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James Franco on the art of soap acting and more!

Courtesy/NY Festival

Courtesy/NY Festival

I have to say, James Franco is doing a fantastic job bringing attention to soaps right now, not only with his acting, charisma, and performance art connections, but also his writing.  Check out his entry in a new piece out today by the actor entitled, The Limits of Control which is on Lapham’s Quarterly website.  In the piece, he details the control actors have in certain parts of the medium they work in, which adds to their performances or possibly subtracts.  Franco wrote these words below, which to soapers, means he completely “gets” the soap actor’s style and what they have to work with.

Franco, Recently, I performed in the soap opera General Hospital. It is easy to make fun of soaps, with their melodramatic plot lines, constant exposition, unnatural lighting, swelling music, and lack of action. Most of these aspects are due to the extreme speed at which soaps are produced. With five episodes a week, at least sixty pages need to be shot in a day. That’s a feature film’s worth of material shot every two days. This pace allows for very few takes, usually one. Soap acting is generally considered inferior to other acting, with the lack of takes cited as the reason. However, there are many fine film performances that are made up of just a few takes: Clint Eastwood is famous for doing one or two takes when directing; Robert Altman was very loose with his direction, always looking for spontaneity and truth; Gus Van Sant does very few set-ups, and very few takes. Innumerable directors of Oscar-winning films have used such techniques. The reason that soap actors look the way they do is context—how they are filmed, what they are saying, and how they are blocked. There is absolutely no way to act in a soap and pull off a performance like Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, Robert De Niro in Raging Bull, Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice, or Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. These incredible performances are supported by the incredible filmmaking that is behind them. They are given the time, dialogue, space, and aesthetic of films made by great directors.

This isn’t to say that soap opera performers are worse than film actors, or that their performances are inferior. The soap opera performance should always be perceived in context: it involves actors working in a tradition that soap audiences have come to expect and love. Soap actors are delivering exactly what they are supposed to—they are in tune with their audience and they are not attempting to transcend it. If Brando had tried to play Terry Malloy in a soap, he wouldn’t have had the time to sculpt the performance into the brooding, tortured, nuanced emotional force that won him an Oscar. The contender wouldn’t have been a somebody, instead he’d just have been another mumbling dope with bad eye makeup.”

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So what do you think of Franco’s thoughts on soap acting?

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bottomchef
bottomchef

James franco is so full of it. This whole article is somehow “justifying” his film star self going into soaps. And it’s quite backhanded. Can’t he say “I went to soaps so I could try all kinds of mediums. Period.” and then he could shut up abt it forever. He’s saying that soaps are crappy bec that’s what the audience expects them to be. Certainly majority, if not all of the soaps are in bad, crappy states, and the ratings reflect that. There’s a lot of disatisfaction now bec of the bad writing and worse performances. But most probably nothing (at that time) was more addictive and dramatic and edge of your seat exciting than Bill Bell penning Y&R’s Sheila escaping to B&B. The acting, writing, directing were all engrossing. It was the definition of great soaps, it was gripping and the audience kept coming back for more. Soaps don’t know how to do that now. And what the hell is james franco saying abt characters not beinf fully fleshed out? Soaps have the luxury of creating storylines for the same characters for years, so the character evolves over long periods of time. B&B’s Felicia may not be the best ex., but the character evolved not bec of Brad bell’s neglectful writing, but bec Lesli Kay was able to develop the character bec of her performances. Here’s hoping Nancy Grahn delivers a verbal smackdown thru twitter directed at pretentious james franco again. His movie star presence did not even translate in the ratings.

General Hospital

GH’s Steve Burton and Maurice Benard Deliver “The Power Performance of the Week”

Last week, as General Hospital aired the final episodes they had in the can, prior to the coronavirus TV production shutdown, viewers of the series were left with a one-two punch of gut-wrenching performances from Daytime Emmy winners, Steve Burton (Jason) and Maurice Benard (Sonny)

Burton, also received great news last week, when he found out he was again Emmy-nominated in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, while Benard, told fans he did not submit himself in the competition this year, when they were wondering where his name was in the list of the finalists in the category.  However, Maurice won last year for the second time in his career, for Outstanding Lead Actor.

Courtesy/ABC

Now on last Tuesday and Wednesday’s episode of the ABC daytime drama series, Jason was trying his best to break it to Sonny that Sonny’s dad, Mike (Max Gail) is not going to get any better as he continues to decline from Alzheimer’s disease, and that Mike is waiting for Sonny to let him go.  Sonny is devastated sitting with Mike watching him being completely unresponsive.  He tell Mike he will be back to see him tomorrow, as he leaves Mike reaches out his hand slowly.

