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General Hospital

GH's Jane Elliot Interview: From The Future Of The Soap, Valentini's Efforts, Geary & Hughes, To The Q's!

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

She is one of the most respected actresses in the soap genre.  She has made viewers laugh, cry, and at times want to throw something at their TV sets over the antics and schemes of Tracy Quartermaine.  But it’s a mark of a fantastic actress to make us care for this type of soap character, and who exposes to us that underneath all of Tracy Q’s bravado, she is a very vulnerable and complex woman. That actress is Jane Elliot.

Right now on GH, Tracy seems to be the only one not getting sick by the poisonous toxin released in the Port Charles water supply by Jerry Jacks.  What is up with that?  And, what is up with Tracy’s love life?  Are she and Luke (Tony Geary) a couple for all eternity? Or, will Anna (Finola Hughes) come between them for good?

Recently, On-Air On-Soaps caught up with Ms. Elliot for a “quickie” chat to get her thoughts on: the renewed interest from ABC on the now lone ABC soap, the shows latest executive producer Frank Valentini, what she thinks of Anna, or even Heather vying for the love of Luke, and why she and Tony Geary are pure magic on-screen.  Here’s what the incomparable Jane had to say!

GH is moving into its new time slot on September 10th along with a sense of the ABC network firmly behind them.  Did you think a year ago that this iconic soap’s ship may sink?

JANE:  I never believed the ship was going to sink.  I never believed it was going to happen because it would be stupid to wipe out the entire ABC soap opera lineup at the same time. And, NBC still has a show on the air, and CBS still has two shows on the air, and I just never saw it.  I always felt General Hospital would be the last soap standing.

How has executive producer Frank Valentini been to work with? He came into a situation with an edict to save this show, inherited many issues that needed to be tweaked, and is by all accounts doing a phenomenal job!

JANE:  Frank and I have known each other for 18 years.  I observed and shadowed him and two other line producers at One Life to Live, before I went to produce Loving.  I spent a couple of months at One Life to Live; five days a week morning till night shadowing him.  We maintained a friendship all through these years and I adore him.  I adored him then and I adored him the 18 years we communicated.  So for me, it was like coming home.  I know he is incredibly bright and incredibly smart. He has a really broad stroke and he takes in more information in 30 seconds than almost anybody I know.  Frank sees what is going on behind him, next to him, in front of him, as well as having his own inner dialog going on about what is going on, what he wants to fix, and what he wants to change.  I love people like that.  People like that I find energizing. For me, it’s a thrill. I love working with an executive producer who comes in before everybody arrives and leaves after everybody leaves.

Being one of the most beloved veterans of General Hospital, do you feel the show has a good shot at making it past its 50th Anniversary?

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JANE:  It’s good business.   It’s a good show. Everyone in the cast is energized and excited about what’s ahead. What could you possibly get to replace it that has such a loyal audience and incredible talent?

Courtesy/ABC

Your pal and on-screen acting partner Tony Geary gave you quite the compliment and acknowledgement during his acceptance speech for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series at this year’s Daytime Emmys. What was your reaction when you heard what he had said? Did you shed a tear?

JANE:  You know what?  I did not know!  They pulled the date of the Daytime Emmy Awards show at the last minute, and we knew that we had two dark weeks at GH, and I had a plane ticket for a vacation.  I was on the top of a mountain on the Anderson Valley and they didn’t have cable television. But I texted someone, “Did Tony win, yet?” And she texted me back, “Not Yet. The show hasn’t even started yet.” And I said, “Just kidding!” And then five minutes later she texted me back, “He just won!” And I go, “You’re lying!” And the reason I said that was because it was at the top of the show and the timing didn’t make any sense! And she goes, “No. No. He just won!  He just thanked you!”   So later on I got to watch his acceptance speech and it was so sweet!

How do you like that Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) is seriously in the mix for Luke’s affections? And Heather (Robin Mattson) was for awhile too!

Courtesy/E!

JANE: Anytime I get to work with Robin Mattson and Finola Hughes I am thrilled. I love these women. We all have such a long history with each other. Robin and I started on General Hospital together back in the 70’s and Finola in the 80’s.  Finola and I both have personal things we share. We both have biological children and adoptive children. At one point, we talked about writing a book together on the subject and the difference, but there is none.  It’s everything we have lived life off-camera together informs what we do on camera. And you know what? The truth is …  it is a child’s game grown up. It’s called “Let’s Pretend”. And the better you are at pretending, the better the work is. We call it “the work” now, because we are grown-up and getting paid for it.  But it is just “Let’s Pretend”, and they are fabulous at playing that game. And, I would play with them over anybody!

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Why do you think it works so well on-screen with you and Tony Geary?

JANE:  Again, it’s that trust at being best friends. There is no pretense about it. We both know it’s a game, but we are grown-ups and the trust that we have with each other comes from the fact that we have the same sensibility of what the work is.  We never take ourselves too seriously. And we are always grateful and consider ourselves blessed that we are like minded. You know, you get a lot of acting partners and everybody works differently, and everybody has a lot of different sensibilities and attitudes and focus about what they are doing.  Tony and I have the same. We are grateful we get to do this, but we also both live another life. He has another life. I have another life. And this is just part of our life and we give it our all when we are there, and then we leave it behind.

