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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.”

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

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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… Read more »

General Hospital

Vinessa Antoine’s ‘Diggstown’ Acquired by Fox in the U.S.

Great news for fans of former GH star Vinessa Antoine (Ex-Jordan).  The Canadian legal drama, Diggstown, in which she stars has found an American broadcasting home via news today that Fox has acquired the series.

Fox has picked up twelve episodes for seasons one and two of the drama.

In Diggstown, Antoine stars as Marcie Diggs, a star corporate lawyer who reconsiders her priorities and moves to work in a legal-aid office after her beloved aunt takes her own life following the pressures of a malicious prosecution.

 

The series explores issues of social injustice among other topical matters and universal themes. The team of lawyers that Marcie works with are a curious band of do-gooders, cynics, and scrappers – messy souls struggling to keep personal disappointment and demons out of their practice. They work directly in the community to find justice for their varied clients. Marcie is driven by one thing – to never again allow innocent lives to be destroyed by the justice system.

Deadline broke the news of the acquisition, which will help the network during the Covid-19 pandemic and production shutdowns, to have programming ready to go while other shows continue to get up and running.

No word yet on when Fox might air Diggstown in its primetime line-up.

So, excited to see Vinessa in the legal drama when the show airs on Fox? Comment below.

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General Hospital

When Martin Met Jackie (AKA All My Children’s Tad and Jenny) on General Hospital

If you caught Monday’s episode of General Hospital, the ABC daytime drama snuck in a ‘wink-wink nudge-nudge’ to viewers of the once dominant ABC daytime soap opera line-up.

Since Kim Delaney was announced as coming to GH to take on the role of ace investigative journalist, Jackie Templeton, longtime All My Children viewers noted that she at some point could be reunited with her former All My Children TV brother, Michael E. Knight, because they are both now in Port Charles.

Courtesy/ABC

The one time Tad and Jenny Gardner of Pine Valley got re-acquainted on yesterday’s episode when Martin interrupted a conversation between Jackie and her son, Chase (Josh Swickard).  When he did, Jackie looks at Martin and says, “Do I know you?”   She looks as though she is trying to place exactly where she knows that face from, and from there the two eventually share their first one-on-one scenes as their new soap alter-egos.

In the moment, Martin wants Jackie to investigate what happened to his mother, Florence, and reveals to Jackie that his bio-brother is Cyrus Renault (Jeff Kober), which perks up Jackie to probably do some digging.

For many, it was great to see Michael and Kim together again, and here’s hoping GH can capitalize on it in future scenes.

So did you enjoy the nod to All My Children history on yesterday’s GH between Jackie and Martin aka Jenny and Tad? Comment below.

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General Hospital

General Hospital to Incorporate In-Story ‘GMA3: What You Need to Know’ Jackie Templeton & Sasha Gilmore Interview

In a crossover of sorts, on the upcoming, Wednesday, January 27 episode of General Hospital, the daytime drama series will bring the characters of Jackie Templeton (Kim Delaney) and Sasha Gilmore (Sofia Mattsson) to its true lead-in, GMA3: What You Need to Know, but in a fictitious way for a revealing and explosive interview.

The scene is set in the Metro Court in Port Charles, and Jackie, the ace reporter and journalist has some tough questions for Sasha during their sit-down interview.  The in-story tie-in helps promote both shows in the ABC afternoon line-up.

Soap Opera Digest, who first brought the news of the mash-up in their latest issue, revealed that the moment is “being played as a remote segment for the ABC news and lifestyle program.”

However, there will be no one from GMA3 appearing on the Wednesday episode.

So what do you think will happen during the Jackie/Sasha sit-down? Comment below.

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