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General Hospital's Maura West Interview: The Making Of Ava Jerome!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

In a soaptacular performance, since debuting on General Hospital in May of last year, two-time Daytime Emmy winner Maura West has been chewing the scenery and has been mesmerizing in the role of Ava Jerome, gangster gal, who clearly would stop at nothing to get what she wants!  Whenever West is on an episode of the daytime drama, we, and many others are happy campers because we know we are in for a fun ride.  As played by West, you just never know what “bad girl Ava” is going to do next!

On-Air On-Soaps caught up with the “soap phenom” at the ABC TCA Television Critics Association Cocktail Reception to get some insight into the making of one of soaps new classic characters.

In addition, Maura weighs-in on having the opportunity to work with Ava’s leading men: Michael Easton (Silas) and current bedmate, Bryan Craig (Morgan). And, we take a few moments to remember the iconic Carly Tenney of As the World Turns, a role that earned West the gold twice from her peers.  Here now is what Maura had to say about all that… and the Jerome vs. Corinthos mob war!

Maura, you have this incredible role on General Hospital, and you are so amazing in it!  You light up the screen every time you are on.  Ava is so delicious to watch, and you play her so wickedly!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

MAURA:  Something wicked this way comes! (Laughs)  And I just feel like, if you are going to do it … do it!  And if you’re going to have to end up getting killed-off, get killed-off, but you can’t walk the line.

This is a complete 180 from your last soap role as Diane Jenkins on The Young and the Restless.  And I can say, unfortunately, the writing of her was so bad.

MAURA:  I can say it, too.  Being on GH has absolutely been a breath of fresh air, and to have people who encourage you, that uplift you, it makes all the difference in the world.  How can you do a job where nobody is saying, “I see something.  Let’s mine that.”  That other thing, I don’t even remember that.  It’s not something I even think about, although when I tell my husband that, in fairness he will say, “Don’t you do that. You can call up any episode on that show, on You Tube, or anywhere, and you can be proud of what you did there.”  I understand that, but sometimes in life you block things out. (Laughs)  But to be here at GH, and have such a supportive producing team, and talented writers who understood Ava, and understood me, Maura, rather quickly, is a real gift.  It’s magic.

Courtesy/ABC

GH head writer Ron Carlivati told me in our 2013 year-end interview that he knew of your work as Carly on As the World Turns, and said this in relation to casting you in the role of Ava: “Immediately when Frank mentioned Maura’s name, I was excited, because I knew she could pull it off, but I only knew her as ATWT’s Carly.  Now to see what she has brought to the character of Ava, it has just been amazing.”

MAURA:  Carly was an iconic role in the soap genre, and I loved Carly.  But I really didn’t want to play Carly anymore.  But I do love her, and I have Emmys on my shelf, and a lot of pride and memories from playing her.  And so when I took this job, I said, “I am going to make something different.”  And out came Ava, with her short skirts and her curly hair, and high heels, and lipsticks.  Putting her together is a whole team thing from: Shawn, the costume designer, with the dresses, Ron Carlivati in the writing of her, Frank Valentini’s input, and my creativity to define: what is this woman?

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The role of Ava Jerome in the hands of another actress could be played way over-the-top.  You have taken this role and made it an art-form!

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

MAURA:  I think if you are going to create a character, create the character, and go for it!  That is what I was taught to do.  I am an actor; I went to school to do this.  I don’t want to play myself.  I created something with the help of these talented people and here she is, and I love her.  I am in love with her.

What did you think when they told you they were going to romantically pair you with the younger Bryan Craig (Morgan Corinthos)?

MAURA:  Well, my boss came to me on the floor and said to me, “You two are going to be in bed in the next two weeks.”  I think he wanted to see how I felt about it.  Frank is a very respectful dude.  And I said, “Well Frank, I am up for anything.”  And I truly mean that.  Bryan Craig is a great guy.  He is a very mature young man.  It’s actually a wonderful romance to me.  I just said, “I’m game.  I’ll play.”  That’s what I am here to do.  I am not here to be sedate.  Bryan is very respectful during the love scenes.  I am always very shy doing that kind of stuff, and always have been.  I am a reserved woman in many ways.  I am just a mom who sits at home and plays board games with her kids. And then you go and do this other stuff.  But Bryan is a great scene partner.  He is present and always prepared.

And, you also have the beloved Michael Easton (Silas) to play scenes with as a man with a torrid past with Ava on GH.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

MAURA:  It’s really funny.  I have pictures on my wall that were made for me by my husband.  There are various pictures inside a picture frame from my Emmy wins.  In my first Emmy win, it was Tony Geary (Luke, GH) who presented it to me.  And the second one was Michael Easton.  So I had pictures on my wall of these men I had never met, and it was so cool.  And when I met Tony, “hubba hubba” … I couldn’t even speak.

And your first scene on GH was with Tony!

MAURA:  I know, and I was very scared.  And if you ain’t nervous, you ain’t doing it right.  I have such respect for Tony.  He is probably the best in our genre, and he is fabulous.  When I saw my script come in I was chewing my nails, but Tony was an absolute gentlemen and a lovely, lovely man.

Courtesy/ABC

What is Ava’s deal with Silas?  It appears that she could be a murderess!  You could see she could want some people dead to get what she wants.

MAURA: Well, have you actually seen her murder anyone? (Laughs) But, she absolutely loves Silas 100%.

Then, she would probably do anything to keep him … like putting his wife into a coma! (Laughs)

MAURA: Probably. (Laughs) You said it, I didn’t.  But honestly, Frank doesn’t tell me anything.  I ask him, and he won’t tell me.  Nowadays, we only get our scenes, not the whole script.  I think having the entire script is kind of important, so you know when other people are talking about your character, and the cuts where they may be talking about Ava, and then they cut to me.  And without the entire script, I wouldn’t know that is necessarily happening.

