CBS.com: How did you land the role of Henry?
TRENT DAWSON: I auditioned for it back in October, I think. Jimmy Bohr, the casting director, had seen me audition for a couple of things when he was with Another World, and had also seen me do some theater. He had just seen me do a show that summer, so I was fresh in his mind. That's how it happened.
CBS.com: What did they tell you about Henry coming in?
TRENT DAWSON: They told me almost nothing. [Laughs] It was supposed to be a pretty short-term recurring [role]. I've heard two weeks or something like that. I don't know exactly what they had in mind, but I'm having a blast.
CBS.com: Henry has elicited a lot of fan reaction. Were you surprised?
TRENT DAWSON: It's still a surprise. It's been really positive from what I know so far. [Laughs] The fan mail has been really good. I hear about things on the web, but I'm just trying to avoid going in there because it's just scary. It's like a daily review. Those can be dangerous. But, yeah, he's the guy they love to hate. That can be really fun on a show like this.
CBS.com: We get a lot of mail from fans asking about you.
TRENT DAWSON: That's cool! It's really helpful because sometimes I don't know where he's going, I don't know if they know where he's going, I don't know what I'm doing, and so I just go out there and have as much fun as possible, and then if it works, it works. It's good to know that people are picking up on it.
CBS.com: Henry seems to be very driven. What is his motivation?
TRENT DAWSON: Oh, man. [Laughs] I think ultimately his motivation is power, is being that super big wig, running CBS or whatever. I think being in complete charge of his own national news corporation. He wants to be Ted Turner.
CBS.com: Why is Henry so intent on helping Katie?
TRENT DAWSON: That is something I've gone back and forth on. For a while, I started playing more sexual tension between us and I thought this would be a good relationship to work on. It's really kind of a creepy one, too, so it'd be fun just to see what kind of dynamic that created. But then I started trying to get her in the sack with Holden! [Laughs] [Katie's] starting to get craftier and craftier, and I think he's starting to see that he has more and more blackmail on her. So, as she becomes more capable of manipulating and being aggressive and getting to the top in her own career, she has to take him along. It's very symbiotic right now. He's very intent on pushing her and keeping her under his thumb at the same time.
CBS.com: How far do you think he'll go to get what he wants?
TRENT DAWSON: I think he'll do anything to get what he wants! [Laughs] I don't think there's any limitations, no scruples to bear. I mean, he's already put poison in [Molly's] sandwich!
CBS.com: Do you think Henry and Katie will get romantic down the line?
TRENT DAWSON: I don't know. I've gotten some interesting fan mail regarding other female characters on the show.
CBS.com: Such as?
TRENT DAWSON: Just about all of them! Emily, and Molly - which I kind of thought of. I thought, "Wouldn't that be neat?" As much as they've messed each other up. And Carly. These are people I haven't really worked with, I just see them in the dressing rooms [at the studio]. All of them seem to have some kind of dark pasts and have done some really wicked things. It sounds like people would have fun with this sort of ego/power couple. I really don't know. I think it would be cool if Katie and I hooked up, but her reactions to some of the things I've done have been so disgusted, I don't know how it would work. I think her stomach would turn if I got into bed with her. [Laughs] I don't know if that one would work, but maybe somebody else.
CBS.com: Is there someone else in the cast you'd like to have a storyline with?
TRENT DAWSON: Yeah, certainly a lot of people I haven't worked with. I think if Liz [Hubbard, Lucinda] and I had some kind of moment that would be hysterical because she's a pistol. That would be fun. I love working with Tom [Eplin, Jake] when we have the chance. More fun stuff there. I think Larry Bryggman's [John] an incredible actor. I don't know how our paths would cross, but he would be a great joy to work with. But I don't know how that would work out at all, 'cause I have nothing to do with that Andy/Denise storyline at all. But who knows? You could get in somebody's cookie jar somehow. Those folks I'd love to work with.
CBS.com: Will we be seeing a nicer side to Henry?
