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35TH ANNUAL DAYTIME EMMY NOMINEE ROUND-UP

By Michael Fairman

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Listen to the audio:

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TV SOAP:
What was your initial thought when you heard you were nominated?

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
EMILY O’BRIEN (Jana, “Y&R”):
I had so many thoughts, but I remember saying audibly, “No way, no way no way.”  I was stunned and so excited!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE
TRACEY E. BREGMAN (Lauren, “Y&R”):
I was watching the east coast feed of “The View” and they announced four people in my category and stopped.  When they stopped at four, I went, “Oh my God!  Are there only four nominees this year?”  And then Ali Sweeney (Sami,”DAYS”) announced there was another one, and then Bryan Dattilo (Lucas, “DAYS”) misread my name.  So, what I did when I called Peter Bergman to congratulate him, I said, “I am now so excited to be part of the Bergman family!”  He was so hysterical, and when he called me back he went, “Tracey Bergman, this is Peter Bregman calling!”  So, we had this whole thing going all day long on Emmy day.

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
RACHEL MELVIN (Chelsea, “DAYS”):
My reaction to it was when my mom called me.  We had relatives on the east coast who had seen the east coast feed of “The View”.   It was my grandmother’s birthday and they had called to wish her happy birthday.  And they said, “Tell Rachel congratulations.”  Then they called to tell me while I was on my way to work, and I was shocked.  I reacted in a very unpredictable manner, which was that I was very shocked and in awe of it all.  Now it’s sitting with me and it’s weird, in a great way.

YOUNGER ACTRESS NOMINEE
VAIL BLOOM (Heather, “Y&R”):
I went, “Holy Moly!”  I was surprised and thankful, and it’s really lovely to be recognized by your peers.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE:
JUDI EVANS (EX-Bonnie and Adrienne, “DAYS”):
I thought someone was mistaken.  I thought it must be somebody else’s name that was called.  I was in denial and shocked!  I never thought I would hear my name again!
(She laughs)

YOUNGER ACTOR NOMINEE:
DARIN BROOKS (Max, “DAYS”):
It was actually interesting when I first found out I was nominated.  I was totally out of it because it was so early in the morning in LA when they were announced.  I was like, “What time is it?”  My initial reaction was confused and still being half asleep.  It was really cool because I was hanging out all day with Tracey Bregman from “Y&R”.  She and I are in the same acting class.  That day we were going to rehearse in the midst of my having to be at “DAYS”, so we were hanging out and text each other all morning.  We spent the day together hearing, “Congratulations!” from people.  I called Rachel Melvin when I found out.  I called her and all we wanted was a nomination.  For us to be recognized for our work is just fantastic for us.

LEAD ACTRESS NOMINEE:
MICHELLE STAFFORD (Phyllis, “Y&R):
I was on my computer and Stephanie Sloane, from Soap Opera Digest, sent me an email, “Congrats.”  Then I went downstairs to my phone and got a message from Carolyn Hinsey of Soap Opera Weekly that said, “Michelle Stafford, congratulations, you got nominated!”   I am just honored.   It’s really great.  That’s really the win, because you have been chosen out of this huge group of people.

LEAD ACTOR NOMINEE:
THAAO PENGHLIS (Tony, “DAYS”):
I was thrilled, pleasantly surprised, honored, and excited to be among the other actors in the category.  I am the Emmy rookie nominee in my group!  They have all won Emmys before.  I guess I am the dark horse.  The fact that I got in means, people are being objective about the work, which gives me some hope.  I certainly don’t feel I am out of my league.

TV SOAP:
What episodes/scenes did you choose to submit in your acting category, and why?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
I submitted two very different episodes.  The first was the episode with Colleen and Kevin held at gunpoint by my character in the freezer.  And, the second episode was a very vulnerable, yet endearing, side of Jana in the hospital with Kevin.

