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ABC SUPER SOAP WEEKEND – STAR INTERVIEWS PART TWO

cameron.jpgCAMERON MATHISON
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Ryan Lavery, Cameron has been a staple at “AMC” and “Super Soap” and now one of the most recognizable daytime stars anywhere in the industry. Catching up with Cameron is always fun. Read about his take on what could be next for Pine Valley’s resident hero.

Listen to the audio:

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MICHAEL:

Cameron, do you have a better side for the camera or a bad side?

CAMERON:

All my sides are bad. This is just a façade.

MICHAEL:

“All My Sides”!

CAMERON:

I have several sides. They do ask in make-up which is my bad side?

MICHAEL:

They do not!

CAMERON:

Yes, and its put on over a mask every morning and every thing is fake. (He laughs)

MICHAEL:

When we last checked in with each other at the Daytime Emmys this past June, Ryan had amnesia and had kind of lost his way, and you told me there would be a clearing up of that. I mean, he did get his brain back. However, now after sort of getting back with Greenlee, Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) is exiting the show. How do you feel about that?

CAMERON:

Selfishly, I am not happy about it. I am excited for my friend, and she is taking a chance and going after her dream and I respect that. But selfishly, I am really pissed. I would say that if she were standing right there.

MICHAEL:

What then is going to happen to our Ryan?

CAMERON:

We don’t know. I think it’s interesting that Annie has done all those horrible things. She kidnapped his child, pretended Emma was in a grave, and made him dig up her grave. Now, I think Ryan has some compassion because he is like, “My God. Did I drive this woman to the brink?” Even though his heart is not here, he is not in love with her, but he wants to make sure she gets the help she needs. It is almost like a purification thing for him, and going through it with a lot of compassion for her. That will be one beat, and I think there will be stuff coming up with Kendall and Zach that people will dig

MICHAEL:

And I think, some with Kendall and you?

CAMERON:

You think so because of the whole Reese thing, and back door with Ryan, so to speak? I like that. And, I would like to see Ryan and Zach have these two camps and go head to head and sort of build up this long on-going rivalry. I think one of the things in soaps that is so successful over the years are rivalries. I remember back on “AMC”, when Dimitri and Edmund had this rivalry and other shows had them, too. So, I think it would be good for us.

JP-car1.jpgJOHN-PAUL LAVOISIER
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Rex Balsom, John- Paul has turned in out-of-the-box performances of wit, humor, passion and drama. At “Super Soap” he hosted The Triple Play Game Show and showed off his emcee abilities. We caught up with JP to ask him some quick questions about Sexy Rexy.

MICHAEL:

As Rex, on “One Life”, you are so entertaining and interesting to watch. What is the most fun thing for you to do on the show, in terms of performances?

JP:

The most fun is they let me try anything I want. They let me be quirky, or goofy, or funny, or try to do physical comedy whether it be jumping over a desk or trying to hug Bo, and they let me fly with it. The only note I get is, “JP, you need to pull back.” I never get the note, “Do more.” I always get the note to do less.

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MICHAEL:

The 40th anniversary “Time Travel” storyline was heralded by critics and fans, and then later and at times slammed. Personally, I loved it. I thought it was so much fun to watch. In the end, what were your thoughts looking back on it?

JP:

I think the point of the storyline was what had happened in the end with Rex and Gigi connecting, and Bo finding out about his father, Asa. So, Bo and Rex came together, which was fun. It got mixed-up in everyone thinking Bo was Asa, and Rex was Bo. Eventually we separated a little bit and we went back to the future, separately. What “OLTL” head writer, Ron Carlivati, wanted to get across, I think happened. Personally, it was the best storyline I had been involved in. I had so much fun. Some fans hated it and some loved it. I could have done this storyline all year. I got to ride a real horse, and get electrocuted by a cell phone, and with the pyrotechnics, it was so much fun. I can understand some people would think, “No, they can’t be in 1968.” They may think it’s silly, but it’s just entertainment for two months, so enjoy the ride!

MICHAEL:

You and Farah Fath, (Gigi) are dating in real-life and play each other’s romantic interest on the show. How is seeing someone you work with all the time outside the show?

JP:

We bowl every Tuesday. We have a blast! Somebody said the other day that “Wait, you guys work together and you are never apart!” We are only apart when I go to the gym and go golfing. But, winter is coming so we will be together more because I won’ be golfing.

MICHAEL:

What are the fans saying to you, when you are out doing autograph sessions?

JP:

In general, they are saying, “Can I have a kiss?”

MICHAEL:

Do you give them kisses?

JP:

Sometimes. It depends on where they want the kiss.

farahfath1.jpgFARAH FATH
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Gigi Morasco, Farah burst on to the Llanview canvas in a role tailor made for her. She tells “On-Air On-Soaps” how she nabbed the role, and how she fell into a real-life romance with her co-star.

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MICHAEL:

This role as Gigi Morasco really took off from the start. Now that you have been playing her for a while, how would you compare it to your former role as Mimi on “DAYS”?

FARAH:

Gigi is a more grown-up role for me. I started off with Erika Slezak (Viki) in the Paris, Texas storyline at the diner. So, the start of my time on the show was pretty awesome. Then, I was slowly but surely pushed into the drama we call soap opera. Now, it’s all about my son, Shane. It’s kind of hard for me to play a mom to an eleven-year-old.

MICHAEL:

Why is it hard?

FARAH:

It’s hard for me to relate to, it really is. Sometimes I read my scenes, and I go, “Shut up.” I have to always remember to tell myself I have to be sensitive to him, and I don’t know if I am playing being a mom right. I miss playing Mimi on “DAYS”, and miss my “DAYS” family, but I have my hands full on “One Life”.

MICHAEL:

So, JP was telling me you guys bowl. Who wins?

FARAH:

We bowl every Tuesday, and it’s neck and neck. The last game we played I beat him by a landslide, but he usually beats me. Anyway, he has a lot of hobbies, and I realize I did not have a lot of hobbies. So, I thought bowling would be fun because I use to do it as a kid. So, we got our own bowling balls, and mine is leopard. I started playing poker with him, too. These are my two new vices.

farahjp.jpgMICHAEL:

What about Poker?

FARAH:

Now we have things to do on our down time. We are kind on the back burner right now on “OLTL”. So, we can go bowling, and I am super good at Poker. I would love to do a celebrity poker tournament. We have played in tournaments that have lasted seventh hours. JP and I played in an 80-man tournament, and I beat him in the second tournament. He was 30th and I was 11th.

MICHAEL:

How did your romance with JP start, on and off screen?

FARAH:

JP and I just hit it off right away. We had similar personalities and we laughed a lot. I was hired solely to play opposite of him. President of ABC Daytime/SOAPnet, Brian Frons, and “OLTL” executive producer, Frank Valentini, they originally screen tested me for the role of Sarah when they hired me for the show. I think they knew they did not want me for Sarah. I think they just wanted to see me on camera. They had already written the part and had the story idea for Rex and Gigi. Brian knew of my personality from “DAYS”, and JP’s personality, and thought we would work well together. I knew of him, but I thought he is much more striking in person. I don’t think the camera does him justice at all. Every time someone meets him in person, they go, “Oh, he’s so hot,” and I go, “Yeah, I know.” At work, I was like, “Oh, wow!” Then I was like, “Don’t have a crush on him. You are not supposed to have one with people you work with. That’s trouble!”

bradford1.jpgBRADFORD ANDERSON
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Spinelli, Bradford has captured the hearts of soap viewers young and old with a quirky, offbeat portrayal of Port Charles’s lovable computer geek. But geekhood has suited him well. He is one of the most beloved actors on ABC Daytime, as proven by the reactions of his fans at “Super Soap”.

MICHAEL:

You were so great on stage performing at “Street Jam”. Have you sung in the past?

BRADFORD:

I used to sing a lot. Since I don’t sing as much as I used to, I am not always in the best singing shape. The more you sing, the stronger the voice is.

MICHAEL:

What songs did you perform?

BRADFORD:

The first song was “No One Like You” by the Scorpions, and the second one was “Happy Together” by The Turtles.

MICHAEL:

“Happy Together” you proclaimed on stage was, “More like you”.