Courtesy/ABC

Do you miss having all the Quartermaines around?

JANE:  I do, I do. But thank God, I have Robin and Finola!

And speaking of the Quartermaines, look for the return of Edward Quartermaine played by John Ingle who has been away from the General Hospital due to illness, next week in a poignant scene which involves Emma and Patrick … and Tracy!  In the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest, Frank Valentini teases, “I’m excited for the audience to see Edward.  I love John and everybody here loves John. He is sort of the godfather of the whole show. He has this really amazing scene with Tracy, Patrick and Emma.  I challenge anybody to not cry during those scenes because we sure did. Wait until you see it. I am not exaggerating.  We we’re crying on set.  I had to catch my breath and yell, ‘Cut’.  It’s huge.”

So soapers, what do you think of Jane’s comments on the future of GH, working with Tony Geary, Finola Hughes, and Robin Mattson? And, what do you think the emotional scene will be about next week involving Tracy and Edward?  Weigh-in!

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toscanti
toscanti

LOVE IT!!!!!!

ILTQ
ILTQ

I love that they have been using Jane so much currently. She has been wasted for far to long. I hope this marks a Tracy Q resurgence!!! Jane Elliot is THE BEST!

Cath
Cath

I cannot wait to see that Patrick, Emma, Tracy & Edward scene. Sounds amazing. These people have Robin in common so I’m guessing it will be about Robin. I remember that John Ingle had to take his leave not long after they started taping the aftermath of Robin’s death so we weren’t able to see Edward at the funeral. I’m guessing he’ll finally get to say his piece directly to Patrick & Robin. Anyway, back on topic, I love Jane Elliot. Her work has been one of GH’s few consistent bright lights over the years. And I love how Tracy’s airtime is intersecting with more characters these days. Finola Hughes, Tony Geary & Robin Mattson are a good start and then this week, she got to meet & snark back at Todd Manning. LOL FV & RC’s GH is amazing for jumping on these storyline opportunities alone.

Cathy
Cathy

I hope it is about Robin since it would be a rich nod to GH history. Always felt Robin should have been talked about to Emma. GH missed so many opportunities. Edward, Lila and Alan connect to Robin.

Love Jane and loved the interview Kimberly McCullough did with her before she left GH. You can see Kimberly loved and admired Jane from the interview.

Tracy deserves better than Luke. Love her and Joe. Anna would never forgive Luke for what he did with Robert/Ethan. Anna belongs with Robert.

Jamie
Jamie

Better than Luke but you’re cool with Joe? Yeah he’s a great guy.

shan
shan

Always love watching Jane Elliot, She is one of the very best and I love every scene she is in.

Patrick
Patrick

Tracy and Anna… are giving us Long-Term Fans…”Romance” – what a Treat!

Vulnerable. OK… as only these two woman can give. Men have to think… LOL.

Tracy and Joe, Jr. – they consummated rather quickly… twice, i might add. I teared up when Joe.. gave Tracy the antidote.

Anna and Luke… Luke fessed up to Anna… just before she finds Duke. I can’t find the right words to describe how entranced I am with Finola Hughes portrayal of Anna. Geez! Mother to Robin… and fully embodying… womanhood with Luke… ala.. still police commissioner’ing… A mother in search of her beloved Robin. How beautiful.

It’s a treat to see two women.. Tracy and Anna.. in their – 40’s – 50’s embracing love and romance…

Men know these women tick… are a treat… are viable beings… ooh la la… ! We’re cheering you on and rooting for you… as always.

dg
dg

I am a 42 yr viewer of GH and while I have no problem with older women having romance I dont support the Tracy/Luke or Luke/Anna pairing. Tracy and Luke are great comic relief but romantically they are as dull as watching paint dry.
As far as Luke and Anna go, I can’t stomach it. TG looks great for a man in his 60s and still fairly youthful but he just looks too old in my opinion for Finola Huges. Finola has aged remarkably well as would be much better suited with a younger man perhaps in his mid to late 40s or early 50s.
And besides that there is no story line romantic history between luke and Anna. Anna was devoted to Robert and Duke. Luke’s only true love will always be Laura. But since Genie Francis is not on the scene I think Luke should play the field and gravitate back to his old fornicating ways.
There are several out of work soap actors in their 50s who would make suitable love interests for Jane Elliot ( Richard Steinmetz, Scull Jr doesnt cut it). The trouble is that they need a good story .
As for Anna I wouldnt mind a Anna McBain fling or a revisitation of the Robert, Anna Duke triangle from the late 80s. I also wouldnt mind an Anna, McBain, Sam triangle. Id like to see Sam stop playing the whiny so called hero and go back to being a down and dirty man eater. That would be much more interesting to watch that to see her drowning Jason in glycerine everyday.

