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B&B’s Scott Clifton & Annika Noelle Chat On Liam and Hope’s Long and Winding Road To Their Reunion With Baby Beth

Photo: JPI

“The wait is over” were four of the happiest words for fans of CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful when they learned, and then watched, after agonizing months, how beleaguered parents, Liam (Scott Clifton) and Hope (Annika Noelle) finally were reunited with the baby girl they believed had died at birth, when they were victims of a heinous baby switch plot.  To make their journey all the more agonizing, Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) had ‘adopted’ baby Beth along the way and was also duped in the process.

In this story arc, several characters learned of the secret, but for one reason or the other chose to keep mum about it, thus not letting long-suffering Hope and Liam know the truth! Chief among them was now bad boy, Thomas (Matthew Atkinson), who is still legally-married to Hope and in wanting her all to himself, blackmailed others along the way to keep quiet, and even ran poor Emma (Nia Sioux) off the road because of what she might spill!

However, Liam, with a major assist from little Douglas, was able to figure out how he and Hope had been lied to and manipulated this whole time.  To think, this string of events all started on that fateful night in Catalina when Hope delivered Beth into the corrupt hands of Dr. Buckingham (Wayne Brady), who needed cash to pay off a gambling debt.

Fast-forward to just a few weeks ago, and viewers witnessed the emotional reunion between Liam and Beth, and then Hope and Beth, in a sweeping epic soap opera tale that delivered in so many ways.  But is there more trouble ahead?  From the looks of it, and with Thomas going over a cliff, we would say so! For now, B&B set a ratings record for the show during the big reveal, while Scott Clifton and Annika Noelle delivered gut-wrenching performances that will be remembered for some time to come.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Scott and Annika, who were at the epicenter of this exhausting, twisted, frustrating tale to get their thoughts on: playing out the key scenes, how they got through it month after month, what they think might happen next, and some behind- the-scenes insight on how several of those major moments came to life on-screen.

Photo: JPI

When you both went into play the scenes where Liam puts two and two together and is reunited with his daughter, and then Hope finding out that Beth was alive, did you feel added pressure that you had to get the performance, and the payoff just right, because the audience had been waiting so long for this?

SCOTT:  Annika had a bigger job to do there than I did.  I have been doing this long enough to know that to get in my head about it having to be just right, it’s not going to be, and so, I was pretty good about that.  It turned out pretty well, but I think Annika had a lot of pressure on her as well.

ANNIKA: I think the payoff was even bigger with Scott, because Liam was the one who figured it out and had that revelation.  It unfolds a little more slowly in regard to Hope finding out the news.  When she initially finds out she is not with the baby.  I was more nervous about the baby in the key scenes. They are not actors, and they’re teething right now, and they’ve been working so much lately, that sometimes by the end of it, they are kind of cranky.  The main thing I was concerned about in my head was, “I hope the baby really likes me today, so we can have that magical moment.”

Photo: JPI

The Bold and the Beautiful  is known for delivering the culmination of an emotional storyline on a large scale, but not before having plot point after plot point where none of the characters are quite figuring out what transpired, and thus the story drags out for a time, and thus can frustrate the audience.  For you as actors where you like, “When will this end?” or “Please end this! Now!” (Laughs)

SCOTT:  Oh, pretty early on. (Laughs)  It takes about a week of crying before any actor is like, “Let’s move on,” and I think Annika was crying for – what was it?  7 months?  8 months?

ANNIKA:  I think it might have been 8 total.  (Laughs)

SCOTT:  That is a sort of interesting kind of philosophical question you posed that I have been asking myself lately.  We have gotten so much pain and grief from fans on the story – not personally at us.  They understand and are very complimentary of our acting, but I get people coming up to me in grocery stores going, “When is this going to end?  My God, I can’t take it.  It’s just been months of this.  It’s the same thing over and over again.”  For a long time, we had no answer for them, and it was just, “Yeah, I know.  I hear you, but it’s going to pay off.  Trust me.  Brad Bell (EP and head writer, B&B) knows what he is doing,” and he did know what he was doing, and he did pay it off.  It makes me wonder if we hadn’t made our fans suffer right along with the character for 8 months, would the exact same payoff that we got had been as profound?  I don’t know.  I wonder if… it needed to be that long.  It needed to drag, I think, for this moment, and here we are with the highest ratings we’ve had in forever!