BRADFORD:

Yeah. I would never envision myself being a rock star. So, to sing an 80’s hair band song was not really something I would have assumed I would do. It would be more like happy, lovey sixties vibe that seemed to be more my style. But, I had so much fun doing the Scorpions song. It’s such a great song, the lyrics of “No One Like You” and speaking to the “Super Soap” audience. It was very truthful, “There is No One Like Them”.

MICHAEL:

And, there is no one like you because I went to all the fan events, and the young girls had tons of Spinelli T- Shirts with all of Spinelli’s catch phrases on them.

bradfordwfan.jpgBRADFORD:

I know. There was this one girl who had everything I ever said on her shirt, and that is a lot!

MICHAEL:

I think you’re the rock star out there!

BRADFORD:

Well, thank you, I just try to bring it. When I come here I want to make sure I am in great physical and emotional shape, and to get some sleep. Every experience I have when I come here, I try to give all I can.

MICHAEL:

Kirsten Storms and you have made such an interesting pairing on “GH”. Do you think that will last? Or do you think they will try to break Maxie and Spinelli up?

BRADFORD:

I think we are very lucky that Maxie/Spinelli, established a friendship first, before the romance. It’s hard to break up a friendship because there are so many ways you can have bitterness in romance. But with the deep abiding friendship that they have, it’s harder to make sense of tearing that apart. Then of course, as soon as it turns to romance, there are always those possibilities. The show is enjoying what we are doing, and we are enjoying what we are doing. It will be fun to watch.

MICHAEL:

When you were meeting the fans at “Super Soap”, what did they say?

BRADFORD:

Same question from day one… How do you memorize all those lines? How do you talk like that? I understand that, it’s a good question. I sometimes don’t know how I do it.

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MICHAEL:

You and Steve Burton (Jason) are working constantly together. Jason and Spinelli are their own super couple!

BRADFORD:

Oh, that makes me so happy to hear you say that. (He laughs) He is the reason I am still here. I was supposed to be on the show for a couple of months, and he taught me a lot as an actor and as a person. I am forever grateful. Thankfully, he liked me at the beginning, and he said, “OK, We can keep this kid.” It’s the people upstairs prerogative, but I think having Steve like you is not a bad thing.

brandon.jpgBRANDON BARASH
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Johnny on “GH”, Brandon tows the line between bad boy gone good… or good boy gone bad…which ever way you look it. Brandon chatted about what’s next for his alter ego in Port Charles.

MICHAEL:

You wowed the crowd at the “Street Jam”, you little rocker you! What did you perform?

BRANDON:

I performed a little bit of Rolling Stones “Jumping Jack Flash”, and a little “School Daze”, by Chuck Berry. I busted out the harmonica there, and had a lot of fun.

MICHAEL:

Would you do more singing concerts if given the opportunity?

BRANDON:

I guess so. I do it when I have the chance and it’s so much fun. I would do more singing, absolutely. I could do a concert. I would sell that house and rock that!

MICHAEL:

What’s ahead for your character, Johnny Zacchara, on “GH”?

BRANDON:

Johnny is going to struggle to be or not to be. Do I become this infamous man like my father? Or, do I take ‘The Road Less Traveled’ by Robert Frost, and take the more difficult, less traveled road and go against his destiny. He is really going to take some initiative, and have a lot of inner conflict.

MICHAEL:

What do the fans say to you the most, when they meet you in person at, “Super Soap”?

BRANDON:

It’s a lot of, “Oh, you’re better looking in person!” And, I really don’t know how to take that. Do I look bad on TV? Maybe the camera adds 50 lbs to me! (He laughs) I don’t know!

jason-cook.jpgJASON COOK
GENERAL HOSPITAL

As Dr. Matt Hunter, Jason Cook has begun to be integrated more into the Port Charles canvas. “On-Air On-Soaps” caught up with Jason and reminisced about his time at “DAYS” and developing his new character on “GH”.


MICHAEL:

How has “Super Soap” been for you? What are the fans asking you, for the most part?

JASON:

“Super Soap” has been great. A lot of it’s been, “Who are you going to get with on the show? Why aren’t you on DAYS? Why is Matt so much meaner than your old character of Shawn on DAYS?” Matt is kind of a jerk. They wanted him to be the biggest jerk he can possibly be.

MICHAEL:

Is that easy? (He laughs)

JASON:

No, but it’s funny. I got a lot of ‘shtick’ from my family and I really felt bad. I did not audition, because if I had to audition for the role of Matt I would never have had a job. They said be arrogant, angry and pissed off. But, you can’t be overt, or the yelling at people kind of jerk… but be a kind of jerk who throws out barbs and stuff to people without cussing. (He laughs)

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MICHAEL:

How are they developing the relationship between Matt and his brother, Patrick, played by Jason Thompson? Will they continue to be adversarial?

JASON:

They are going to develop it more. Patrick’s character is more of a straight guy who walks the straight and narrow more than Matt. He is like the brilliant neurosurgeon who is kind of like: he is getting married and has a baby, and he is starting to care about the real things in life. Matt is like, “Whatever, I don’t care.” That kind of dynamic is good, and as brothers they can razz each other, which will be great on screen and cause conflict.

MICHAEL:

Did you know from the beginning that Matt was going to be Dr. Noah Drake’s son, played by Rick Springfield?

JASON:

I did not know I was going to be Noah’s son. When they brought me on, all I knew was I was going to be involved in a counterfeit drug storyline. I don’t even know if they are writing that anymore.

MICHAEL:

All the rumors were that you were going to be paired with Kirsten Storms (Maxie), who played Belle on “DAYS” when you were Shawn on that show. So far, that has not happened. Is that just around the corner?

JASON:

It’s funny, and everyone assumed it. I get it, and it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to see that. We have worked together for so many years for like a third of our lives, and I am not quite thirty. I have known Kirsten since she was fourteen. So when you know someone for that long it helps the chemistry, and its fun to work with her. I am sure they are going to explore it at some point. Matt needs something. There was one show where Matt hit on three different women! I was like, “Can one of you pay attention to Matt for just one second?” and it did not happen.

darnell.jpgDARNELL WILLIAMS
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Jesse Hubbard, Darnell Williams returned to “AMC” in his much heralded role this year. We asked him about the reunion with Debbi Morgan, Angie Hubbard and the woman no one knew existed, Rebecca!

MICHAEL:

How did you like the ending of the 20 year Angie/Jesse reuniting storyline? I thought it was really good, but did not understand why your characters were dressed in 1890’s outfits on the train tracks.

DARNELL:

I did not even see it. But, we had fun doing it and it looked good. This whole go around, they are really wardrobe oriented. You kind of expect to see it in daytime.

MICHAEL:

When Jesse came back was wearing his leather cap!

DARNELL:

I think that was their little signature piece, to the throwback of Jesse.

MICHAEL:

How is working with Laura Koffman (Rebecca)? Will your storyline with her last for awhile?

DARNELL:

Laura is wonderful, and a very giving actor. I don’t know how quickly our story will wrap up. It’s got a few months at least, and it’s hard to say where it’s going to go.

MICHAEL:

Of course, you and Debbi Morgan (Angie) have such amazing on screen chemistry. How is working with her again after all these years?

DARNELL:

She is one of the most beautiful people in the world. And those dimples! She is one of my closest friends and I love working with her. The way we play off of each other is such a comfort zone for me.

MICHAEL:

Is there an emotion harder to play for you than others on-screen?

DARNELL:

As I have been doing it for a couple of decades now, there are tricks that have come to a different level now. They are a little more organic by nature and become instinctive to your response to anything as an actor.

MICHAEL:

Where are your two Daytime Emmys?

DARNELL:

They are home in New York, and they are in storage for a while. But I am so proud of them, and it’s a pretty statue and kind of nice.

brit-jansoning.jpgBRITTANY UNDERWOOD AND JASON TAM
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As high school sweethearts Langston and Markko starred in “One Life to Live: High School Musical” episodes, they continued their singing talents right to the stages of “Super Soap”. Their portrayers, Brittany Underwood and Jason Tam told us about all they have experienced.

