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ABC SUPER SOAP WEEKEND – STAR INTERVIEWS PART ONE

erika-super.jpgAs many in the industry, and many soap fans know, ABC Super Soap Weekend 13 held this past weekend at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida was the final version of this staple fan fest. “On-Air On-Soaps” participated in the finale and got the chance to catch up with the best from ABC Daytime’s star-studded line-up!

ERIKA SLEZAK
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Viki Davidson, Erika Slezak is the most acclaimed and heralded actresses of the soap genre. From critics, fans, and her peers, it is her name that is mentioned more often than any other working actress of the genre.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

What has been your favorite storyline that you played as Viki?

ERIKA:

I used to say heaven, because I loved going to “heaven” and I loved the multiple personality story. But, I have to tell you, a big place in my heart is the Paris, Texas story, and I loved that. It was the whole idea of getting away from everything that bothers you, and everything you live with everyday, and the aggravation, and all the people bothering Viki all the time, family complaining, and problems. And, to go there and live a completely anonymous life, and the wonderful characters she got to meet, Mo, Noelle and Gigi, was magical for me. I adored that set, the “Bon Jour” café; it was the highlight of the last couple of decades for me. I enjoyed that story and I was so grateful and happy when they brought in Farah Fath, as Gigi.

MICHAEL:

When Viki had to say goodbye to everybody at the ‘Bon Jour” café, that was one scene I needed my hankies for! What a wonderful performance!

ERIKA:

It was not a performance. I was so sad that it was ending, because I did not know it was not ending at the time.

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MICHAEL:

As Vikis’ daughter, Jessica battles yet more issues with integration of her DID, what is the most fun of Viki’s “alters” to play? “Alters” Jean and Niki, appeared as hallucinations in recent episodes.

ERIKA:

I love playing the “alters”, and I went home one day from playing “Tommy” who is a thirteen-year-old boy, and an angry boy, and I said to my husband and my son, “I am so sorry. I had no idea how tiring it is being a boy.” Oh, my God! Niki takes an incredible amount of energy and is so fun. Well, they are all fun. Jean is so different, she is completely without emotion, which is fun to play, and she does not care what she says to anybody. It used to be our producers favorite for that reason, as well. She could say anything to anybody, and it doesn’t matter.

erika.jpgMICHAEL:

Mark Derwin returned during the 40th anniversary storyline as Viki’s dead husband, Ben. How was it working with him again?

ERIKA:

Mark is my favorite 14-year-old, and we had such fun. (She laughs) We played so much. He is delightful!

MICHAEL:

What about Viki’s new guy, Charlie Banks? How is working with Brian Kerwin?

ERIKA:

I adore Brian Kerwin. He is so nice. Charlie is completely different than anybody else that Viki has been involved with. With Charlie, even though he lied, what you see is what you get… so open, so vulnerable, and so real. Brian Kerwin is such a good actor.

MICHAEL:

What would you love to see happen to Viki, that the writers have not given you the opportunity to play, thus far?

ERIKA:

The only thing Viki has left is an appendix, (She laughs) and I would like to just keep living her life and see what happens. You know, my brain does not work that way. I am used to picking up a script and going “Oh, whoa… Hello, where am I?” I try not to out guess the writers, because if you get something stuck in your mind and get married to it, and they don’t write it, it’s disappointing. They have always written such wonderful stuff for me. I have never been disappointed.

MICHAEL:

Where are your record six Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series? What do you think when you see them?

ERIKA:

They are at home. I look at them everyday. We have a tiny library, they are in a bookcase in there, and every time I look at them my heart goes, “Wow, that’s amazing!” It is amazing, and I am just so proud of them

AIDEN TURNER
aidan-rebecca.jpgALL MY CHILDREN

As PI Aidan Devane, this guy has just showed another side to his character, and the audience of “AMC” gets to see some different shades of actor, Aiden Turner in the process.

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MICHAEL:

The storyline with ‘Whacko Annie’, where you see the heel turn in Aidan, and the reveal that you and Annie were plotting this revenge, using Emma against Ryan and Greenlee, was a stunner. Oh, it was sooo bad of Aidan!

AIDEN:

It was bad. I was really impressed the way it was written, and we shot it all in two days. It was really well put together. I knew a few weeks before about the twist, but I have a leak who works upstairs. (He laughs) I like to know what is going on so I can develop the character.

MICHAEL:

So do you like to know what lies ahead for your character? Some actors don’t.

AIDEN:

Most of the time it’s not important, but with this, it’s an important story. I needed to know what I am doing, and why I am doing this. I can play it wrong and I don’t want that to happen. I had my “source” who told me, and then I went to our executive producer. I wanted to find out exactly what was happening, so she filled me in. I just hope that I am doing the best job I can.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Melissa Claire Egan, as Annie?