Photo: JPI

Yes, and that is a fantastic news!  In fact, looking at the ratings on the strength of the ‘Phoebe is Beth’ reveal, B&B finished #1 of all daytime shows (that includes soaps, talk and game shows) in the 25-49 womens demo for the week of August 5-9, which was a first in the 32-year history of the series.  In addition, B&B finished #1 in the key womens 18-49 demo (ahead of all the other network soaps) for the weeks of July 29-August 2nd, and August 12-16th.  A big “congrats” to everybody at B&B, and of course, the two of you, who were instrumental in playing out the story on-air. That’s pretty amazing. 

ANNIKA: It is wonderful and amazing.   When fans would ask me, “When will the truth come out?”  I’d answer, “Trust me!  Nobody wants that more than me.”  They would tell me, “Oh, my God!  I’m going crazy, and I’m just so depressed watching this happen,” and I’m like, “I’ve had to live it.”  (Laughs)  I agree with Scott, though.  I do wonder, as well, if the reaction would have been as strong if it the reveal had been sooner.

I don’t think so, because I remember watching it, and I wrote about this.  It was such a heart-tugging moment when Liam realizes that Phoebe is Beth, and they have that first moment together as biological father and daughter. The payoff was so big with the slow motion of the scene, accompanied by the music underscore.  I think, you had to have the story drag out to get to that moment where it was so emotional and touching.

SCOTT:  I think that is probably true.

Photo: JPI

When you saw the scripts that contained within them that the truth was going to come out … did you call each other up, and go, “OMG! I think this is finally coming to a conclusion!?”

SCOTT:  It was kind of a slow burn.  There wasn’t any particular announcement or memo to the cast or anything like that, and it is not like it all comes out in one script, either.  At first, there were kind of whispers.  There were kind of rumors like:  “Sounds like Brad might be wrapping it up soon.”, “Really?  You think Brad might be wrapping it up?  Is this the light at the end of the tunnel?”  “I don’t know.  Maybe it is.  Maybe, it isn’t.”  Then at the wedding, when Liam overhears Flo and Thomas kind of arguing about it, to me, that was when I started to think, “This might actually be close to the end now.”  It still could have easily not been the end, but that was a qualitative change in tone and pace for the story that kind of tipped me off, but even then, it was still another month before the actual truth came out.  It just had to start somewhere.

Photo Credit: JPI

Annika, were you just done crying? (Laughs) I can’t recall such a long stretch for a character, or an actress, having to cry month after month, scene after scene!  And to top it off, you have this epic moment on the rooftop where Hope and Liam connect, and in a way, celebrate that Beth is alive against all odds.

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ANNIKA: The cinematography of that episode on the roof was beautiful, and I was so happy we got a drone up there to capture it, and the timing of when we got up to the roof … the sun was setting … and it was just a beautiful moment.  To get all of those shots, Scott and I had to do that scene – I don’t even know how many times, and there was lots of crying there!

SCOTT:  It was probably like twenty times that we had to do that wide shot with the drone, and we are used to doing one.  So, it took a lot out of us, but it was so worth it!

Photo: JPI

It was worth it, because it was that kind of spectacular, sweeping moment that The Bold and the Beautiful executes so well when they get to a climactic point their storytelling.  So, let’s talk about Matthew Atkinson who comes in and plays Thomas, and his character becomes unglued, and obsessed.  What has it been like working with Matthew in this story, and how Thomas’ character flipped from when the character was previously on the canvas?

ANNIKA: I was saying that we needed it, because he was a catalyst for all of the actions to unfold and all of these domino pieces to start toppling.  It’s been nice having a bad guy on the show again.  I’m just kind of curious now about what is going to happen to Thomas.  I’m also curious, and we will have to wait and see how this is going to unfold with Thomas, because Hope is still married to him, technically.

Scott, you had to have that fight scene with Matthew, as Liam was trying to tell Hope that Beth was alive!  How was that to pull off?

SCOTT:  That was really, really fun.  I think Matthew and I both really enjoyed that.  The show was really nice in giving us a lot of creative input in that.  I went into it having this idea that I really, really didn’t want it to be glamorous.  I really wanted it to be raw, and kind of dirty, and asymmetrical.  I wanted them to be on the ground, and tired, and sluggish; I didn’t want them to be Kungfu fighters.  I didn’t want it to look like a beautiful dance, like a lot of fight choreography does look.  We are not martial artists.  We are two guys, who don’t really know how to fight, just beating the shit out of each other, and that was my pitch.  I got a little bit of pushback on that.  They were like, “Well, it’s still a soap opera, Scott.  It has to look kind of sexy, you know.”  I was like, “Aw, man,” but Matthew and I got to kind of choreograph it along with our stunt doubles, who helped us and were amazing!