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Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) has just told Jason that she believes the signs are all there that Mike is on his final decline and battle with Alzheimers. Mike is unresponsive, not eating. and slipping away quickly. She believes he wants to let go, but is holding on for Sonny’s sake, something that tears through Jason.  Knowing Jason was told something by Elizabeth, Sonny asks what it is.  That is when Jason tells Sonny he thinks Mike is waiting for Sonny to let him go.

An overcome Sonny tells Jason that he worries that Mike might still want to fight, but for what? He is a shell of himself and has no memories.  It is then that Burton as Jason, in a touching performance, tells Sonny what he’d want if he were in Mike’s place. Jason reflect that he wouldn’t want machines keeping him alive or his kids having to go through what Sonny is having to deal with right now   Jason goes on to say that even when Sonny put walls up between himself and Mike through the years, that Mike never stopped trying to break them down.

Photo:ABC

Once Jason leaves, with tears running down his cheeks, Sonny sits with Mike trying to come to terms with what he must do now.  Will Sonny let Mike die and spare his father any further misery … or will he try to prolong whatever time Mike has left?

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These scenes for anyone who has endured or lived through losing a loved one battling through Alzheimer’s and having to make a life and death decision, and the emotional turmoil and sadness it causes a family, could feel the pain and heartbreak played  by Burton and Benard. That is why Michael Fairman TV gives Steve and Maurice the honors of The Power Performance of the Week.

Watch a few scenes from part of Steve and Maurice’s ‘Power Performance’ below

Then let us know, what did you think of Steve and Maurice’s performances in the Alzheimer’s storyline? Comment below.

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Breaking News

‘Studio City’s’ Sean Kanan to Host Indie Series Awards Virtual Ceremony

Coming up, another award show will transition during the coronavirus pandemic to a virtual presentation when the 11th Annual Indie Series Awards reveals its winners in a ceremony w=on Thursday, June 18, starting at 9:00 p. m. EST.

This year, the host with the most will be Sean Kanan, known for his roles on General Hospital (Ex-AJ) and The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless (Ex-Deacon), and this year for his Daytime Emmy-nominated work from his digital series, Studio City,

“I am honored and excited to be a part of the digital community and ISA family,” added Kanan. “This is the future of entertainment.”

Since 2oo9, the ISAs have honored some of the best of independent web series.

Tickets are said to be going on sale, so you can watch the virtual ceremony beginning at home starting on June 1st.

For more on the Indie Series Awards visit their site here.

So, will you be checking out Sean and the Indie Series Awards next month? Comment below.

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'Studio City's' Sean Kanan to Host Indie Series Awards Virtual Ceremony
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General Hospital

TODAY: General Hospital Rebroadcasts Masterful 52nd Anniversary Episode

Fans are in for a treat today (Friday, May 22nd) when ABC’s General Hospital airs an encore presentation of one of the finest hours of soap opera in the history of the genre, with its 52nd anniversary episode from April 1, 2015.

In the episode, viewers finally learned what turned Luke (Tony Geary) into Fluke, which has been the on-going story for months; but it all lead up to the shocking reveal, when Luke revisited his past in his broken down childhood home and the demons that haunted him.

Photo: ABC

The episode goes from black and white to color, as Geary plays two roles: Luke and his abusive father, Tim, in one of the greatest performances of his career.

It is there we finally see Luke’s mother, Lena, played to perfection by Laura Wright (Carly).  And, it is in these scenes we meet for the first time Chloe Lanier as a young Patricia Spencer, who was so good, she was later cast as Nelle.  Playing the young Luke in another powerful performance was Joey Luthman,

Throughout the twists and turns, viewers learn that Luke not only killed his father, but accidentally killed his own mother who he loved.  It was a harrowing moment of deeply repressed memories.  The ending in the present time also features the Spencer family rallying around a distraught Luke in the hankie-inducing final scenes.

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From the performances, to the script, to the direction, to the writing his one had it all.

So, will  you be watching today’s 52nd anniversary episode of GH?  Do you agree it was one of the finest episodes of the series? Comment below

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Video du Jour

It’s “Villains Week” on Y&R an that means some Sheila Carter, David Kimball, and Isabella Brana, Check out the promo from CBS Daytime here.  Leave A Comment

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Power Performance

Steve Burton as Jason & Maurice Benard as Sonny

General Hospital

Airdate: 5-19/20-2020

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