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MICHAEL:

Brittany, you sang in the “Street Jam”. How was that experience in front of all those fans at “Super Soap”?

BRITTANY:

I was really nervous. I don’t think I have ever been that nervous. I sang Corinne Bailey Rae’s, “Put Your Records On”, and I love that song. I was excited that they told me I could do that song. I guess because we were performing for the fans, and we have such a special relationship with our fans, I was OK. I said to myself, “This is Ok, because we are in front of the fans that know and love us, so it will be OK.”

MICHAEL:

Jason, you’ve done a lot of singing on stage, haven’t you?

JASON:

I started out doing musical theatre and I love singing. It was a blast last night singing in front of those people on that stage, and have all that energy coming back to us, with the lights, and the band. It was a perfect venue.

MICHAEL:

What’s it like working with Robin Strasser (Dorian)?

BRITTANY:

I love her so much and she is so amazing. She looks after everyone, and always has such great ideas. If I know I am working with Robin, I know it’s going to be a good day.

MICHAEL:

Jason, what’s it like working with Brittany as your girlfriend on “OLTL”?

JASON:

Amazing! Brittany is so giving, and she is so emotionally full. She will just cry at the drop of a hat, feather, and dime.

brandon-kristen.jpgBRANDON BUDDY AND KRISTEN ALDERSON
ONE LIFE TO LIVE

As Cole and Starr, emotional storylines and tough social topics are nothing Brandon and Kristen can’t pull off. Way beyond their years in acting ability, we caught up with them and found out how they felt about recent storyline developments.

MICHAEL:

You were one of the biggest hits of the “Street Jam”! Everyone loves Kristen and Starr! What did you sing?

KRISTEN:

I sang, “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia, and then “Mother’s Prayer” with Kassie DePaiva (Blair). Then I sang, “Lean on Me” with Jason Tam (Markko) and Brittany Underwood (Langston).

MICHAEL:

And Brandon, you and I were on the sidelines and you mentioned you were not singing, but making a special appearance in the song with your three co-stars. What happened? It seemed like there was a mic malfunction?

BRANDON:

I was supposed to come out on the stage and the microphone didn’t come on. The song is “Lean on Me”, so I was supposed to come out there and go, “Oh, I lost my girlfriend. My life is a mess!” and I am out there and the microphone did not work. So Kristen walked over to me with the microphone and saved it.

MICHAEL:

The scenes that have just aired where Cole sees his mom, Marty, again were so moving! Hankies!

BRANDON:

It was intense stuff. To see that your mom is not dead after a year and a half, and then to see her alive, is very intense. Cole has been through a lot.

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MICHAEL:

And Kristen, the whole dramatic turn of Starr giving birth and then believing her baby was dead was so hard to watch. Were you drained from those scenes?

KRISTEN:

I actually got physically sick! The first day we taped the delivery scenes, and the next day I had to tape a whole bunch of scenes where I found out that the baby is dead. Then, I had to tell Cole the baby is dead. The night before I was getting so sad. Taping the delivery scenes were emotional in a happy way. But then, to know I had to go there and mourn the loss of my child the next day… I was really sad just thinking about it. But, I had to hold it all in. The next day I came into work drained and not feeling well.

eden-minnie1.jpgEDEN RIEGEL
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Bianca, Eden came back to “AMC” during the tornado sequences with a shocking new storyline twist and new lover. One of soaps most beloved characters is back, and Eden professes, “There’s more to the story!”

MICHAEL:

So, you blew into town in the tornado shows! Did you like how Bianca ended up coming into the disaster, pregnant and trapped?

EDEN:

The tornado was incredible, and I loved the special effects. It was fun to be a part of it and it was like the show was saying, “Here you are. Welcome back. You’re in the rumble, you are a part of this, and you are nine months pregnant!” And they threw me right in there, in the drama of it all.

MICHAEL:

I was very concerned about this new storyline, where Bianca got pregnant with Zach’s child and the cover-up. How do you really feel about this plot device?

EDEN:

Very concerned. It is similar to what Babe did to Bianca, but not as bad. This is very out of character for Bianca. It’s hard, but it’s a fun challenge for me, especially in trying to figure out the circumstances in which Bianca would do this to her sister. I have come up with some really good justifications for it! Bianca and Reese were in this bubble of love in Paris. Everything was working out OK, and then here is Zach. I had a feeling Miranda said to Bianca, “Where is my Dad?” Zach is a wonderful male presence. I could see Bianca wanting that, and Kendall saying “No”, and Bianca listening to Zach saying, “It will be alright, I will tell her. Do it! Kendall does not need to know.” Then when it dawned on her, when she became pregnant, she thought, “What did I just do?” It became harder and harder for her to tell Kendall, and she knows Kendall is not going to be cool with it. But Bianca has always been a good person. I think it will be interesting, as an actress, to play what she goes through when she realizes she made a mistake.

MICHAEL:

What is going to happen next to you and your on-screen lady love Reese, played by the incredible Tamara Braun?

EDEN:

It’s Pine Valley! Paris was perfect and beautiful. But, back home there are stresses of the family, your sister is in a coma, there are the kids and work, and a million different things. By the way, there are more secrets coming! As couples go through conflict, when they come out the other end they are stronger because of it.

ricky-paul1.jpgRICKY PAULL GOLDIN
ALL MY CHILDREN

As Jake Martin, Ricky Paull and the “AMC” audience have kept a close eye on one of “GL’s” all-time favorite leading men. Ricky Paull explains how things are going with the adjustment to his new role and fan expectations.

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MICHAEL:

You performed in the “Street Jam”, and the crowd seemed to eat it up!

RICKY PAULL:

I sang Steppenwolf’s ‘Magic Carpet Ride”, and played harmonica. It was fun and a blast! We had a built in audience and I probably sucked, and they are still nice to you! You’ve got to love that.

MICHAEL:

How is the story coming along with you and Beth Ehlers (Taylor) now that you have been on-air on “AMC” for a short while? How do you feel its going?

RICKY PAULL:

It takes a while to get these things going. I don’t think the idea is to just grab two people from one show and put them on another, and make them do the same thing now. Beth Ehlers is a great actress, and we love what we do. If I fall in love with her character, and if the fans fall in love, that’s great. It’s like going to your parents and asking their blessing to move forward with the relationship. In this instance, the fans would be our parents, and we would ask them, “Do you approve?” If they did, we would move forward.

MICHAEL:

Ok, then do you ever say to yourself, “What if it did not work this time? What will the show do with us?”

RICKY PAULL:

We are not joined at the hip. I would say Beth would say the same thing, even if she was standing right next to me. We are not the same person. We had a great run on “GL” and a show we dearly love. There are a lot of great guys on “AMC”. She could fall in love with Thorsten‘s character (Zach).

MICHAEL:

Everyone falls in love with Thorsten’s character!

RICKY PAULL:

I am in love with Thorsten’s character! (He laughs) There are a lot of great women on the show for me to play with, too. If I have to steal Taylor away from one of those guys, let me do that. That would be fun to watch. If she wants to get my heart, and I am in love with another woman, that would be great to watch.

MICHAEL:

Every time you and Beth appear on the screen, it takes the scenes to another level.

RICKY PAULL:

It takes a while. You have to chisel away, and as soon as we came on the show they brought in a new head writer. I am more interested right now in the storyline with the Iraqi vet. The fact that we are working with real vets, that are acting, is so interesting.

MICHAEL:

How is working with JR Martinez (Brot)?

RICKY PAULL:

JR Martinez is great. He is 25 years old. I am a lot older them him, and I am learning from him every day on the set.

MICHAEL:

Do you think that story is inspiring?


RICKY PAULL:

Absolutely. The stories are real. We had whole scenes on the show the other day with a circle of real vets and those were not scripted. It’s what they experienced. They just let the cameras roll and roll.

MICHAEL:

Let’s discuss Dr. Jake Martin’s botch job of Kendall’s brain surgery during the tornado. He is in trouble!

RICKY PAULL:

That’s where the drama is. If you mess with anything to do with Zack Slater, well, he is going to crack my skull open… if I don’t fix his wife’s head. Hopefully what will happen is that they will take away my medical license and I will become some bum on skid row. I will do something to lose my license, mostly because I don’t like saying medical terms on the air. I rack my brain in the dressing room trying to make it perfect, like a mini little house doctor.