Margie
Margie

Cray cray.

BOnnie
BOnnie

50’s-60’s! They are both fantastic actors, always loved Janes, wit, loving scenes with Daddy, and her evil side. Plus she is so funny!! Where is her Emmy?

ethel
ethel

if emma & patrick is involved then it has to be about robin – edward adored robin!

dg
dg

Kimberly McCollough ( Robin ) has not returned to the show full time. Her appearances will spasmodic and limited because she is pursuing a new career as a director.

ethel
ethel

yes i know that – i am saying that the emotional scene with edward/patrick/emma will probably be about edward talking about robin because he adored her so much…..i was not implying robin would be in the scene

rebecca
rebecca

found her to be a bit impersonal and pragmatic with too much emphasis on the “business.” as a soap fan it’s nice to feel that the actor has a bit of an emotional attachment to the character he/she plays and to the show itself. got the feeling that she loves playing “pretend” and gettng paid for it…but there’s no emotional investment…just a job. found her take on it, though understandable and realistic, disappointing. if she has no emotional attachment to Tracy or her Quartermaine family…how silly is it for we, the fans, to have one?

dg
dg

I think fans loose sight that this is a business for the actors. Jane has been in daytime for decades and she has played many characters besides Tracy. Acting is a job just like any other. If actors took every character home with them they would go crazy.
I dont think the fault lies with the actors but with the fans who immerse themselves in the fictional world but unfortunately seldom take the time to learn much about the actors and the business end of TV.
I loved the Tracy character in the 70s and 80s ( I think she’s been dumbed down today like most of the show). But conversely Ive been reading about soap actors since the age of 7 when I begged my mom to buy my first Rona Barrett’s daytimers’s soap mag back in the 70s. I’ve always made valiant effort to learn about the actor’s real lives, research their careers and learn about the business end of TV since it has always interested me.
So I think its unfair to expect the actors to be so caught up in the characters. This is their job its not just entertainment as it is to viewers. Tony Geary has also been one who comes off as extremely professional and fiercely private. When ever I have seen him interviews or read about him he never comes off like Luke Spencer. Quite the contrary his off screen persona is radically different. And one can tell that he’s not too crazy about over zealous fans that may have difficulty distinguishing him from Luke . He even has warned fans never to bug him if they seem him out eating dinner, lol.

kay/kay
kay/kay

Well dg Tony Geary would not have to worry about me bugging him do not get caught up in that they are a character on the show. When I lived in LasVegas for 14 years I saw Andre Agassi every week at Starbucks and the grocery store we lived in the same area never stopped and said oh my goodness I agree they put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us. lol! I like Jane Elliott and Tony Geary’s humor but no she Tracy is not the love of his life that will always be Laura.

rebecca
rebecca

I have not lost sight that it is a business. Actually, I’m in publishing and have friends who have appeared in soaps as well. However, when watching a film, television show, etc…the only way to truly enjoy it is the ability to suspend your disbelief. The same with reading a book…the viewer, reader, etc gets lost in the fictional town/character…and it is that ability to travel in one’s mind to a “make-believe world” that allows us to immerse ourselves.

I do think that when one takes on a role, whether it be on a TV show/soap and/or film…there probably is some attachment to one’s own character, especially after playing it for so long. I don’t need a business course from an actor. When I’m reading about him/her I want some insight into the actor himself…as well as his take on his/her role.

For instance, Michael asked: How do you like that Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) is seriously in the mix for Luke’s affections? And Heather (Robin Mattson) was for awhile too!…Jane’s answer was how she enjoyed working with Finola and Heather….not what she thought of the direction her stoyrline was going.

I don’t need to know she has a “real life.” I would assume/hope so. But during an interview about the soap she’s in…I personallyo would have enjoyed hearing her speak about her character, her eveolution, perhaps that she missed her soap family, the Quartermaines…another question she gloosed over.

So, for me…her almost detachment came across as all business…no play.

giovanni
giovanni

but acting is “pretending”, it is playing. as our voice teacher at drama school used to say, if you genuinely believe you are the character you’re playing, it’s not a stage costume you should be wearing, but a strait jacket

acting is the best job in the world, but let’s not act as if it’s something mystical.

SZima
SZima

What article were you reading? After playing a role for over 30 years, of course she has an emotional attachment to her role.

But it IS a business too, and I’m sure all the actors feel that way. Otherwise why would they quit their jobs if their salary negotiations didn’t go the way they want?

Mitch
Mitch

If you read any of Jane’s interviews since she was first on GH they are always about business. Rarely, does she get “emotional’ in an interview. Jane treats GH just like we treat our jobs. Jane used to not socialize with the cast off set. I was shocked to see a tweet from Robin Mattson saying she was having Jane and Nancy Lee Grahn over for lunch!

aria
aria

I think she spot on, GH is an iconic show and it would be stupid of ABC to let it go. She’s one of the great talent of this industry and i love seeing her interact with everyone, because she always knocks it out of the park..