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
Where Lauren sees Sheila for the first time, played by Michelle Stafford, in the exact replica of Fen’s nursery.  She basically says to Sheila, “You deserve to die.”  And, there is a very heartfelt scene where she thanks Paul for being the most unbelievable friend, ever.  Then, she goes home and sees the baby, and starts to melt down.  As she starts to melt down, she tears down the entire nursery and then flips out.  The second show I submitted was, when I find out Gloria contaminated the crème.  I confront her and find out that Michael has known all along and lied to me.  Then, I confront him about what kind of marriage and relationship we have.  There were a lot of scenes where I go from strong to vulnerable and crazy, and I thought it would show range.  I am the worst judge of my own work.  So, either Christian, Michelle, Greg or Kristoff, have picked almost everything I have ever submitted.  Michelle Stafford’s vote was the one I went with, because there was a little discrepancy of which tape was going first and which was going second.  That was a whole psychology, as well.  But, Michelle yelled the loudest.

RACHEL MELVIN:
I chose the one where I found out that Nick and Billie slept together.  There was one scene in there where I felt it was the best scene I had done all year.  It was good to me because I felt I was really in it, in the moment.  I poured my heart and soul into it.  I knew if I submitted that and I didn’t get nominated, I had submitted my best work.  On the second tape I was not crying at all.  It was when the sorority girls set up Ford.  I chose that one, which showed a different side of Chelsea.

VAIL BLOOM:
The two shows I submitted complemented each other, because they both involved the storyline with my father, Paul.  The first one was the episode where Paul confesses he is my father and I think he is going to confess a crime.  I picked that because it had a range of emotions and had a dramatic circumstance.  I thought that it was unusual for a younger actress to have that meaty material.   When I first started working, I don’t think anyone realized I was only 24.  I did not tell them when I auditioned, because I knew I was playing a young lawyer and I sort of tried to deepen my voice a little.  It did make me a bit nervous playing a bit older, but it worked out well.

JUDI EVANS:
I submitted a show with Bonnie and a show of Adrienne.  The show with Bonnie was when she and Conner snuck into the morgue to steal Bonnie’s husband’s bones.  They were well-written scenes and really funny.  As Adrienne, I picked the episode where Adrienne goes under cover in the mental institution to help Steve get his memory back and rescue him.   I am hoping that shows a range.

DARIN BROOKS:
I submitted the episode in “The Cheatin’ Heart” for the Save the World Campaign.  That’s when Ford Decker comes in, and I pick a fight with him, and it’s intense.  The other episode I submitted is when Stephanie and Max are cleaning up, “The Cheatin’ Heart” and we have the slow dance.  It showed some fun comedy stuff.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I chose the scenes when Sheila escapes, and it’s kind of a creepy, yet humorous show. The second one is when Nick had amnesia, and Phyllis had to go sell herself.  I loved that one.  It was so heartbreaking.  I loved it because it was painful to watch.  I liked evoking that emotion in others.  The reason I chose the Sheila tape was because Christian LeBlanc and Kristoff St. John were like, “Michelle, why aren’t you picking that Sheila scene?”  I go, “I think it’s a little too… watch me, because I am playing a dual role.”  But they said, “Yeah, but it’s really good.”  The other tape options were more of a bum out.  The Nick in the hospital episode I knew there was no question.   I listen to actor’s opinions, no one else.  Actors know, and those who have done this game were hands-down and overwhelming positive about the tape combination.  So basically, if I lose, it’s their fault!
(She laughs)

THAAO PENGHLIS:
I submitted the show when Andre was dressed up as the clown with Sami in the hospital.  It just was so interesting because clowns can be really sad people inside, which is why I had them put a tear on the clown make-up.  But, Andre was a bit of a menacing clown, as well.  And the other episode had scenes with Andre and Kate, and also scenes with Tony at his father’s grave.

TV SOAP:
Who was the first person YOU called to tell them you were nominated?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
I honestly don’t remember.  I know I called my mom, my sister, and a few of my theater professors from school.

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
I will tell you that Christian called me as they were reading my name, because I had text he and Michelle.  I go, “Hey guys, People magazine said you guys would be nominated.” Christian was on the phone talking to me and I go, “Stop talking, I think they just said my name and if you stay on the phone with me, I will tell you if you were nominated.”  So, he stayed on the phone with me.  He was calling me from his car somewhere and, of course, I text everything to Michelle.  Then Michelle, Christian, my husband and I, all went out for dinner that night to celebrate.

RACHEL MELVIN:
I did not call one person, because they all called me.  That was really ‘rad’.  I was at work all day, and it felt like my birthday because so many people were calling me.  Darin Brooks did call me, and we said congratulations to each other.  We both are still in shock and disbelief.  I like to think we are humble about it, because we can’t believe it ourselves.

