When I tried to save my fiancee's life, I fell off the bridge and ended up in the Los Angeles River and here I am," Duhamel says, adding, with a laugh, "that's the short version." Daytime drama functioned for Duhamel as a learn-as-you-earn cram course in film-acting technique."I'd put soap opera up against any major acting school you want to name," he says.
In soaps you only get one or two takes, so you really had to go for it." With a best supporting actor Daytime Emmy award under his belt, Duhamel left New York for Los Angeles when his "All My Children" contract expired.
After six months of unemployment, Duhamel was cast opposite James Caan as a swinging casino manager in "Las Vegas," which provided him with a memorable entrance in the pilot episode: "I'm schtupping James Caan's daughter," Duhamel says, smiling slyly.
Other actors who have paid their dues on daytime television shows: THE DOCTORS: Alec Baldwin, Kathleen Turner. AS THE WORLD TURNS: Meg Ryan, Julianne Moore, Jason Biggs, Parker Posey, Marisa Tomei.
THE GUIDING LIGHT: Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Jo Beth Williams, Christopher Walken, Kevin Bacon.
It tested well with men, so I don't think it's just young girls who are going to like the movie." Still, producers are counting on the 6-foot-3-inch Duhamel to provide at least one key ingredient -- sex appeal -- to the film.