Jen
Jen

I love Jane, and Tracy is awesome. I hope ABC keeps GH longer than its 50th. 🙂

dg
dg

John Ingle the godfather of GH? Give me a break Jane. The godfather of GH is Maurice Bernard. Like most of the Q family and the other older vets like Leslie Charleson John has been pushed to the geriatric back burner while Bernard, Monaco, Burton and Wright eat the show.
As far as GH’s future, If Jane and the rest are willing to trust Disney I think they need to thing again. Jane is a great actress but her character has seen better days and much better stories.
Rather than disguising her as a romantic lead. Id much rather see her in a strong business story. Id also much rather see her inter acting with Leslie Charleson and John Ingle. The Luke, Tracy, Anna triangle is ridiculous and a total snore.
Tracy Quartermaine was originally written as “the house bitch” as Frank Maxwell ( ex Dan Rooney coined the term way back in the late 70s). She has been excellent as a spoiled, greedy, power mad dysfunctional daughter of a billionaire business man. She also excelled as Monica’s blackmailer and tormentor. But under Guza and Cartini her character has been watered down to comic relief with Tony Geary. I want Tracy’s edge restored and I want her out of that whole Luke/Anna mess.
Jane deserves a strong business, family centered story with a suitable leading man. Im sry but neither Tony Geary or Richard Steinmetz ( Scully Jr) fit the bill.

MK
MK

ITA on the most part, that Tracy needs to go back to being the spoiled Bitch. I think Tony/Luke mellowed her too much and for 9 yrs (the longest she has been with the show at any given time.) Her stories have been not very memorable. She needs to go back being the female Todd Manning.

The Best spark has been with Joe, Jr. (He is like Paul Hornsby and Mitch Williams) I don’t believe he is a Rapist/Murderer. (I think he and Connie (the alter) hooked up and Kate thinks it was rape) For the murder, I think it was an accident or someone else did it. Joey truly has a heart. He isn’t as dangerous as Joe, Sr.

heidi
heidi

Love Jane and Tracy! Great interview! Can’t wait for the scene with Tracy, Edward, Patrick and sweet Emma! Love GH and hope it stays around for many years! They have the best cast!

Ces
Ces

I’ve been a fan of Jane’s forever. Love her!! Hoping to see more of her in the coming months. She has great chemistry with everyone on the show but I just love her scenes with Tony Geary the most! Too bad Stuart Damon wasn’t still on the show though; they always worked great together.

Iakovos
Iakovos

Jane Elliot is awesome and vital to GH and Port Charles. She brings class to every scene and story, and is so watchable. As an actor, she IS Tracy Quartermaine. I am never sure why she is not included as much in discussions of iconic daytime actresses as an Eileen Fulton, Erika Slezak, and Susan Lucci, and the like. She has been a constant presence, a highly regarded player, and created a character so multifaceted and interesting. BRAVA!

Robert in Jersey City
Robert in Jersey City

I fell in love when she withheld Edward’s meds in 1978/79 (ish).

Mitch
Mitch

Not to be nit -picky, but….Jane Elliot did not work with Robin Mattson on GH in the 70’s. The role of Heather was played by Mary O’Brien then. Robin Mattson played Heather from November 1980-November 1983. Tracy (Jane Elliot) left Port Charles prior to November 1980. However, Robin and Jane did work together as Heather and Tracy on GH from June-December 2004…Just saying..:)

Gloria E
Gloria E

You are wonderful Jane, Tony & Finola & Joe Jr.!!! Frank & Ron too!! thank you for not forgetting that older romance exists & is usually more complex than teeny boppers..thank u…& much more interesting too…

PAUL WILLIAMS
PAUL WILLIAMS

It’ll be great to see John Ingle back as Edward, he has so been missed, but I’m glad to see Jane Eliot still hanging in there. Nobody, and I DO mean, nobody can play bitchy ol’ Tracy like she can! Speaking of the Q’s, any possiblity of Leslie Charleson coming back as Monica? She’s just as missed, and we need to have all of the few remaining Quatermaines back again!

Jen
Jen

I love Tracy Quartermaine and love that Jane Elliot is getting screen time with story lines that the previous regime would have never given her! She’s a class act and true talent.

Bethy
Bethy

Jane Elliot always comes across as highly intelligent, warm, personable and a class act. When it comes to the character of Tracy, she brings it each and every day. Love her!

Donna
Donna

I love Jane. What a Pro!! With women like her and Finola Hughs and Robin Matson they can keep this show going for another 50 years. Congrats to Frank Valentini for being able to reunite all of these veterens on one show. And that includes the actors from “OLTL: as well.
And now Ian Bucanhan too?! How much better can it get?!!!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Like Finola, Jane is a pro–and very down to earth–and frankly spoken. She makes a lot of sense. However, I agree with the poster who says that her character has been dumbed down. The one blind spot seems to be her–as well as Tony–thinking the audience will accept that they love each other.
I’m sure she well remembers the brilliant sparring between the two characters when they would run into each other at the hospital. She called him “something that got stuck to the bottom of her shoe.” She knew him well. He knew her well. They called it like it was–and that the relationship they should have maintained over the years. Her mooning and pining for Luke is painful to watch when I remember who they were to each other over the years. She was wayyyy too savvy to know that she could compete with Laura in any real way for Luke’s affections. Luke has one woman who consumes him–Laura.
Don’t know why Tony Geary has resisted this obvious chemistry–BUT he is warming to Luke and Laura again–and the fans–most especially me are grateful. That’s the real story all these years. Genie Francis shows so much of this in her eyes and voice and touches–and Tony is warming to it again. Hallelujah!