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Interviews

B&B’s Katherine Kelly Lang on That ‘Brill’ Kiss, 33 Years as Brooke, Her Co-Stars & International Success

Just when you think Brooke will finally score a moral victory in her vendetta with Thomas Forrester, (who’s manipulations almost destroyed her marriage to his father, Ridge), then she finds herself once again in hot water, and with a secret that in the wrong hands could cause a seismic shift to several relationships – that would he hers and her sister Katie’s – thanks to that ill-timed smooch with Bill!

But what else is new for Brooke? For 33 years, the character has captivated audiences with bold moves, questionable choices, enduring romances and plenty of gusto, all in the more than capable hands of her portrayer, the one and only Katherine Kelly Lang.

This week marks Katherine’s 33rd-year in the role of Brooke Logan Forrester, who along with John McCook (Eric Forrester), are the two original cast members since the very inception of the CBS daytime drama; which debuted back on March 23, 1987.  Now over three decades later, Lang is an international favorite. First, due to the success and broad appeal of B&B in foreign countries, but second, from her own entrepreneurship and hustle.  Always with multiple projects going on at once, Lang and her beau, Dom Zoida recently opened the American version of the Italian clothing and leather store in Beverly Hills, California, Benheart USA.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Katherine to get the lowdown on: Brooke’s line-up of nemesis’ which seems to be growing! (Yes, you can put Thomas, Quinn and Shauna on that list, for sure.) Plus, what she feels this B&B anniversary is truly about, how she and others in the cast are coping with the ‘stay at home’ orders in California during the coronavirus pandemic, the recent loss of B&B co-creator, Lee Phillip Bell, and those all-time classic Stephanie and Brooke scenes opposite Susan Flannery and more.  Here’s what this BOLD original had to share with all of you.

Photo: JPI

What did you think about Brooke’s whole relationship with Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) and the tit-for-tat between them?  Brooke really stood up to him and his manipulations, and held her ground. Meanwhile, he was going to do everything he could do ruin her and cause so much trouble for Brooke’s marriage to Ridge (Thorsten Kaye).

KATHERINE: This is my feeling: she was so adamant and so trying to convince people about Thomas and that he was so out for himself;  and out for Brooke’s daughter, Hope (Annika Noelle), and very manipulative, and nobody would listen really.  Only a few people like Liam (Scott Clifton) did and her daughter finally agreed with her.  Then at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe (Kiara Barnes), it proved that Brooke was right all along.  I still don’t feel like Brooke got her due as far as what everybody was saying.

No, she didn’t!  No one really said to her in a grand way, “Oh, my God, Brooke!  You were right about Thomas all along.”

KATHERINE:  I know!  Ridge did say, “You were right,” and that’s great.  However, more people should have apologized and acknowledged her, and said, “Oh, we understand now where you were coming from,” and, “Hey!  Good intuition!”

Photo: JPI

That was must have been so frustrating to Brooke!  She knew the truth, and everybody was treating her so badly and painting her to be the bitch.

KATHERINE:  Yup!  They dubbed herthat crazy one” and the bitch.

Was all of this enjoyable to play?

KATHERINE:  It was enjoyable that it finally came out that Thomas is the manipulative person that he is, even though he is so good at it that he almost makes you feel sorry for him.  But he’s like a good sociopathThat’s why they’re so good at what they do.  They’re good at bringing real emotion into every situation and yet being very manipulative.  Kudos go to Matthew Atkinson for playing Thomas, really well.  He’s been great, and he brings something really different on to our show.

Photo: JPI

Brooke and Ridge’s relationship has been severely tested; almost tearing them apart over Ridge previously standing up for his son.  Now Brooke’s recent kiss with Bill (Don Diamont) threatens it, as that kiss was caught on tape, and landed in the wrong hands.  Is Brooke in freak-out mode yet?

KATHERINE:  I definitely think she is, and she wanted to take that kiss back from the second that it happened.  She allowed it to happen.  It’s a little bit of old Brooke resurfacing there.  Right away she was like, “What are we doing?   This is ridiculous.  You’re with Katie, and I’m with Ridge, and we’re both happy.”  Brooke has had underlying feelings for Bill, and she probably always will (and he for Brooke), but we know that’s not where we want things to be.  So, in Brooke’s mind, it’s “let’s forget about that and carry on, and don’t tell anybody.”  Of course, it comes out to some people, and it’s so embarrassing for Brooke.  Like, how does she explain herself?  I mean, at that point she can’t explain what happened … or why she did that.  She has to kind of succumb to it.

Right! And of course, Shauna (Denise Richards) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) want to take her down with this ammo.

KATHERINE:  Of course!  That’s what they live for. (Laughs)

Photo” JPI

Recently, Quinn spiked Brooke’s drink with some booze after they had quite the argument. Fans were on the edge of their seats that Brooke might start drinking again.  What did you think of the plot point?

KATHERINE:  I think it could have been interesting.  I have no idea if they will bring it up again.  That happens sometimes.  They’ll put in a little teaser and not run with it.  However, you never know if it’s going to resurface down the line, especially when Brooke is really down in the dumps for some reason.

I could see her being down in the dumps if she finally had no man in her life! (Laughs)

KATHERINE: (Laughs) That’s probably what she needs … not having a man in her life!

How is working with Rena Sofer and Denise Richards; especially when they are antagonists in scenes with Brooke?  Do you ever have a good laugh while trying to tape those scenes, as well?

KATHERINE: I think there’s a good chemistry between the three of us, and we have that rivalry going on.  So, I think it’s been working, and it’s been entertaining and interesting.  They’re fun to bounce off of.  Usually we are pretty serious when we do those scenes, especially if they’re more verbally combative.  So, we’ll just be really serious and stay in it.  Of course, sometimes things happen, and you laugh, but we sometimes don’t have the luxury to take the time to laugh and enjoy the moment, because we have to try to get the scene done in one take and move on.

Photo: JPI

There were a few months there that Brooke was slapping everybody! There were plenty of bitch-slaps that needed to go around. What did you think of those scenes?

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KATHERINE: I loved it, but then I felt like it was also maybe getting out of hand because it’s not really PC.  Nobody is supposed to hit people or slap people in anyway.  So, it worked more years and years ago in our genre, as times have changed in our world and culture.

Viewers saw this week that Donna (Jennifer Gareis) knows Brooke kissed Bill and that they have to make sure Katie (Heather Tom) does not find out, while others are out to expose Brooke!

KATHERINE:  I would imagine that everybody would want to see how Brooke unravels.  So, just keep watching!

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Would you welcome another go round at a Brooke and Bill romance?

KATHERINE: Not when Bill’s with Katie and with everything that Katie’s gone through.  I couldn’t see that.  I don’t think it would be right.  That would mean that Brooke is completely selfish, you know?  There are so many other men.  Why does she have to go for her sister’s man?

Photo: JPI

In recent months, we have witnessed scenes where Brooke has been more confrontational and fighting back and not putting up with the shenanigans of others!  We have seen this in particular with Thomas, Shauna, and Quinn.  Did it seem like they ramped that up for Brooke?

KATHERINE:  Yes, because at some point it’s frustrating because nobody was listening to her.  It all started with the whole Thomas thing, and once she started fighting back, she wanted to fight back on everything.  She’s been lied to about a lot of things.  It’s not been fair.

Does Brooke still think Hope is too vulnerable to make wise decisions for herself; even after she stood up for herself at the wedding of Thomas and Zoe?

KATHERINE: Now. I think she feels much better, because there are moments where Hope is very vulnerable, but then she kicks herself in the butt, and stands up for herself and everybody else.  So, Brooke knows that Hope’s strong, but she also knows that she can be vulnerable.  At this moment, she is proving that she can handle things.

Photo: JPI

B&B turned 33-years-old this week as the show continues to remain so popular in the United States, and of course, is the most watched soap in the world. What can you say about still being with the series since its inception, and all that has happened to you in your life and career, because of playing Brooke, plus a nod to the fans?