Photo: JPI

Scott, weren’t you glad that they didn’t make Liam a doofus and that he was the one that did put everything together and figure out the baby switch?  Sometimes, the guys on soaps are made to be not-the-brightest-bulbs in order to facilitate story for the female characters. 

SCOTT:  Well, (laughs)… I think a person in real life would have figured that out sooner.  I’m really glad Liam figured it out.  There were a couple of episodes where Liam was doing detective work and shining flashlights on old documents, and making phone calls, and asking questions.  All of that was really, really fun.  There was a period before that happened where, just the way the pieces were falling together, when I thought, “What if Wyatt (Darin Brooks) figures it out?  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Oh, my God! Maybe Wyatt is going to figure it out.”  I thought this because Wyatt and Thomas really hate each other.  Wyatt stole Ivy from Thomas.  So, I just thought that would have been kind of interesting.  Kind of the analogue to that is Arya killing the Night King instead of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.  You’re like of like, “Woah, I didn’t think she’d be the one.”   But I get it though, it had to be Liam.

ANNIKA:  In a way though, it was Douglas (Henry Joseph Simiri), which I love that they did from the mouth of the baby.

SCOTT:  Well one of our writers, Michael Minnis, said he really wanted it to be out of the mouth of the babes.

Photo: JPI

I got blasted on Twitter because I said, “Liam figured it out! He is the hero!” Fans pushed back and said, “No, he didn’t!  It was Douglas who figured it out!  You are wrong!”  I get it.  Douglas was key.  I was just trying to publicly give props to Scott for his outstanding work in those scenes.  (Laughs)

ANNIKA: Henry has been doing such a good job.  I loved the scenes, Scott, with you and him together when Liam was figuring it out.

SCOTT:  You know, I still haven’t watched those scenes. There is no self-consciousness or anything like that.  That’s never been an issue for me.  When we lost the baby, or when we thought we lost the baby in the delivery room, I never watched those scenes, and then I realized, I didn’t want to.  I don’t know if this is that situation where I will just never go back and watch it.  I don’t know what it is.

Courtesy: CBS

You should watch it, and I would certainly suggest that if you do submit yourself for the Daytime Emmys next year, that this is a great scene for you to choose for your reel.

SCOTT:  Thank you!

ANNIKA:  It’s hard.  I did watch it, though.  I remember watching the baby episode, I had to mentally prepare myself for it, and watching it, I was almost reliving it again.  I was crying right along with the episode because I had forgotten.  That episode came together beautifully as well.  There was something cinematic about it.  It almost felt like film, the way that they shot it.  I have to give credit to Cindy Popp, who directed that episode.  I get it.  It’s the same thing, watching yourself.  I’m my biggest critic.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  I learn from it, but at the same time, I can’t stand watching myself.

Photo: JPI

What’s interesting now is that we are seeing Hope taking control of the situation after learning of everyone’s part in the cover-up of baby Beth.  Last week, she even bitch-slapped Flo (Katrina Bowden).  Is Hope going to want payback and retribution on everyone who wronged her?  What is she thinking at this point? 

ANNIKA: I think the main thing was that she had to be so lost in her grief that she was making these decisions that were completely illogical and had to be in a place, where she felt so out of control in her life that this is now the moment where she is seizing that control back.  Hope has the strength to do that, and she has the renewed confidence to make the choices she needs to make.  So, it’s kind of like the phoenix rising from the ashes.  I really do hope this is a true moment of growth for her and she isn’t as naïve anymore; that she isn’t as prone to being gas lighted in a way.

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SCOTT:  Now, she will just be completely distrustful of everybody.

ANNIKA:  No babysitters.  Nobody is babysitting my kid!

SCOTT:  Never again.  “Can I hold your baby?”  “Nope.  No, you can’t.  Nope.  Sorry.” (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

What can you say about working with your ‘Best Supporting Actresses’, who play baby Beth?  They are pretty cute, and the timing and the facial expressions they make works in the scenes so well!  