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I’ve got to go back in time for a second with you.  I posted on the final airdate of As the World Turns, this wonderful interview you.   I remember how bittersweet it was.  I recall at the time that you alluded to how bad the budgets had become that production could only hire a few extras to round out group scenes or atmosphere.  From your vantage point now, when you think of your time at ATWT, what comes to mind? And, what about getting Michael Park (Ex-Jack, ATWT) to General Hospital?

Courtesy/CBS

MAURA: Yeah, but we held our heads high there until the very end, and we all are still in touch.  And as for Michael Park, that’s not for me to decide, but I certainly would love to see him here at GH.  Michael would be a great mobster.  People like Martha Byrne and the producers from ATWT, we all stay in touch.  It’s nauseating but true, we are like a family.  It’s like blood brothers who shared blood, sweat and tears.  We are linked for life, all of us.

What’s it like working with your on-screen brother, William deVry (Julian)?  Had you met him before he landed on GH?

MAURA: I had never met William before.  But, what do you think I did?  I You Tubed him. (Laughs)

How do the two of you get along on set?  You have to play this sister/brother mobster rivalry.

MAURA:  It’s a very funny dynamic we have with each other on set, because we play such adversarial characters.  Sometimes, you get thrown off because he is really this other guy in real life, and I am woman who is not really this “bitch.” (Laughs)

The scenes between Ava and Julian often have the sense that the siblings have a one-upsmanship with each other.

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

MAURA:  I don’t ever think about who has the power in the scene.  If a scene is written that I am supposed to be affected, I will be affected.  I serve the script.

Who got to the set of General Hospital first?  You or William?

MAURA: I was on the show first, and then he showed up and got a dressing room with a window!  How did that happen?  (Laughs)

In other family news, what have you thought of your son Joe’s tremendous success being cast in NBC’s Sound of Music?

MAURA: Can I tell you, honestly?  I wasn’t that surprised.  In a way I was, because there were so many people auditioning for the part, but I have never met anyone who can sing like my son, Joe.  Joe will be in an upcoming episode of The Crazy Ones where he does a song and dance number from Chicago.

Courtesy/ABC/GHFacebook

Finally, are the Jeromes any closer to taking down Sonny (Maurice Benard)?  Is anyone?  (Laughs)

MAURA:  Of course not!  You can’t take down Sonny!  No one is going to take him down … it’s General Hospital. (Laughs)  But there are other ways to win the battles.  And Ava, as a woman, can certainly exert some power.

So GH fans, do you think Maura’s portrayal of Ava Jerome is one of the knock-out performances in the soap genre today? What did you think about her sentiments in the interview?

Do you want to see Ava stay in a romantic relationship with Morgan … or somehow venture back with Silas, even after their relationship has been filled with seemingly treachery?  Comment below!

 

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Sherie
Sherie

I like Ava. Let her stay a cougar! Makes the show fun.

janice
janice

great interview, as usual, Michael!! I adore Maura/Ava!

MMedina
MMedina

I love Maura West as Ava! She brings a vulnerability to the role which would otherwise be very one dimensional. I think she and Morgan could enter into some sort of quadrangle with Silas and Sam which could affect characters.

Melissa
Melissa

I have fallen completely in love with Ava Jerome. In my eyes, she can do wrong and that is all testament to Maura. I was unfamiliar with her work before GH, and now I see I was living under a rock. She just completely embodies the character in a way that a non-Ava episode for me really drags. I’m fascinated by how Ava is portrayed and the way Maura brings her to life. She’s the best part of GH for me by far.

Not going to lie, I am a HUGE Ava/Morgan fan. These two have so much chemistry that you have to fan yourself during their sex scenes (HAWT!), but then you have to “Aww!” at their sweetness and genuine feelings towards each other. I rewatch their scenes countless times. If I had my way, they’d be together for the long haul. I’m loving their new angsty vibe. Maura and Bryan both sell the hell out of this couple.

Wonderful interview, Michael, thank you!

Carole
Carole

Great interview! I love Maura as Ava!

sandie
sandie

I absolutely love her!!! GH definately did their selves good on getting her on the show,, I hope she stays for a long long yime!!!

Theresa
Theresa

I love Ava!! She is one of my favorites….. Maura West plays her so good I hope they keep her around a long time!

Theresa
Theresa

I love Ava!!! Maura West plays her so good!! I hope they keep her around a long time..she is one of my favorites!

Julie
Julie

She is amazing. I watched her as Diane on Y&R, which I have stopped watching, and the character was never given a chance. She was one dimensional. When I heard she was going to be on GH, I was not very excited. Now… I wait for her scenes. Just to watch the words she says come out of her mouth is entertaining. They hit gold with casting Maura. She is multidimensional. Great writing and a great character.

James
James

Great interview! Love her in this role!

Maggie Tavares
Maggie Tavares

I love Ava ” Maura West” I watched her on ATWT & Y&R. Maura has finally made a home on GH. I find her
to be witchy but very loving when it comes to family. Ava will do what ever it takes to protect her family but always watching out for her self. Ava loves deeply & passionately , she’s hurt by Silis so she finds love from a younger man. “Lucky-Girl” ! Maura West is a treasure , so glad GH has given her a home!

steven cates
steven cates

I just want her to stay on GH — period!!! I hope they find a way to.keep Ava on

Eileen Hargis
Eileen Hargis

I dont care what they do with her, she is marvelous in anything handed to her. Excellent portrayal of Ava

k/kay
k/kay

She is one lucky lady she has a precious husband in real life ! She said everything I needed to hear about what a awful place Y&R is to work at. I may not enjoy all that is going on over at GH but she is one of the smarter decisions they made. Good luck to her.