KATHERINE: It’s been an amazing opportunity for me.  It’s been my life basically! 33 years on The Bold and the Beautiful, and the show has always kicked butt.  I mean, the show has been going strong ever since it started, and it still is going strong.  It’s just been an honor to be on the show, and remain on the show for so long as one of the original characters.  My heart really goes out to the fans, because honestly, so many of them tell me they’ve watched from day one.  We have a history with them raising their families.  Younger people come up and say, “I’ve been watching the show ever since I was little with my mom.”  So, there’s a wide range of different people who watch the show, and I appreciate them so much.  We all appreciate them so much because really, without them, there would be no show.  I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all of the fans.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Photo: JPI

Brooke is one of the most notable characters of all-time in soap operas and you are the actress playing her. That has to be a very good-feeling for you.

KATHERINE: I think there have been a lot of notable characters on soap operas, who have even been on the air a lot longer than me.  Look at Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R) who just celebrated his 40th, and Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki, Y&R) who also reached a milestone recently.  What I have learned from all of this is; what matters is when you come on a show that your heart is in it 100%, and you come to your job and you try your hardest.  That to me is what matters and makes you an honorable person.  I’m very flattered that I’ve been on The Bold and the Beautiful for as long as I have.

Photo” JPI

When you look back at 33 years of your time on The Bold and the Beautiful, are your scenes with Susan Flannery and those epic moments between Stephanie and Brooke, the ones that still standout to you the most?

KATHERINE: Those scenes with Susan informed and formed the show and the characters for years.  I had a lot of memorable scenes with Susan.  I’m so lucky to have worked so closely with her.  She’s an amazing actress.  I learned so much from her, and just watching her.  I would hang on her every word – how she would talk about the business, how she would talk about acting, directing (because she loved to direct), and producing.  Susan was very knowledgeable, and she was very tough, but very fair, I thought.  I just loved her work ethic.

You and Thorsten Kaye have created your version of Brooke and Ridge. What do you think about working with Thorsten?  Is it fun? Challenging? How would you define it?

KATHERINE:  He’s very fun to work with.  Thorsten is very serious, very prepared all of the time, and he’s watching everything.  He’s got eagle eyes.  He’s just so on top of it and working with people like that makes you raise your bar.  It makes you want to try 110% to be there and put in the work.  Thorsten’s also so funny, and easy to work with, and so charming, and such a dear friend.   I love working with him.  I do think Brooke and Ridge have an interesting relationship even though some people say, “Oh, they should be over,” or whatever they want to say.  I do think they have created a good banter between them, and almost an understanding without having to say anything.  Thorsten’s a delight!

Photo: JPI

What is your takeaway when you travel overseas and internationally to places such as Italy, Dubai, Monaco or Australia where B&B is so widely popular and the reaction you receive from the fans?

KATHERINE:  Just seeing the overseas reactions in different countries and how popular or how loved The Bold and the Beautiful is truly special.  The fans really do love from their hearts.  They feel a part of it, and they are, but just their enthusiasm and their passion and their love, and they give their whole heart to you and to the show.  I just found that really interesting, and like I said earlier, we owe the success of B&B to the fans who love the show so much.

Photo: JPI

You recently were in Greece appearing for a multi-episode arc on the soap 8 Lexeis.  How was that experience?  I know Greek soap star, Andreas Georgiou, also came over to the States and appeared on B&B afterwards, too.

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KATHERINE:  It was an incredible opportunity.  I love working in other countries, and seeing how other people work, and how they make different projects and things.  8 Lexeis is their top TV show on their top network in Greece, so it was really exciting to go there and work on that.  I did 15 episodes in 5 days; something crazy like that.  We worked all morning through late at night every day, but it was fun.  It was amazing to see how creative they are and how they just run with it.  Everything was really chill on the set, but they still moved really fast and got everything done, and they were all so talented and so nice.  Then later, Andreas came over and did some shows here.  He was supposed to come to visit, but then the Coronavirus happened, so he had to postpone his trip, but we’ll see him soon.

Photo: JPI

B&B is on a production break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Have you stayed in touch with your co-stars during this time?

KATHERINE: A lot of us talk on Instagram all of the time, and then a lot of people have been going live on their as well.  So, we jump into each other’s live videos!  Have you seen Katrina Bowden (Flo) and Kelly Kruger (Mackenzie, Y&R) do their little workouts together? You should check those out! Ashley Jones (Bridget) is always on, and Annika Noelle, and then our Supervising Producer, Casey Kasprzyk, started doing Zoom.  He did a Zoom with some of the B&B people.  So, we’ve all been texting and keeping in touch and making sure that everybody is okay.  I know it’s very hard times and it can be scary for all.   Hopefully, if everybody does what they should be doing, it will flatten the curve and the Coronavirus will be a lot easier to deal with.

Photo: JPI

You are one of the busiest people I know! Recently, you went to Australia, you opened your new store Benheart USA in Beverly Hills, and you appear on B&B in a lead role.  Is there ever a moment when you’re like, “I can’t do one more thing?” or do you like the go-go-go of it all of the time?

KATHERINE: I like the go-go-go, but I felt that I was going too fast and too hard, and I’ve recently been thinking of what I can take out of our lives and our schedule, and then in thinking of that, I couldn’t really think of what I can take out.  Then, this all happened with life coming to a screeching halt, which I find very interesting because life is set up to go so fast.  Nobody can really enjoy anything.  We have to get up early, we have to go to work, we have to make money to pay for this, we’ve got to take care of the family, do this, do that, maybe just try to be motivated to be successful, whatever your dreams are, you’re going after them, etc.  It’s such a driven world all around that I think with having to self-quarantine that this is a chance to take a good look at what is going on in your life.  Now, we have a lot of down time.  We have time to think, go inside ourselves.  It gives you time to be kind, slow down, think of others.  What can you do for others?  What can you do for the world?  It’s been frightening for a lot of people; especially the ones who have gotten sick, or the ones who are scared of getting sick because they are immunocompromised.  But, at the same time, we need to try to not let that anxiety get to us and try to appreciate what we have.  Like, “Why is this happening?  What is this moment trying to tell us?”  I’m always trying to find the silver lining; or what is this trying to tell us in life?

Photo” JPI

B&B and Y&R co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away at the end of February, and it was so heartbreaking.  I know you were close with Lee.  What can you share on her passing?

KATHERINE:  It was heartbreaking.  I always think, “Gosh, I wish I saw her one more time before she passed,” but she was around her family, who are so loving, and supportive, and always there for her.  Lee created an amazing life for herself and for her family, and she was a huge part of The Bold and the Beautiful, and of course, I thank her so much because she hired me.  Lee gave me my life, and this time on the show.  She was amazing.  She cared so much about the show and the people on it.  Lee was such a great mom and such a great friend.  It’s been special knowing her and spending all of that time with her that I was able to through the years.  My heart goes out to the Bell family as well.  I know this must be hard for them.

Photo: JPI

Then, it was so sad that Orson Bean died tragically before that.  Have you talked to Alley Mills (Pam)?

KATHERINE: Yes, a bunch of us went over and spent time with Alley and brought her food.  We brought her goodies, and we just hung out.  We just gave her lots of love, spent time, and that was before I had to run off to Australia as well, but she’s really strong.  That was just very tragic.  Two weeks before Orson died, we had seen them both in the play Bad Habits.  It was so, so funny, and they both had all of us who attended laughing so hard, and it was such a pleasure.

Photo: JPI

In closing, what are your hopes for Brooke moving forward into the future?

KATHERINE: I’ve been saying that I hope she’ll spend time by herself and be alone for a while and focus on her family.  I’ve said that for so long, but I don’t know what’s going to work for her! (Laughs)  However, I’m just so curious to see what will happen next for her.