ANNIKA: I was saying that we have set baby goals.  We have set child actor goals.  What we have been getting, and the fact that we have captured them (because there are two of them, there is Madeline Valdez, and then, there is River Davidson) saying “Mama”, saying “Dada”, or clapping, and crawling over to my wedding dress, or pulling on my wedding dress, what we have gotten is so lucky for us.  I know for me, the scene where I was watching Scott as Liam finding out for the first time it really hit home, because Scott was crying, and she says “Dada” when he comes into the room.  Then, Scott is like bawling holding her, and she just reached up and touched his face at one point.  I have to give the parents credit, and the babies, who don’t even know that they are acting.

SCOTT:  Those kids are amazing.  The one you see the most is Madeline.  She was the one in the scene with me and in the scene where Hope is reunited with her as well, but we also have River, who is a little sweetheart too.  She also does some very interesting things.  They both just do something interesting in every single scene, and it’s an actor’s dream because it forces us to be present.  You know, we have to react in real time to whatever it is they are doing, and we were just very, very lucky to find them.

Photo: JPI

What do you think all of these revelations means for the future of Liam and Hope, and Liam and Steffy? 

SCOTT:  I don’t know.  I think we have got to be back-burnered at some point.  People have got to be getting sick of us (laughs) because it’s been Hope and Liam, and baby Beth all the time.    Brad knows that, so I’m guessing that there has got to be some break for Liam and Hope.  After that, there is no way they are going to live happily ever after.  We don’t want that.  We want more drama.  We want something to go wrong.  I don’t know what it could be, but if I value my soap career, I want something else to go wrong for Liam.

Annika, how were those scenes to tape with Jacqueline MacInnes Wood where Hope has to tell Steffy that Phoebe is Beth … and that she is taking her biological child and leaving with her, knowing how that would affect Steffy?

ANNIKA: Getting to play scenes with Jacqui is always such fun.  There is a beautiful give and take that happens, and in that moment, Hope is still very empathetic.  She understands what it is like to lose a child, but at the same time, there is no way that she is walking out of there without her daughter.  Also, it’s just a moment where you have to step back and go, “Aww,” and just watch Jacqui do some amazing work, and to let her have her moment to shine, because she did such a beautiful job.  Those were pretty stressful days because the babies were in every single scene, which means we have a certain amount of time to get those takes.  So, those were actually really difficult scene to shoot.  We had a lot of pressure to get them done, and also, having to hold a baby who is now, I think almost 20 pounds.  My arms just started going and I am thinking, “Wow! I need to go to the gym to work on my upper arm strength.”  At one point, I literally was like, “I can’t hold this baby right now.”  They wanted me holding her so that Steffy sees another woman holding “her” child.  You’re about to see Steffy go on a bit of a vengeance with all of this soon.  I hope they tie-up the loose ends before they move on with everyone’s story.

Photo: JPI

Hope is this long-suffering heroine, and last Friday, Thomas came to try to talk to her to explain why he did the things he did, and then he went over a cliff!  Is there any happiness ahead for Hope, really?

ANNIKA:  Hopefully, if she gets that annulment!

SCOTT:  When Hope is standing over Dr. Buckingham’s (Wayne Brady) dead body, then she will find her happiness.

ANNIKA: If we could just bring Wayne Brady back just for a scene, please! (Laughs) We can only hope for Hope. (Laughs)  I know Thomas certainly isn’t going to make it easy to get an annulment, and I hope that we solidify that Beth is legally Hope’s, and that the marriage is annulled and never happened.  Maybe she and the baby can get a few moments of happiness and joy, but I’m sure that a wrench will be thrown in.

Photo: JPI

What would you want to say to the viewers who were put through the wringer with this storyline, and yet stayed glued to the story?  What could you tease is yet to come?

SCOTT:  We put our viewers through hell.  We tortured them.  We tortured them for 8 months, and the fact that the ratings are what they are shows that our viewers are the exact gluttons for punishment they we hoped they would be. (Laughs)  They’ve stuck with us, and I hope they feel rewarded.  They certainly tuned in for their reward, but the payoff is not over yet, and we hope to keep making it up to them.

Photo Credit: JPI

Annika, you get the final word.  What would you like to say to the B&B audience?

ANNIKA: Thank you for joining on this emotional rollercoaster ride with me, and thank you for all of the support.  I’ve gotten a lot of very positive feedback, and I think a few new fans from it along the way.  I’m just very grateful that they stuck with us and the story, and echoing what Scott said, hopefully now there will be a lot of beautiful, fun, juicy, awesome moments for the fans to enjoy after the fallout.  With a soap opera, the ride never stops.  Now there is a corkscrew instead of a loop de loop.

