As if we’d think anything else, Coby Ryan McLaughlin wants to get one thing straight from the start of this interview. “I swear to God, I’m not a creep,” the actor, who’s so sublimely scary as GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Shiloh, insisted to Soaps In Depth. “There’s just something that’s always attracted me to these characters who are flawed but trying to do the best they can. And with these sociopaths, there’s always a lot going on. If you’re not directly in their orbit and you can just be with them, they’re fascinating! The duality in a character like Shiloh attracts me, because there’s so much to grasp onto, and there’s always room for redemption.”
That’s right — McLaughlin doesn’t believe that the cult leader is a lost cause! “I hope you do hate Shiloh,” he clarified. “This guy’s a [jerk]. He’s everything we don’t want to be and operates from a dark place. But I think we can all find redemption, and he wants to be better. He tries to live by the Dawn Of Day ethos. He puts his beliefs right in front of him, hoping he’ll catch up.”
Unfortunately, Shiloh keeps falling short — very short! “Because his insecurities get in the way,” McLaughlin sighed. “His vindictiveness and pain run so deep, he’s got a huge need for validation, and he’s so egomaniacal. That’s going to be his downfall.” And Sam played her part in creating this monster. “Shiloh has no foundation,” McLaughlin reminded us. “He was a trust fund kid with zero parental guidance, so he could do whatever he wanted. When Sam took his father for a ride and he lost his means, he actually had to go out into the real world — and he wasn’t equipped for it. So he went to all the dark places!”
While his feelings for Sam are confused at best, it’s Drew who inspires Shiloh’s better intentions. “He’s the light to Shiloh’s darkness,” McLaughlin maintained. “Shiloh respects Drew and is his most honest when he’s with him. However, there was mention of the whole memory situation and the flash drive! And even though he has an immense amount of love for Drew, when it all hits the fan, Shiloh’s still going to want to come out on top.”
In spite of Shiloh’s malicious side, McLaughlin has spent most of his six months in Port Charles smiling. “It’s not this guy’s ability to impose physically that makes him dangerous,” he said. “He’s so charming, he can get into your brain and make you do what he wants.”
Unfortunately, Willow and Sam didn’t get the memo on that — which has allowed the actor to finally drop the facade and show viewers his character’s mean streak. “It’s fun to let this guy off of his leash a bit,” McLaughlin stated. “There is so much anger that he’s spent so much time trying to wrangle and control, so when I get to Hulk out, it’s cool!”
Port Charles breathed a collective sigh of relief when Shiloh was finally arrested… only to have Harmony take the rap for him. “Whenever you think he’s down, someone else pops up who can help him,” McLaughlin explained. “It’s like a moving chess board. He’s always thinking 10 steps ahead. And he can see the big picture, so he knows little things like getting the crap beat out of him by Jason and Sonny threatening him are all short-term. He is the master!” Which is why it’s a real problem that he believes he has a son out there! “He’ll go to the ends of the earth to get his child,” McLaughlin warned.
With just about everyone in town eyeing Shiloh, many fans are convinced he will be taken out — maybe even by a straight shooter like Willow, Michael or Lucas. But McLaughlin insisted he’s “not particularly” worried. “I do wonder what they’re going to do with him. But I’m so focused on making what I have delicious that I don’t really think about it. I’m just having a blast. Everybody’s so much fun to work with. And it’s really cool to be a part of something so historical. This gig is fantastic!”
When not embracing his inner creep in Port Charles, McLaughlin is working on a new album. “I’m in a band called The Cowboy Killers,” he shared. “It’s all three-part harmonies — kind of like Fleetwood Mac meets The Eagles. We’re working with this [producer] named Matt Linesch, who just finished up the latest Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros record, and we’re playing all over town [in Los Angeles]. It’s bitchin’! Hit me on my Instagram, and you’ll see all the posts. Check it out!”
For more on your favorite GH stars, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine
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