So, what do you think of Brooke’s latest predicament after her kiss with Bill? Do you hope that Ridge and Brooke stay together? What have you thought of the more recent version of a feisty Brooke who fought back when no one believed her about Thomas? And finally, share your congrats to Katherine for 33 years as Brooke and let us know some of your favorite all-time scenes via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Eric Braeden Talks On 40 Years Of Life In Soaps As Victor Newman

Back in February, Eric Braeden added another milestone to his illustrious career – that of portraying the one and only Victor Newman for 40 years on the top-rated daytime drama, The Young and the Restless.  And boy was he celebrated!  First, there was a one-of-a-kind on set celebration at CBS Television City which was quite the star-studded affair.  That was followed by special episodes of Y&R, where Newman Enterprises turned 50 with a gala that also proved emotional with speeches and retrospective clips.

When you talk daytime dramas to anyone, you would be hard-pressed for the general public to not know the name “Victor Newman”- and that is because of the powerhouse performances and nuances that Braeden brings to his soap opera alter-ego.  For it was Y&R co-creator Bill Bell and Braeden who really shaped what viewers have come to know, expect, and love, forty years later.

Those who know Eric understand he can be at times outspoken, has a heart of gold, stands up for what he believes, can bring the drama, the suspense, the tension, the romance and the tears in any given scene when it is called upon, and that throughout the years he has earned the respect from his peers for an impressive job well-done.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Eric to take a look back at all that had gone down recently in his honor, and to get his thoughts on some major moments in time through over 40 years in Genoa City, and where things are at now.  Check out our special conversation below.

Photo: JPI

When I attended and saw you at your 40th anniversary on set celebration at Y&R last month, I cannot tell you what a special event that was.  I have never seen that for anybody else!  The amount of people who attended, and the love they showed for you, was so special. When you were sitting in that chair on the soundstage and watching and hearing what was being said about you, what was going on in your mind at that point?

ERIC:  Well, first of all, it was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in 40 years on that show, and secondly, in moments like that, you try to stay focused on who is giving the speeches, because if I then look around and see all of the people who I have known for so many years, it’s emotional.  There’s a saying in German, “he’s close to the water,” meaning it’s very moving.  I saw my son and my granddaughter there and obviously everyone else, and my old coach and players, and so many others that have been a part of my life.

Photo: JPI

There were some very special guests and speeches.  I loved that Justin Hartley (Ex-Adam, Y&R and now Kevin, This Is Us) came.  I thought that was sweet and cool, and also that ESPN sports personality, Stephen A. Smith was there calling you one of his good friends.  There were so many moments.  You knew who was going to speak, right?

ERIC:  Yes, I did.  We kept it to just family, and in other words, Y&R family, etc.  I want to thank Matt Kane (Publicist, Y&R), who had a lot to do with putting the event together.  I also wanted to thank Tony Morina (executive producer, Y&R). The Y&R art department and David Hoffman (Production Designer) also did a fantastic job with those pictures they had created that was part of a set.  Thinking back on it, again, I would without a doubt say, that the celebration was the most moving moment in 40 years in the business and on that show.

Photo: JPI

A few weeks ago, Y&R and B&B co-creator Lee Phillip Bell passed away.  Obviously the late Bill Bell (co-creator, Y&R) and she were instrumental for you being at Y&R in the first place, and the creation of Victor Newman.  What can you say about Lee? 

ERIC:  We invited Lee to the event, and she apologized and said she was not in a position to attend, and then, shortly thereafter she passed.  In a sense, I’m glad Lee wasn’t there because when I would see her on some occasions, I just am moved to tears.  I would have not been able to really hold it together for long.  Obviously, she was co-responsible for a lot of stuff that happened on Y&R. co-responsible for that show still being number #1, and my heart goes out to her.  I know what I owe them, and she had a lot of influence on the storylines.  Lee was an incredibly smart and bright lady.  Her son, Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) did speak at the 40th event and I appreciated it enormously.

There were a lot of retro clips shown of you show in celebration of your 4oth anniversary from when you started on the show back in 1980 till now.  Did you remember all of those moments?

ERIC:  First of all, they put that together so beautifully.  That was done so extremely well.  When I see it, it comes right back, or in other words it evokes precise memories, but if I weren’t seeing it, it’s all a blur.

Photo: JPI

Y&R brought Meg Bennett (Ex-Julia) and Robert Parucha (Ex-Matt), for the on-screen episodes celebrating Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary.  Was it nice having them back and seeing them, or is it kind of weird, because it can be such a long time in-between since you have all been together?

ERIC:  It is both.  It is very nice to see old colleagues obviously, and very touching, but look, we are in a weird business.  When I saw Meg, you suddenly realize how the show has evolved in many ways.  So, I’m always very grateful to see those who I started out with on the show and of course, doubly grateful to those who are still there.  I think of Melody and Doug Davidson (Paul) for example.  Doug has been there for longer than I have, and what a great job he did emceeing the 40th anniversary event, and as for Melody, that her and my relationship still endues after all of these years is amazing.

Photo: JPI

Let’s talk about those Newman Children.  I thought Joshua Morrow (Nick) gave a hilarious speech and even Mark Grossman (Adam) spoke so sincerely from the heart to you.  You get a sense that the Newmans are a fun group to work with.

ERIC:  I obviously love working with Joshua.  Same for Amelia Heinle (Victoria), I adore her, and Melissa Ordway (Abby).  They all have a great sense of humor, and Mark Grossman, I think is doing a damned good job.  And there is Peter Bergman (Jack).  Peter has been a great nemesis for all of these years.  Of course, Peter was very funny in his speech, and Joshua was very funny, and Ed Scott’s (Producer, B&B) was very good.  Tony Morina also shared a very funny little antidote!

Photo: JPI

What came across loud and clear is what we already knew.  Everyone knows the name “Victor Newman”.  You know when they go, “Victor Newman … Y&R!”  It’s so synonymous, right?  I don’t know what it must be like for you knowing the public has that reaction to you … and you’re that guy.

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ERIC:  I’ll tell you very honestly, I have an ambivalent relationship to that fact.  I deny it on one hand, don’t want to know about it, don’t really want to know about it, and on the other hand, when I hear about it, I say, “Yeah, very happy to hear about it, but is it true?”  I am sort of strange that way.  I have not had a picture of myself or anyone else in my dressing room for these 40 years.  It’s barren, as you know.  I don’t have any pictures hanging up of me; there’s nothing.  Now, I was talking about taking the one picture that David Hoffman had designed beautifully, and I have it on one wall.  I thought, “I’ll be damned,” because the picture includes Melody and some scenes that went on.  I’ve always been funny that way with praise.  Do I like it?  Of course, but …

There’s an uncomfortableness about it, right?

ERIC:  Yes, but I’ve seen too much in this business.  I’ve seen too many extraordinary stars, where you wonder, “Where are they now”?  I take this business with a grain of salt.  I really do.  It’s so easy to succumb to it.   I’ve known many people, including on our show, who used to say, “Well, without me, this thing would go down the drain,” and I said, “Yeah?  No s**t,” and they’re not there anymore.  You have no idea what happens to some actors when they see themselves on the cover of soap magazine.  They go crazy.  I’ve seen it, and the worst thing you can do is to believe in that, and I’ve always been skeptical of that, very skeptical.  Get back to what counts in this business:  do a good job … do the best you can … and where is the money?  I mean really, let’s call a spade a spade, and that’s it.

Photo: JPI

I was just going to say, the one person I so wished was at your 40th celebration was Jeanne Cooper (Ex-Katherine, Y&R).   I wish she could have been there with us, because she would have loved it.  I know she loved you.

ERIC:  She would have spoken, trust me!  She would have said, “Alright, you son of a bitch.  Alright, macho man let’s see what you’ve got!” and then she would grab me by the balls.  The first scene I ever had with her, Jeanne did that.  Absolutely hilarious!  Jeanne and I could not do a scene without laughing.  I’m serious.  We had to pull ourselves together.  She had such a great sense of humor, and we both looked at this, obviously, with an enormous grain of salt, because we’ve been there.  We’d seen it all.

set

Photo: JPI

Through the years, you obviously have been vocal on social media where you will call out things as you see them and as you truly feel, especially through various regime changes, or if there is a noticeable shift away, or focus, from core characters. What are your thoughts on what ultimately makes Y&R, the iconic soap that it is?