Rose
Rose

Love Ava! Another great interview. Thanks!

rebecca1
rebecca1

I’d like them to keep her with Morgan. They are great as a couple and the dynamics/friction their relationship causes involves both mob families. Trickle down theory…

aria
aria

maura is devine, love Ava, she’s one hell of a bitch!, i hope she has scenes with Donna Mills, oh my god, that would be awesome, i wish the great Sarah Brown would also come back to GH, Ava and Claudia would be must see tv for sure, and before anyone says Ava and Claudia are too similar, if the show can make room for guy mobster then theres room for the divas!

Truth Detective
Truth Detective

Maura West is a superstar. I’m so glad that she’s on a show that respects her talent unlike the treatment she got at Y&R.

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

I still believe Franco is really Kikkis father…hope Maura stays with the show and never leaves…like her and Morgan to remain a couple but i wonder if Micheal breaks up with Kiki over Franco would Morgan pretend to go back to Kiki while still sleeping with her mother in order to continue to fool Sonny to believe he’s no longer is with Ava?

Sue
Sue

I don’t watch GH, but I like Ms West. If Michael Muhney were to go to GH I would start watching. Y&R lost a great talent in Maura & Michael M. Don’t know why Y&R couldn’t write for her, she is a great actress! Y&R better wake up and get some better writers and new producer!

Mark
Mark

Love her!

Jake NJ
Jake NJ

She is fabulous…such a great addition to GH. She tears up every scene she is…clicks with every cast mate…quite phenomenal actress!

Karen Delagrange
Karen Delagrange

Thank you for this interview. Maura is a great lady and a brilliant actress! Kudos to General Hospital for recognizing what a treasure Maura West is! Ava Jerome is a blast! What a fun character! Can’t wait to see what Ava’s future holds!

Laurie Webber
Laurie Webber

Maura West is classic, like a taste of old Hollywood on GH. Love the character, you can change her to any side at any time, and she has an array of emotions. Well written, and of course Maura is an amazing actress!

Hillary
Hillary

Love Maura West!!!! So much!

Louise
Louise

Good interview. She plays Ava very well, and I would like for her to stay with Morgan. It’s a strange relationship, because of their age, but they don’t show too many relationships like that on soap operas. There seems to be a whole slew of Jeromes out there. Nice interview though!

su0000
su0000

Maura West/Ava Jerome is absolutely stunning! A great performer .
Every time she is on stage she brings it home!!
I love the Jerome’s, they bring excitement to GH ..

FV and RC were both genius to bring us the Jeromes !!!

MissyLady
MissyLady

I really love Ava! Plus her relationship with Morgan is so hot!

Lisa
Lisa

Absolutely love the character of Ava Jerome & hope TPTB keep her on GH. She’s so good at being bad but there’s so much more to Ava. Love her!

Jeff
Jeff

Maura West is amazing in the role of Ava!! She’s so much better than on the Y&R. She’s mad Ava a 3 dimensional character with many facets. She’s a joy to watch!

Erin
Erin

I am loving everything about the awesomeness that is Ava Jerome. I love her ruthlessness. I love the fact that nobody intimidates her. That scene where she threatened to wipe Carly off the face of the planet was epic. And I am such a huge fan of her romance with Morgan. They have amazing chemistry together and anyone watching can see how their relationship is slowly evolving to something real. I hope it continues for a long while.

Shay
Shay

Am I the only one who finds Morgan’s cougar romps with Ava to be seriously “Oedipal?” I mean, he has a mother who is a bold, brassy, blonde, trashy-not-classy, take no prisoners, loose cannon b*!@#-on-wheels and he hooks up with an older woman who shares those exact same physical/personality traits. Coincidence???? I think not…..

Lori
Lori

Maura West is amazing and if GH is smart they’ll keep her! Michael Park would be great too ! Off the charts chemistry they have .

Rodd
Rodd

I LOVE Maura West as Ava! She has chemistry with every scene partner, but I especially like her with Bryan Craig as Morgan. They’ so hot together! Every time she is on, I have to watch the entire scene; there’s no fast-forwarding anything Maura is in. GH struck gold bringing her on board.

Sylvia Gillis
Sylvia Gillis

I’m not presently a GH viewer. I’ve watched CBS Soaps since childhood. Carly (Maura West) was my favorite character on ATWT & Maura is my all-time favorite actress. Until 5 weeks ago, Y&R was my favorite all-time Soap & Michael Muhney is my all-time favorite actor. Having said this, if GH hires Michael Muhney, I will gladly become a loyal viewer of GH . MM & Maura both have the ability to be Bad, Good & everything in between. Y&R didn’t treat Maura right either. They needed to create a new character for her so she could shine. Instead they had her playing an old time one, much older than her & gave her nothing to sink her teeth in. They are fools. As far as what she’s like in real life, I’ve met her 3 times & she’s sweet & quiet , friendly & interested in her fans. I adore her & am so happy for her. Now it’s MM’s turn to get some appreciation & respect as an actor. I’m crossing my fingers.

Mary
Mary

I like Maura was so glad when she came to gh watched her for many years on as the world turns.
I would love to see her romantically with Luke someone who is her match not someone she can control.

mfarris70
mfarris70

Mark my words, Maura West is about to win another Emmy as Ava. Not to discount her great work as Carly or Diane, but Ava Jerome is West’s masterpiece.

Phil
Phil

Here’s the deal, I was nervous when I heard she was coming to GH! I know I am in the minority here, but I think she overdid it as Carly on ATWT! I didn’t care for her much! Fast forward to today, and I am in love with her! Maura has won me over. I hope GH keeps her!

Lanny
Lanny

Sure hope they can bring on some of the talent from Y&R, but Frank sounds very controlling. Might not be a good fit for MM who likes to bring his own touch to the role and memorize the whole script, not just one scene.

mike
mike

The best actress on daytime since Beverlee McKinsey.

