Forget Kramer v. Kramer! On The Bold and the Beautiful, it’s Forrester v. Spencer now that Douglas Forrester’s parents, Thomas Forrester (Matthew Atkinson) and Hope Logan Spencer (Annika Noelle), are at odds over where their son is going to live. Hope, of course, wants Douglas to remain at home with her, her husband Liam (Scott Clifton), and their daughter Beth. Meanwhile, Thomas is ready to become a full-time dad to his son and would prefer he reside with him at the Forrester mansion.
Thomas has a strong case for taking physical custody of his boy. He’s worked on his emotional issues and can provide his son with all the luxuries of living at the Forrester abode, which is visited often by family members.
Watch for things to heat up in this ongoing storyline on Friday, September 2, when Hope visits Douglas at the mansion to determine if Thomas is being truthful. TV Insider chatted with Atkinson to get his views on why Thomas should be spending a lot more time with his son.
What was your response when you found out Thomas was going to express having more of a role in his son’s life?
Matthew Atkinson: I got pretty excited. I think it’s been a long time coming. Thomas spent quite a while going over the issues he has in the past and worked on becoming a better person. He picked the pieces of his life up and moved forward. He’s done a great job at that. He’s a changed man. I think the audience is excited to get his son back. Every tweet I’m tagged in has referenced Thomas getting his son back.
Thomas wasn’t always the most understanding parent. Back when he wanted to keep Hope as his wife, he intimidated Douglas into staying quiet about baby Beth being alive. That must have been intense for you.
Yes. As an actor, it’s important to be as empathetic a person as possible. You have to be able to empathize with your character. When you’re playing “mean” to a child, it triggers every protective [feeling] within me. That was very hard. I had to cultivate an environment with Henry [Joseph Samiri, who played Douglas at the time] where we played around and I made sure that he felt comfortable with me doing those things — that they were make-believe. He’s such a wonderful kid. He got it. By that point, he knew it was make-believe. It wasn’t jarring for him but it was still difficult. They were the most challenging scenes I’ve ever done on the show — or anywhere.
What’s Thomas’s rebuttal to Hope, who understandably wants Douglas to remain living with her, Liam, and Beth?
The reason Thomas gave Hope custody is because she’s a great mother figure but at the same time, he was trying to create a family with her. It was good for Douglas. I don’t believe that we have been specific as to what the terms of the [legal] agreement with Douglas is. The way I’m playing it from Thomas’s perspective is that he gave Hope 50 percent custody. She’s had over 80 percent, closer to 90 percent, in recent years. Also, Thomas isn’t suggesting he and Douglas move across the country. They’re down the road. It’s important for a son to be with his father. What Thomas is pushing for makes a whole lot of sense. Thomas truly wants to be a father in his son’s life. He wants to be a bigger presence.
What’s it like working with Django Ferri, who now plays Douglas?
He’s such a sweet kid. The only difficulty for me — and this has nothing to do with [Django] — is that I developed such a strong relationship with Henry. On [Django’s] first day, it was about Thomas wanting to see his son more but he came in like a pro. It’s been fun working with him and getting to know him. Django’s a very bright kid and he really loves working. I can see that when he comes on stage.
How far will Thomas go to make sure he gets custody?
I think he’s got good ground to stand on. It doesn’t make sense for Thomas to give his son up to another family. Hope’s the mother, but that doesn’t mean that Hope and Liam are the [only] parents. A lot will depend on how much Hope fights back. Thomas feels that Douglas should live with him for a little while. As long as the environment that Thomas provides is healthy, which it is, I don’t think that this is that big of a deal. I’m not sure how much Hope will push back but if she’s influenced by her mother [Brooke, Katherine Kelly Lang] and Liam? That could amplify her reaction to the whole thing.
Bold and the Beautiful, Weekdays, CBS