SCOTT:  That’s a good metaphor.

ANNIKA:  We’ll see what happens with crazy Thomas, and Flo, and now that Sally is back in town, what is Wyatt going to do, etc,  So there’s lots of fun stuff coming the audiences way, for sure.

So, what were your thoughts on the climatic episodes where Liam and Hope are finally reunited with their daughter, Beth? What did you think of the performances of Annika and Scott?  What do you think will happen next with Thomas, and with Steffy?  Can Hope, Liam and Beth have a respite from all the drama? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Iakovos
Iakovos

Anyone up for a game of tennis? Let’s watch Liam bounce back and forth between Hope and Steffy. Just as Ridge endlessly bounced between Brooke and Taylor. I dolt mind a triangle but the emotional stakes are minimized for viewers when there is no resolution in place long enough to raise the tension or suspense or longing. Look how quickly the outsider in the triangle runs into the arms of another. Hope loved Liam but within weeks was married to Thomas. How long before Steffy goes back to her brother-in-law Wyatt or father-in-law Bill? Sigh.

Lolly
Lolly

Believe Steffy will move on with a new man.

Iakavos
Iakavos

I hope to God so. Am tired of everyone in their mopey stupor. Steffy should be strong, vivacious, and confident.

Sam
Sam

I think it would be a good storyline if Steffy is pregnant with Liam’s baby from the one night stand…. thus getting her a new sibling (prob another girl) for Kelly. Who would Liam pick?

Robin Pinto
Robin Pinto

I believe Steffy will be
pregnant from her one more with liam.

Rettie
Rettie

I thought Steffy was heading to the looney hospital after beth went home with Hope and so did Liam!!!

Lisa Holst
Lisa Holst

Love these actors! My entire family watches this soap every evening after school and work. My husband, my teens and so enjoy it so much!! The family that watches Bold together, stays together!

Ann
Ann

No Thomas can never be redeemed. He drugged some one,killed, blackmailed and last child abuse. He is sick!!!!

Del
Del

It’s obvious that there’s something wrong with him an illness. I hope their marriage last this ordeal.

Violet Lemm2
Violet Lemm2

Del
You are kidding, right? You really think Hope should stay married to Thomas, after everything he’s done to her, Liam, actually the whole family, including his little boy? Just because he’s mentally ill, doesn’t give him the right to have everything he tried to take away from everyone.

Evelyn Jabbia
Evelyn Jabbia

This story touched my heart in so many ways. The day she was holding her deceased baby I cried and I do mean cried my eyes out. I’ve been there and her acting was superb. Like some viewers I got tired of the truth not coming out but it was so worth the wait. When Liam was holding Beth when he knew for sure it was her was amazing. When Hope finally finds out I was screaming “yes, yes, yes” so loud I know the neighbors were wondering what the hell was going on. Then Steffy, I felt so sorry for her. Her acting was also amazing. I think Thomas will survive his fall but he will continue to cause trouble unless the fall knocked some sense into him. You did not ask this question but I believe Ridge and Brooke will have lots of problems and here comes Bill again.

soapqueenforever
soapqueenforever

I agree with you about the hospital scene. I was crying right along with her. When she first stated as Hope, it took me awhile to get used to her and I finally did. But between the hospital scene, the fight with Flo, and standing up for herself with Steffie, I thought to myself this women is no slouch. She played those scenes to the hilt. Not to mention when Steffie collapsed in her fathers arms, I actually felt her pain. Now I am wondering if mama Taylor is going rush back to her baby cub. I am maybe thinking we are going to be revisited by the Taylor, Ridge, Brooke merry-go-round from days gone by. But Bill hit it exactly on the head when he said that Ridge was going to blame Brooke. Especially when Hope said he was trying to apologize and ask for forgiveness Let the games begin.

Kay
Kay

To say people are sick of Liam Hope and Steffy understatement of the year ugh!

brendapower1970@gmail.com
brendapower1970@gmail.com

Please leave hope alone and Liam let them together with out steff and Thomas i really hate Thomas and Steff but Bradley Bell is in love with Steff and Thomas hope and Liam should been together with there daughter Beth like it should been a long time ago thats my opinion i hate that steff and Thomas that’s my opinion period

Margreet
Margreet

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, let Hope and Liam stay toghether with Beth. Don’t ever seperate them anymore! And Steffy a man of her own! And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let Brooke and Ridge stay toghether. Don’t ever seperate them too!!