Iakovos
Iakovos

Thank you for this wonderful interview. Loved Miss West on ATWT and lover again on GH. How blessed we fans are to have such a dedicated honest working actress devoted to the genre. And as Ava Jerome, we do get more than a caricature, we get a character, however wrongfully guided, we like. I look forward to years of deliciousness from Miss West and Ava Jerome. Miss West, you are a class act!

gary
gary

Just when I was losing hope with the show in came Maura and gave the show a much needed breath of fresh air. She was amazing as Carly, and now as AVA. I think I live Ava better though.

Beth CP
Beth CP

I loved her pairing with Michael Park’s Jack on ATWT as well as when she would play opposite both Hunt Block and Jon Lindstrom (at different times), when they portrayed Craig Montgomery, Good times. I knew she’d be a keeper on the strength of her initial scenes with Tony Geary. Chemistry and a meeting of “equals”, so to speak. And she has been an excellent “teacher” in terms of (as with Maurice Benard), aiding Bryan Craig’s portrayal of Morgan. The young man has developed a much more layered portrait as a result of working with both of these “mentors”.

Once in a while there is a bit of over the top vampiness that threatens to push her to over the edge, but she’s been successful reining in RC’s obvious camp. Her ability to balance thaose elements, save her Ava from being a stock “mob moll”. Kudos to her.

MBmomof3
MBmomof3

Love Maura West & Ava Jerome.

Thanks for another great interview.

Robin
Robin

What a beautiful lady inside and out! I love her role on GH, and I love the way she talks about being a Mom in real life. She is such an awesome person.

Mimma Mangano
Mimma Mangano

Maura is a classy lady love her in all the roles except in Y&R. Love her on GH she is amazing would like to see her with Sony that would be great.

Scott (ATWT Fan)
Scott (ATWT Fan)

Maura is a professional and class act in every way that it matters. And her portrayal of Ava Jerome is so spot on and it’s delicious. Maura is a true resemblance of Old Hollywood actresses. Love her. She does no wrong!

rebecca1
rebecca1

Aha! I’m thinking it wasn’t Silas or Ava who tried to kill his wife…but his “vampire” twin! That’s why Silas “signed” the prescription…his brother impersonated him! For all we know…he might have slept with Ava too…letting her think he was Silas…and thus he would be Kiki’s father!

Shay
Shay

Ooooooh…..I like your way of thinking there, rebecca1!!!!! Would be a terrific twist to this brainteaser….I could dig a bit of Dracula drama coming back into the picture as long as we are spared anymore of the overdramatic “Lucy Coe Vampire Hunter” part. As I am not an Ava fan, per se, I would love to see the Silas storyline finally flesh out well beyond her past with him….think there should be some super surprises there, hopefully with Victor Cassadine and Donna Mills’ character in the mix…plus a dash of Dr. O. for good measure! (That wily woman must know where all the skeletons are buried…hence her new career path and position!) Speaking of the delicious diva doc, did you notice how she seemed quite enthralled with Dr. Clay’s dilemma the other day when she encountered him, and did you get a weird vibe from her icy, yet somehow familiar glare/eye contact with Detective West when he was in the GH elevator? Something is up with that guy….he is definitely not what he seems…either a secret Cassadine or Clay or perhaps even a….Westbourne????? Hmmmmm……P.S. I also considered the pharmacist’s reticence to identify Ava to be a possible consequence of receiving an “offer he could not refuse” from the Jerome clan….LOL.

rebecca1
rebecca1

Oh Shay…don’t even mention Dracula! LOL…I’m soooo hoping for a second season of Dracula…constantly checking the updates. But thaz a whole ‘nother story. Literally. So. Back to GH!

Yes, I’d love to see the vampire lore back in the fold. I think a lot of fans find that too fantasy-land for them, but I’d love it! Regardless, I do believe it was the twin that’s behind it all. As for the gorgeous Detective West, I’m thinking he’s very possibly Silas and Nina’s son! Maybe she was pregnant before she went into her coma…his father could be Silas or Stephen if the evil twin was going around sleeping with his brother’s women. Who knows?

No, I didn’t notice the look she gave him. Interesting…

I do believe, which I mentioned on another post that Jason is alive and Dr. O knows where he is. That woman’s got her devious hands in every mix…would be interesting to see her go up against Helena Cassadine if she every comes back to life again!

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

Lets get a ‘Dark Shadows’ moment in there too…lets have Stephan Clay hiding out in the now abandon Collinwood in Collinsport and have our favorite Dr.O pull a Dr. Julia Hoffman and try to cure him of his ‘vampirism’…i would love a nod to my favorite soap(just to relive a fun childhood memory) which was on ABC!!! im sure some fans would hate that but you cant please everyone!!!

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

I noticed you mention Dracula and i had to come here to see what you two were writing about…i love most vampire stories and ‘Dark Shadows’ was my favorite soap…some GH fans would think that would ‘suck’ bringing the vampire back but im all for it…would love a nod to DS and they rebuilt the Collinwood living room set and this is where Stephan Clay is now hiding out!!!

Shay
Shay

We were referring to the current NBC primetime “Dracula” version, jimh….It just finished up its first season with none-too-stellar ratings, so a renewal is up-in-the-air, but what a fine program! Sumptuous production values, great attention to historical details, a mostly British cast…. just a lush, beautiful experience, so both rebecca1 and I are hoping for a second year. But, yes, I have noticed your numerous postings regarding the original “DS.” While what little I have seen of it can only be charitably described as “camp central,” it certainly did set the pace for later gothic soaps in primetime! Having said that, there should be at least a small tip of the hat to “Collinwood” on GH….since they both have ABC roots! Would be a kick! Oh, and “Dr. O.” definitely does have shades of Dr. Hoffman in her DNA, although I find our beloved mad mutta to be a far more complex enigma….cannot wait to see what insanity she implements as C.O.S. ; ) P.S. Have you recovered from your bout with flu????? Hope you are feeling better!!!!…