ERIC:  Let me put it very simply: the show is based on the comradery and enmity between the Newmans and the Abbotts, and I’ve included on that a go-between, if you will, a Chancellor … Jeanne Cooper.   That was sort of the plan, but the major triangle was sort of the Montagues and the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.  That is what legendary stories are based on.  It’s family rivalries, and within those rivalries, we tell all kinds of fantastic stories.  It’s father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife, love affairs, disloyalties, ruthless business competition, and it goes on and on.  The scenes with Peter Bergman and me over the years have been legendary, wonderful, and they’re great scenes.  Now, to suddenly bring in whole new characters that no one knows about, which previously happened on our show, you have to ask, “What are you not getting?  You want to reinvent the wheel?”  Go with what is working.  It doesn’t often happen that you have the right cast and the right story.  That is what makes a show successful.  Imagine taking Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) out of Seinfeld.  You couldn’t.   It wouldn’t work.  In other words, when you have the right actors and the right storyline, you have a hit.  We’d been number #1 for over 30 years because of it

Photo: JPI

When you get a script, have there been those moments in the 40 years where you will say. “My character would never do this.  I’m not playing it!?”

ERIC:  Of course.  Not that I’m not playing it, but I will make certain adjustments here and there.  I always have, by the way, from the very beginning.  Bill Bell agreed with most of it.  I know my character, and I have and instinctive feel for what is emotionally touching and what is not.  Look, I have always said that I admire writers.  I don’t envy their job.  I really don’t.  I think it is the hardest job in the business, and writing for soaps is even harder.  So, I have great respect.  So therefore, I don’t even want to know who wrote what.  I don’t ever want to be in the position of insulting a writer because I know how difficult it is.  As in everything in this business, it is a cooperative business.  There are very few writer/directors who have earned the right (I’m talking about Martin Scorsese, I’m talking about Ingmar Bergman, I’m taking about a handful) to write and direct their own stuff.  Even they rely on the cooperation of their lead actors.  That’s what is so wonderful about this business in that it’s this precisely cooperative thing.  However, when there are some people who simply don’t listen to those of us who have been around for a while and we know, we really know, then, they’re being foolish.

Photo: JPI

Y&R taped the Newman Enterprises 50th anniversary gala, which was in essence, your on-screen 40th anniversary episodes.  That was another amazing part of this.  I love that they would go to a clip, and one of the characters would say something in speech, and then, they’d go back to a shot of you reacting.  Were you, you, or Victor at that point, because it seemed so genuine and emotional?

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General Hospital's Johnny Wactor Talks 'Being Brando Corbin'

ERIC:  You know, look, one thing sort of blends into the other.  I loved that show by the way.  It was brilliantly done, and they could have easily screwed that up, but they didn’t.  I thought Josh Griffith (head writer, and Co-EP, Y&R) did a hell of a job, and Tony Morina did a wonderful job, they really did.  So, I really can’t say enough about that.

Photo: CBS

When you look back on the enormity of scenes you have performed as Victor Newman; the ones that and you and I always come back to are the scenes between you and Dorothy McGuire as Victor’s mother; and the scenes with you and George Kennedy as Victor’s father.  Do you still consider those your all-time favorites?

ERIC:  I always think about them.  They are my top favorites, plus one other.   No question about it; because the scene with Dorothy McGuire laid the groundwork of what Victor Newman is all about.  That summarized all of his subsequent moments of anger, and upset, and mistrust, and etc.  It was the seminal scene for Victor Newman … period.  One other scene that one of my favorites was the one with Melody, on Christmas Eve where Nikki keeps on bugging Victor to tell her about his past, and he finally does.  It was about that orphanage experience, etc.  Actually, those two scenes early on were responsible for my really wanting to stay and realizing that now I had a chance to play some real emotions, some real feelings, some real conflict.   I remember after Victor told Nikki that story, a moment when I went to my dressing room, I called home, and I said, “Now, I’m going to stay.”  No two ways about that.  I called my wife, and I said, “I’m staying,” because I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  It happened because I had talked to Bill Bell and I said, “Bill, I’m so tired of playing bad guys.  I’ve done it for too many years.  I’m empty.  I’m burnt out.  It’s too dehumanizing.  Let’s imbue this character with a background,” and he did, brilliantly, and that’s the reason I stayed, and that’s the reason I’m here 40 years later, truly.

So, when you were feeding rats to Nick Benedict as Michael Scott, were you ready to leave? (Laughs)

ERIC:  Well, that was a little different story, but I looked at that, and I said, “Are you kidding me?” (Laughs)  Back then, I knew little about what works on soaps … and people still talk about it!  They loved it.

Photo: JPI

The scenes opposite George Kennedy were so emotional … and heavy-duty, too.  It was so sad watching Victor’s father reject him.

ERIC:  It was sad.  It was really, really sad, and George played it wonderfully.  I cannot say enough about that because here is an actor who comes from the outside of our genre.  George lived in Boise. Idaho and he traveled all the way by car to LA with his grandson to do the scenes He wouldn’t take a plane.  George was so damn prepared that we did those scenes in one take!  It’s stunning!  I can’t talk enough about him.  I just so admired and respected him.  George passed away about a year ago, but that’s why I had him in my film, The Man Who Came Back.

Photo: JPI

As a leading man, Victor has had many women in and out of his romantic life for years and of course, his constant, Nikki Newman (Melody Thomas Scott).   You’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful actresses such as Eileen Davidson as Ashley.  Which standout to you? 

ERIC:  I have to say obviously Melody, but I have to also say the scenes with Eileen – they meant a lot to me.  I regret that she and I did not have more storylines together.

Photo: CBS

So, the coronavirus is shutting down the world, life in America, and has shut down production on the soaps.  How is everybody dealing with it at the show, and how do you feel it’s being handled?

ERIC:  Well, originally I wanted to continue working, but I said only if everyone was fully supplied with the proper wipes and antiseptics all of the time.  In other words, from the makeup department, from the props department, to someone wiping down all of the handles and all of that, but I completely understand now from a company point of view, they had to shut down because what if you work and someone gets sick because of it… and it goes on and on.  It’s a terrible thing, but I was willing to continue working.  Yes, perhaps stupidly so.  It’s going to be tough when we come back because a lot of work has to be made up, but I understand why we stopped.

What would you say to the fans who have stayed so invested in Victor Newman, and you, even 40 years after your Y&R debut? 

ERIC:  I’ve said it before, and I will happily say it again:  I am deeply grateful to the fans everywhere.  Without them, you and I would not be talking.  That’s really the long and the short of it.  The fans have really everything to do with it.  I’m glad that I am on social media because I am engaged with quite a few people very gladly, and I hear some interesting stories, and some very touching stories.  Y&R has taught me to really not look at that as a sort of nebulous audience.  I put faces behind it because I’ve seen them.  I’ve seen them in the last 30-odd years in public appearances.  I don’t forget them.  I don’t forget what it means to me.  It’s deeply touching.  I’m not at all anesthetized to it, no.  It touches me deeply, and whenever I do a PA, and receive the people’s reactions, I say, “Whoa,” and now I know why I’m in the business.

Courtesy/CBS

In closing, fans have been watching what looks to be another showdown brewing between Victor vs. Adam for control of Newman Enterprises.  Do you think still after all these years; Victor has it in him to out maneuver his black sheep son, as he has done in the past?

ERIC:  Hell, yes.  What do you think?  Bring him on, man.  Bring him on.  Victor’s still full of piss and vinegar.  Okay?  What people don’t know is that I’m a feisty son of a bitch.  I don’t give up.  I fight to the last.  I mean it.

So, what has been your favorite all-time Y&R scenes featuring Eric Braeden? What do you hope happens next for Victor and the Newman clan? What do you think about the sentiments shared throughout our conversation on Eric’s 40th anniversary celebration? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital’s Johnny Wactor Talks ‘Being Brando Corbin’

This week on General Hospital, viewers saw that Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) has set Port Charles newcomer Brando Corbin (Johnny Wactor) up with a mechanics garage for a place of business, that has left Brando concerned, but also thankful.

