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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

WATCH: GH’s Nancy Lee Grahn, James Patrick Stuart and Y&R’s Michelle Stafford In ‘Soaps In Quarantine’ Episode 1

Leave it to General Hospital’s Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) to be enterprising, and creative and providing social commentary at this time in our new reality.

Grahn has teamed up with her former GH Now partner, comedian and podcast host, Kaore Bonell for what looks to be on-going You Tube series, while we are all at home experiencing social distancing from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtesy/YouTube

For the first episode of the series aptly titled, “Soaps In Quarantine” Nancy and Kaore welcome GH’s James Patrick Stuart (Valentin) and The Young and the Restless Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) as their very special guests.

Topics are wide-ranging, and entertaining from some interesting tidbits about their soap characters and their individual times on different soap operas, to if they have each gone to the grocery store and what they are experiencing from items being MIA and flying off the shelves and more.

As you will see, the actors and the hosts all Skype-in or Face time in which is something we all can do to be within each other’s “comforts zones” while being isolated at home.

Check out “Soaps In Quarantine” episode 1 below and let us know what you thoughts of it via the comment section below.

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47th Annual Daytime Emmy Ceremonies Canceled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic
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47th Annual Daytime Emmy Ceremonies Canceled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

There won’t be any “And the Enmy goes to _” come this June, where NATAS had originally scheduled three nights of award presentations honoring the best in daytime programming at the 47th Annual Daytime Emmys.   The three-day event was slated for June 12-14th, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena. California.  Deadline broke the story of the decision to postpone daytime’s biggest night, for now.

NATAS president and CEO Adam Sharp said of today’s decision: “These were extremely difficult decisions to make, but at the end of the day the health and safety of our event attendees and staff must remain our paramount concern,” NATAS president and CEO Adam Sharp said of today’s decision. “We are closely monitoring public heath authorities’ guidance, seeking feedback from our awards communities, and evaluating the flexibility of our venue and production partners as we plan for the future in this unprecedented context.”

 NATAS chairman Terry O’Reilly said on the change” “Given our concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided that we will not be staging the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Pasadena this coming June.  As there are so many unknowns right now with the flow of information changing on a daily, almost hourly, basis, it would simply be irresponsible to move forward with our annual celebration of excellence in daytime television at this time.”

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47th Annual Daytime Emmy Ceremonies Canceled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

Daytime Emmy Awards executive director Brent Stanton, who is involved in the judging of the competition that was well-under way before the cancellation, shared “Judging continues, and we look forward to announcing our incredibly talented nominees later this spring. We are working on some interesting alternative ideas for how to best recognize the honorees later this year and will share more details in the weeks ahead.”

So, what do you think of the cancellation of the Daytime Emmys? Comment below.

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General Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo: ABC

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

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

Photo; ABC

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

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

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

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

Right! Or, they could be married!

JOHNNY:  It’s Port Charles!

Photo: ABC

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

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

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Katelyn MacMullen as Willow

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Airdate:2-21-2020

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