VAIL BLOOM:
I think I called a few friends, more like five of my friends.  All my family called me first, because a lot of them are on the east coast and heard about it on “The View”.

JUDI EVANS:
I called my husband Michael.  He was over the moon with joy.  He is my biggest cheerleader, along with my friend Debby O’Conner.  My son happened to be home from school that day, so he was screaming and running through the house when he heard about it.

DARIN BROOKS:
First person I called was my Dad in Hawaii.  I don’t think my mom even knows.  She went to China last Monday with my Aunt, to see the sites there.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I called my parents…. always.  My mom is always so excited and wonderful.

THAAO PENGHLIS:
My brother was actually visiting me from Australia, so I got to share it with him, and then we called my sister and my other relatives back in Sydney

TVSOAPS:
What is the best and worst part of being an Emmy nominee for the next two months?

EMILY O’BRIEN:
There is no worst part!  I just wish I could get a ticket for all of my friends and family. From now on, I will just enjoy the ride until the big night!

TRACEY E. BREGMAN
It’s interesting that normally at this juncture we are scrambling; going through and looking at more episodes for the second round of voting.  But, since they have changed the voting process, there is calmness in me, because it’s decided already and they know the winner. The fun part is congratulating everybody, and picking the dress.

RACHEL MELVIN:
The worst part is the anticipation of it all.  I don’t think there is a bad part, because the right people already know who the winners are.  There is only one judging panel, and what’s done is done.  To be nominated is what I wanted anyway.  I have been fortunate enough to attend and watch the Daytime Emmy show for the last two years and to have fun.

VAIL BLOOM:
The best part is that everyone here at “Y&R” is supportive, and there is such camaraderie.  Tammin Sursok is one of my closest friends, and I was really excited to see her on the ballot.  She is away from “Y&R” right now doing a film in Vancouver.  We texted each other when we both found out.  It was exciting!  And I just love Emily O’Brien’s work.   I have been enamored with her work.  She is really unassuming and a hard worker.  It’s great being one of the three girls from “Y&R” getting nominated in the younger category.

JUDI EVANS:
I can’t think of a worst part, just the anticipation.  I know it’s going to sound really corny but to be honored by your peers and that other people in this industry took notice, is really humbling and wonderful, actually.

DARIN BROOKS:
The best thing is that I hope it will open up another door for other things, as well as the recognition.  The worst part about it is just waiting and waiting till June 20th to find out who won.  But I am really excited, and I can’t wait!

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
The best is being a nominee, and most people in daytime did not get a nomination and a minority did.  It’s a complete honor! It’s a game. It’s not like in sports, where truly the best teams win.  I mean we don’t’ have an act-off! (She laughs)  Its not really the best actor wins, it’s the people who are fortunate enough to have two good shows, and what did they do in them and with them.

TV SOAP:
Michelle, what do you think about your competition for the Outstanding Lead Actress prize?

Audio

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
I talked to Nicole Forrester and was familiar with her work, and I think she is great. I am familiar with her from before too. Crystal Chappell is always great, and I think she had a great year this year. Didn’t her character get raped? She may take the Chachki.  Those are big Chachki moments exactly.

TV SOAP:
And Maura West got it last year, so that may be that?

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Didn’t Maura have cancer this year? Well there you go, she may get the Chachki.  She may take it.

TV SOAP:
Jeanne was in the “Y&R” Out-of-the-Ashes storyline…

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Oh, I thought she was really good in those, Oh she may take it!

TV SOAP:
Then it could be you?

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
Who knows? There it is.

THAAO PENGHLIS:
I don’t think there is anything bad.  The trouble is, the only time you get what it is all about, is at the end of it.  You forget, you haven’t taken the time to enjoy the process.  For me its like, I have taken this long journey and then finally seeing what I went through.  Certainly being nominated by my peers, and acknowledgement from my producers and the fans, helps the ride along.  I am quite sure the night of the Emmys will be nerve-wracking, even if you go up on stage and win.

TVSOAPS:
Now you have to find something to wear for the big night.  Have you thought about that yet?

VAIL BLOOM:
Everyone was telling me I have to get a dress.  I hadn’t gotten so far as to know when the Emmys were, and everyone kept asking me what day.  The dress thing boggles my mind.  I don’t have designer, designer dresses.  I don’t know what vibe to go for.  It will be fun, but a bit overwhelming!

