10 years on the job and Scott Clifton is ready for the next decade


Scott Clifton has grown and matured on The Bold & The Beautiful set, and his character Liam Spencer has grown with him

His first day on the set of Bold & Beautiful in July 2010 was a tough one for Scott Clifton, who plays romantic but indecisive Liam Spencer. “I had to cry on cue. I’ve never done it before, and didn’t even know how to do it,” confesses Scott. Luckily, he had help from co-stars John McCook (Forrester Fashions patriarch Eric Forrester) and Katherine Kelly Lang (as troublemaker Brooke Logan Forrester). “Not even during the auditions did I have to do something so drastic, but John and Kelly taught me how to dig deep into my emotions and my gut to find that sensitive spot to make the tears flow immediately,” says Scott. Now he does it perfectly. “Not that Liam is actually a cry-baby,” jokes the 35-year-old.

10 years after that tear-filled episode, Scott is happy with how his path as an actor has evolved thanks to the long-running US soap opera. “I look back at some of my work before I joined Bold, and for me it is like night and day. I am now a different actor than what I was back then,” he says. Scott started his acting career with one-episode roles for shows like sci-fi series Roswell in 2001 and law drama Judging Amy in 2002 before bagging his first soapie role, in 2003 as rebellious Dillon Quartermaine on General Hospital. He also went on to star as Schuyler Joplin on soapie One Life To Live in 2009, and so the soap bug bit.

“Those soaps were character driven. The roles differed, from being a motorcycle-riding gun-shooting rebel, to an emo teen. I refer to those soaps as ‘boy shows’ as it was all about blowing stuff up, the mafia and gun shootouts.” With Bold, things changed. “Bold focuses on emotionally driven stories. I learnt how to breathe and be a human being playing an emotional story. The tools I’ve gathered over the past 10 years have hugely improved me as an actor,” explains Scott.

Women trouble

Over the past decade on Bold, there have been many storylines that put Scott’s character on a wild rollercoaster ride, but there are two that stand out for him. In 2016 (2017 for South African viewers), Liam suffered amnesia. Quinn (Rena Sofer) found him passed out in a parking lot, but instead of taking Liam to a hospital, she bundled him into her car and drove him to a secret cabin in the woods.

“Liam and Quinn hate each other, but Quinn took advantage of the situation and made him believe that he was Adam and she was his Eve. Things got steamy between the two, and they ended up having sex,” explains Scott. “What I loved about this particular storyline is that it was just me and Rena on this tiny set in the studios. We filmed those scenes over a five-month period. There was no one (from the cast) around us. We literally just talked for those scenes, our newly labelled characters getting to know each other. It was like delivering a monologue. It was intense and deep.”

Scott’s other favourite is currently playing out on SA screens: the Liam, Hope (Annika Noelle), Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) “problem”. “Liam had baby Kelly with Steffy, and then he finds out that Hope is also expecting his child. This puts a bit of pressure on him. Liam is torn between the two women. He needs more time to sort out his feelings for them,” explains Scott. He adds that Liam is often wrong about what he wants when it comes to women and what the best is for him and his family and his future. “Liam is an idealist, the romantic waffle king, and I think with this situation he believes his soulmate is Hope. He has mommy issues, and he sees Hope as a symbol of goodness, purity and kindness, and Liam is always looking for goodness. However, this doesn’t mean that Steffy is not a good woman, but her history with Liam’s dad, Bill (Don Diamont), and that Steffy cheated on Liam with his dad, is still a painful memory. As an actor, I think that Liam believes he belongs to someone who gives him the best drama,” Scott adds with a laugh.

Bromance

The true love story of Bold is not between Liam, Hope and Steffy, though, explains Scott – but rather with him and his onscreen. “Don and I are such great friends. I always find it difficult to do serious scenes with him, and there are a lot of them. They have a toxic love-hate relationship. When we run our lines, it always ends up in laughter as Don has this dad-frown he gives when he is talking to his son, Liam. It just kills me every time.”

True love

Even after playing the same character for 10 years, there are still firm lines where Scott ends and Liam begins. Liam might have romance issues, but Scott doesn’t have that. “I married my girlfriend, Nicole, in October 2012. I just call her Nikki. The two of us also have a beautiful 4-year-old son, Ford Robert, and he is now at that inquisitive stage where nothing is off limits,” Scott reveals. And he adds that while Liam is an extrovert “although you never see him hanging out with friends”, Scott himself is a social introvert. “My nucleus is my family. That is what matters to me. I also don’t have a lot of friends, only about three or four, and I prefer a quiet evening at home with my family than going out.”

When Scott is not working, you can find him in front of the TV watching reruns of critically acclaimed drama series Breaking Bad, or reading a book. “I only truly relax once I’ve put Ford to bed,” he says. Scott’s other passion is the outdoors. “Although I do enjoy and appreciate traveling, my heart is in the woods. I love camping, pitching a tent, building a fire and catching some fish. I’m slowly teaching Ford about camping, and hopefully he will be a chip off his old man’s shoulder one day.” With Liam, on the other hand, the Forrester Beach house is about as rustic as he’ll get when he hasn’t been brainwashed by a predatory soap diva.

Did you know?

  1. Scott is a high school dropout. “I didn’t really like high school, especially all the assignments. Although I knew I wanted to be an actor since age 7, I failed drama in high school. That was due to me skipping class going to random auditions. Dropping out is a decision that I regret to this day.”
  1. Music got his blood pumping once upon a time. “When I was a teenager, I got interested in the music scene. I wrote a couple of songs and recorded a couple of CDs. It was tough in the beginning because I couldn’t play any instrument and taught myself how to play guitar by watching YouTube videos,” he says. Scott released an EP, Untitled, in 2004. He also released three CDs: So Much for the Nightlife (2006), Mannequin (2010), and Girl Go Home (2014). “I haven’t touched music in ages as I just don’t have the time for it,” he confesses.
  1. Roughing-it-in-the-wild-guy Scott’s favourite movie is 1997 action drama The Edge starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. “It’s about survival of the fittest. A billionaire crashes his plane with two other guys, and they have to survive in the wilderness. It’s really about man versus nature and man versus himself.”

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