AIDEN:

Melissa Egan is fun to play with. There will be more of us together, but I don’t know if it’s as a love interest. Not only is Melissa talented, but she is also doing a great job, as far as acting crazy.

MICHAEL:

How do you feel now that Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) is leaving the show once again?

AIDEN:

I knew she was coming back for only a year. I am glad I got to be the guy to work with her the time she was here. She is a solid actress, and a beautiful girl. I will miss her a lot. Now, the only time I am going to see her is when I am visiting LA.

MICHAEL:

What would you love to see happen to Aidan?

AIDEN:

I think now he is going to look out for number one, and not always do the right thing. I think you will see a lot more ‘out of character’ for him. I know I am going to help Annie out, so she will not to go to jail for killing Richie when she comes out of Oak Haven. However, at the same time I would love him to meet some new girl in Pine Valley, sweep her off her feet, and have her be a stable girlfriend!

melissa-claire.jpgMELISSA CLAIRE EGAN
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Annie becomes more nuts and whacked out, fans of “AMC” and soap critics are reveling in her tour de force performance.

MICHAEL:

I am so glad they made Annie a whack-job!

MELISSA:

It’s juicy and something to do everyday. I like Whacko Annie, too.

MICHAEL:

I loved the ‘switcheroo’ Annie in cahoots with Aidan, by using Emma to get back at Ryan and Greenlee.

MELISSA:

When I first heard about it I was a little concerned, because I heard it about it from our producer before I read it. My concern was how is Annie going to be redeemable? But the way they wrote it, you see her having an emotional breakdown. She thinks this is how she is going to save her marriage. So, once I started reading the scripts, I was excited about it, like, “What a neat twist!” It’s neat that she was behind it.

MICHAEL:

So, do you see redemption in Annie’s future?

MELISSA:

I don’t know if there will be redemption for her. How do you redeem the stuff she has been doing, and the stuff that comes up with Erica? But, she goes nuts, so later in time that can be redeemed. A lot of people in soaps go to Oak Haven and have inoperable brain tumors, or overdose on medicine and end up being totally fine. So, we will see.

MICHAEL:

How has it been to work with Aiden Turner (Aidan) and Cameron Mathison (Ryan)?

MELISSA:

It’s great! With ‘Camie’, when I heard we were going to be divorced on the show, I was sad, because we are buds. So, I thought it would stink that we would not work together as much. Now we are fighting in the storyline, and Ryan is trying to help Annie. We are not in love in the storyline, but we are still working together, which is great and still fun. Well, with Aidan, he is so much fun and that accent is just so sexy… isn’t it?

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MICHAEL:

What has been your favorite Whacko Annie moment?

MELISSA:

It’s the stuff coming up with Erica. Annie shows up at a party, and she stabs Erica, but you don’t see it. She is completely a mess, make-up smeared, and blood all over her wedding dress. That was hard to do, because I loved that wedding dress that I wore two years ago on the show. That was so sad. It’s just crazy!

tyler.jpgTYLER CHRISTOPHER
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As the dark prince of Port Charles, Tyler Christopher stunning portrayal the past soap season losing the love of his life Emily and battling his own health crisis were stunning. Now it looks like this charmer may get some lighter material and a new lady love.

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MICHAEL:

This is the final “Super Soap” weekend. What are your thoughts about it?

TYLER:

This is the very last “Super Soap” and its kind of bittersweet, being the very last one. I was at the first one in 1996, and it seems like eons ago. It’s exciting and time to close it out, I guess. I know we are doing and what has been dubbed and will be known as “The Soap Nation”. We will be moving in to the philanthropic area of soaps and try to spread the love a little bit, and tour different cities. We would like to get people in other cities who may not be fans of the shows, to take a look and see if it’s for them or not.

MICHAEL:

Your brief scene with Genie Francis (Laura) this November Sweeps was wonderful. Your relationship as mother/son on-screen has been amazing. Were you sad to see her go, yet again?

TYLER:

From a personal point of view, I always believe you are only as good as your partner, and I think Genie is one of the finest actresses out there. I think she brings out the best in me as a performer, and my character as well. It’s really easy to display emotion like that with her because she is so giving as an actress. That has been our relationship for 13 years, and it’s sad that was my only scene. Hopefully, I think she will be back. She has earned the right to come and go as she pleases. I would like to have her there everyday, but that’s not the reality.

MICHAEL:

It seems that Nikolas is getting interested in Nadine and we are starting to see a different side of him. What are your thoughts on this?

TYLER:

It’s great! The character of Nikolas had always been so heavy-hearted, and for him to show a lighter, funnier side is nice to play for a change.