TRACEY E. BREGMAN:
I have already picked mine.  This is the same designer that dressed me, Mark Zunino.  He has worked for Nolan Miller.  He designed my dress a couple of years ago.  Personally, I had never seen a better dress in my life, and this year it’s really cool and classic.

JUDI EVANS:
I have actually thought more about my son’s tuxedo than my dress. (She laughs) I met up with somebody yesterday at a photo shoot who is going to help me with my dress.  If it were up to me I would pick up something from Target.  I have about that much fashion sense!

DARIN BROOKS:
Of course not!  I don’t know what to do about that yet.  I might go out and buy a suit.  I kind of like pin-stripped suits, and last year I went black shirt and black tie.

MICHELLE STAFFORD:
It’s early to think about a dress.  Sometimes, I don’t decide till a week before.  I am kind of ‘last minute girl’ in my life.  I kind of like the game of putting it all together.  I try not to get too serious.  Then, the whole thing becomes too heavy and then it’s not very fun.  I think I work best under pressure

TV SOAP:
Thaao, what do you think the best and worst part is of being a Daytime Emmy nominee for the next two months?

Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Alum Kevin Spirtas Chats On His Heart-Tugging Series ‘After Forever’ & Love and Life In Your 50s

Filling the void in the digital drama series arena, the eight episodes first season of After Forever (available on Amazon), tackles the journey of a two middle-aged gay men in their 50’s in a deep romantic relationship, and looks at it through its various stages of love, loss, and moving on with one’s life when suddenly your world is turned upside down, when one of them has died.

While the LGBT community has seen other love-centric and dramatic web series, none have really taken a deep dive into the difficulties of starting anew in your 50’s or even older.  Leave it to former Days of our Lives alum and Broadway producer, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley), along with another DAYS alum, writer, Michael Slade, and the two put their shared experiences, and dramatic ideas into this emotional series, that is not limited to anyone who is gay, but touches on the universal themes that anyone may have, or will experience, at one time in their lives.

Spirtas, brought along with him none some notables for his passion project.  First, none other than former Prospect Park One Life to Live EP, Jennifer Pepperman, to bring his vision to life, and some amazing co-stars: Mitchell Anderson (Ex-Party Of Five), MIchael Urie (Ugly Betty), Cady Huffman (Ex-OLTL), Anita Gillette, Colleen Zenk (Ex-Barbara, ATWT) to  name just a few.

While the series bowed a little over a month ago, if you haven’t taken a look, check out our interview with Spirtas for some juicy insight into the making of and the construct of, After Forever.  Following that, check out the teaser for the series, and the video for the theme song, “My Forever” by Lio Nicol which becomes available tomorrow June 4th on Amazon and iTunes.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

What was the genesis of the idea for the series?

KEVIN:  Patrika Darbo, came to New York close to 7 years ago. She had called me ahead of time, and said, “I was asked to present at the ISA Awards, and you’re coming with me.”  She was getting very involved in the world of the web series. I looked at this amazing presentation of content that was being shown at the ISA’s.  I was blown away. It was better than half the stuff on TV, theater, or film. At that point, I made a mad rush for a gentleman by the name of Sebastian La Cause.  Sebastian had won several awards that night and his material was so well presented, and beautifully shot, and his acting was very unique.

Sebastian La Cause was the star of the web series Hustling, right?

KEVIN:  Yes, it was Hustling, the first season.  I went up to him and I said, “I’m Kevin Spirtas. I’m an actor, I did a soap …”  He goes, “Kevin, I know who you are.” I was starstruck, and impressed, and inspired, because he is exactly the kind of person I want to work with.  He is talented, and creative and I want to work with those kind of people. I said to him, “If you do a second season, I’d love to be considered for anything you might be doing.”  Wouldn’t you know? He wrote me in. I fell in love with the story. I was very clear to me, that you have to start creating for yourself, because creating your own content in this industry now is king.  The third season of Hustling then crossed me over to appearing in Winterthorne.  That was also the first year that NATAS opened up the judging to the digital world.  I got nominated for an Emmy. It inspired me to start thinking about, ‘What do I know?  What do I have in my life that I feel is worth sharing and putting out there to help heal, or inspire?’  I had been producing in New York City for 3 years at this point.