Shay
Shay

From his debut, it appeared that Detective West was supposed to be Silas’s son, given their striking physical similarities, but since that seemed so obvious, I’m thinking there has to be another twist, be it as Stephen’s offspring, and/or a Cassadine or Westborne biological link….I think once Victor shows up (which is this Friday, can’t wait!) we will get a better feeling for what that’s about, but yeah, I got a definite spooky vibe between Dr. O. and “new cop.” As for your supposition about Jason, it could be…I really haven’t missed the character all that much, as I found AJ to be the far more interesting Quartermaine son and I like Sam with her new love, as well, but it could be interesting to bring back a recast Jason….perhaps Michael Muhney???? (That would be poetic since Y&R took our dear Scorpio….) Just read that they lost over 500,000 viewers due to Muhney’s dismissal (not going to get into the politics of that issue….) but signing him to GH would undoubtedly bring a new audience to the show. Controversial, yes, but ratings gold….As for our primetime vampire guilty pleasure, I was a bit disappointed with the (season?) finale….it seemed a bit underwhelming (as did this week’s installment of “Downton Abbey.”) But I do hope to see it return….according to TVLine, it had slightly better numbers this last episode, so it will probably be a nailbiter ( or a neckbiter…haha!) as to whether it gets renewed….fingers crossed!!!! Quite frankly, I’m still blown away from the latest “Sherlock” series…it is just phenomenal. Loved the first episode and last night’s show was another stroke of amazing artistry. Both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were superb, and so was Freeman’s real life love as his bride. Great, great performances all the way down to the supporting cast!!!! Truly fabulous! P.S. Didn’t mean to get off subject….I’m still not so sure that Helena isn’t finally good and dead….I think she has outlived her usefulness, and would prefer some fresh Cassadine blood….no pun intended, given our vampire discussion!!!! ; )

jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

I knew you were talking about Dracula…it was very well made tv…i caught a few episodes and enjoyed it…hope it returns!!! and yes, im finally over the flu…thanks for asking…always enjoy reading your posts!!!

Dawne
Dawne

Great interview…and I absolutely adore Maura. LOVED ATWT and her portrayal of “Carly”. Def was (and will always be) a “CarJack” fan! I loved it when Maura was cast in Y&R but I was so aggrivated at the way they wrote the character – that could have been a great role but I feel the writers screwed it all up – so sad for them but SO AWESOME for GH because “Ava” is amazing. Please, please, please don’t let her EVER get killed off – she needs to be around for the long run. I’m one of those people that when someone asks “Who is your favorite actress?” My answer is “Maura West” – unless people are soap fans they’re always like “Who?” I’d put her up agains ANYONE else out there!!!!

Kaleesi
Kaleesi

Ava Jerome is awesome and so is Maura! Love the jab at Y&R in her interview, goes to show what really goes on behind the scenes of that show. Ava Jerome was a part made for her!

Charday
Charday

I sure hope Ava takes down Sonny—permanently!

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GH’s James Patrick Stuart Talks on Valentin’s Downfall and Potential Rise to Power

After all his bravado, machinations and lies to keep the woman he loves, and believing he was the rightful heir to the Cassadine fortune, suddenly it all came crashing down for Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart) on recent episodes of General Hospital.

Payback can be a bitch, but for Valentin; who’s past has been fraught with numerous physical and emotional tribulations since his childhood, he now finds himself at the lowest point in his life; losing Nina (Cynthia Watros) who’s now taken up with Jax (Ingo Rademacher), realizing he is the biological son of the evil Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), and not Mikkos, and having all his best laid plans and misdeeds backfire.  (Remember, he shot and “killed” Nikolas, and set up the ruse that led Sasha to pretend she was Nina’s bio-daughter.)  Now, enter Nelle Benson (Chloe Lanier), who could very well hold the ticket, to Valentin’s rise to wealth and power all over again.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with James Patrick Stuart to get the lowdown on: those heavy and emotional scenes opposite Constance Towers, working with Cynthia Watros as his newest Nina, if Valentin might really kill Jax the next time he thinks about it, and what about a potential relationship between Anna (Finola Hughes) and Valentin?

Not many can play bad as good as James in this industry.  He does it so effortlessly and still brings out the humanity in the guy that has t-r-o-u-b-l-e written all over him.  Here’s what James had to share about all of Valentin’s recent dramatic moments, a tease of what’s to come, and much more.

Photo: JPI

Valentin’s world has imploded at the moment.  When did you initially find out that he was going to turn out to not be a true Cassadine heir?

JAMES:  Well, there were some clues dropped by Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) back when we did the gallery auction where Helena’s portrait went up in flames.  Frank looked at me and goes, “Hey, Jack Nicholson it up.  Have some fun!  You’re not going to be feeling pretty good for a while.”  (Laughs)  I’m like, “Oh … what are the plans?”  He pulled me aside and goes, “Yeah, you’re going to lose Nina, but you’re going to try to take over ELQ.  That’s when I started to go, “Wait a minute!  That sounds to me like Valentin’s losing his money.”  (Laughs)  With the character of Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) coming back; it’s pretty great.  I think the writing was on the wall there.  I put it out on twitter the other day.  I said, “Look what they’ve done to my boy.”  Somebody chimed in, “They gave him a storyline!” (Laughs)

Who doesn’t love to see you, James Patrick Stuart, play tortured soul?  They audience loves to see you get the opportunity to go to those depths in your performances.

JAMES:  It’s been really interesting for me.  I’ve had a lifetime of playing bad guys because the line was always shorter. (Laughs)  Everybody wants to be Tom Cruise, but the Alan Rickman’s of it all, to me, were what was so interesting.  Early on, you play one dimensional kind of twisting of the mustache, tying a woman to the train tracks.  After a while, you start to watch the truly great actors.  They start to take you on a ride.  If you’re paying attention, you start to feel what it would be like to be that damaged, and that’s why you do it.  Then you start to see the vulnerability. To me, I thought, “This is a great time in my life because I’m ready to do that.” A lot of people say, “I don’t understand.  I feel like that makes no sense. because why would I root for a person who behaves like this?” and that to me, I feel is the greatest compliment of all.