Brando came onto the scene when he saved Carly (Laura Wright) from gunfire. The once believed-to-be-dead son of Gladys Corbin (Bonnie Burroughs), has a checkered past, but has been trying to remain on the straight and narrow.  Sonny had previously put into motion protection for teenaged Dev (Ashton Arbab), that he will continue to be passed off as the biological son of Brando to keep him safe.  That, along with a back-story that includes: the Iraqi War, prison time, drug use, PTSD, familial issues, mob wars, and more, has loaded the deck for actor Johnny Wactor to show his acting chops and more within the daytime drama arena.

Since making his debut in the recurring role of Brando back in January of this year, in a short amount of time, Wactor has already displayed that he has solid leading man, and soap anti-hero potential, something that always serves one well amidst the romance, intrigue, and suspense of the genre’s storytelling.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Johnny to get his thoughts on becoming part of the iconic GH and where he hopes Brando’s journey goes from here.  Check out what he had to say below.

Photo: ABC

What do you think about your character’s name being “Brando”? Did GH tell you where the idea for the name came from?

JOHNNY:  Oh, I love it.   No, they didn’t tell me why, but I assume it was in some relation to Marlon Brando; when back in the day he was in a leather jacket … because I come onto the scene wearing a leather jacket as a badass!

What’s your experience been like coming onto a show like GH?  Previously, I know you’ve done a lot of primetime roles and series.  Were you shocked at the pace of shooting a daytime drama?

JOHNNY:  Oh, yeah.  I was made aware of the pace beforehand by my manager, as well as my buddy, Mark Grossman (Adam Newman) who works on The Young and the Restless.  He’s kicking ass over there.  In this genre, you get one rehearsal and one take pretty much, and then, they move on.  It’s definitely been a learning curve, and I’m still getting used to that at times where I’m just like, “Ah, I want one more take!”  I can get a bit obsessive and I’m a perfectionist.  It definitely has been challenging, but I enjoy it.  It’s fun to work at a fast pace.  It’s a lot like working in the theatre.

In story, Johnny is pretending to be Dev’s father.  Did you know that would be part of Brando’s story when you took on this gig?

JOHNNY:  I did not.   I didn’t know that until I read the first script that they sent me.  I’m like, “I also have a son?”   It was a lot to take in, but that’s where the imagination comes in.

What’s great for you, I would think, is that you’re getting to play in scenes with Maurice Benard and Laura Wright and major players who are a part of that core group.  What’s it been like working with them?

JOHNNY:  It’s been a Godsend, really.  Being my first time on a daytime show, for one, anytime you come onto a new project and one that’s been going on for some time, and you’re a newcomer, there’s always that concern like, “What will this set be like?  Is it like a familial atmosphere?  Am I going to be welcomed?”  They’ve made it super easy.  I’m just so lucky that I have people who have so much experience on this show and just daytime shows in general, where they’ve kind of taken me under their wings and are super helpful.  Anytime I have questions, they’re patient.  I’m sure I annoy them sometimes, but they don’t let on to it.   I’m grateful that they’ve sort of “teamed” me up with them to kind of ease me onto the show.

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The fans are seeing a spark between Brando and Carly.  Is Brando into Carly?

JOHNNY:  I’d like to say that he rescued her because she was a beautiful blonde, but that’s not what that was and why he did it … even though I’m not denying that she’s a beautiful blonde.  I think there’s something there, but how far Brando pursues that, I don’t know!  Sonny sets Brando up with the garage and a pretty sweet deal at that.  So, does Brando want to screw this up?  However, not everyone makes logical, levelheaded decisions.  We’ll see.  I’m not ruling it out as something that could possibly happen.

How are you playing Brando right now? Is he a good guy … or, are there secret ulterior motives going down that the audience may not know about, yet?

JOHNNY:  In my opinion, he is a guy who has got a good heart.  I don’t think he is infallible.  I think he is someone who is determined to be on the mend and make up for his decisions and his past, because he is someone who has made poor decisions.  I don’t think you can rule him as a good person who will never make a mistake, or won’t get into trouble, or won’t make some bad decisions.  “Does he have ulterior motives?”  Maybe, but I think that if he does, they might be a little unconscious.  I think he is a genuine good guy.

Photo: ABC

Are the fans swooning over you on social media now that you’ve made your GH debut?  When you get the, “Oh, he’s hot,” do you take those compliments well, or, is it uncomfortable for you, and you deflect that?

JOHNNY:  It’s always flattering to get those compliments.  I think when I was younger, like 22, first getting into this business; I was definitely pining for those compliments and put more weight into it.  I will say; it’s always good to have someone say something positive about you.  I will take, “Hey, he’s good-looking.”  I love the comments.  It’s great.

So, what would you love to see happen with Brando?  Is there anything that you’re seeing with your character that you wish you could do …or get to have the opportunity to be able to drive the direction in which he goes in?

JOHNNY:  That’s a great question.  I love when the writers put Brando on the scene and planted some seeds early on when he was revealing a little of his background to Carly.  He reveals he has PTSD and spent time in prison.  Brando also has got issues with drug addiction.  I would love for those to kind of resurface somehow.  Maybe Brando has a relapse and gets back on the sauce, or drugs, or maybe has some kind of other issues with PTSD, because those are the real things in the world that people deal.

Photo: ABC

What’s great about it is that they kind of loaded you up with a back-story that they can fill in, so that as a viewer, you ultimately root for the guy

JOHNNY:  Absolutely.  Yeah, nobody wants to root for the guy who has everything and just has the perfect life.  We’ve all made mistakes.  So, alright, he’s trying to get back on the horse and make a good life for himself.

READ MORE
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Did you get any pointers from GH vet Steve Burton (Jason), who you have also shared several scenes with since coming to GH?

JOHNNY:  The most pointers I’ve gotten from Steve are about preparation for the scenes.  Every time we have scenes together, he’s just always willing to work with you, and make sure that you’re prepared, and he’s prepared, and the scene is going to be the best that it can be.  Also, he’s been really invaluable with giving me more of a crash course on the background of these characters.  This show has been on for decades and it’s tough to get caught up in the short amount of time between when you find out you have the job, and you start filming, to really know who everybody is.  So, he explained to me who Jason is on the show and who the Corinthos family is and what they represent … these are dangerous guys!

Photo: ABC

Take me through what happened when you learned you got the part of Brando, and were joining the cast of General Hospital?

JOHNNY:  I was at my apartment.  I think it was probably two days after I went in for the producer’s session.  They brought in 4 or 5 guys to read in front of the producers, (at least that I saw) and I felt strong about my reading.  Then, I just kind of tried to forget about it after I left so I wouldn’t get all into my head about whether I got the part, or not.  Then the next day, I didn’t get a phone call.  So, I’m like, “Man, really?  I thought that might have been it.”   But the next day, I was with my girlfriend at the time and my agency was calling.  My manager was on the phone as well, and they shared with me that I got the part, and it was exciting.  It was a relief and an affirmation.  It’s always exciting when you book a job and then to book a major recurring role on a show with a character whose name is “Brando Corbin”, needless to say, was really cool.

Photo: ABC

I think it’s very apparent that you have the “It” factor.  You already have a shown a strong presence on the show and have a very bright future ahead of you.   I have seen a lot of actors come and go, and who launch their careers on daytime over the years, and I think you are going to be one to watch for quite some time to come.

JOHNNY:  First of all, thank you so much for saying that.  That’s really kind of you.  It’s really high praise.  Coming from someone who knows that show and who is a fan of it that means I passed the test!  Thank you, Michael!  I really appreciate that affirmation.  It’s good to get validation from someone whose opinion really matters.

Photo; ABC

Could you see a love interest for Brando coming up in the future?

JOHNNY:  I could definitely see a love interest for him coming up.  Maybe multiple love interests!  Who knows?

I think there are a lot of single ladies in Port Charles.

JOHNNY:  Yeah!  But, why do they have to be single?

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

So, have you been enjoying Johnny’s performances as Brando Corbin thus far?  Who do you hope he becomes involved with romantically on GH? Do you want to know more about his back-story and see what happens next now that Sonny has set him up with a garage? Comment below.

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Knots Landing favorites: Joan Van Ark (Valene), Michele Lee (Karen) and Donna Mills (Abby)  chat with Michael Fairman in honor of Knots Landing’s 40th anniversary. Leave A Comment

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