MICHAEL:

I still like the tortured prince!

michael-easton.jpgMICHAEL EASTON
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

Author, actor and fan favorite, Michael Easton brings powerful and passionate performances to his Detective John McBain. Embroiled in front burner storyline, the actor discusses what’s next for his character, Todd and Marty.

MICHAEL:

On recent episodes you beat the crap out of Todd, while finally locating Marty. We got to see John packing pistols and ammunition and knives to go after Todd!

MICHAEL EASTON:

It was nice to see him being driven to that edge after being so patient for so long, and it really brought the storyline to a nice boil. It’s always great to work with Susan Haskell

(Marty), and Trevor St. John (Todd), who have done fantastic work. I have always loved their work, but to see them do this particular stuff was wonderful. The nice thing that comes out of this is even more wonderful… John quits the police department and goes into another part of his life. He has lost faith in the police department and the system, and he steps away. Marty has feelings for both Todd and John, so she is stepping away, and it just keeps snowballing.

MICHAEL:

You play John with so much inner emotion and very contained, yet with deep pain. Is it difficult to portray this kind of character in this medium?

MICHAEL EASTON:

It’s difficult on soap opera to play that. He is almost like an open wound, and to be that reserved, and that damaged a character, you have to find a balance. A woman at “Super Soap” came up to me last night and said, “I was married three times to a cop and you remind me so much of them.” They see a lot of life, and see a lot of damage, and they are sort of reserved. They do come out of their shells occasionally, and that’s how you fall in love with them. He is not going to give you a lot, but when he does give you something, you end up feeling something for him.

MICHAEL:

Tell us about your new book, “Soul Stealer”.

MICHAEL EASTON:

Yes, it’s a graphic novel called “Soul Stealer”. It is just beautiful and I wrote it with Christopher Shy. It’s a 150-page epic love story, sort of like we are doing on “OLTL”!

MICHAEL:

Is there a hardest emotion for you to play?

MICHAEL EASTON:

I think just finding and having the emotion, and hiding the emotion, is what we do to protect ourselves. Very rarely in life do you see other people crying, and very rarely, looking at them, do they want to withdraw and fight it off. I love watching people who are hurting on the inside, but trying to laugh it off on the outside.

thor-kaye.jpgTHORSTEN KAYE
ALL MY CHILDREN

Zach Slater has a big problem on his hands. His wife is in a coma, and his sister-in-law blew into town in the middle of tornado, and gave birth to his child via artificial insemination. What’s next for encore?

MICHAEL:

What’s going on in Zach’s storylines with all the women of Pine Valley? He can’t help himself when he sees a damsel in distress.

THORSTEN:

It was never romantic with these other ladies. I think young Zach has an issue helping women with problems, and to be there and help anybody. Ryan is the hero, but Zach is the anti-hero. Like all anti-heroes, they want to see the underdog get some help and that is what Zach brings to the show… or is supposed to, anyway.

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MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts on the new Bianca baby storyline, where Zach is the father of her newborn?

THORSTEN:

I don’t like the idea that Zach did not tell his wife, Kendall. But you know, it’s a story that plays everyday, and sometimes you have to push the envelope a little bit. I am glad that Eden Riegel (Bianca) is back, and Tamara Braun (Reese), who is such a good actress, is part of that. You can’t look too far in the future. I know Kendall is going to wake up and be pissed at Zach.

thorstein-alicia.jpgMICHAEL:

Susan Haskell and you are married in real life and both are now on east coast soaps. How has that been for your off-screen relationship?

THORSTEN:

We are both on the east coast now, and we were always together as husband and wife, but it makes for a much healthier relationship to live together with the kids.

MICHAEL:

Do you and Susan critique each others work?

THORSTEN:

No. We do not watch each other’s work, because we both know how much it takes for scenes to look real to people. Sometimes, it can be borderline hurtful to see your spouse make out with somebody else, and that is not fun to watch. Jealous as a monkey, that is what I am. But, Susan is doing a great job on “OLTL”

MICHAEL:

What are your thoughts as we come to the close of the final “Super Soap”?

THORSTEN:

It’s nice to see people, and it’s cool that during economic times they come out to see us. It’s much appreciated and they have a good time.

MICHAEL:

What is the hardest emotion for you to play, as Zach?

THORSTEN:

I don’t think it’s as simple as that. The tough part is to make a scene work for everybody and try to find out what they want. The toughest thing is to see what happens after, and how it affects somebody. I don’t want to give any specifics, but there are a few things coming up with Bianca and Kendall. How do you explain and justify that you did not tell your wife? So that’s angry, sad, and happy, all in one. Keep watching, it’s going to be good.

thompson.jpgJASON THOMPSON
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Dr. Patrick Drake, Jason Thompson has proven his metal with difficult and emotional story opposite Kimberly McCullough’s (Robin). We chatted about new found fatherhood for Patrick and those tough scenes.