So much happened recently to Valentin in one fell swoop; he overhears Nina telling Ava (Maura West) she kissed Jax, then he envisions shooting Jax and then he is drinking himself into oblivion and he gets a “visit” from Helena!  But … the scenes between Valentin and Helena really summed up the bitter truth for him, wouldn’t you say?

JAMES:  Yes.  In the “Helena” scenes, it all basically is revealed.  It all comes down in a moment where he “sees” her.  I think he realizes with the DNA test; he’s not the person he thought he was, but he certainly had no idea that he had her blood in his veins.  The truly tragic moment of the evening is when it dawns on him that he has a daughter with Helena’s blood in her veins.  Now, he would kill her a thousand times over in that moment.  He can’t do it.  He’s fighting phantoms.  That’s the bottom below the bottom, and things got worse than he ever thought they would get.

Courtesy/ABC

Does Valentin have any idea then, who his biological father could be?

JAMES:  I don’t think so.  I don’t believe so.  I know I don’t.  I think once he realizes that Helena is in fact the mother, I think he’d rather just go into oblivion.  I think at that point, he’s out of answers.  Enter Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) …which is wonderful because I think the world of Nancy, and she saves the day.   Alexis basically talks him out of hurting himself, telling him to count his blessings that he is not a Cassadine, etc, which was a really sweet moment.

I assume, when you have this kind of material to play, it must be exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time?

JAMES:  I think that’s exactly right.  As an actor, I think you want to do this stuff.  Maura West and I compare notes all the time.  I think it can be kind of emotionally draining.  You do feel it, and I felt it when I had spent a lot of time with Nina and Valentin, and when the actresses changed, and we brought Cynthia Watros in.  I worked twice as hard to make sure that Cynthia’s landing was as easy as possible, and I really grew attached to the Nina and Valentin connection.  So, when Jax steps in, Cynthia’s love life means nothing to me, I don’t care about that, but Nina’s love life means a lot to me!  And it bums me out, and I don’t know that I’ll actually be watching any future love scenes between them as much as I love them both!  I have a deep attachment to the Valentin connection to Nina.  So, the lines get burred because we just play these characters so long.

Photo: JPI

What was it like sharing those tough scenes with Constance? No one can play icy, evil villainess like her … and yet in real life, she is such a gracious and kind-hearted woman.

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JAMES:  In real life, Constance is such a sweetheart, and she’s so grateful to be there.  She was so ready to work, and rehearse, and play, and find the stuff, and she was great.  I’d been in scenes with her before.  Last time, we didn’t really talk to each other.  I was with the hump.  I was being Valentin pre-surgery.  It was some sort of moment in a graveyard, but this time we actually got to interact with each other.

You look at Valentin, and he’s not had the greatest life.  Do you bring his entire back-story into your performance; such as when he was deformed with the hump and how he had to literally reconstruct his life both in the physical and in emotional ways for many years?

JAMES:  Absolutely.  It’s the brokenness that he’s making choices from.  He was never truly and authentic person to begin with which is why his love fell apart.  He’s always been faking.  He’s always been putting on a show.  That’s not sustainable in matters of the heart.  It was unbelievably easy for Jax to swoop in, because it was inevitable that things were going to fall apart.  Of course, that anger and that brokenness were what lead him to want to kill Jax.  There’s no question.  He was prepared to do that.  If you look in the eyes in the fantasy sequence in the shooting, he just wanted to watch him die.  He wanted to watch the light go out in Jax’s eyes.  He was so furious … and even more tragic is … that was all he could think of, and somehow, he realized in that moment that wouldn’t work, because he’d lose his daughter.

Photo: JPI

Anna and Finn (Michael Easton) just kind of busted up.  Do you think Anna and Valentin will hookup? There is a connection and a history between the two of them whenever they seem to be in proximity of one another.

JAMES:  Personally, I’m waiting for that.  I hope so!  There is a finesse and elegance to that woman, and not only that, there is an effortless to the connection between Valentin and Anna, if one can say that about one’s own coupling.  I love to look at it!  I think we go together like a wink and a smile.  I just find that chemistry really great.  I think that’s mostly Finola, though.  She can probably have chemistry with most anything.

Valentin was going to leave Port Charles with Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez), after Nikolas revealed all and the fallout began.  Interestingly enough, it was Anna who came to Valentin’s side and tried to talk him down from fleeing with his daughter and showed such compassion for him!

JAMES:  Wasn’t that great?  She was the one who got him.  She was the one who was able to calm the beast.  There was no one else he would have listened to.  In the moment in the police station, after Charlotte had been kidnapped, and there is that moment where Anna has that bruise, I thought it was such a tender moment.  I just said, “If I kiss my finger and touch your wound?” and she’s like, “Do it.”  It was just this moment where we had been bitter rivals and enemies for so long, but he just adores her so much it’s undeniable that he sees her wounded and wants to make it better.  It’s floating out there waiting to be done.  I know that everybody knows it.  It’s just a matter of what the right away to go about in the writing would be.

Photo: JPI

So, you’ve worked opposite two acting dynamos in the role of Nina – Michelle Stafford and now, Cynthia Watros.  Was the transition difficult for you when Cynthia came to GH?