Photo Credit/JPI Studios

It becomes every performer’s concern, as they get older, that they can still be considered for the roles they would like to play.  Sometimes, actors can grow into the types of roles, and sometimes they’ve expired past those types of roles. Was creating After Forever also a way to re-enter being part of the conversation?

KEVIN:  Well, I was hoping to write something for myself … because I just didn’t see the roles coming toward me anymore.  My name wasn’t on them as I imagined them or had seen them in the past. I was worried about that. I thought, “If I have a chance to keep working, I’ve got to keep current.”

And somehow, you and Michael Slade ran into each other, and thus, a collaboration began that would eventually turn into After Forever?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Then, I ran into Michael Slade at a gym… I had never met him before, he was a writer on Days as I was leaving the show.  And I remember saying to myself, “wouldn’t it be great to work with somebody, and see what kind of story we could come up with?”  Unbeknownst to me, Michael, at that particular time in his life, was working on the very same type of story and idea about what it’s like to be who he is, at his age, where he’s at, and what he knows.  I pitched him this idea: “I think there’s some really funny ideas I could express to the world about my experience as a single gay man at this point.” He said, “Call me.” In short, he was living life as a single gay man, and I was living life as a single gay man, and that’s how After Forever was born.  Michael had the experience of losing his long-time partner of 25 years.  There’s a part in the story where Brian and Jason are going along and they have everything in their life that they could possibly want, and then they don’t, because Jason is diagnosed with cancer and it takes him away.

Do we see Jason die in this?

KEVIN:  You just might! … It’s how we incorporated him in the story…

Courtesy/AfterForever

After Forever bounces back and forth in time, obviously, that was part of the unique structure of the storytelling?

KEVIN:  It does do that.  It tells the story through a lot of present, and a lot of flashbacks.  There is also the present with Brian, and his memory of Jason. As Brian is going through the next chapter of his life as a single man, he has to look at his life and learn how to continue to love even though the person’s not there.  When someone dies, the love doesn’t die, the relationship doesn’t die, it keeps growing on a certain level. So, if he turns around, and he sees him, is it real? Is it him working it out in his own mind? It’s a tool to tell more story …

Tell me about casting Mitchell Anderson?  He had retired and moved to Atlanta, and he ends up playing the love of Brian’s life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  When Michael and I were writing, we threw out, “Who do you think would play this part?”  One day, I just dropped the name “Mitchell Anderson” I said, “I just see him as Jason.” Michael said to me, “Kevin, he’s retired.”  I just knew Mitchell and I had great history in the business. We started off as actors together in class. He went one direction, I went another, then he left the business, but I just felt there was something about his persona – not to mention his talent – his unique humor, his sensibility, and style, so I said, “I think we should ask him.”  We did. Mitchell said, “Okay, Kevin. Let me read the script.” He called back immediately after receiving it, and said, “I would love to do this!” I have not stopped thanking him every day. He’s so good in it.

The main character of Brian goes on this journey: he meets other guys, some appear younger than others! (Laughs)

KEVIN:  It’s a year after Jason is gone, Brian is trying to settle into his new life, but he’s guilty that his partner has died.  He has sadness, grief, and so much love for Jason that he’s having trouble moving forward, and everyone is trying to push him forward.  Brian is not necessarily ready, but sometimes his body is ready, while emotionally, he’s not. It’s how we deal with all that navigation of seeing good-looking guys.  He meets a guy in the middle of the series, and it starts to open up the doors. That’s the beauty of what happens when he starts to let himself open up to the possibilities.  There are some great rollercoaster moments that you’ll see.

Would you do another season of After Forever?

KEVIN:  Oh, my God!  Michael and I have already started to script out seasons 2 and 3.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Middle-aged gay men do have it rough in the relationship department, if they’re not already partnered up by this point in their life.  Younger guys think they’re over the hill, older guys aren’t necessarily interested either, and unfortunately, the LGBTQ community is unforgiving to community if you’re not young and pretty, and not in your 20s or 30s. There aren’t a lot of LGBT-oriented shows out there like this.  On that level, I think the concept of the show is an important story to tell.