MICHAEL:

What an emotional roller coaster in recent weeks for Patrick! He and Robin had a new baby. Then, Robin was sick and going to die and Patrick cries his heart out at the thought of losing Robin and having to raise the baby on his own. It seems effortless that you are able to cry so well and so often. Is that easy for you?

JASON:

Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s hard. The great thing about working with Kimberly McCullough (Robin), is that we have become great friends. We do care about each other. When I am thinking about her, and the situation we are in, it’s not that hard to feel that, which is, “Who does not cry over a new born baby?” Sometimes, I feel like I needed to hold back more, and I was way too emotional. Not a lot of times, but sometimes, but there are definitely times I try and get there.

MICHAEL:

It seems now the great “switcheroo” that Kimberly told me she would like to see happen in a recent interview, is coming to fruition. Patrick takes the dad role to heart and is a good dad, while Robin is struggling with new found motherhood and her role in it.

JASON:

With everything that they have been through, it’s a great switcheroo. Patrick is actually taking to fatherhood pretty easily, and he is good with the baby. The baby stops crying when he picks her up. These babies that are playing our daughter, are such beautiful little babies. That’s the good part.

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MICHAEL:

Over the summer, on “GH: Night Shift”, there was a very memorable scene between Jagger Cates and Robin Scorpio, where she confesses to her friend that perhaps it might be better if she and Patrick were both HIV positive. I thought that was a very real feeling that happens in reality, with relationships where one is positive and one is HIV negative.

JASON:

Its just one of those things and it’s a heightened reality, where one person is one thing and one person is another thing. I think people have to talk about things, and for Patrick and Robin, it was a thing to be honest about it. I am living with this, and you are not. The feeling that, “I may not make it with this,” even though there is a dwindling number dying from it… Thank, God. But yeah, it was an honest way for them to talk about it, and about time that they did. It should be talked about.

laura-wright.jpgLAURA WRIGHT
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Carly, Laura Wright brings her own unique stamp to the pivotal role of the women in Sonny and Jax’s life.

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MICHAEL:

This is the final “Super Soap”. What are your feelings reflecting on the event’s history?

LAURA:

I am really bummed about it. It’s such a great event. We get to bring our families down to Walt Disney World, and all the actors get to see each other and their fans. It’s a big bummer, and I hope that people will be so upset and write in.

MICHAEL:

Carly just saved Sonny again from drowning. Every time she is there for him. Carly justifies it so well, and yet she loves Jax!

LAURA:

I love that she has this struggle with Sonny, and I believe it. Carly has great scenes where she says, “I did not want to help him and I don’t know why I did,” and Jax says, “You can’t disappoint him.” That I love! She can’t disappoint that guy, who by the way, told her that, “We are not getting back together.” So, don’t expect anything, but she still goes back, just like a drug. And many people are like that.

MICHAEL:

You have been Carly for a while now. Is it odd still having the original Carly, Sarah Brown, back on “GH”, as Claudia?

LAURA:

I have been on “GH” for three years now, as Carly. When Sarah came back, I thought it was going to be weird, but it could not be more fun, and she is great! We have not had any weird situations. She is so great, and one of my favorite people to work with, so… it’s not weird at all.

MICHAEL:

How is it to still work with Maurice Benard (Sonny)?

LAURA:

I love working with Maurice. We enjoy our Sonny/Carly banter and relationship, and enjoy our work together. I also love the Carly/ Jax Relationship, and adore working with Ingo, as well.

herbst.jpgREBECCA HERBST
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Elizabeth Webber, Becky Herbst tackles the role of a mother and loving woman desperately wanting to be with the man she loves, mobster Jason Morgan, but how long can she keep this balancing act up without getting much in return?

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MICHAEL:

What is Elizabeth going to do about Jason? I am getting fed up with her!

REBECCA:

What is she going to do about Jason? You’re fed up? I am super fed up! He shot someone the other day. Things are going to happen because Jake has been kidnapped now, and she has hit rock bottom. I think she is at the end of her rope with Jason…. for now.

MICHAEL:

Do you think Elizabeth should, perhaps, get a new love interest, and stop pining away over Jason?

REBECCA:

Oh, I am not sure there is a new interest right now. She just can’t fathom putting her kid’s life on the line, being with Jason

MICHAEL:

What is the hardest thing for you to play? I am assuming being the mother of a kidnapped child!

REBECCA:

Absolutely, because baby Jake has been kidnapped twice, and he is only 18 months old. That is hard when I have to play that my kids have been kidnapped. I don’t go home and think, “Oh, I feel so good today from work.” I am a mom in real life, and I can’t even think about it. It’s the worst thing in the world!