JAMES:  It wasn’t.  It was scary because Michelle Stafford wasn’t just one in a million, I mean, she is one of a kind.  The last thing in the world that I would ever want to consider doing myself was recast that actress.  So, my deal was (and I’ve said this to Cynthia) I said, “I have no control over this.  All I can do is make the landing as easy as possible for Cynthia.”  We did a lot of photoshoots together, and I had flowers waiting for her, and I did everything possible to make sure that she knew that she had a friend and that she had somebody that was going to make it as easy as possible.  It was rough because a lot of the trolls on social media were just awful to her… just brutal, and she goes, “I have thick skin.  I can take it,” and then a week later, she goes, “I’ve closed all my social media accounts!”  (Laughs)  It’s been fun to watch those guys turn around and go, “You have a really special person.”  That wedding stuff was just incredible!  She came so prepared and she knocked it out of the park.  Cynthia has been wonderful.  I love them both.  I love her the reddest, and I love Michelle the bluest, and together I love them the purplest.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s interesting that all the women in his life such as Anna and Nina, all have a soft-spot for Valentin; even though they don’t necessarily want to be with him.  These ladies are just drawn to this dysfunctional guy.

JAMES:  Don’t you think?  Is it that you want to help him, you want to fix him, you see the potential, you want to help him despite himself?  I think that’s what it is.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you think Valentin’s still going to try to win Nina back, or is that done? 

JAMES:  I don’t know.  I do know that the Valentin I know will never shake Nina, and when he loves, he loves forever.  He can be simultaneously in love with Anna whenever she’s near.  I don’t believe he ever truly got over Nina hearing his story and his brokenness and still loving him twice as hard.  Years ago, there was a moment where he said to her the stuff that he’s never said, and Michelle beautifully kissed my tears away and said, “You’re beautiful” to me.   I think in that moment his fate was sealed.  I think he knew that this was his woman forever.  So, I just don’t think that that goes away.  I think he will always carry a torch for Nina, for sure.

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Do you see Valentin becoming darker and darker now that he had found out he is Helena’s offspring?

JAMES:  Well, yes and no.  I remember watching these scenes and we’ve done a lot of this stuff, and you know how easy it is to sort of go, “Let’s go dark, let’s go dark, let’s go more dark,” and after a while, I go, “You know, maybe he does learn something.  Maybe there’s hope for this guy after all.”  Of course, more bad stuff will happen to him, and he will do more bad stuff, because that’s just who he is.  A leopard can’t change his spots, and those are his survival instincts, but there are some new colors, and it’s all a direct result of all of just these horrible things that have happened to him… mostly learning that he is part Helena and he can’t undo that.

Photo: JPI

We saw that Nelle (Chloe Lanier) called and then goes to see Valentin, because she wants to sell her shares of ELQ.  So, obviously he has the potential to become really rich here which is what would give him his power back.  How do you think that will go over with the rest of the Quartermaines? (Laughs)

JAMES:  (Laughs) A lot of the Quartermaine actors have been asking me that in the hallways of General Hospital!  Isn’t that interesting how he’ll just sort of switch families? (Laughs)

Of all the people, just as Valentin’s life is in the gutter and he is at his lowest, who should show up with a sort of lifeline, Nelle! How will he go about attempting to gain control of ELQ?

JAMES:  Valentin knows he has to get the majority shares to gain a control of the company, and he has to do it fast before people see that he’s doing it.  So, that’s where Michael E. Knight (Martin Gray) has been.  He’s gallivanting the states rapidly accumulating shares.  (Laughs)

Photo: JPI

It’s been so fun seeing you and Michael Knight on-screen and on a daytime soap together again, as so many remember you as Tad Martin and Will Cortlandt on All My Children.  How has it been getting the chance to work with Michael?

JAMES:  My God, are you kidding me?  He taught me!  He’s the guy who taught me.  I didn’t know how to do this.  Nobody instinctively knows… this is a very unique art form.  It’s more Jazz than anything else, and he showed me how to do it!  Walt Willey (Ex-Jack, AMC) showed me how to do my hair, and Michael Knight taught me how to break down a script!  And, what’s so funny is he is still doing it.  In a scene on GH, when he threw in that line, “From now on, you pay in advance,” I just about fell on the floor!  I thought, “There he is!  That’s the Michael I’ve always known and loved.”

Photo: JPI

Who would have thought that you guys would get to share scenes like that again on soaps?  You just never know in this life who may be wind up back in your orbit.

JAMES:  It’s incredible.  That’s what we say all of the time… “Who would have thought?”  You could never plan something like this and that we’d still be doing it at this point.

Now with Lulu (Emme Rylan) learning that Valentin is not a Cassadine, and Nina apparently moving on to a relationship with Jax, what do you think it will mean for their relationship in raising their daughter, Charlotte?

JAMES:  I think in the short-term, Valentin’s shelved any ideas of getting her out of Charlotte’s life.  He’s sort of putting out the fires in his own personal life.  Charlotte needs a mother in her life, and he’s quite willing to share custody as they always have been.  She seems to be looking at this as an opportunity to paint him as an unfit father, and she wants full-time custody.  So, we’re back to that again.  It looks to me like Lulu is kicking Valentin while he’s down.

Photo: JPI

It was so nice to see you, and some of your GH co-stars such as: Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny) show up for Y&R’s Eric Braeden’s (Victor Newman) 40th anniversary on set celebration at CBS.  It was quite the event; speakers galore, and so many from our industry and beyond in attendance.

JAMES:  It was pretty profound.  Eric has always been kind to me.  I only worked with him on one movie, a western, called The Man Who Came Back, and that was probably 12 years ago.  He has been so complimentary of me in interviews and in his book.  So, if he does that with me, I can only imagine how many dear, dear friendships he has.  So, the fact that everybody showed up like that from the president of CBS Entertainment to local councilmen, and that they were willing to do be there for 2 hours was really proof of how much they love him.  Peter Bergman (Jack, Y&R), who I don’t even think was working that day, came in for it and spoke at the event. There was so much respect shown for Eric and what he has meant to this medium.

Photo: JPI

Your album The Apple Tree was so well-received, and everyone always loves seeing you get the opportunity to sing on General Hospital as well.  Will you continue to put out more music in 2020?