KEVIN:  We were absolutely committed to writing not just another gay story.  We’ve seen those. I think the beauty of After Forever is that it’s not just a gay story- even though it’s told through two gay men… but, it’s a story about love … it’s a story about loss.  Everyone is going to have to deal with this in their life.

Courtesy/AfterForever

Dealing with loss is part of the circle of life, whether it’s a parent, a child, a lover, a friend, or your longtime partner. Many in the LGBT community succumbed to AIDS in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which was a pivotal moment in the gay movement.

KEVIN:  We lost half of our community.  We lost half of our brothers. To jump back to that history with Mitchell, he and I had so many mutual friends who aren’t here anymore.  We would look at the scene that was at hand, take a breath, look at each other, and they’d say “action” and we’d step into these people. Yes, it’s gay themed, because it’s told by two leading male characters who are gay.  But, I have heard more people in the last two months since this has come out, who have not only stopped and said, “Thank you for writing such a wonderful story about love and loss, and new beginnings, but also, what it’s like to have to confront that loss.” They also went on to say, “For so many years, gay people have had to watch the heterosexual world. People are trying to fit themselves into our world now, into our story, and how they would feel navigating it.”

Michael Urie is in it too? And you have some pretty accomplished people in your cast.  

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  Yes, there’s Michael Urie, Cady Huffman who sings in one of the episodes.  Tere is a scene in episode 3 that it still floors me, I can’t watch it without losing it.  Then, there’s Anita Gillette, Lenny Wolpe, David Dean Bottrell. Everyone is perfect, and everyone was able to show up, and everyone delivered a million percent.

What’s the response you’ve been getting from people who have watched After Forever?  You mentioned it’s been very positive.  

KEVIN:  Everyone has been touched.  The majority who have seen this, are just moved to tears and full of excitement.

I saw that Jennifer Pepperman, ex-executive producer of One Life to Live, directed your series.  What was it like working with Jen?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  We had a lot of people who we could have pulled from.  Jennifer came up in conversation, because she had sent Michael an invitation to go see her new short film that she had done with Austin Peck (Ex-Austin, Days) and his wife, Teri Conn (Ex-Katie, ATWT).  I said, “Maybe if I go see the show and I like it, I can introduced myself to Jennifer.”  I called him right after and I said, “If we don’t get her, we’re crazy!” She’s so good. What she did is perfection.  We shot the whole thing like a movie. It was shot in 12 days. She knew everything she wanted to do and it shows in the edit.  And, this extraordinarily, talented girl named Colleen Kwok, who was the director of photography. She’s the real thing. She got it.  She got the style we were going for immediately.

So, we want to tell people to binge watch the series on Amazon.

KEVIN:  Binge it, or make it last for 15 days…

How many hankies will I need for this? 10? 5?

Courtesy/AfterForever

KEVIN:  I say Kleenex is not included … Anybody who has ever loved, anybody who has ever lost, must see this show, because it unifies all of us, it shows us that we are the same.  It shows us that we still have love in our lives, regardless of if that person is gone, the relationship never ends, it never dies. That’s what people are getting from this.  That’s what people are taking away from it. You and I were raised with the symbols of a straight world and how we had to fit into that certain way of life. That’s changed now.  We have Will & Grace … we have RuPaul … all these great things that are illustrating our diversity.  Now, people are going, “it’s just a story being told.”

What was Mitchell’s reaction when he saw the final product?

KEVIN:  We saw it together…We just sat there and cried.  It’s hard. Especially, the first two episodes and the last two episodes.  We served it up, Michael, we served it up!

Courtesy/AfterForever

I think you spoke to a greater issue, as you move through this career, you have to remain relevant as things change.  So, you’ve dipped yourself into this pool and now you can do more.

KEVIN:  I hope so.  You and I talked about this along time ago, when I first started on Days Of Our Lives, it was still a different world.

It was so different back then.  Actors couldn’t be out. There was still that stigma that if the audience at home knew they were gay, they wouldn’t buy into what they were portraying.

KEVIN:  That’s where I kind of worked it out, because I didn’t pretend not to be me, I just wasn’t very open about everything in my life.  Not that I still am. There’s certain things that I don’t talk about, because it’s not relevant, or it’s no one’s business.

So, do you get the obligatory question, “What’s a guy like you doing being single”? (Laughs)

KEVIN:  Michael said to me one day, “How come a guy like you is single?”  I made a joke out of it and said, “Have you seen me eat? Come on!”