General Hospital

GH’s Roger Howarth Chats On Shifting From Franco To Drew & The Stunning Story Twist

In one of the most intriguing plots of 2019, General Hospital’s Franco Baldwin was morphed into Navy SEAL Andrew Cain following a harrowing mind-mapping procedure. In all went down thanks to Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and Dr, Cabot (Time Winters), taking the life and memories of Drew (Billy Miller) from his flash drive and transferring them into Franco’s brain, wiping out his past and his present.  That followed the tearjerker moment, when Franco sacrificed himself to free his kidnapped stepson, Cameron (William Lipton) from the twisted procedure; that could have left the teenager with Drew’s memories or even in a vegetative state.

The recipient of this storyline – and who would be taking on another persona in his storied daytime drama career – is none other than Roger Howarth.  The Daytime Emmy- winning actor is no stranger to changing fictional identities on GH.  Howarth, played OLTL’s Todd Manning over in Port Charles, later switching to Franco (previously played by James Franco) following the legal dispute between ABC and Prospect Park.

Last week, viewers got their first glimpse of Howarth taking on the traits of Drew circa 2012, and in short order, it has caused emotional upheaval for Franco’s wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst), Drew himself, Jason (Steve Burton), and Kim (Tamara Braun)… and that’s just for starters.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Roger as he started his journey transforming his work from playing Franco to Drew and the challenges it presents, plus the ripple effect the change will have on the canvas for many of the characters.  In addition for One Life to Live fans, Roger chats about his appreciation for his time on that iconic series in a candid, self-effacing, and special conversation.  Here’s what Howarth shared:

Courtesy/ABC

When you were told that they were going to put Drew’s memories into Franco, what was your initial reaction to learning that news?  Did you think it was a great twist?

ROGER:  Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.  I really do.  Good story needs a lot of things, and this checks a lot of the boxes.  It brings people together; it provides obstacles.  There are a lot of places this could lead to.  I just think it’s really smart and interesting.  I look forward to it a lot, and I can already tell by what I have shot thus far that it’s going to be fun.

If this story is written well, what has happened to Franco will be life-altering and crucial to so many people’s lives in Port Charles.

ROGER:  What I like about it, and this isn’t lip service, is that it’s a great story because it affects a lot of people.  Those are the good stories.  Elizabeth has got to deal with this, the boys have to deal with this, Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) got to deal with it, Jason is confused by this information, and now this person in interacting with Drew, and Kim, and Shiloh.  All of the sudden, the canvas is interacting completely differently.  So, I think the writers are having fun with this as well.

Photo: ABC

Then, there is also the character of Kim played by Tamara Braun, who Drew shares a past with.  It will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out, we already witnessed Franco’s Drew instantly smitten and attracted to her.

ROGER:  Yes, the person in this body is running under a certain set of assumptions that no one else shares.  So, yes, it’s confusing to everybody, I am sure, including Kim.

Do you see Franco eventually flipping back and forth, and having personality traits of both he and Drew?

ROGER:  No.  One hundred percent, no, and that provides a real obstacle with a couple like Franco and Elizabeth.  They are always looking for obstacles to prove to the audience that these two people really do care about one another, and that’s the purpose of a story like this.  I’m guessing and hoping that it will provide the character of Elizabeth with a particular objective because it would be nice to see Becky be able to play all of those beats.

Right, and to have to fight for something…

ROGER:  Yes, it’s very tragic.  This is a character that is accustomed to tragedy, and to see Becky play the role of Elizabeth dusting herself off, trying to get what she wants is going to be really cool.

Courtesy/ABC

The tragic twist had Franco saving Cameron from winding up with Drew’s memories and being the vessel for Shiloh to use.  What did you think about how Franco sacrificed himself in order to protect Elizabeth’s son?  It was quite heroic.

ROGER:  I think the other beautiful part of this is that this was motivated by love.  I don’t see it as heroic.  I think as an actor, you’re always looking for the heart of the story, and the writers made it really simple.  He does this because he loves this kid.  Yeah, they’ve had their ups and downs, and they are struggling to figure out how they can get along, and they have a lot of things that they feel about one another, but push actually did come to shove, and I think that the character of Cameron is going to be deeply affected by that.

