The Star Maker
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Talent Manager Michael Bruno knows what it takes!
The Powers That Be
In a city where showbiz is the biz, there is no shortage of talent managers. However, in the world of daytime soaps, Michael Bruno is the go-to guy for A -list performers. In his exclusive interview, the owner of the Los Angeles based Michael Bruno Group dishes on the industry, his clients and his new found celebrity as a judge on SOAPnet's I WANNA BE A SOAP STAR.
As a manager to the stars, Bruno is in a unique position to shape the future of daytime television, and it's an opportunity that he doesn't take lightly. "A manager is someone who is on a more personal level with [an actor] and considers their long-term career goals as opposed to thinking, Whatever comes up we'll get you in it and get the money," Bruno explains. Having worked as an actor, an agent and script writer before moving to his current career, Bruno understands and appreciates the needs of both his clients and the entertainment industry: "A lot of my star clients just have me because of my enormous relationships with daytime -- not only with the casting directors but the writers, executive producers, the network heads...and so why have an agent?"
Going On Instinct
A recent casting coup for Bruno was getting Paul Satterfield hired as ONE LIFE TO LIVE's nefarious Spencer Truman. "This was one of those deals that had fallen through, and I had to get in the middle and resurrect it. I said, `You need to get a plane ticket and get there tomorrow because this is your role'- and what a role!" Bruno recalls, grinning. "I knew what they were thinking of doing with [Spencer] and how he would eventually shift to the center of the canvas...and with Paul still looking great and [performing]... you know, it's very hard to be a charming bad boy while looking like Christopher Reeve. He is so happy to be there.
One of the secrets to Bruno s success is preparation. I take meetings," he explains. Tipped off about a show's upcoming need he'll go to work filling it. "If [AS THE WORLD TURNS' executive producer] Chris Goutman says, We need a Latin girl,' my assistant and I will call the modeling agencies and the agents we work with. I want to read all the Latin girls so I'm ready to go when the role comes up."
Of course, sometimes - as was the case with THE BOLD & THE BEAVTIFUL's Bobbie Eakes ex MacY - Bruno's gut told him which show needed her next. "ALL MY CHILDREN was looking to cast Babe's mother, and they had PORT CHARLES' Sarah Aldrich (Courtney) in mind. It was a fight, but I knew if I could get Bobbie to the test that she would get it. She went in and was amazing!" Bruno recalls of the comic actress. "They are so happy with Bobbie, and she got her first Daytime Emmy nomination in 17 Years!"
Here Comes The Judge
Now in his third season as the I WANNA BE A SOAP STAR judge with the Simon Cowell-like approach, Bruno is looking for OLTL's nex big thing having guided the careers of soap celebs like GENERAL HOSPITAL's Kin Shriner (ex-Scott, ex-Keith, ATwT) Billy Warlock (ex-AJ, now Frankie, DAYS OF OUR LIVES), Stephen Nichols (ex-Stefan, now Patch DAYS) , Mary Beth Evans (ex-Katherine, now Kayla, DAYS), and Leslie Kay (ex-Lois now Felicia, B&B), Bruno's certain that the next winner can follow suit. "I'm not mean for mean's sake," he insists. I came into it thinking that we've got to find someone even better than [last season's winner] Alec Musser (Del, AMC) , because there's more money in the show [each season]."
At the end of the day, what everything boils down to for Bruno is his passion for daytime...I really love and care about it'," he confides. "It's one of those things where even if I wasn't making money, I'd still be in it."
- Kelli M. Layson with reporting by Michelle Ann Moro