TRENT DAWSON: I'm trying, baby, I'm trying! I'm working on it. I mean, we're in a melodrama, so there's a certain requirement stylistically to have this twirling the mustache, raising the eyebrow [kind of villain]. It's not a news flash. You need that sort of guy, but at the same time it gets old after a while. My big joke around the set is, "What kind of relationship does he have with his mother?" How did Henry get so screwed up? But [he needs] something, whether it's a romantic interest, or where I see how far my schemes have gone. We had some stuff recently where I see Molly in the coma for the first time. They wrote all of these really great, fun zingers for me, but at the same time, I explored the idea of him suddenly realizing, "You've been talking about this person in such a bad way and she's in a coma, and to see her for the first time...." I wanted to kind of open up a vulnerability in him. "Man, maybe I went too far here." The more I can do that, the better. It just depends on when they let me do it. Sometimes I try to add a lot of dimension into scripts that don't necessarily have it there, and the directors say, "No, today he just needs to be evil." I don't have as much control over it as I'd like sometimes, but you know, we'll see. I'm trying to give him more humanity!
CBS.com: Where are you from originally?
TRENT DAWSON: I'm from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
CBS.com: Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
TRENT DAWSON: Yeah. My mom kind of threw me on the stage as soon as I could walk. I've been doing it for a long time and I got a degree in it out at Colorado. Yeah, it seems like I've been acting forever.
CBS.com: Did you do a lot of theater?
TRENT DAWSON: Yeah, tons of theater.
CBS.com: Is this your first television role?
TRENT DAWSON: Yes, pretty much. I [was] a day player on Guiding Light a couple of years ago, but I consider this to be the first big thing.
CBS.com: What are your long-term career goals?
TRENT DAWSON: Well, that's a good question right now, because I didn't anticipate this going this long. And I'm enjoying it a lot and I'm still learning some things. I'd like to stick with this for a while. I'm in a good situation now where I could do other stuff here in the city while I'm doing this. I have to keep doing theater at some point or I just go crazy. Ultimately, I think I would like what we all like: to be able to do film, and to do things like this, and also do theater, and just kind of have all of those things working. But you try to set an itinerary in this career and something throws a loop in it. So, you never know.
CBS.com: What are some of your favorite theater roles from the past?
TRENT DAWSON: Hamlet, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, I did a play on Broadway that was a failure, but I played a wonderful role. It was a play called The Herbal Bed. So, that was a great opportunity. It's all real Shakespeare.
CBS.com: Do you live in Manhattan?
TRENT DAWSON: Yes.
CBS.com: Are you single?
TRENT DAWSON: Yes. Horribly so! [Laughs]
CBS.com: What do you do when you're not working?
TRENT DAWSON: I love to rollerblade. I do that a lot in the city. I've become some kind of weird sports fanatic, which I didn't used to be. So, I watch a lot of New York sports, basketball and things like that. I have my own theater company in town, and right now we're gearing up for a new show. So, that takes up a hell of a lot of time. I don't have a lot of time outside of that for anything else. Except for dating - always have time for dating! [Laughs]
CBS.com: Thank you very much for your time. We look forward to seeing you more on ATWT. TRENT DAWSON: Thank you.
another website about Trent Home of the Official Trent Dawson Fan Club
Trent Dawson joined the cast of the CBS daytime drama As the World Turns in the fall of 1999 in the recurring role of Henry Coleman, a role that was originally supposed to last only two weeks.
Dawson, who was born on February 4 in Baton Rouge, LA, attended Boston University before leaving to spend a year touring Europe. When he returned, he received his bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from the University of Colorado at Boulder. While attending school, he performed in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and began teaching stage fighting. After graduation, he moved to New York City, got the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and began touring in Shakespeare companies all over the country.
He has appeared in The Herbal Bed on Broadway, and Off-Broadway in such shows as As You Like It, Altitude Sickness, Thanksgiving, Macbeth, The Women of Shakespeare, The Way of the World and J.B.
Dawson's film credits include Steel Magnolias and Helen. He has also appeared on Guiding Light.