Courtesy/ABC

This now puts Franco deep within Shiloh’s storyline and past with Drew, because Shiloh desperately wants a key piece of information locked in Drew’s memories.  So, in theory, this kind of ranks among one of the better stories you’ve probably ever gotten to tell in your daytime career.  Everyone is hoping that it lives up to its expectations in the execution of it on-air.

ROGER:  It is certainly a high concept story.  It’s asking a lot of the audience.  So far, we’re all in.  It’s a good cast.  I work with really good actors, so I’m not worried.  It is asking the audience to suspend disbelief for sure.  The good stories do.  I think Erika Slezak (Viki) on One Life to Live, getting to play Dissociative Identity Disorder as Niki and Viki that was a large ask.  She never blinked.  She did everything that was asked.  I’m trying to follow her example.

Exactly, and she played more characters.  She had more alters after that.

ROGER:  (Laughs)  Yeah!  She’s better at this than I am.  I’m having trouble with the one. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

What do you think about how Scott and Franco’s relationship will be affected, now that he is in essence “Drew”?

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ROGER:  There’s no part of that relationship that hasn’t changed because there is no Franco.  Franco is not around … Franco has left the building.

He is a completely new person for all intent and purposes.

ROGER:  For sure.  This soldier doesn’t appreciate being called by somebody else’s name.  He is not compassionate to the people who mistake him for this somewhat tortured art therapist that he no longer is.

Photo: ABC

What is also interesting is that this should put you right into conflict and scenes with Steve Burton, because now you are essentially playing Jason’s twin.

ROGER:  Yes.  For me, as an actor, to get a chance to work with Steve, and to play a like-minded person, is intimidating frankly, but it’s exciting.

Also, the audience knows how Franco and Jason are such enemies, and now, he is really in his mind his twin.  

ROGER:  Yeah, Franco sees in many shades of gray and other colors, and from what I can tell, Franco as Drew sees the world much simpler.  He thinks more clearly, he finishes his sentences, he thinks before he speaks, he knows what he is going to say.  His point of view does not waiver.  He is determined.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s got to be so exciting for you to get to play after all of Franco’s psychological baggage and issues.

ROGER:  I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge for me to play someone with a different set of speech patterns and who stands differently.  Because Drew thinks and feels differently about everything; his body is the same, but his body is behaving differently, and it speaks differently, and he thinks at a different tempo.  They’ve been very patient on set giving me chances to do it badly, so far. (Laughs)  It’s not uncommon for me to get halfway through a scene and to have to start over.   I am essentially figuring it out as we go along.   I am very appreciative of the fact that they have been giving me a few extra takes to try and figure out how this guy stands.  He relates to people with a different set of space and time.  It’s cool.  It’s a cool set of puzzles.  It’s been really fun.  I’m a lucky guy.

When I first learned of the story twist, I was like, “Oh! Roger will be great in this.”  

ROGER:  I don’t know, man.  I could be stinking it up pretty badly. (Laughs)  I think there’s a trap as an actor who has been asked to play twins, and the trap is that this guy is only acting the way that he acts.  The trap is frankly to act too much because the audience is being told that he is a different person.  If I go too far to try to demonstrate that he is a different person, then it slips into parody or overacting.  Over the years, I have definitely been guilty of overacting, so, I’m a little frightened of it. (Laughs)  I don’t like the way it feels.  I know how it feels to go too far.  I have been getting notes like, “You could pull it back a little bit.”  (Laughs)  It’s pretty funny.

Courtesy/ABC

In the past, I have heard you say you’d rather go to work and feel unsettled about what you are asked to play.  Does that still hold true?

ROGER:  For sure!  I’d rather go to work and leave my job knowing that it was terrible and that I get to come back the next day and make it a little better.  The best thing about daytime is how much it will stretch you and pull you and ask as much of it as you are willing to put in.

Now speaking of Franco, what did you think about the wedding reception on the yacht with Elizabeth?  Did you think that was a nice payoff for Friz fans? 

ROGER:  Yes, for sure.  I thought it was a really sweet culmination to a sweet story about these two people finding one another.  I’m glad they incorporated a large part of the cast.  It was a really good idea.

Photo: ABC

What did you think of how all of Elizabeth’s boys (Cameron, Aiden and Jake) performed a song for Franco and their mom at the reception, and how Franco relates to all of them?

ROGER:  I think it was a really important story point, and it was nice, and it was easy to play.  They’re really good kids, and they’re also terrific people.

Franco really stepped up as a stepdad to Aiden, who had been bullied at school.  I loved the cooking scene, where Franco was baking with Aiden.  What do you think about their relationship?  I love that Franco is being very understanding.

ROGER:  I think he’s trying to be understanding.  I don’t think he’s really great at it.   I think he’s a human being just trying to figure out how to make the best use of his time here, just like the rest of us.

Photo” ABC

General Hospital needed a big jolt with an umbrella story like this that turns the canvas a bit upside down.  How does it feel to be at the epicenter of it?

ROGER:   I really don’t think I’m the center of the story.  I’m not even kidding.  The story is that this piece of information is worn on the shoulders of Franco, but the people who are most effected by that piece of information are Kim and Elizabeth.