MICHAEL:

How is it to still work with Steve Burton (Jason)?

REBECCA:

You know, it’s really tough. (She mocks) I have to wake up in the morning and convince myself. I have Laura Wright (Carly) and Kelly Monaco (Sam) there, and Greg Vaughn (Lucky), and I go, “I have to work with Steve?” (She laughs) When I get to work with Steve, those are always good days, especially, when he is not telling me what to do. (She laughs)

MICHAEL:

What would you love to see happen to Elizabeth, if you were writing the show?

REBECCA:

I would love for Elizabeth to run away and go to some strange country where no one can find Jason, so she can have this life with him. She loves him and wants to be with him, and they have their kids, and they could have more babies. However, I don’t want Elizabeth Webber to go anywhere out of Port Charles, because that means I am not working. I am glad she is going to stay in Port Charles and remain loveless. (She laughs).

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Interviews

B&B’s Scott Clifton and Don Diamont Talk on the Plight of Liam & Bill and Their Cover-Up of Vinny’s Death

If you are watching current episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful then you know that Scott Clifton (Liam) and his on-screen father, Don Diamont (Bill Spencer) have been spending plenty of time together in scenes in very dramatic and intense fashion.

In story, Liam is guilt-ridden over running down Vinny Carter (Joe LoCicero) by accident when he was driving Bill’s car.  Since the moment that Vinny was killed, Bill leapt into action, destroying any evidence tying the two to the scene of the crime and continually demanding that Liam let this go and move on with his life, or the implications for the both of them could certainly be a long jail sentence, or worse.

Photo: JPI

Now as Liam is finally making headway in a reconciliation with Hope (remember his last secret – sleeping with Steffy – was quite the doozy), this new secret of what he has done, and hiding, could up the stakes even more and take him away from his family for good … or would Hope (Annika Noelle) after finding out what Liam did be the nail in his coffin that ends their relationship once and for all and kicks him to the curb?

Courtesy/CBS

Both, Scott Clifton and Don Diamont chatted virtually with Michael Fairman exclusively for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel to offer up for viewers and fans of The Bold and the Beautiful: an inside look at what goes on when they tape their scenes, how they see their characters motivations, and they serve up a preview of what may lie ahead in this tangled web that Bill and Liam have unfortunately weaved.

Photo: JPI

Check out the humorous, candid, and enlightening conversation with two of the leads and mainstays of this CBS Daytime drama series below.

Then let us know; how do you think Liam and Bill can get out of the mess they find themselves in? Will Liam crumble and spill the beans? Will everyone in town get on to them and figure out the secret they have been keeping? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section after taking a look at the virtual conversation.

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Days Of Our Lives

Kevin Spirtas Talks ‘After Forever’s’ Digital Special ‘Riley’s Unforgettable School Project’, The Loss of Michael Slade, and a Chance to Reprise DAYS Craig Wesley

The coronavirus pandemic has put to the test many content creators on just how they would keep their projects moving forward in ways they never dreamed of. However, out of that situation has come some of the most compelling, unique series, specials, and features currently streaming for viewers. One of which is Riley’s Unforgettable School Project, brought to you by the team from the six-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning series, After Forever.

Former Days of our Lives star, Kevin Spirtas (Ex-Craig Wesley) has starred in and created the first two seasons of what has become the most honored Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series on any platform.  Along with his ‘After Forever’ writing/producing partner, the late Michael Slade (DAYS, OLTL, Passions, Another World), the two also conceptualized and delivered this latest documentary-style offering now on Amazon Prime Video.

What makes Riley’s Unforgettable School Project so noteworthy is not just how they were able to execute the series based on fictional 11-year-old Riley’s virtual school project and utilize its cast, which includes: Spirtas, Cady Huffman, Jamison Stern, Lenny Wolpe, Erin Cherry, Anita Gillette, Christopher J. Hanke, and Finn Douglas, but that it was made while Slade was succumbing to his battle with cancer, and that this special marks the final script from this talented writer.

 

Michael Fairman TV spoke with Spirtas about making the special during Covid-19, how the death of Michael Slade has made a lasting impact on his life, what After Forever has personally meant to him, and how an official third season is still in the works, and … if he would consider a return to Salem and Days of our Lives, should they come a-calling.  Here’s what Kevin had to say about it all.

Photo: AfterForever

I think the entire story of this digital special has become even more meaningful with Michael Slade’s passing. What was the genesis of the concept? You wanted to continue the telling of the story of After Forever … but we are all in the middle of a pandemic?