JAMES:  Yeah, that’s the plan.  I have another one that I’m working on.  I have a bunch of songs.  I’m in no rush to get it out.  Unfortunately, I lost Glen Roven, who wrote the cello part for Book of Love, passed away right after the Nurses’ Ball where I played Book of Love, which is really heartbreaking, and then, Michael Sherwood, who helped me with a number of songs on the record passed away right after The Apple Tree came out.  So, I’m a little gun-shy.  But, I’m planning on having something out by December for Christmas.

In closing, what would you say the fans should look forward to in the weeks ahead from Valentin?

JAMES: Look forward to that moment where Valentin is so low that there’s nowhere to go but up!  The comeback is going to be one for the books.

So, what do you think of how Valentin’s life hit rock bottom?  Do you think he will ever win Nina back? Do you think he will takeover ELQ? Share your thoughts on James’ recent performances and his thoughts contained in this interview via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital Delivers Super-Sized Promo: The Truth About Wiley To Be Revealed

This week, General Hospital is going full-tilt set to deliver the moment that fans of the show have been waiting for since back in September 2018, when on one fateful night  …

(Cliff Notes version here) Brad and Lucas’s adopted child dies, Nelle gives birth in the woods with an assist from Liesl. Brad and Nelle comes face to face on the road; the two switch babies and keep the long-held secret that Brad and Lucas are actually raising Nelle and Michael’s bio-son. Meanwhile, Willow thinks she is Wiley’s birth mother, having no idea, that her baby died with Brad.

Julian has been in on the secret, and when Brad finally revealed to Lucas the truth about Wiley, it caused their car to crash (Remember: Kendra who in the other car, who was trying to kill Alexis) which has left Lucas with only fragmented memories of that night.

Realizing everything is getting too close for comfort for the truth to come out; Brad accepts a job in Portland and is moving with Lucas and Wiley, while Nelle is selling her shares of ELQ to Valentin to get out of dodge too, so she can follow them, we think.

But in one of the best promo’s we have ever seen for a daytime drama series, as you see below; will Lucas remember and reveal the truth to Michael?

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From the cast credits at the end of the promo, to the setting up of the tale, this is one promo not to be missed.  Check it out below.

Now, let us know, how you think the truth will come to light that Michael will find out he is Wiley (AKA Jonah) biological father and that their was a baby switch? Will it be as teased in the promo, or some other way? Comment below.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Valentin’s World Crumbles; Anna & Finn Put On The Brakes

Yesterday’s episode of ABC’s General Hospital featured emotional performances by James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), Finola Hughes (Anna) and Michael Easton (Finn) as it looks like a significant shift may be coming for their characters on the Port Charles canvas, or is it?

Valentin has overheard Nina (Cynthia Watros) telling Ava (Maura West) that she kissed Jax (Ingo Rademacher), which further sends him into a tailspin.  He is still reeling from the fact that the DNA results, that he had run, proved that he is not a Cassadine, as Nikolas (Marcus Coloma) had claimed and revealed.

When Valentin enters Ava’s art gallery, he gets a moment alone with Nina where he tells her he doesn’t know who he is anymore.  Nina tells him he is free now to start over and concentrate on his daughter, Scarlett, but that she will no longer be a part of his life.

You can tell Nina still has feelings for Valentin and cares about him, but is it more? Or, is she now going to move on with Jax? Well, after a pep talk, of sorts, from Ava, looks like she may just go after Jax and see where things may lead with him.

Later, Valentin is drinking and gets his gun and is ready to kill Jax, or so it seems.  He heads out to go confront Jax in his office.  Next, we see Valentin shoot Jax with Josslyn (Eden McCoy) and Dustin (Mark Lawson) looking on.  However, we soon learn that this scenario was all in Valentin’s mind, as we come back to present time and Jax, Dustin, and Josslyn are all talking and wondering what Valentin wants.  He covers and tells Jax he just came to tell him he wasn’t a Cassadine.  Still later, Lulu is filled in about Valentin.

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Meanwhile, Brad (Parry Shen) meets up with Nelle (Chloe Lanier) and tells her that he and Lucas (Ryan Carnes) are moving away from Port Charles.  He admits to her that he told Lucas before the accident, about baby Wiley being Michael and Nelle’s bio-son.  She is pissed.  Nelle realizes he wants to move Lucas and Wiley away to keep from triggering Lucas’ memory of the car crash.  Later, that prompts Nelle to leave Valentin a message that she is ready to sell her ELQ shares to him as she needs to leave town ASAP.

However, when Nelle places her call, Vakentin does not pick up; instead he is on the floor drunk, and opens a box with the Cassadine ring in it, and lo and behold, we see a woman appear, who by all accounts will be Helena (Constance Towers) since we know Towers is making a visit during February sweeps.  Will Valentin be talking to a dead Helena about the lies perpetrated on him … or is something else going on? Stay tuned for today’s episode.

Courtesy/ABC

Elsewhere, Anna is angry that Finn betrayed her with confirming information to Jason (Steve Burton) and his stance on her son Peter’s dirty deeds.. Finn says she’s just so blind to the truth about Peter and he is a dangerous man; after all, Peter kept Jason locked up for years.  Anna says Jason will now retaliate and try to kill Peter.  She is overcome with terror and upset that no one will give Peter the benefit of a doubt.

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It’s clear she wants a second chance at being Peter’s mother and can’t see past that. With that, the duo is at a crossroads. Finn goes to get his daughter, Violet and packs a bag and moves of their place and heads to the Metro Court for the night.  He tells Anna he has to protect his daughter.  Of course, when they get to the Metro Court, they run into Peter (Wes Ramsey) and Maxie (Kirsten Storms).  Finn is not happy.   Will Anna and Finn reconcile? Will Peter finally, finally get his comeuppance?

Share your thoughts on what you would like to see happen for Valentin, Nina, Jax, Anna, Finn, and Peter via the comment section below. But first, check out these scenes between Finn and Anna.

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