It will be interesting to see what the reaction is like from the GH audience.  You’re not on social media.  Will you check out what they are saying … or the feedback?

ROGER:  I’m not on social media.  But, I believe there is a guy whose job it is to track that initial criticism/support.  I think it is kind of cool that we will get real-time reviews, you know what I mean?  I actually thought about that because with the character of Franco, it took us a while to figure out who the guy was.  There was a lot of blonde hair and some missed cues, and we weren’t sure which relationship would be featured, whether it would be Franco and Ava (Maura West), or whether he would wind up in Carly’s (Laura Wright) arena again.  It took a while to figure out the best way to put that guy in the canvas, and I imagine that it will happen again.  I didn’t dye my hair for this, but I did cut it. (Laughs)

Photo: ABC

How was working with Billy Miller in this storyline twist?  Were you there on his last day on set?

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ROGER:  Yes, I worked with Billy not on his last day, but on his last show.  He was remarkable with dignity and with class, and I wish him all the best.  He did a great job.  He is a good actor.  I’m sure he will find somewhere to go be an actor.

Throughout your soap career, has there been a story that you initially pooh-poohed, but when you did it, you thought, “Oh, this is great!”

ROGER:   There was a story when Carly and Franco were together, and they wrote a story where Franco gave Carly a gift that wound up being a camera…

Photo: ABC

The evil-eye necklace!

ROGER:  Yes, this small seeing rye.  I just thought, every time Franco would come in and say something like, “Oh, you’re wearing the necklace.  It’s so beautiful,” while we were doing it, I was like, “Wow.  The audience is really going to hate this.” (Laughs)  However, my real-time Twitter is the subway, and while it was airing, I got on the train and sat next to this really amazing fan, who just told me how much she loved that story, and I was honestly surprised and pleased.  I am often wrong, and it doesn’t surprise me now when I am wrong  … because I was really wrong then.

You mentioned Franco with Ava which was a potential pairing. I think you and Maura West have always had great chemistry together on screen.

ROGER:  Yes, she’s a pretty great actor.  She’s great with everybody.

She is.  You knew Maura’s work first when she was at As the World Turns, while you were there, also?

ROGER:  I didn’t know her well at As the World Turns, but I knew who she was.  She’s a hard worker, and Jack (Michael Park) and Carly always had a lot to do.  She was pretty focused when she was there, but I spoke to her.  I didn’t feel like I got to know her until I got to work with her on GH.

Photo: JPI

Last month on July 15th would have been the 51st anniversary of One Life to Live. I saw a lot of people commenting and remembering the show on social media that day. I put together four photos on a post I made about that show featuring some of the remarkable actors who were a part of it.  From there, I received hundreds of comments of how people were just missing the series, the characters, and actors they loved in it, including you.  When you look at the list of people from yourself to Judith Light, to Robin Strasser, Bob Woods, and of course Erika Slezak – it’s such an unbelievably talented group who spent time in Llanview.  Do you ever think about what an incredible experience that was, and how the fans still miss that show so much?

ROGER:  All the time.  I mean, I’m a lucky guy.  I think it really was a special building to work in, and the people who we are talking about: Erika (Viki), Bob (Bo), Robin (Dorian), and Phil Carey (Asa), and Clint Richie (Clint), and John Loprieno (Cord), the people who made it possible for me to work there set an environment and a tone that made it a really special place.  It was a really good cast, like you said, and there was a lot of opportunity for them to write a really cool story.  I wasn’t a part of the AIDS quilt storyline, but to realize that they told a story like that and incorporated that into our show was wonderful.

Photo: JPI

Such an amazing story and One Life was telling socially relevant and important issues of our time, always.

ROGER:  I can’t say for certain, but I do believe that the original concept of the Todd, Marty (Susan Haskell), and Powell (Sean Moynihan) storyline was kind of supposed to be initially an effort to bring awareness to a horrible, violent crime.  That was a long time before the #MeToo movement.  I think it was a show where the writers had a social conscious as well and really brought awareness to a lot of different things.  That’s a great legacy and something that show should be very proud of.

Once the character of  Todd Manning took off on One Life, and how they found ways to redeem him, and how it spoke to how much the network, the show, and the audience responded to your performances, did you ever feel you had a bit of a safety net as an actor, or were you like, “I’m going to be fired tomorrow?”

ROGER:  This is truth: I am so grateful to have a job, and I don’t take anything for granted.  I don’t think anybody is safe in this business.  I just don’t.  I just don’t think anybody gets to say that they’ve arrived.  I just did a roundtable, and I shared this with people who have a lot more clout and opportunity than I do – that actors are by nature, the good ones, are aware that every day that you get to go to work is a privilege, and don’t waste it.