KEVIN:  Yes and… when we filmed season 2, we had the scripts for season 3 already completed. It was our hope and desire to film them at the same time, back-to-back, so that we would have had all of our cast and crew together, and we could have gotten through it because we’ve always imagined this story being told in a trilogy so to speak – a beginning, middle, and end to Brian (Spirtas) and Jason, (Mitchell Anderson) and Brian’s healing or his steps towards healing through grief.  Schedules turned out that they couldn’t really work out for us to hold all the people and hold all of the sets for that amount of time.  So, we thought, “We’ve got the scripts for season 3 ready.  We’ll come back to it in the following year,” and that was always the intention, and then the pandemic hit.  So, it was shut down immediately that we weren’t going to do anything, but we wanted to stay current, and instead of going back in and telling the third installment of After Forever as a Covid-19 story as well, Michael and I sat down and looked at a way of staying relevant and current with a story within COVID, and there was born the idea to do this documentary style story/special about the characters of After Forever told through the lens of the character of Riley, the 11-year-old boy, who is now being homeschooled during the pandemic. He gets an assignment to do a project about the most unforgettable person he has ever met, and he, of course, chooses his best friend, the late Jason Adams, and he enlists all of Jason’s friends and family to join in.  Michael actually said, “What if we tell a story about Riley being homeschooled?” And, not only is Riley a technical genius at 11-years-old in the story, but Finn Douglas, who plays Riley, is a technical genius.

And didn’t Finn perform and write the song “Forever There” contained within the special?

KEVIN. Yes. He is this incredible musician.  Michael thought, “What would it be like if we asked to have the character of Finn sing a song for Jason?”  I said, “Well, what kind of song would we have him sing?”  Finn could play anything, I’m sure, because he’s self-taught, he plays by ear – guitar, piano, and drums.  Michael said, “What if we ask him to see if he could write a song?” and when we heard this song, we all called each other and we all got on Zoom and went, “Can you believe this song?  Can you believe this came out of this 11-year-old?”  It’s pretty incredible.  Michael did a gorgeous job of weaving the stories in and out and how they just sort of dove-tailed into each other, and then it was framed by Riley opening the project and ending the project.  During the Zoom reading we wanted to hear the song out loud.  We said to Finn, “Would you want to sing the song?”  We all just watched everybody on that Zoom call just fall apart.  It was just so beautiful. He’s an amazing talent.

Where is your character within this?

KEVIN:  I still stand in the center of the story of Jason because my character, Brian, was married to Jason, and it sort of connects us all, and through Riley’s understanding of how we all connect to Jason, is how we are all sort of spread out throughout the story.  Michael jokingly said, “You know, you’re not going to be the star of this special,” and I said, “I don’t think it’s about being the star.  It’s really about the storytelling.”  The beauty of Riley’s Unforgettable School Project is that we get to see moments of each person’s relationship with Jason, which Riley sets out to say, “Answer these three questions: What did you like most about Jason?  What did you like least about Jason? And what’s your favorite memory?”  Those three things, cut back and forth is where we all kind of fit in.  Nobody has more of a story than the next person, and it’s all telling honest portrayals of how they’re dealing with their loss of their good friend, or their child, or partner.

It’s a very inventive idea during Covid-19 to continue it in a way where you weren’t having to go shoot a full season of episodes.

KEVIN:  Well, we couldn’t. I have to say, Allison Vanore, who not only produced this special, but she also stepped up saying, “I’d love to direct this,” and I said, “Yes, please!”  She knows the characters.  She understands the story because she’s been a part of it for the last two seasons.  Allison also has this extraordinary amount of knowledge and expertise with the camera and what was needed for a remote shoot, and to also be able to organize filming 13 people in 2 different countries and 5 different cities… that’s just the technical side of it, but having that in our back pocket, knowing that it was a remote shoot, we had to send the camera, the computer, the ring light, and the microphone to each person’s house.  We had to location scout over Zoom.  We had to do wardrobe over Zoom.  It was all this big puzzle putting it together, and once you look at that board of storytelling and how we were going to do it, it kind of fell into place.  I feel blessed that a) we still had Michael with us, at that point, and b) Allison had the know-how to do this.  We all feel that at least this pandemic didn’t keep us from doing what we love.

Photo: AfterForever

In terms of the contribution of Michael Slade in this special, was it the construction of the story, and how was he able to work and write this during his illness?

KEVIN:  Michael’s contribution to the special was no less than the contribution to season 1 and season 2, and the future of season 3, because the scripts are written.  We did everything on Zoom, and we worked around his schedule of treatment.  We scheduled 2 people per day, and we spread them out over two weeks.  He was very present, and when there would be a day where he would say, “I’m going to be an hour late, let’s just push that call time,” I would ask, “Is this too much right now?  We can shelve it; we can stop it.” He’d then say, “Absolutely not, otherwise cancer will win.”  He was determined to stay focused and to stay active because it took his mind off of what was happening to him.