Antincia foster
Antincia foster

Amen

Jen
Jen

Beyond bored with Lope and hoping something, anything gives us a long break from them. Where in the world is Steffy? So sick of the whole show revolving around Hope all year long. I think Thomas and Hope have way better chemistry than Lope do so I’d much rather see them have a real romance once Thomas is “cured.” And Liam is a million times better with Steffy. I hope (no pun intended) we’re getting anything but months and months more of Lope…

Pat
Pat

has everyone forgotten that
hope slept with Steffy’s husband Liam?? Hope always wanted him and did’nt care how she got him…as for Brooke encouraging her daughter to fight for Liam, she is hardly a role model. Is there anyone she hasn’t slept with or married regardless of who got got hurt. I’m waiting for her to go back to Bill Spencer unless he goes after Steffy. I think Liam should leave town for a time of reflection…and maybe to hook up with Sally

Lolly
Lolly

The show revolved not only around Hope, but Steffy and Liam, before it was Steffy, Liam, Hope, and Wyatt. Steffy had equal amount of blame. She is not a saint.But, yes, they need to desperately end the Saga of the Forester, Logans, and Spencers. It has ran it COURSE

Kathy
Kathy

Great article and of course i am loving the payoff whew

Diane
Diane

Just please let them be happy. We have waited years and years for this.

Antincia foster
Antincia foster

Amen

Nora
Nora

I am so damn sick of Liam and Hope that I stopped watching.

Need I say more?

Sharon Williams
Sharon Williams

Im tired of Liam bouncing between Steffy and Hope, just let him be with boring Hope. I would like for you to find a man that’s exciting and only has eyes for Steffy. Dont like when they bring the same storyline back from the past.

McKane
McKane

Get rid of Thomas!

McKane
McKane

Dump Thomas!

Lolly
Lolly

Ridge have double standards, Thomas is his son, but he and Bill have tried to kill one another, Ridge blackmail a judge, and now he is accusing Brook of intentionally trying to kill Thomas. She saved him from jail twice. This show is Bold and the Beautiful aka Saints and Sinners. Nearly all the adults have committed some type of crime. The story will lose it ratings again, because they are going to drag it another year. This time it will be Liam, Hope, Thomas Saga. Thomas either will pretend to be paralyze so Hope can have pitty and stay, or blackmail her, giving her a choice, stay or say Brook intentionally pushed him. Bill tried this with Steffy over Taylor. There are no surprises. The hype of the story is over, when Douglas and Liam brought out the truth. Douglas is the Hero, and he deserves an Emmy, and for standing up to his PSYCHO dad.Thomas isn’t going to change. Bell turn the tables, and surprise us one more time. Let Liam and Hope have their Happy ending, not next year, but now. Let Thomas get the shock of his life. Brook is innocent. She couldn’t have known the conversation at the mountain top.

Juanita M. Jaramillo
Juanita M. Jaramillo

It’s about time that we had the big reveal! It was dragging on too long. What happened to Steffys mom? There should be something on the show about her and the Dr. Shes suppose to be so smart and she bought a baby from this man.

Dianne
Dianne

I will stop watching for good if something drags out like that again.Tired of the split ups

Marge
Marge

The baby should be with steffy. Hope is annoying. She should be written out of the story.

Momo
Momo

I didn’t mind the length of time it took for the reveal. It could have gone on for longer. The scene where Hope confronted Flo-Annika was amazing. That was a great scene.

Kay
Kay

The fact that Brad Bell did not involve Hunter Tylo in the end of this crap fest is exactly why I am disgusted ! Taylor sacrificed her life to have the twins then Brooke kept Ridge from knowing Thomas was his son ! He has crapped all over his dads soap he makes me vomit I read about it and I just shake my head then we have the Logan girls and Bill and Liam and everybody on the canvas that have done horrible things also to recast Thomas with that awful wormy actor ! Disgusting

SLO48
SLO48

Liam will leave Hope for Steff again.

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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!

Photo: JPI

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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Y&R Releases Eric Braeden 40th Anniversary as Victor Newman Promo Ahead Of Tribute Episode

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

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.

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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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DAYS Eric Martsolf and Stacy Haiduk chat with Michael Fairman at Day of Days 2019; during their conversation the on-screen dup talk about the latest developments of Brady and Kristen within the series time-jump and more. Leave A Comment

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Airdate:3-23-2020

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