Photo: JPI

In soaps, for the most part, when someone is stepping into someone else’s role as a recast, or actor who played one role is changing to another, there seems to be this reactionary period of adjustment, and then, there is acceptance from the audience over time … unless you really stink it up  … as you say. (Laughs)

ROGER:  Here’s the thing, and this is why I think this is such a great idea, it’s not about me playing this part, it’s about how Elizabeth, who has been on this show for twenty-something years gets to react to it, and giving her the ball.  It’s flashy that Franco is Drew, but it is really and Elizabeth/Kim story.  I may be the one overacting and stinking it up, but it’s theirs. Do you know what I mean?  It’s not my story.

Photo/ABC

What do you want to say to the fans about this new “role” you are taking on at General Hospital?

ROGER:  I want to say that I really do appreciate the fans.  Here is the thing, they’re down for everything.  I hope they’re down for this.  It’s a big ask, but I really hope that they like it.

So, what do you think of Roger as Andrew Cain thus far and how the storyline is beginning to take shape?  Are you excited to see how Franco becoming Drew (through the mind-mapping procedure) shakes up the canvas? Do you hope Drew returns to be Franco sooner than later? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Franco Looks In The Mirror … And Believing He Is Drew Kisses Kim

This week on General Hospital, viewers have seen that when Franco (Roger Howarth) awoke from his mind-mapping implantation  (thanks to Shiloh and Dr Cabot) he woke up saying that he is “Drew Cain”.  Thus, as far we know, Franco now carries the life and memories of Drew from 2012 and back, and as of now, has no trace of Franco’s memories.

When Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) and Drew (Billy Miller) try to make Franco understand in his confusion what transpired,  Liz brings a mirror to Franco to see his face, which makes this all the more terrifying for him.  Liz insists to him that she is wife, but he tells her that he is sorry but he does not recognize her.  Franco insists he is going to leave town and Drew asks him to please stay put, as Liz promises that they can reverse what happened to him.  But can Liz really promise that?

Later, Scorpio (Tristan Rogers) fills Sam (Kelly Monaco) and Jason (Steve Burton) in on what happened and how Franco now was implanted with Drew’s memories, which leaves them stunned.  That means Franco, who is one of the people Jason loathes most in the world – now believes he is Jason’t twin brother.

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Meanwhile, as Kim (Tamara Braun) and Julian (William deVry) prepare to leave Port Charles for Manhattan and start live anew, (so Kim can not be haunted by her life in Port Charles from the recent death of her son, Oscar) things are about to make a shocking turn … for her.

Back at GH, Liz is upset when Franco decides he must get out of his hospital room.  Liz is scared he will just skip town knowing he feels he has no ties there.  Drew reassures her that because he is a version of him, the pull will be way too strong for him to exit Port Charles.

Courtesy/ABC

Kim is now at the hospital getting ready to turn in her resignation letter and runs into Franco.  He recognizes her and calls her “Kim!” You can tell he is quite smitten with her.  Kim is not sure why Franco is acting that way.  She announces she is leaving Port Charles to which he says he is going to come with her. She sees he has a hospital ID bracelet on, so she thinks something has happened.  Just then, Franco tells her about the first time Drew Cain and her met up! This shocks Kim  … and the next thing you know … he moves in for a major kiss and lip-lock as Drew and Liz look on.

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So, what do you think of the story turn thus far that has Franco now with Drew’s memories and with no trace of Franco? Share your thoughts on the twist via the comment section below!

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Breaking News

Constance Towers Returns To GH As Helena Cassadine … But Just How Does She Appear?

Now, any General Hospital fan knows that if there is skullduggery and evil going down, Helena Cassadine (whether dead or alive) is usually somehow involved when it comes to the lives of certain people in Port Charles.

And … some major storyline news from TV Line reveals that on next Monday’s August 19th episode of the ABC soap opera, Constance Towers reprises her role as the evil one herself … Helena!

Apparently, look for Helena to appear in a flashback with none other than Shiloh (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) and about Drew Cain’s time in Afghanistan.  That scene might hold a key to just what Shiloh wants now that he has implanted Drew’s memories into Franco (Roget Howath), thanks to Dr. Cabot’s work.  But could what is revealed also relate to the story that will see Billy Miller (Drew) exit the canvas later this month? Stay tuned.

Viewers last saw Helena alive in story until November of 2016, but then she was part of Jake’s hallucinations that were a part of the chimera storyline that climaxed at the Nurses’ Ball back in May of 2017.

So what do you think Helena’s presence in a flashback will reveal? And, who is ultimately having that flashback? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

READ MORE
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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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Recent Comments

  • Not too crazy about the storyline but I’ll keep wa: “Not too crazy about the storyline I think it’s kind of silly. I liked Franco’s character and that he and…
  • Lynda: “Waiting anxiously for storyline unfolding. Have loved Roger's acting since becoming familiar with him on General Hospital.…
  • Tam Taylor: “JI completely agree. Roger is Franco and Drew is Billy Miller. I also truly wish that Billy Miller weren't leaving…
  • Eileen: “I hope the Drew and Franco bit is just temporary although it is fun for a change. I myself I'm…
  • Becky: “I hate it because I’m afraid there will be as many Drew’s as there are Sonny and Carly weddings. And…
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