Photo: AfterForever

It would be lovely moment if you both were to win a Daytime Emmy for this project. 

KEVIN:  It’s our last collaboration together as a team, as I said, season 3 has been scripted, and it is on the calendar to get made.  We are just waiting for the COVID restrictions to lift a little bit and everyone to get vaccinated.  Michael was really hit hard with cancer – to stay healthy was so challenging for him.  Sadly, he didn’t make it to see the final edit of the special, and he died four days before we launched, but he had seen the cuts before that and was very approving of it, and had made some decisions, and offered some suggestions, and if God gives him an Emmy for this, it’s not because he died.  It’s because it’s great work.  It just happens to be that the work that was involved in this particular special was very tricky.  It brought up everything, like life itself to have to deal with.  Here we are dealing with the loss of a colleague, the loss of a friend, someone’s brother, someone’s son, this is life imitating art, imitating art imitating life. I can’t tell you the darkness that I went through just experiencing the need to stay focused on getting everything edited, and everything ready, and everything aligned for a release of this project that we had put into motion.  On top of it, our editor lost his mother just before Michael passed, and Allison’s mom was sick at the time, as well.  It took a lot of heavy deep breaths with Michael’s death, and the pandemic, and the loss has, for me, on a personal level, sent me back to really questioning my spiritual muscle and to help remind me that we have to come out of this better than we went into this.  I had many dark nights of the soul this last year, and December was probably the darkest.  I feel like I’m just kind of coming out of it now with the spring revealing itself.

Photo: AfterForever

It must have been extraordinarily difficult for you to also go to New York during a pandemic and also knowing Michael did not have much time left.

KEVIN:  I will say this: I am grateful that I was able to stay in touch with my heart and my instinct and go out to New York to let that be my remote location.  Yes, maybe there was some risk involved.  I wore my mask; I was Covid-19 negative, and I was determined to be fine.  Once I got to New York, I would visit him very protectively with our masks and our gloves, and I’d sit across the room, and then I’d go back to the house I was at.  It was a gift that I was able to see him at that time.  We had some good talks then about how he was feeling, and I think he was still being optimistic, and then once we got the project in the can there was maybe this psychic letting go. That’s when everything really started to reveal itself as this could be the end.  I did go back to see him when he was in hospice.  I think I was there the last two days that he really was able to really stay coherent.  He would close his eyes and be at peace and quiet for a minute, and he would finish a conversation and sort of close his eyes, not to sleep and not to go away, but I remember watching him going, “Look how peaceful he is,” and then he’d open his eyes and he’d remember that he is in this body that has been given a time limit of life, and he’s on his way out.  I’d watch the fear go back in his eyes.  At one point, he did say, “I’m so scared,” and I just held his hand, and I said, “I’m scared too.  Let’s be scared through this together.”  I don’t know how to navigate grief like that.  We are all going to be in a position at some point where we are going to be on the other side of the hand holding.  The wonderful thing is that we were able to have honest communication about our feelings.  I thanked him for everything that he has done for me and how he believed in my talent and creativity and our partnership.  I will always take that with me.  I waved my finger at him, and I said, “Listen.  Now, we wrote a series about a man talking to his deceased husband.  You’d better talk to me!”  So, we laughed about that.

Photo: AfterForever

You’ve done a lot of things in your career from Broadway to television, and of course, daytime fans know you best as Dr. Craig Wesley on DAYS.  How does the entire After Forever project stack up to you within all that you have done?

KEVIN:  Former DAYS casting director Fran Bascom, sought me out and offered me this 2-day role on Days of Our Lives, and those 2 days turned into 8 years, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the final 3 months of that contract of those 8 years, Michael Slade was brought in to write.  We didn’t cross paths at that point, but years later, when we did cross paths in New York, and then After Forever was born, that was that universal crossing point.  I am most proud of the fact that we were able create something fresh, and real, and personal to ourselves that we didn’t have to cater to any “powers that be” that had their vision and their tinkering, that they thought that it could be better in this way or that way.  Then for After Forever to gain such recognition, within the film festivals, and the Emmys, and then, just after Michael died, we won the GLAAD award for Special Recognition this year.  We don’t even fit into one of their categories!  They found a way to acknowledge this project.  If another Emmy happens again, that might be another one to put up on the shelf for After Forever that would be beautiful, and I couldn’t have done it without Michael.

For the Daytime Emmys this year, what category have you entered Riley’s Unforgettable School Project?

KEVIN:  We are not a series this year, we are a daytime fiction special, and the “Daytime Fiction Special” category is a special class.  It’s anything that’s digital in the construct of less than 40 minutes.  NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) is being bombarded with so much content, they’re trying to find ways to put categories together.

