the show, his character did the unthinkable - he came between the Oakdale institution of Lily and Holden. "Simon's love for Lily started as infatuation," Leyden asserts. "He became obsessed with the stability and a life with her because it was so different than what he was used to. Ultimately, he realized his love for Lily was more fantasy, whereas his love for Katie is more real. It's more him. They're better suited because their personalities are a bit flighty, and they don't like to be held down."

And what about finding his own Katie in real life? "I'm looking for a 6-foot-3 woman with a moustache, hairy armpits, who has her own trailer, speaks English and has limited teeth," deadpans Leyden, revealing that there is no special someone in his life right now. "For the last 10 years, I've been in two-year, three-year relationships. This year I've been concentrating on myself. I've met a lot of great girls, but I'm all about concentrating on my career."

"If someone comes along and blows me away, then of course, I'll be open to it. But at the moment, I'm definitely not looking," he adds. "I'm happy. I've learned a lot about myself. I've been in a lot of relationships, and you lose your individuality a little bit. I'm finding out again what makes me tick."