So, intrigued to check out After Forever? What do you think about its central theme looking at what happens when one loses their partner at middle-age and more?  Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GH’s Laura Wright and Wes Ramsey Talk Their Love Connection & The Demands Of Daytime

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

After presenting for the first time together, at the 45th Annual Daytime Emmys since they’ve been a couple, Laura Wright (Carly) and Wes Ramsey (Peter aka Henrik) of General Hospital have certainly been in the throes of a romantic, fun, and cherished relationship. The two former stars of Guiding Light reconnected last year at Emmy time. Now, sharing their over one year anniversary, Michael Fairman TV caught up with Laura and Wes to get some insight into what makes their relationship work amidst the hustle and bustle, and pace of both being on a network television daytime drama series, and with the pressures of Hollywood where often relationships between two actors seem to start hot and heavy but then fizzle out.

If you caught this week’s GH, you witnessed that the town of Port Charles has found out that Peter is the notorious Cesar Faison’s son, and the ramifications that will be felt for weeks and months and potentially years to come. Meanwhile, Carly is in all sorts of trouble, thanks to naughty Nelle (Chloe Lanier). Nelle is making Carly look awfully unstable and what happens next could change Carly’s life forever.

So, what do these two lovebirds have to say about their relationship and their passion for working on the soaps? Check out what they had to share below. 

Wes, you had met Laura originally years ago on Guiding Light.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Yes, 15 years ago in New York.

And what did you think of her then?

Wes: Well, I was smitten, but I had to keep it to myself.

You had to keep it under wraps, huh?

Wes: Yep!

Laura: I was married then.

Wes: She was pregnant with her second child.

Laura: And he’s a good Kentucky boy.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Uh-huh! But we would run lines in the green room and I would try very hard to make sure she didn’t catch me staring at her… too often. But we laughed, and had great conversation.

Laura: I would always say, “Wes, will you run lines with me?,” because I would want to run my lines.

Wes: We never had story together, but she always knew I was game to hang out with her for a moment.

It’s good when you’re in a relationship with someone and you can laugh with them. You seem to be able to do that a lot!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: Oh, gosh. I think that’s all we do.

Wes: Yes, yes, yes, yes…

Laura: Like, we belly laugh. It gets to the point where people would think we were ridiculous. We’ll say things and just think it’s the funniest thing ever and people would be like, “You guys have a problem …” and we’re like, “Yeah.” (Laughs)

Laura, and then he comes back into your life years later…

Wes: That’s right, it was Emmy weekend 2017.

Laura: I totally was not expecting it at all. Even when I gave him my number I walked away going “huh…”

You mean you thought he wouldn’t call?

Laura: No, I didn’t feel that… because he hit on me hard. He’ll tell you that.

Wes: I still am hitting on her.

Laura: I remember I walked away quick after he got my number. I was like, “Oh, my God … I gotta go.”

Courtesy/Instagram

Wes: There was an assertiveness on my part that was for sure 15 years in the making. I did not expect to run into her. I also did not expect for her to tell me that she was recently single. In that split second, it was one of those, “stop the presses!” moments. Like, you need to give me your number, I’m taking you to dinner.

Laura: I go, “Oh, be quiet! Are you like, 32, because I can’t do that.” (Laughs)

Wes: And I said, “Far from it.”

Laura: He’s like, “I’m getting ready to be 40.” And I’m like, “I can do that!”

Then, on top of all of this, Wes, you land a primo role on General Hospital. That of Henrik aka Peter, Cesar Faison’s son.

Photo Credit: Courtesy/ABC

Wes: Yes, a dream come true.

Laura: I’m going to jump in and say it’s a role that he worked all on his own for. He had to screen test against 8 plus guys, 3 different auditions, 2 different days.

Wes: That’s true.

Laura: I can’t say strong enough that the best actor got the role. Meaning, Wesley is so talented and has the ability to give this character the depth, and emotion, and layers that it needs to tell the story that needs to be told. I just think he’s incredible.

So, did you know from the get-go who you were going to be playing?

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: I did not.

Laura: I did! (Laughs)

Wes: I’m thrilled that the writers have been giving me such incredible material to dive into.   Each month that goes by, it becomes more and more complex, and more and more layered and intense. I love the depth… I love the conflicts… I love the humanity… I love the desperation… I love the psychology behind it. It’s a very interesting story and a great journey to tell.