Photo: JPI

So, now, when we last saw Days of Lives’ Dr. Craig Wesley, where was he? (Laughs)

KEVIN: (Laughs) He was in a flash from the past or something in the DOOL app’s Last Blast Reunion series. I had a fun time working with Patrika Darbo (Nancy) and Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe), once again.

So, if they were to want Craig to come back to DAYS, would you be all for it?

KEVIN:  Hell yes!

Photo: JPI

Now, what story would you want to be told involving Craig? 

KEVIN:  When Craig was first on the canvas in Salem, there was a lot of mustache twirling and a lot of hand wringing.  He was always plotting; most of the time with Nancy.  It was kind of this high drama, evil villain storyline being told, but when the writers created an opportunity for us to be on after those first three months by bringing on Chloe without a father, there was something real about it.  It may have been told under the construct of soap opera storytelling, but there was a reality-based story about, “You have a daughter, and we are just now finding out about it?”  Then, finding a cure to her health was another realistic story, and finding out that Craig was her real father.  Anything that’s reality based is what I’m getting to.  I would welcome any job that brings me back and gives me an opportunity to dive into something real.

Photo: JPI

Would you welcome the opportunity to play a gay character on daytime; in a medium where there are very few represented in storylines?

KEVIN:  I’d have no problem with that.  Do you know anybody who is starting that?  Let’s do it!  (Laughs) First of all, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  There’s nothing to pretend you’re not anymore.  I would think that bringing in a storyline that deals with anything outside the norm that we are used to seeing would be interesting.  How many times can you retell a story?  How many times can you set the same story up with another couple?  So, why not be diverse and have a stylized story being told through the lens of a gay person.

Photo: AfterForever

In closing, so many go through life without acknowledging people who had an impact them.  We don’t give pats on the back, often enough, and especially in Hollywood, where people can be very self-involved.  You have already paid tribute to Michael Slade in our discussion, but what gift from him is your personal takeaway?

KEVIN:  The gift that Michael really gave to me is to remember to be kind to myself and to others, and to acknowledge and salute the person who is in front of us, because we don’t know when we will have, or if we will have, another moment to do that.

Now below, check out the trailer for Riley’s Unforgettable School Project.  Then let us know, what do you think of its concept? Kevin’s thoughts on the passing of his collaborator on the project, Michael Slade? And, do you hope DAYS brings back Dr. Craig Wesley? Share your thoughts via the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Kin Shriner Talks on Franco’s Demise, Scott’s Budding Romance with Obrecht, and His Enduring On-Screen Partnership with Genie Francis

One of the most beloved actors in the history of General Hospital, Kin Shriner, currently finds his alter-ego, Scott Baldwin, in a new budding on-screen romance with none other than Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati).

This comes on the heels of Scott learning the devastating news that his son, Franco Baldwin was shot and killed, thus writing-off the ABC daytime drama series, for now, popular actor, Roger Howarth.

Photo: JPI

Throughout his now almost 44-year-run on the ABC daytime drama series, Kin Shriner has brought his unique acting chops that helped mold the character of legal eagle Scott Baldwin into the humorous, at times cutthroat, endearing and many times heartbreaking character we have all come to love.’

 

In a brand new exclusive virtual sit-down interview with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel, Shriner opens up about his history with GH and the times he stepped away to take on roles on Texas and As the World Turns, and then back again to the town of Port Charles and GH.

Photo: ABC

As well, Kin reveals his reaction to learning the news that Roger Howarth would be exiting the show as his TV son and how he shot the key emotional scene where Laura (Genie Francis) tells Scott that Franco had died.  Shriner shares that he does not see how when Howarth returns to the show in as a yet-to-be-revealed character, that it would be a stretch if the two were some how related, but that he will miss working with the talented Howarth as a scene-partner.

Photo: JPI

As to the women in Scott’s life, Kin addresses each of them from: Lucy (Lynn Herring), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Dominque (Shell Danielson), Laura (Francis), Ava (Maura West) – to which the character could never get that close to – and now Liesl (Gati), and working opposite all the powerhouse actresses who portray them.

Photo: ABC

For fans of General Hospital who have watched the series for decades, Kin also shares memories of working with his late TV parents, Peter Hansen (Lee), Susan Brown (Gail) and his friend and former GH castmate John Reilly (Sean), plus backstage stories with his longtime scene partner, Genie Francis.

Watch the entire conversation with Kin below.

Now let us know, are you all for the Scott and Liesl romance? Will you miss scenes between Scott and Franco?  Would you ever want to see Scott and Laura reunite romantically? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Y&R’s Joshua Morrow, Amelie Heinle, Mark Grossman, Hunter King and Melissa Ordway chat with Michael Fairman about being a part of and portraying the Newman Children as the show celebrates its 48th anniversary.Leave A Comment

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