How General Hospital Vet Zachary Garred Feels About Fans Loathing His Character Levi

Fans of soap operas are some of the most passionate fans on the planet, and nothing bonds a fan with a show or character more than seeing them go through the ups and downs of life for decades at a time. With that connection to the series and the characters, some viewers have developed strong opinions about those villains that target their favorites on the soap. And Zachary Garred knows exactly what it feels like to play one of the most hated villains in "General Hospital" history.

Garred debuted as Levi Dunkleman on "General Hospital" in 2014, arriving in Port Charles on the arm of Maxie Jones (Kirsten Storms). His arrival started a feud between him and Maxie's friend Nathan West (Ryan Paevey), and the relationship got worse from there. Levi was determined to drive a wedge into Maxie and Nathan's relationship, even framing Nathan for trying to deport Levi back to Australia. Karma caught up to him in the end, as Maxie killed Levi after he kidnapped her and Lulu Spencer (Emme Rylan) in order to obtain the Aztec jewels he wanted. Some actors might feel bad that their character is so reviled on a show, but Garred loves how passionate "GH" fans are about their hatred for Levi.

Garred loves that fans hate his character

Given Levi Dunkleman's reputation as a villain on "General Hospital," many fans immediately disliked the character, and that only grew when he targeted fan-favorite Nathan West. Despite the public's opinion of him, portrayer Zachary Garred loved how much fans hated his character. In an interview with Soaps in Depth, Garred opened up about the fan response and how it formed his "GH" adventure.

"I think the fans were one part of it [his stint turning out to be nine months instead of six weeks]. The fans made it really enjoyable for me," he told the outlet. "I laughed a lot and really got a great experience out of it from them."

Garred also described a fan incident that he had while at Disneyland, where the fan recognized him as the person who was keeping Maxie Jones and Nathan West apart. They laughed about it, and Garred chose to look on the bright side of the situation, saying, "I'm a fan of things, too ... so I get the passion that people have. And it's part of the fun. Because it ceases to become just a job."

Levi's evil streak was a treat for Garred to play

Villains are arguably the most entertaining characters on soap operas, but after decades of the same schemes and betrayals, finding a new angle to play a villain can be challenging. For Zachary Garred, portraying the baddie gave him an opportunity to play around with Levi's spiritual front while also developing his evil streak underneath. In an interview with Michael Fairman TV, Garred opened up about how he dove into the character and what motivated his take on Levi.

"When I first got cast, 'GH' executive producer Frank Valentini said to me, 'Do not play the cliche hippie angle because that's already there.' He's right. If you do that it's fun, but it really does not have much consequence. But if you play it with that sort of duplicitous angle underneath it becomes really infuriating. People out there know guys like this! And to play someone who is quite underhanded and duplicitous is something totally different than one might expect to see with a character like this, but it's a lot of fun."

Garred's portrayal of the villain resonated with fans, but not in the way that most actors hope for.  The audience's opinion of Levi was decidedly negative, but that wasn't a problem for Garred. When asked about the viewer reaction in the same interview, Garred responded, "If everyone liked the characters ... you wouldn't have some of the greatest movies in history!"