Laura: I was getting ready to say, where you mentally have to go to be the son of Faison and Anna Devane (Finola Hughes)! To blend that together is amazing. It’s incredible to watch.

You used to run lines together on Guiding Light. Do you run lines together now on GH? It’s like a full circle moment.

Laura: We do, and we carpool.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Wes: Something we were trying to manifest together. We thought it would be a lot of fun to work together one day.

Laura: The last week we worked, we didn’t. He worked all afternoon. I worked all morning. I was like, “Are they doing this on purpose?” I was so mad! I was like, “Why are you in the afternoon everyday?” (Laughs)

Wes: She lost her chauffeur. (Laughs)

Laura: I did! He always drives us to work. I also love when we both have afternoon calls, because we love having mornings together. So, I didn’t get my morning, nor did I have my chauffeur!

So, two actors can have a good relationship? You see so many Hollywood relationships with actors and they go bust. But that’s not always the case …

Wes: Oh, my God, yes.

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

Laura: I’m going to say this; I think I can see it being more difficult for daytime actors, because the work we do is so intense. I know the weeks he’s getting ready to go into, and I’m getting ready to go into. Where we go emotionally and psychologically to tell these stories, on the level that we tell them, as quick as we tell them, you kind of have to become really in a headspace. The fact that we can …

Wes: … the long hours …

Laura: Yes, and exhaustion! You really have to go, “Wow! It’s not about me right now. It’s about us individually as actors.” Thank God, we know the workload. I know what he’s getting ready to go through.

Wes: I have always had so much respect for Laura’s work. On Guiding Light, I’ve always been in awe of what she’s capable of doing. So, the level of respect is obviously there. But also, the understanding whatever it is that you need from a personal assistant in one moment… or a life partner in another moment … or a best friend in moment … or whatever it is in order to get through the day-to-day and the week-to-week, so we can do what we love to do. We know we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to do what we love.

Courtesy/welcometolaurasworld Instagram

Laura was such a great co-host on my Soap Nation Live! Daytime Emmy Nomination Specials, in particular when she talks about acting. It’s so rewarding to hear the other actors who are guests on the show listening to what Laura has to say about her craft and respecting the hell out of her.

Wes: Without a doubt. You can’t watch her work and not be in awe. It speaks for itself.

Laura: I just love the journey of going to the places that we go; to bleed for it.

Wes: Leave it all out on the floor.

Laura: I know that process. So, when I see another actor that’s bleeding, I just bow to them, because I know what it takes to go there. I know the work that Wesley does. When I see that he’s spent at the end of the day, I’m like, “Babe, I so get it.” So, I can see where it could be really difficult for people that haven’t been there, because it’s a lot of work and you’re spent. It’s hard! For us, that works.

What do you think of Laura and Wes’ love connection? What do you think of the latest developments for GH’s Carly and Henrik? Comment below.

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Interviews

EXCLUSIVE: 45th Annual Daytime Emmys Winners & Backstage Video Interviews!

Photo : MF Soaps Inc

The 45th Annual Daytime Emmys are in the record books.  And as previously reported, it was a big night for NBC’s Days of our Lives taking Outstanding Drama Series, Writing and Directing in a Drama Series Awards, plus top acting nods to James Reynolds (Abe) and Greg Vaughan (Eric).

Behind the scenes while the ceremony continued on-stage, and as the night’s big winners and several presenters were whisked away backstage following their victory, they took to the Winner’s Walk and chatted with Michael Fairman who got their reactions to winning the gold, or presenting important moments of the night during the live-stream broadcast.

From DAYS Deidre Hall (Marlena), Dr. Oz, The Ladies of The Talk, and GH’Chris Van Etten to DAYS head scribe Ron Carlivati, to Y&R’s actress winners: Eileen Davidson (Ashley) and Camryn Grimes (Mariah), and GH’s Chloe Lanier (Nelle, Vernee Watson (Stella) and more now you can watch the complete backstage series of conversations on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube.  Make sure to “subscribe” for these and more celebrity interviews.

After the jump, check out some of the winners and backstage interviews with Michael.  You can also go directly to the video you are looking to view, by clicking on the blue hyperlink on the interviewees name. (more…)

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